Tips for Sending Money to Family Abroad

There are plenty of people in the U.S. who have family members abroad. For example, people in the U.S. might need to send money to Colombia, Mexico, Asia, Europe or anywhere in the world. Sending money abroad can be a little trickier than you might first think, however.

It can be expensive, and there can be obstacles. The following are some tips and things to keep in mind if you have family somewhere in the world that you’re going to send money to, particularly if you’re planning to send funds regularly.

Think About Cash Pickup

There are plenty of services you can use to send money to family abroad, but you should think about how convenient it will be for them to get access to the money once it gets there.

Before choosing a service, look at their partners, which should include banks and cash pickup locations throughout the area where you’re sending money.

You may want to check with your family abroad and see which they prefer because it can be tough to access money sent from the U.S. in some cases.

Person Holding 10 Us Dollar Banknote in Front of Gray and Black Laptop Computer

Transfer Costs

There are different options for sending money abroad, but you’ll want to look at conversion rates and fees. Generally, when money is sent abroad through a bank, the conversion rate is lower, and the bank is taking that difference as their own commission. It can be much more expensive than other options. Other services like Western Union also make their profit through a currency exchange.

To figure out the cost and make comparisons, look at the exchange rate, fees, and the overall transaction.

How Long Will It Take?

If you’re regularly sending money to family abroad, speed might not be a big concern. If you’re sending money for a certain situation or an emergency, you obviously want your money to get there as quickly as possible.

Some of the factors that determine how long it will take for your family to receive funds include the country you’re sending it to, how you’re paying, the time you make the transfer, and how security issues are verified.

Most services will provide you with an estimated time of arrival for the funds.


Before you use any specific service, you’ll want to check on security standards. Look for thing such as full regulation, insurance and licensing to make foreign exchanges.

You also want a service that puts a focus on personal account security, so look for SSL and 256-bit encryption, which is the standard secure server protection level for companies that do money transfers.

Send Larger Amounts

Finally, if you know that you’re going to be sending money abroad pretty frequently, send more at one time. It tends to be cheaper to send more money in a single transaction because you’ll save on things like fees, and get better currency conversion rates. If you’re going to send money often, think about doing it quarterly or even every six months. However, depending on how large your transfers might be, make sure you check out tax implications first.

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