Guide to International Money Transfers

International Money Transfers

If you’re planning a trip abroad, whether for pleasure or to visit family, it’s important to know how and where to transfer international money before arriving in the destination country. This post will provide you with simple and easy-to-follow instructions on how to prepare for this process.

What is an International Transfer?

An international money transfer is a process of transferring money from a foreign country to your home country. The person you send your money to will then use it to pay for goods or services in their country.

SWIFT Network

The SWIFT international money transfer network, or simply SWIFT, is an international banking system headquartered in La Hulpe, Belgium that provides messaging and secure financial messaging services. 

The purpose of the system is to provide a reliable worldwide financial messaging network for banks to transfer funds between institutions across the world. The SWIFT system also enables its members to exchange other messages between banks, although it is most commonly used to send financial messages relating to transactions or payments.

As of December 2017, there were 1,926 SWIFT user institutions in 209 countries. The network handled 25.7 million messages per day, and the average daily value of transfers totaled $530 billion.

Are International Wires Secure?

Yes, SWIFT uses the highest banking security to guarantee the secure transfer of funds. Only trusted financial institutions like Western Union have access to the SWIFT network.

Ways How Global Money Transfers Work

1. Ordinary Courier

You can transfer Money physically by taking cash through an ordinary courier to the destination country. This is a great option for small amounts of money for which the cost of an international transfer would be too high. However, the timing and convenience of this method can be problematic.

2. Online Money Transfer

Using an online money transfer service allows you to instantly transfer your overseas money and arrange the payment to be made directly into a bank account in another country. This method is convenient, but it can be costly, especially for large amounts.

2. Traveler’s Checks

Traveler’s checks are a form of money order where the money is pre-printed on specialized paper and can only be used where they are purchased. In many instances, this method is even slower than using a bank wire. However, traveler’s checks remain a popular option for travelers to send money home.

3. Pre-paid Cards

Pre-paid cards are ubiquitous in the United States and Europe but relatively new in Southeast Asia and other Asian countries. Any time foreign cash needs to be exchanged, it is typically handled through a bank wire. It is important to know that using a prepaid card for global money transfers can be very expensive.

4. Money Orders

Money orders are a form of prepaid payment for transactions like paying bills or giving as a gift. You can purchase money orders at any post office, bank, or credit union in the U.S. They are also available from many retailers, like Walmart, Walgreens, Kroger, and CVS pharmacy.

5. Cash

Cash is the easiest way to transfer money to another country. It’s fast, secure, and relatively cheap. However, it can be dangerous for the money to be physically exchanged. It’s important to take precautions to protect yourself and the recipient from potential theft.

6. Check

Checks are paper money orders that are used in most countries around the world. You can purchase at banks, some retail stores, and from some retailers.


Knowing where to transfer money and how to transfer money is an important first step to enjoying your trip abroad. Working with a professional money-transfer company will ensure that you receive the best rates, security, convenience, and customer service.

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