For most people, simply keeping track of and managing to pay their bills in their own country is enough of a task in itself. So, if you need to transfer money internationally in order to pay bills abroad (or for other reasons), not only have you got a whole other set of bills and payments to keep track of, you’ve also got the added headache of actually sending the required amount of money internationally to the required country and recipient.
Depending on your exact circumstances – including your residing country and the country you need to send international payments to – this can sometimes be a complicated process. It can also be a process littered with excessive fees, often diminishing the value of any international payments you do make to such an extent that a good chunk of the money sent is effectively lost. Luckily, there are ways to ensure that you save as much as possible on fees when sending international payments, whether it’s for international bills or any number of other reasons.
WHY WOULD YOU NEED TO PAY INTERNATIONAL BILLS?
Some might ask; why would you ever need to pay international bills? Surely all of your bills will be in the country in which you reside, right? This isn’t always the case. In fact, there are a number of different reasons why you might need to send international payments in order to pay bills (or fulfil other requirements) abroad. One of the most common reasons might occur when living and working abroad. You may need to send money home on a regular basis in order to pay bills and/or support family members still living in the country. If you are in this situation, you may need to send quite substantial amount of money abroad on a fairly regular basis in order to keep up with payments.
Another common reason for sending payments internationally is if you’re lucky enough to own a second (or perhaps third or fourth) property abroad. If you have a mortgage in another country, chances are that you’re going to have a plethora of bills to pay on a fairly regular basis. Not only will you have your mortgage, there may be electricity bills, gas bills, water bills and so forth. Even if you’re not currently residing in the property, these still need to be paid. What’s more, if that country utilises a different currency to your country of residence, you may encounter some pretty substantial fees when sending international payments, depending on the service you choose to use to do so.
Aside from bills, other common reasons for sending international payments include:
To support friends or family who require funds when on holiday
To support friends or family members who may require medical attention while out of the country
To purchase goods or services from an individual/company residing outside of your home country
To pay business operations-related costs abroad
THE PROBLEMS WITH HIGH COSTS (AND TIME CONSUMPTION)
No matter what your reasons for sending international payments, you’re going to encounter at least some fees when doing so. However, depending on the method you utilise to send such payments, these fees can vary quite significantly. The amount you pay will also depend greatly on the country you’re sending and receiving the payments to/from. One of the things that can contribute to high costs is the strength of currencies against each other. This is something that to some extent simply cannot be avoided (as exchange rates naturally fluctuate) but typically, some international transfer services offer slightly better exchange rates than others. Often, these differences will appear quite small but when you’re sending quite significant amounts of money, they can make a big difference.
For example, let’s assume that you were sending £500 from the UK to the US. Let’s also assume that you’re looking at two different international payment transfer companies and their exchange rates varied slightly. One company had the exchange rate of £1/$1.65, the other company had a rate of £1/$1.69. With the first company, you’d receive $825 (minus fees). With the second, you’d receive $845. These are only hypotheticals, but you can see how just a few cents difference in exchange rates can make a significant difference when sending large chunks of money. Aside from exchange rate differences, there are other fees to pay when using many online transfer providers, so these should be taken into account too. Even if you choose to bypass the “online” route and opt for an international money order instead, for example, you’ll find that there are still problems with high costs.
In fact, these can cost even more as not only will you have to pay a small fee to obtain the money order, you’ll also have to pay for international shipping (which can be costly). Plus, it’s time consuming and there’s no guarantee the money order will be accept by the bank at the other end.
HOW TO REDUCE COSTS (AND TIME)
Perhaps the best way to ensure that your costs are as low as possible when paying international bills (or sending payments for other reasons internationally) is to utilise the web and the plethora of foreign exchange providers that are out there.Foreign exchange providers such as World Remit, Western Union andTransferwise all offer slightly different exchange rates and fee structures. All of the facts (such as current foreign exchange rates and fee structures) are available on the companies’ respective websites, but due to the nature and complexity of these fees, it can sometimes be hard to decipher exactly which is your best option.
Perhaps the easiest and quickest way to find the best option for you is to use an online comparison tool (such as the one available at SendThatCash.com). All you need to do is enter the countries you’re sending from to/from and the amount you’re sending. The comparison tool will do the rest of the work for you and show you how much you’ll receive (after fees) from each of the options available. It’ll also tell you the exchange rates for each provider and exactly what fees you’re paying.