Guide to Sending Money to Family Abroad

Last updated: 1 August, 2017

Almost everything you need to know about sending money to family abroad*

*You’re on your own for deciding if cousin Vince has been naughty or nice.

How to send money to family abroad:

  1. Collect the banking information of your recipient including the name on the account, bank account number and relevant local banking codes.
  2. Check any tax thresholds or regulations that may apply to sending large sums.
  3. Compare fees, margins, delivery times, customer service and risk management options between money transfer services. Use OFX to get better exchange rates than the banks offer.
  4. Create an online account by submitting some basic personal information. You may need to provide additional verification documents, if you’ve moved recently, or if our electronic verification system cannot automatically confirm your identity.
  5. Request a quote based on the live exchange rate. Accept the quote, and enter your recipient’s details.
  6. Click ‘finalise transaction’ to send your money using our expedited global by local system.

In this guide, you will learn:

send money to family

How to Send Money to Family Overseas for the First Time

If you’re sending money to family abroad for the first time, there are a number of things you should know.

  1. Banks typically charge a margin of about 5% on the daily exchange rate in addition to hefty international money transfer fees. That means that on a $10,000 transfer you could be paying as much as $500 to your bank plus additional fees when you send money to family overseas.
  2. You can save a lot of money by using OFX, because we specialise in international money transfers. Our margins are up to 75% less than what the banks charge.*
  3. Make sure you choose a provider who is licensed and regulated in all jurisdictions where they operate.
  4. If you’re expecting to make additional future payments to family abroad, it is more convenient to use an online money transfer provider who can process your transfer 24/7, on nights, weekends, and holidays.
  5. If you’re worried about sudden currency fluctuations, you can use our suite of risk management tools to lock in an exchange rate for up to 12 months or to set a target exchange rate.
  6. You should never transfer money to someone who first contacted you via the internet. Scammers prefer to request money via money transfer because the money moves so quickly. OFX can offer same day or one business day delivery times to many countries, so before you send money to a love interest you met online, check out our security page to read up on the red-flags for common scams.
  7. If you’re sending a lot of money to family abroad as a gift, you or your recipient may be required to pay gift tax. The sections below will give you some basic info about potential tax implications of sending large sums overseas.  (Refer to your local tax office website for more info).

What is the best way to send money to family abroad?

There are a few different options when it comes to sending a financial gift overseas.
send money abroad

Sending Cash Overseas

Walk-in money transfer centres may be available in your area or at the airport, and you can use them to handle sending your money abroad. Be advised that using a company that sends cash is often more expensive than using a provider who only processes transfers online. This is because there are high overhead costs associated with retail outlets, so they add extra fees/margins in an effort to cover their costs of operating a physical location. Online transfer services, on the other hand, can often charge less because they don’t incur the same expenses.

 

If you’re sending a sizeable amount of cash to someone overseas, keep in mind that there are also risks associated with collecting the money and many people aren’t comfortable walking around with a lot of cash in their pocket or purse.

send money abroad

Credit Cards, Debit Cards, and Prepaid Cards

Some money transfer services may accept debit card or credit card payments instead of cash. This often incurs additional credit card fees.

 

Some people prefer to send money to family in the form of a prepaid debit card that will then be used by the recipient just like cash. As the card is sent in the mail, this is often the slowest way of sending money to family abroad. The sender should also be certain that the prepaid card will work internationally. Fees may vary widely from one card to another and may include delivery fees, activation fees, and monthly fees.


send money abroad

Transferring Money from One Bank Account to Another

You could go to your bank and transfer money from your account to the recipient’s bank account overseas. Whether you need to set up these transfers in person, over the phone, or online will depend upon your bank and the services that it offers. When transferring money overseas through your bank, you’ll usually pay a hefty margin of up to 5% on the exchange rate in addition to substantial fees.


send money abroad

Online Money Transfer Services

An easy, secure, and fast way to send money to family abroad is through the use of an online money transfer service like OFX. After creating an account, all you have to do is fill out a form to have money transferred from your bank account to your recipient’s bank account. Transfers usually happen within 1-2 business days, and they’re secure from start to finish.

 

The great thing about a service like OFX is the fact that you won’t have to deal with any cash, credit cards, debit cards, checks, or bank drafts. When you lock in an exchange rate with us, the rate is guaranteed, so you always know how much your recipient will be getting.

send money abroad

How Can You Save Money When Supporting Family Abroad?

Here are a few of the ways that you can be sure you’re saving the most money possible whenever you send money to family overseas:

 

  • Avoid paying extra fees to speed up the delivery of your funds, unless you need the money to get there by a certain date. After all, why should you pay more to have the money transferred within one day if it doesn’t really matter if it gets there in a week?

  • How much you send could dictate how much you pay in fees. Sometimes sending more money could reduce or eliminate your fee; other times, the opposite could be true. So as you research your options, factor in the transfer fees for various amounts and calculate which amount will reduce your fees the most. Adjusting how much you send could save you a substantial amount of money.

  • If your delivery dates are flexible, you may be able to save money by using a Limit Order. This allows you to set a target exchange rate and only make the transfer when that target has been reached. Alternatively, if the exchange rate is good right now, you can use a Forward Contract to lock in that rate for up to 12 months. In this way, you retain more control over your money no matter what happens in the currency markets.

  • Look for special offers, such as introductory offers, that might help you save money on your transfers.  


Supporting family abroad is a profound gesture of kindness and generosity, and at OFX we want to make it as simple and affordable as possible for families who are spread across the globe. No matter where you are in the world, we believe that sending money home shouldn’t cost the earth, so we work hard to get your money to loved ones whenever and wherever they need it.