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What's the Best Way to Send Money to a Friend Overseas?

The best way to send money to a friend overseas will actually depend on a couple of different factors.  It would be wonderful if P2P apps would allow you to pay friends who are currently abroad, but unfortunately these only work domestically.

International money transfers require more security.

When money crosses international borders, it's a different level of security of course, which is why those fun and convenient P2P apps just don't make the grade. International money transfers are governed by all sorts of national and global money laws that protect consumers from fraud, money-laundering, and loss. Of course with more protection and regulation comes added cost.  Those costs get passed down to the consumer, and that's you.

There are two costs involved when you transfer money overseas.

Whether you transfer money online or in person to an overseas friend, you'll generally have to consider two types of costs.  One is the up front cost and the other is the foreign exchange spread. The foreign exchange spread is the difference between exchange rates of when the financial institution buys the currency and when it sells it to you.  That's what you're doing, after all, when you transfer money overseas.  You're purchasing foreign currency from the financial institution you've chosen to do the transfer for you. Compare the foreign exchange spread to the difference between wholesale and retail.  The storefront company takes their cut, which is how they make their profit.

The best companies allow you to transfer money online.

You may not be able to use an app that was designed to transfer money domestically, but that doesn't mean you have to forgo convenience.  You'll definitely want to put the ability to transfer money online at the top of your wish-list when comparing money transfer agencies. But don't let your list stop there.  Choose a company whose website is easy to use, too.  User experience is a hot keyword these days, and for good reason.  There's no reason to put up with clunky websites that load slow, are hard to navigate, and who don't allow you to get your business done quickly and easily.

Don't give up on mobile.

While the most popular apps for transferring money to friends within the UK are off limits for international money transfers, there are mobile-friendly versions of the money transfer websites that will allow you to send international money transfers from your phone.

Decide if you need a cash transaction.

Speaking of mobile, it's important to know whether you're going to need to deal in cash at either end.  That is, are you going to send money from your bank account to your friend's bank account? If so, your options are wide open.  But if you need to send cash, or if your friend isn't able to go through a bank wherever they are overseas and therefore needs to pick up cash, then your options are more limited. Of course if you'll need to send cash, you'll need a company with local branches right where you live.  ACE-FX has three branches conveniently placed around London, so you can send cash overseas.

Always go with a company with good customer service.

When you need to transfer money overseas, you want the process to be save, fast, and convenient.  But when it's not, you need someone on your side who can help you resolve any issues that might arise. Always do a little research on a transfer agent's reputation, and don't forget to see how they score on customer service.  Any hint of unresponsiveness or non-cooperation with previous customers should be a red flag to you.

It doesn't have to be a bank.

Knowing the best ways to send money to a friend who's overseas can save you both a lot of time, money, and hassle.  The status quo in international money transfers, the banks, are not the only options any longer. Transfer agencies like ACE-FX, who partner with larger, global enterprises like MoneyCorp, offer the best of both worlds.  You get local offices right here in London, offering the best in customer service (in person or on the phone). But you also get the peace of mind that comes from knowing you're trusting your money with a trusted authority in money transfer operations.  We're fully partnered with MoneyCorp to offer the most competitive rates in the UK. And don't forget: we are locally-focused, so you get the best customer service.  Come see us at any one of our three London branches: Cabot Place and Canada Place at Canary Wharf or our London Bridge office.  

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