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Currencies & Fees

What Is an International or Foreign Transaction Fee?

Anyone who’s traveled internationally and used a credit card to buy something knows about those pesky foreign transaction fees that are applied to every purchase.

 

An international transaction fee is charged to you, the consumer, by your credit card company whenever you buy something in a foreign currency. And while most of these charges are applied to travelers, they can also be added to your credit card bill when you make a purchase online from a foreign vendor.

 

In other words, anytime a credit card is used to make a purchase and the transaction needs to be processed into the local currency of the seller, you’ll incur a foreign transaction fee. 

How much should you expect to pay in fees?

The average international transaction fee will be around 3% for purchases made in US dollars. 1% of that fee may go to the payment processor, whether it’s Visa or MasterCard, and the other 2% might go to the bank that issued your credit card, such as Chase or Bank of America.

 

You might be thinking that 3% doesn’t sound too bad, but these fees can quickly add up if you’re making a lot of small purchases or you’re making large purchases. For example, if you spend $100 and your fee is 3%, you’ll spend an extra $3, but if you spend $1,000, you’ll be paying an extra $30 in fees.

 

On top of that, most credit cards charge a 3-5% margin on the daily interbank or market exchange rate for the day. For many cards, this rate is at their sole discretion, and you may not know how big that margin is in advance.1 When combined with the fees, you could be paying at least a 6% premium on your purchase by using your credit card. Ouch.

A few ways to avoid international transaction fees

There are some ways that you can avoid costly international transaction fees:

 

  1. Check your credit cards’ terms and conditions. You might have a card that doesn’t charge these fees. Use that card whenever you’re planning on purchasing products from abroad, as well as when you travel.

  2. If you don’t have a card that doesn’t charge a fee but you make a lot of international purchases, it would be wise to apply for credit cards that don’t charge these fees.   

  3. Avoid high international transaction fees by using OFX to send money rather than using your credit card. Whether booking a hotel or purchasing a luxury item, ask your vendor if they accept payment direct to their bank account. If they do, you can use OFX to dramatically reduce your international transaction fees and exchange rate margins. Plus, you can make transfers 24/7--on your own schedule, not your bank’s.

 

International transaction fees can make shopping more expensive than it has to be, but if you know your way, you can outsmart your bank and save yourself a lot of money.

 

P.S. If you’d like to know more about OFX’s award-winning security and fraud prevention methods, check out our security page. 

 

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.bankofamerica.com/deposits/manage/how-to-pay-when-traveling-abroad.go

 


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What Currencies Can I Make A Transfer With OFX

Lots. With 115 bank accounts in our global network and 55 currencies (and counting) to make a transfer with, chances are you can OFX it.

Along with all the major global currencies, we have a wide range of exotic currencies to choose from. Simply select your currencies to transfer with in our currency converter and we’ll tell if you can make a transfer and how long it should take.  

Below is a full list of our supported currencies.

Standard 

AEDUnited Arab Emirates Dirham *Offshore
AUDAustralian Dollar
CADCanadian Dollar
CHFSwiss Franc *Offshore
CZKCzech Koruna *Offshore
DKKDanish Kroner
EUREuro
GBPPound Sterling
HKDHong Kong Dollar
JPYJapanese Yen *Offshore
NOKNorwegian Kroner
NZDNew Zealand Dollar
PLNPolish Zloty
SEKSwedish Krona
SGDSingapore Dollar
USDUS Dollar
ZARSouth African Rand *Offshore

Exotics 

AZNAzerbaijani Manat
BGNBulgarian Lev
BHDBahraini Dinar
BNDBrunei Dollar
CNY*Chinese Yuan
EGPEgyptian Pound
FJDFijian Dollar
HUFHungarian Forint
IDRIndonesian Rupiah
ILSIsraeli New Shekel
INRIndian Rupee
KRWSouth Korean Won
KWDKuwaiti Dinar
LKRSri Lankan Rupee
MADMoroccan Dirham
MGAMalagasy Ariary
MXNMexican Peso *Offshore
MYRMalaysian Ringgit
OMROmani Rial
PENPeruvian Nuevo Sol
PGKPapua New Guinean Kina
PHPPhilippine Peso
PKRPakistani Rupee
RUBRussian Ruble
SARSaudi Arabian Riyal
SBDSolomon Islands Dollar
SCRSeychelles Rupee
TOPTongan Pa’anga
THBThai Bhat
TRYTurkish Lira
TWDTaiwanese Dollar
TZSTanzanian Shilling
VNDVietnamese Dong
VUVVanuatu Vatu
WSTSamoan Tala
XOFWest African CFA Franc
XPFPacific Franc

*Business customers only

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How Much Does It Cost to Send Money Internationally?

There are a host of reasons why you’d need to send money internationally. You might be paying for a destination wedding, purchasing an overseas property or adding a coveted item to your collection from a dealer overseas.

 

But how much will it cost to send  money internationally? Let’s break it down.  

1. Wire transfer fees can vary greatly depending on your provider. 

Whenever you send money internationally, your bank will typically charge a fixed wire transfer fee. You could pay up to $50 to transfer the money, but the fee will depend upon the bank that you’re using, as well as how much money you’re sending.  

Some banks will charge a different rate depending upon the currency in which your money is sent, so you might pay a higher fee if you send the money in US dollars rather than in your recipient’s local currency. If you want your money transfer expedited, you might incur yet another additional fee. Sheesh!

If you’re using a money wiring service, some fees depend on how you’re sending the money, whether it’s from a funded account, a credit card, or a debit card. This percentage can range from 0.5% to 3.9%. And that’s not the end of it.

2. Watch out for the margin on the exchange rate.

In addition to the wire transfer fee, a margin on the daily exchange rate is also tacked on to most foreign transfers. This rate is typically around 5% at most major banks, so if you’re sending $10,000, you may have to pay up to $500. Yikes. At OFX, we know you could buy a lot with $500, so we keep our rates substantially lower than other money transfer providers.

3. Your recipient may also be charged to receive foreign payments.

On top of all the other costs above, many banks charge their customers between $15 and $30 to receive international wires. At OFX, we use our global network of local bank accounts to transfer your money in an effort to reduce these fees. It works like this: you pay into our domestic account in your home country, and we pay out from our domestic account in your recipient’s country. Sometimes, this means your recipient may be charged less to receive the money from us.

So how much does it cost to send money internationally?

The answer is, it depends on the company you use. Rather than using a bank and paying excessive fees to send your money internationally, make the smart move to OFX. With OFX you are able to book a transfer 24/7. Plus, OFX delivers a much more competitive exchange rate, so you can keep more of your money. With options like OFX, there’s no need to rely on your bank anymore to send money, so now the only question is: what are you going to do with all that extra cash?

 

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.bankofamerica.com/foreign-exchange/wire-transfer.go

  2. https://www.paypal.com/us/webapps/mpp/paypal-fees  

  3. http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/2014/07/17/5-cost-factors-to-consider-when-transferring-money-around-the-world

  4. https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/banking/wire-transfers-what-banks-charge/


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    Are There Any Transfer Fees

    Our flat rate transfer fee is now a thing of the past. Our customers can enjoy international money transfers with zero OFX transfer fees. No gimmicks, no catch.

    Occasionally, third-party banks may deduct a fee from your transfer before paying your recipient. This fee may vary and OFX receives no portion of it. If you’re concerned, simply talk to one of our team members to discuss your transfer.


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