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By Kelly Cutchin

Sending money abroad may seem like a simple task but it can easily become a stressful experience due to unexpected challenges. This is a struggle that more and more people will go through as we see the number of global migrants rise from the current 281 million. Whether you want to escape to a better life, realize a life-long dream, or just get a change of pace, people from all walks of life make plans to move to a different country to work and create new experiences. There are millions of migrants who are working hard to support their family members and communities of origin through the money they send back home, contributing to US$605 billion of remittance flows to low and middle-income countries in 2021.

In 2006 Kelly joined the Moneycorp Team based out of their Orlando Florida Office and has since then held various positions within the Moneycorp group. In December 2012, she took on the role of Country Manager for Moneycorp's USA operations where she leads a team of foreign exchange experts who work very closely with their global offices. Educating professionals on the importance of understanding the foreign exchange market and helping Realtors promote their businesses internationally are a few of Kelly’s initiatives and passions. Learn more about Kelly and her team by visiting Moneycorp Americas here.

Kelly Cutchin

However, sending money home seems not to be an easy task for many people since the process is sometimes slower and more expensive than you expect. This can be more stressful especially in your first year of moving into a new country and figuring out your new financial situation. In an emergency situation, that stress can compile even further with few people, if any, to rely on for advice or support. That's why we’ve collected a list of challenges and tips to help you prepare your transfers in advance.

Plan Payments in Advance

The single most important step in the process of sending money abroad is to plan your payments in advance. For first-timers, it can be surprising to learn about all the information and restrictions involved in sending money internationally that you wouldn’t think about beforehand. If you’re unprepared, each step of this process can take extra time to complete, turning a seemingly quick process into a multi-week ordeal. A lack of planning can also lead to unnecessary expenses, being forced to pay extra fees, and being a victim to any exchange rate fluctuations whether advantageous or not.

By planning ahead 3-6 months prior to making the payment, it becomes a much more relaxed process. Now you have the time to research your options, ask for transfer limits and requisite transferee info, and you’ll have the time to wait for a favorable foreign exchange (FX) rate. While your first time may still turn into a multi-week process, you have more control over the timing rather than scrambling to get through it all as fast as possible.

Understand Foreign Exchange Trends and Fees

The cost of sending money home is, unfortunately, not as simple as looking up an exchange rate and doing the math on the sum of money you’re sending. Different organizations have different rates and remittance fees, causing the actual amount of money spent to change depending on the organization. On top of that, each organization also has distinct benefits and niches that their featured services cater to, i.e., fees that benefit large sums of money or emphasize the speed of payments.

However, even if it was a simple process to figure out your total cost, it can be easy to underestimate the effect that FX rates have on a remittance. For example, the world trends and financial environment in 2022 caused transferring $10,000 USD to EUR to either get you €8,800 or €10,400 depending on the timeframe. Within just 7 months, that’s an 18% difference in value from exchange rate changes alone. That being said, while becoming an expert of foreign exchange yourself is completely unnecessary, it can be a useful practice to keep tabs on currency news to get an idea of the timing of when to send money home.


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Reach Out to an Expert

With the abundance of information and options available on the internet, you might feel overwhelmed trying to research it all in your limited free time. However, while spending the time to become an FX expert yourself may not be worth it, reaching out to one can help you save money, especially if you need to make regular payments abroad. By relying on an FX expert, you can get advice, information, and market trends from someone who is studied and reliable in the currency markets.

Through conversations with them, you can also learn about the different financial tools available to get more value out of your money. For example, those making frequent payments would benefit from learning about limit orders, being able to target a desired exchange rate with the assistance of an expert’s guidance. By using limit orders and setting aside a sum of money that automatically converts at an advantageous rate, future payments are much cheaper and become a great money-saver in the long-run.

Protect Yourself from Cyber Risk

Overseas payments are not a new development but technological innovations have substantially changed the process and the surrounding environment. While this process of digitization has made many aspects of our lives more convenient, it has also caused security gaps to widen, allowing room for scammers and fraudsters to sneak their way in to steal your info and money. Although companies are constantly pushing to improve security, bad actors are also doing the same, continually creating new ways to scam and defraud. If you have fallen victim to one, it can be difficult to reverse the payment once it’s been processed.

It is important to recognize the signs of a potential scam and the best practices to implement before finalizing the remittance. One way to do so is to verbally confirm all the payments and payment info with the payee. Emails are frequent targets of phishing scams and phone numbers are often spoofed, making text-based communications hard to trust. Through a phone call, however, you can directly confirm with the payee on their remittance details and sum of money. If you are in contact with a money transfer expert, it could be a good idea to speak with them about common fraud schemes and how they can help protect your money as well.

The Bottom Line

There is an increasing number of people emigrating to new countries every year, experiencing new cultures, people, and workplaces. While this can be an exciting new time, it can also be daunting to need to figure out your new environment while contending with the challenges of making remittances.

However, by planning ahead and starting early, reaching out to experts for advice, and having a baseline knowledge of FX rates and fees, you can be well-prepared for any payments you may need to make. Especially in emergency situations where you may feel a lack of control and be overwhelmed, having the research already done will help leave one less thing to worry about. Working through and following these tips will go a long way in giving you the time and energy you need to adapt to a new country.

About the author: Kelly Cutchin

In 2006 Kelly joined the Moneycorp Team based out of their Orlando Florida Office and has since then held various positions within the Moneycorp group. In December 2012, she took on the role of Country Manager for Moneycorp's USA operations where she leads a team of foreign exchange experts who work very closely with their global offices. Educating professionals on the importance of understanding the foreign exchange market and helping Realtors promote their businesses internationally are a few of Kelly’s initiatives and passions. Learn more about Kelly and her team by visiting Moneycorp Americas here.


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