These days, many students are taking the opportunity to study abroad for a year or even longer, whether it be living somewhere to get a better understanding of a foreign language, to deepen their studies of a particular culture or subject, or simply to experience living somewhere new and exciting away from home.
If you have a child at University who is studying abroad or planning to do so in the future, something you may need to factor in is how you’ll get funds to them whilst they’re abroad. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about financial aid for students, including the most cost-effective way to send money to students abroad.
Why might you need to send money to a student studying abroad?
Most parents with children in full-time education will be able to relate to the odd request for some extra funding, whether that’s to help out with the weekly shop or to help cover the cost of books and learning materials.
When studying abroad, it can suddenly be much more difficult to access funds - so you may need to find a system to get money to your child on a regular basis. Reasons you might need to send money to someone studying abroad could include:
To pay for tuition fees
For maintenance/living allowance
Deposit for housing
A gift (for example, for a birthday or Christmas)
What are the costs?
There are particular costs involved in sending money abroad, and it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the type of costs to keep an eye out for to avoid overpaying. If you are sending financial aid to a student on a regular basis, these costs can quickly add up to a lot of money.
Money transfer operators and banks will often add a markup on the exchange rate you are offered to convert between two currencies. The exact margin added onto the exchange rate will vary depending on what provider you use to send money, how much you’re sending, and how you pay for your transfer.
If you’re sending money to your child studying abroad on a regular basis, the exchange rate margin you are charged can significantly affect how much they end up with on the other end. A few ways of ensuring you get the best exchange rate include:
Avoid using your bank to send money internationally. You will tend to find a far more favourable exchange rate margin with a money transfer operator such as MoneyTO, WorldRemit, and Azimo
Compare money transfer providers to make sure you are being offer a rate close to the mid-market exchange rate (the rate you’ll see on Google, for example)
Find out if your provider offers guaranteed rates and how long you can lock a rate in for
Compare sending large sums less frequently with sending smaller sums more often - you may find you can save more money with one method than the other
The second charge to be aware of is international transfer fees. This is the fee your bank or money transfer operator will charge for facilitating your transfer and as with the exchange rate margin, can vary widely depending on the company you use.
For example, sending an international transfer with a high-street bank such as Barclays could cost you up to £25. In comparison, sending a transfer with a specialist operator such as MoneyTO.co.uk will have fees closer to £1 - £4 depending on where you are sending to.
To make sure students get the most out of the transfer you are sending them, it’s well worth doing your research to find the most cost-effective way of transferring funds before you need to make your transfer. Use our comparison engine to find the best transfer operator for your transfer needs.
Options for sending financial aid for international students
If you are looking to send money to someone who is currently studying abroad, you have a number of options. It’s always a good idea to compare the services available to you depending on where you are sending, how much you are sending, and how frequently you will be sending money abroad.
Your options include:
1: Using your bank
One option for sending money to a student studying abroad is to use your bank. For many people, your bank is a familiar name and therefore a trustworthy way to send money abroad. Indeed, wire transfers from your bank account to your recipient’s bank account are considered a secure way to send money around the world, not to mention convenient because your bank already has all of your details.
However, these benefits don't necessarily outweigh the cons. Banks often have far more expensive transfer fees and higher markups on the exchange rate than specialist money transfer operators, not to mention longer transfer times.
If you want the student you are sending funds to to get as much of the money you are sending as possible (rather than losing out to unnecessarily expensive charges), using your bank might not be the best option.
2: Using a money transfer service
Money transfer operators are fast becoming the most popular way to send and receive money online, and are a great way to send money to students from abroad. Some of the biggest benefits include:
Lower international transfer fees
Smaller exchange rate margins
Faster transfer times
More ways for students to receive money (bank deposit, mobile money, cash etc)
More ways for you to pay for the transfer (bank transfer, card payment, cash deposit etc)
A money transfer operator such as MoneyTO.co.uk is a good option for sending funds to someone studying abroad. The service has over 100,000 secure cash pick-up locations in more than 54 countries, making sending and receiving money an easy-to-organize process that will safely get your money across the globe.
Sending money to students abroad urgently
If you get an urgent request for funds, it can be stressful trying to find the most efficient way of getting money to your child studying abroad quickly and safely. The good news is that sending money abroad has never been easier. The best way you can help is to:
Many money transfer operators are capable of processing an international transfer within a couple of hours if not sooner, so if you are a student studying abroad or are the parent of a student abroad, don’t worry.
Compare providers to find the fastest transfer time
Our comparison engine provides a real-time breakdown of the best money transfer operators for your specific transfer needs, which includes the average transfer time each service offers. Our guide to the fastest ways to send money abroad covers this in more detail.
Consider the fastest way to have funds delivered
If you need to send money urgently, you may want to consider alternative means of getting funds abroad than a bank-to-bank transfer. Bank transfers can take longer (3 - 5 working days in some cases), especially if you are trying to send money around a weekend or Bank holiday.
Potentially faster ways of sending money to a student abroad in an emergency are:
Sending funds to be delivered to an agent location in cash (just make sure there is a location near to where your child is based)
Sending funds to a mobile e-Wallet
Paying by card rather than bank transfer
Receiving money when you study abroad
Perhaps you’re not a parent trying to send money to your child studying abroad - perhaps you’re actually the one that’s living in a foreign country and trying to work out how to manage your finances.
Below is a short guide to banking options and receiving money from abroad studying in various countries.
Studying in the UK
If you’re currently studying in the UK as an international student (or you know someone that is), one option you could consider is opening an international bank account. For example, HSBC, Barclays, NatWest and Lloyds all have international bank account options great for students and are ideal if you need a bank account to set up direct deposits for bills, rent etc, and to pay for everyday purchases.
There are many money transfer operators that can send money to the UK easily, quickly, and cheaply, whether you're receiving funds directly to your bank account or are in need of a cash pickup. Take a look at our page on sending money to the UK for more details.
Studying in the US
A number of US banks have bank accounts available for international students, including Wells Fargo, Chase Bank, and HSBC USA. To open a bank account with a US bank, you’ll usually need to provide a copy of your passport, your home address and contact details, and may also be asked for some further documentation to prove that you are studying full-time as an international student.
Sending money via a specialist money transfer operator may still be the best way to receive money from abroad as an international student, however, as many of these accounts come with expensive transfer fees, both to send and receive money from overseas. Options to consider for sending money to the US include:
Studying in Australia
Australia is well set-up for international money transfers, so you have a plethora of options available to you. Bank accounts from Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, and ANZ are set up for students, meaning lower (or no) monthly fees, a linked debit card, and the ability to withdraw local currency from any ATM.
However, you may still find that even with a bank account, it is expensive to have money sent from your home country to Australia - with fees charged by both the sending bank and the receiving bank. Using a money transfer operator to facilitate the transfer of your funds can be a much more cost-effective solution, either in conjunction with a student bank account or used alone if receiving mobile money or cash. Good money transfer service options for sending money to Australia include:
It can be difficult to let your child fly the nest and live abroad, whether they’re studying in another country for just a couple of months or an entire year. However, the good news is that sending money overseas is now easier, quicker, and cheaper than ever, so if your child ever gets into an emergency situation you know you’ll be able to get funds to them urgently.
To save yourself money (and time) when sending money abroad, make sure you’ve used our comparison tool to find the best money transfer operator for you.