Shopping in an online store abroad, allowance for a child studying in another country, transfer for a family, or a loan repayment by a migrant worker - there can be a lot of situations where we face the need to send money abroad.
The problem is how to do it safely, quickly and cheap.
The first step many of us will take is to look for advice on the internet. Remember to be careful when you type "How to send money abroad?”, you may be overwhelmed by the number of websites specializing in this type of financial service. Each of them will try to convince you that their service is the best but is it the truth?
You pay for convenience
In the past, money was transferred abroad in a very old-fashioned way. Probably with a considerable degree of uncertainty about the success of the operation, one put notes into an envelope between the pages of the letter, hid them in a parcel. Then for a dozen or so days or even a few weeks, it was necessary to expect the addressee to confirm that the cash had successfully reached its destination. Another possibility was to receive help from friends, relatives or truck drivers travelling abroad. It was time-consuming, risky and, moreover, it usually involved a visit to a stationary exchange office by the person transferring or receiving the money.
Today, things can be done much quicker. You can even stay at home, be at the park or yacht to send money abroad. All you need is a smartphone and an appropriate app. However, for such services, companies and banks charge fees and commission. You should also take into account the unfavourable currency conversion. It happens that the spread imposed by intermediaries, i.e. differences between the buying and selling prices of currencies, turn out to be much higher than in currency exchange offices. And the customers pay for it. This is definitely something you won't be satisfied with.
How much does a foreign bank transfer cost?
Today, when nearly every adult Pole has a bank savings and settlement account, a transfer from one account to another seems to be the easiest solution. You can execute such a transaction on your own or with the help of a specialist provided by the bank.
If the case concerns a SEPA transfer (the definition and characteristics soon), the commission will not be high, usually PLN 5 and maximum PLN 20. The difference in price may depend, for example, on the type of account we have in the bank. The cost may also be affected by ordering an express transfer. In some banks, it is important that everything is done online and not as a stationary service.
The restriction is based on the fact that the scope of SEPA transfers applies to the European Union and several countries (Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Monaco and Liechtenstein) outside the EU but located in Europe. Another important restriction concerns the currency: in a SEPA transfer, the amount must be specified in euro and it reaches the recipient in that currency.
All other foreign bank transfers may be even more expensive. Most often, the ordering or receiving party or both sides of the transaction will bear the cost together, which reaches about 0.25% of the amount. In many banks operating in Poland, however, there are also spreads where the minimum cost of a foreign transfer is PLN 50, while the maximum cost is usually about PLN 200.
To order a foreign transfer in a bank, you should know: 1. SWIFT, i.a. the bank code in which the recipient of the transfer has an account; 2. IBAN, i.a. the international bank account number, which guarantees that the money reaches the right address. Creating an IBAN is usually done by adding two country-specific letters to a series of digits in the account number. For example, for Poland IBAN is PL plus account number, for Great Britain you need to add GB, Spain - ES, Croatia - HR and so on.
Mail order - still in the game
It is said that the post office is a solution for the elderly. It seems, however, that this is not entirely true. Some people simply do not trust apps, e-banking, and do not feel confident in online services, or use mainly cash. In each of these cases, they can send money abroad via the Polish Post Office.
The basic fee is 1% of the transfer value plus PLN 23. However, there are limits to the amount of the transaction. It is possible to send up to EUR 5,000 at a time to Germany, Greece, Norway and most European countries. There are countries, though, where the maximum amounts are several times lower. For example, you can send to the Vatican or Egypt no more than 1 thousand euros at a time.
For some customers, the time of order processing may be a drawback. Depending on whether the recipient has to get money to their account, collect cash at home or their local post office, it can take 5-6 days or in some cases, even up to 13 days.
The comparison will help, but…
Private service providers specialising in this field have a great deal to contribute to the international money transfer market today. As a result of competition between them, they can offer their customers the lowest prices, the fastest execution time, and greater convenience than banks or post offices. But how do you find yourself in the maze of offers? A method for selecting the most advantageous form of foreign transfer may be e.g. online comparison engines.
If you do not want to read the lengthy regulations, tables of fees and commission, then the comparison engines available in the internet may turn out to be useful. We should keep in mind, though, that these are not perfect tools, and on top of that, they do not include all companies that specialise in sending money abroad. Comparisons usually only include offers from companies willing and accepting to do so. In this way, we will not get a complete overview of the market opportunities. On the other hand, various service providers may offer us a variety of additional options and features that are not indicated in the comparison price lists.
How to safely transfer money abroad?
Are you going to transfer money to someone who is abroad? Most likely, you would like to do it without wasting unnecessary time or overpaying for the service. Surely, what matters to you is that the money transfer reaches the recipient as soon as possible. The most important factor, however, is security. You do not want to entrust the transfer to an untrustworthy company so that your money is not simply lost.
We usually trust banks and institutions. Should we be more careful when dealing with private companies?
If you are convinced by the price parameters and the rate of service provided by companies specialising in the foreign money transfer, it is worth noting several significant aspects. Which ones? You can start, for example, with the opinions of other customers available on the internet. It is undoubtedly worth relying on the number of users, as well as to verify if the service provider is a subject to supervision by a regulator, which in Poland is the Polish Financial Supervision Authority. It is also necessary to expect the company to respect the requirements of GDPR, ensuring that not only our money but also the data do not fall into the wrong hands. The standards we can also expect concern encrypted connections and the level of security of applications offered with services, as our smartphones are increasingly becoming the centres of all financial operations. It is advisable to verify the history of the service provider and its stable, well-established position.
Currency exchange and international money transfers in one
When a money transfer requires currency conversion - i.e. we have at our disposal e.g. zloty, and we want the recipient to receive e.g. Swedish krona - it is recommended to contact a company that offers currency exchange services and international money transfers at the same time. Not only do we see the exchange rate for a given currency pair, but we can also calculate at any time the total amount of krona the recipient will receive.
Financial portal found at conotoxia.com has been specialising in online currency exchange since 2010, but it is consistently expanding its offer with new financial services. One of them is Money Transfer. A great convenience for senders is the fact that they do not have to use a long account number. Of course, they can send money by giving the recipient's bank account, but their phone number or email address is sufficient as well. Another important thing. The customer may specify the amount they want to transfer, e.g. in PLN, or choose another option - the amount in a foreign currency to reach the person on the other side of the transaction. The recipient does not even have to be a user of Conotoxia. They will receive money to their bank account or instructions on how to receive the transfer by email or text message.
The fact that the execution of the service at Conotoxia.com takes only one working day if the sender sends money before noon is also significant. On the portal, you can find a clear table of fees and commission and several possibilities to pay the fee. Scope of service - 30 countries, 26 currencies to choose from, 780 thousand mostly positive reviews of users, and also clear apps for Android and iOS. In total, the offer is quite convincing.