Sending money across borders using an international money transfer, whether for business or personal reasons, can be easy but at the same time a risky affair. With technology improving daily, it is now cheaper, safer and easier to remit cash internationally. Before sending your hard-earned dollars, here are a few things to look out for before doing so.
Check all fees, transaction costs and tax options
Banks and other financial service providers are known to insert hidden charges. These charges add up, especially if you are a regular sender. All the transaction costs should be necessary and justified. Try a specialist money transfer service, as they often come in cheapest.
Find the cheapest exchange rates
That extra penny can mean a huge difference if you are sending a significant amount. Find a reputable information source from the internet and compare rates. The extra dollars saved could cover the fees and transfer costs.
Check the Tax Considerations
The gift tax is a huge consideration when transacting internationally. You would not want to get into the bad books of the IRS. Currently, any amount above $14,000 sent as a gift is subject to gift tax. This amount is cumulative over a year’s period. Money sent to a dependent child is however not subject to taxation.
The United States government continuously monitors large sum transactions to prevent fraud and money laundering. If you are sending large sums, you are better off being compliant to avoid inconveniences with the law.
You run the risk of fraud if you use untrustworthy credit unions, remittance services, and unverified mediums. Online transfers are very risky, as the security is not guaranteed. Beware of scammers; they are everywhere. Form con artists to posers, once the dollars leave the country, it is virtually impossible to pursue a refund.
Money Laundering and Fraud Laws
Regulations on money laundering laws apply to the financial institution being used to transfer funds. On the part of the customer, however, a proven money laundering transaction if convicted, carries a jail term of up to a yea, or a few thousand dollars in fines for misdemeanor cases. A federal money laundering case can carry fines in the region of $500,000 and jail term not exceeding five years. It is important to seek legal advice if you are not sure.
Reasons for sending money abroad
You could be paying school fees, sending money to a dependent or just for personal reasons. Other popular reasons for sending money include paying for mortgages, buying goods or services, you could also be topping up an overseas account, or just paying your bills. Whichever the case might be, always ensure you use a reputable bank or money transfer agent.
Methods of sending money abroad
The most popular methods include banks and genuine financial services. Other options include money remittance companies; examples are, Western Union, MoneyGram, Xpress Money, TransferWise and WorldRemit. It is always helpful to check out your options before going for either one of these, as transaction fees and other charges vary marginally. Another important factor to consider is the global availability of the money remittance service. Most banks will have their transfer service, having been networked with other worldwide banks. MoneyGram and Western Union are the companies with the widest geographical coverage.