Moving money across international borders is a service, like the service offered by MTO’s like Ria Money Transfer. Like all services it costs money and is subject to macroeconomic principles. International transfers cost more when there is urgency, more middlemen involved, more steps required in the process, or dated technologies used for processing.
Let’s take a look at one of the important factors which affects transfer cost, and is entirely within your control – the source of funding. The sender of an online international transfer can initiate the process by paying through one of many modes. We will discuss the three primary ones namely credit, debit and bank.
You can certainly fund your international money transfer with your credit card. Credit has been one of the western world’s favorite ways to pay for decades. Credit cards have near universal acceptance, and you can initiate your transfer from almost anywhere.
You can link your credit card with just about every international money transfer service for online use. You may walk into a bank, present your card, and start your money transfer. You can walk into the brick and mortar office of a money transfer service anywhere in the world and do the same.
This is an excellent option for globetrotters who are likely to find themselves in places with poor internet access. You can even call your bank and initiate your money transfer over the phone with your credit card. The convenience of it seems unmatched. However, there is a simple catch – it costs more.
By using your credit card for a money transfer you introduce an additional middleman into the equation – your card company. In addition to the money transfer operators’ fees you must also pay the credit card provider’s charges.
Moreover, for such transactions your card company almost invariably applies a higher rate of interest, as applicable for cash advances. In summary credit card-based international money transfers are surprisingly convenient and substantially more costly. These are good for emergencies, but not generally.
Using a debit card has some similarities to using credit cards. However it is a mixed bag. Although the acceptance of debit cards is rapidly on the rise, it is nowhere as widespread as for credit cards. You may have fewer choices of service providers, both in terms of physical outlets and linking your card online. By using a debit card to initiate a transfer you need not incur a rate of interest on a cash advance, as you would when using a credit card.
However, you still involve an additional middleman, which is your bank. As a result you still pay two sets of transaction fees – one to your transfer operator and the other to your bank. You can avoid this by using your bank as your transfer service. However, in that case you would be subjected to the bank’s currency conversion rates.
These would almost always leave you worse off than using a different service and paying double fees. If you compare your overall costs for international transfers between credit and debit you are likely to find that debit is cheaper, sometimes significantly. Debit cards are an excellent choice for domestic transfers where no currency conversion is required, but usually not for international.
Going plastic-free can be your best option, both figuratively and practically. You can initiate an international transfer from practically anywhere as long as you have internet access. It may seem inconvenient to remember all of your banking information. However, mobile banking has changed things completely. All your details can be securely stored in your very personal and password-protected mobile device.
Note that while sending money from your bank account is highly recommended, using your bank for international transfers is not. Efficient and specialized online money transfer operators are the way to go. Many of these operators charge low or no fees for account-to-account transfers. They also have markedly better exchange rates than banks.
You cannot initiate an online transfer from your bank account without internet. However, neither credit, nor debit cards work without online POS machines. In an increasingly connected world the probability of finding yourself in a place without any internet is low. For such rare eventualities we can simply carry around a little cash.