South America Living

Sending and Receiving Money Abroad

When traveling you often need to get cash in the event of an emergency, or send money to someone back home regularily such as a dependent child or elderly family member. There are many ways to complete this transaction, how easy or difficult the process will be is dependent on a variety of factors.

Four basic issues to think about when attempting an international money transfer are:

  1. If you have a PayPal account set-up and verified, and the sender or recipient does as well.
  2. If you have a bank account already set-up that will perform international money transfers for you.
  3. What banking institutions are in the city or town abroad, where the money will be received and cashed out to the recipient.
  4. If there is a Western Union or MoneyGram outlet where the recipient is located abroad.

One option for sending money abroad or receiving money through a private account while abroad is Lloyds TSB based in London. You can apply for an account online. Another option is to use a specialist currency exchange broker who offers bank-beating rates like the ones listed

Important to note is that even if you are told by a financial institution you can send money for free, there may be a charge from the bank where the recipient is picking up the cash. That is beyond the scope of this article, can vary greatly from country to country and bank to bank, you have to do your due diligence before completing the money transfer.

Probably the quickest and easiest way to transfer money is through PayPal. Anyone with a verified PayPal account (to be verified the PayPal account is linked to a personal bank account) can send money to any other PayPal account with little charge. The funds can be accepted as U.S. dollars, or converted by PayPal into the local currency of the account holder.

The main issue with getting money sent via PayPal is that the person receiving the funds has to have their PayPal debit card on their person to withdraw the funds from an ATM or bank using the card.

If it is an emergency situation and the traveler has had all their credit cards stolen Western Union or MoneyGram may be the best way to go. With Western Union or MoneyGram the amount charged is identified up-front, and taken out of the transfer so the balance is then given to the recipient.

To see what is available in the area you are in, check the websites of Western Union or MoneyGram for location of offices worldwide. You can set-up an account with Western Union before traveling, and then in the event of an emergency actually send money to yourself!

The recipient of a Western Union or MoneyGram transfer will have to show some form of I.D. This is a great example of why travelers should scan their passport before traveling and have a copy in their email account so that if they are robbed they can print one out and receive emergency funds via Western Union or MoneyGram.

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