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Transferring Large Amounts of Money Abroad

According to World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief published on April 29th 2019, a total of $689 million was transferred internationally in 2018 between family, friends, businesses, and others who needed to move funds. This article is designed to guide you in getting the best rate when transferring large sums of money internationally.

Updated: 07/07/2022
Read time: 10 minutes
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How to transfer large sums of money internationally?

To transfer a large sum of money internationally, you’ll need to find a currency broker or bank that can handle this request for you. Your two main options are:

  • Using a high-street bank which can facilitate large transfers between two bank accounts.
  • Using a specialist money transfer service that allows large transfers

You should note that not all money transfer providers will be able to accommodate large transfers, as many have a maximum sending limit. Therefore, finding a currency broker that can accommodate your needs is essential to help you get your money abroad efficiently and without delays.

What to consider when sending large amounts of money?

When finding the best service for you, there are several things that you will want to take into consideration. These include:

Transfer fees 

Traditional banks are known for having more expensive transfer fees than money service providers, but that’s not to say you won’t get caught out with hefty transfer fees if you don’t research. Some brokers will add a fixed fee for large transfers, whereas some will charge a percentage-based fee. 

What’s most important is that you have a clear understanding of what fees you will be charged and any additional fees that your recipient’s bank could charge them.

Exchange rate mark-ups

Often referred to as the hidden fee, exchange rate mark-ups are the margin added onto the mid-market exchange rate by banks and transfer providers. Again, banks tend to be known for adding a higher mark-up than specialist providers, but it’s still important you know roughly how much you are being charged on the exchange rate.

Lay out your options

The best way to do this is to compare providers and ensure you know exactly how much your recipient will receive.

Additional fees 

Additional fees cover things such as credit card charges, processing fees, and any fees that the receiving bank may charge for a transfer. If you need your recipient to receive a set amount, it’s essential to consider these fees in case more is deducted from your transfer sum.

Payment method and delivery method 

The majority of large sum transfers will need to be done directly from bank account to bank account, although this doesn’t mean you’re limited to making the transfer with your bank. 

Transfer time: If you are making a payment for a certain deadline, you will want to check that your transfer provider can process your transfer within that time frame. Large sums can sometimes take longer to process because additional verification checks are required to verify you are authorised to be sending that amount of money, so take this into account when looking to send a large sum abroad.

Fastest way to send money clock

Security

Importantly, you’ll want to consider your chosen transfer method’s security measures. Not only do you want to ensure your money is delivered securely to your recipient, but you also want to make sure that should you encounter any problems, you are using a reliable service that can help you. One thing to look out for is how the provider you use is regulated. In Canada, money transfers are regulated by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC).

Ultimately, the best way for you to transfer a large amount of money abroad depends on your transfer circumstances. Variables that can affect this include:

  • Where you are located
  • Where you are sending the money to and the currencies you need to convert between
  • The sum you are sending (and the fee structure each provider charges)
  • Whether an urgent transfer vs the cheapest cost is your top priority

Our innovative comparison engine considers all of these factors to help you find the best transfer provider for your individual transfer needs, helping you find the perfect provider for securely transferring a large amount of money internationally.

How much money can you send abroad?

Theoretically, you can wire any amount abroad with no limits, provided you have the funds in your bank account. That being said, your bank or transfer provider may have their maximum send limitations. These limits usually prohibit you from sending more than a certain amount (which will differ depending on your bank) in a set time.

Again, the best way to overcome this is to make sure you are using a broker that specializes in transfers for large sums, so you’re unlikely to run into this obstacle.

What do I need to send a large sum of money abroad?

Sending a large amount of money internationally usually requires more documentation than a regular transfer because of the additional security checks needed to keep your money and your account safe. Documents you should have handy in case you need them to include:

  • A valid form of ID, such as a passport or driving license
  • Proof of where the money came from – this might include a bank statement, payslip, investment certificate etc. Check with your broker what you’ll need as it may depend on where the money comes from (e.g. selling a property, salary, investments etc.)
  • Source of income – you may need to provide payslips or bank statements to verify your income for large transfers
  • Your recipient may also need a form of ID to receive the funds

The Common Reasons for Sending Large Amounts Abroad

The world has become a global village, and it is not uncommon for people on one end of the world to transfer large sums of money to other people or businesses in different countries. Whatever the currencies and amounts involved, every transfer has a purpose which may affect the best service to use. Some of the most common reasons for large money transfers are:

Relocation
Property Purchase
Tuition and Other Costs
Business Transactions
Other Common Reasons

Sending Large Amounts Abroad – Analysis

Sending money across borders to buy a property or settle a business transaction can be expensive for various reasons. Factors such as your transfer destination, the money transfer service provider you choose, the currency pairs involved and the transfer payment method you use determine the affordability of a transfer.

To illustrate this, below is a look at how these and other factors play out when transferring CA$10,000 to the US through some of the most prominent financial institutions: HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Barclays UK and NatWest.

HSBC

With HSBC, the main component you must consider carefully is the exchange rates. HSBC updates its exchange rates frequently in a bid to reflect the global currency market movement – but, since rates vary and at times you have to call the international transfer desk to negotiate a good rate, the best approach is to look at the exchange rate margin.

At the time of creating this article, HSBC charges an exchange rate margin of around 6.1% (much higher than most money transfer sites). This means that a CA$10,000 transfer to the US will cost you CA$610 above the mid-market rate. In addition, the receiving bank in the US will also charge your recipient a receiving fee.

When these charges are added up and expressed as a percentage of your transfer, you’ll lose over 6% of your CA$10,000 in the transfer process. The exchange rate margin is always the hidden cost in money transfers and the most important one to look out for with large amounts.

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)

Royal Bank of Canada has a sending limit of $2,500 per day. The bank has an estimated 2% mark-up on exchange rates for standard currencies, plus a flat fee of $13.50, which is applied to all international money transfers.

If you want to know more about international bank transfers, check out our guide on transferring money internationally between banks.

Using a money transfer provider – XE

As you can see, transferring a large amount of money abroad using a bank can be a costly process. Luckily there are a variety of online platforms that offer you an alternative, and can often save you a lot in terms of fees. Let’s take international money transfer provider XE Money Transfer as an example. When you make the same transfer we have been examining above (CA$10,000 to the United States) using Xe Money Transfer, you will pay zero fees with only a margin of about 0.9% on top of the mid-market rate. This means that the cost of your CA$10,000 transfer will only be CA$90, when it could be nearer CA$400 with some of the big banks. One potential hidden charge with Xe Money Transfer is that third-party banks may occasionally charge you for the money to end up in your recipient’s bank account. However, these fees are unlikely to be much, if anything at all, and the most important factor with using a platform like Xe Money Transfer is the large saving you get on the conversion rate against the big banks.

xe website on mobile phone

Analysis Roundup

Like with any decision involving spending or sending money, when choosing a method to send large amounts of money overseas, it is always a good idea to compare your options. From the breakdown of all the relevant fees and charges we’ve given above, it’s clear that it’s most often financially sensible to choose an online provider such as Xe Money Transfer over some of the more prominent names in international banking.

This can come across as a bit of a surprise, as high street banks are the form of financial service most often used by regular consumers and, therefore, often the most trusted. However, as you can see from our analysis, the big banks know that many people will see them as the default option and know that this means they can charge higher fees and margins above the mid-market exchange rate, which can see you spending up to CA$600 overall on a transfer of CA$10,000.

On the contrary, most online money transfer providers know that to attract business, they must provide attractive rates to their users. Not only can the fees and charges add up to less than a quarter of what some banks may charge, but companies like Xe Money Transfer also have dedicated currency specialists that have mastered trends between currency pairs to help you process your transfer at the best rates possible.

There are many reasons why people might want to transfer a large amount of money abroad, but the common theme is a desire to ensure that as much money as possible reaches the person on the other end of the transfer.

Making a comparison across all transfer service providers is always the best way to go about finding the lowest rate for each transfer. In most cases, you will find that the most financially sensible option will be a specialist money transfer service rather than a large bank.

Disclaimer:

We have an active affiliate relationship with Xe Money Transfer and receive compensation when a user signs up at their service. This comparison & analysis has been made independently, and the affiliate relationship with Xe Money Transfer has not influenced the rankings of the services.

Exchange rates and fees were collected by the MoneyTransfers.com team between 28/02/20 – 03.03.2020; you can find the full breakdown of rates here.

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Jonathan Merry

Jonathan is the founder and editor of MoneyTransfers.com. Jonathan is highly experienced in the currency transfer market, having previously worked in the FX trading industry, alongside being an avid traveller. Using his knowledge he identified a need for transparency and further education to help people save money on their money transfers, leading to the creation of MoneyTransfers.com

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