Somewhere around 4% of the world’s population are people who live in a country different than the one of their birth. This is a very diverse group of people, representing hundreds of language, dozens of religions, and many economic levels. One thing that is common to most of them is the sending of money from home nation to birth nation. This crosses classes and is the financial source behind an enormous global industry. Some individuals send money to help family and friends pay the bills back home. Others send money overseas to send children to university, or to make investments like building projects of business purchases.

Regardless of the differences between these transactions, one thing is certain: no matter who’s sending the money, they are looking for the best possible deal. The companies that perform these transfers don’t perform the service for free. Traditional banks will do the work for you, but they often charge more than anyone else. Though banks like this are typically international, this is not a service that makes up a huge percentage of their business. As such, they perform is infrequently (compared to other banking services) and charge a premium to do so.

People looking for a deal will do well to move away from the big banks when sending money overseas. For many low-income, first generation migrants, this won’t be an option; they won’t have a traditional bank account. At first glance, alternatives to banks can seem pretty grim. That’s because the most marketed international currency transfer companies are not the ones with the best service or terms. The biggest two transfer companies have both existed for more than a century. In that amount of time they have become globally ubiquitous. But they don’t offer nearly the service or terms of many of the companies which have surfaced in the past decade.

New money transfer companies typically exist in the web and mobile spheres, unlike old school money transfer companies which rely on brick and mortar locations with live attendants. This way, newer companies are able to be much more efficient, and they pass this savings on to their customers. Because the pool of potential customers is so large (we’re talking hundreds of millions of people, worldwide), if a new company reaches even a small fraction of these people, they’ll still make a lot of money.

This has spurred a lot of competition in this market, and it’s a great thing for customers. Industry competition drives rates and fees lower each year. Sending money to the United Arab Emirates, for instance would have been much more expensive 15 years ago. There would also have been very few companies to choose from with whom to make this expensive transfer. Today, there are well more than a dozen qualified businesses to choose from. Some offer service geared toward people making small, regular payments. These feature low fees and competitive exchange rates. Others cater to people making larger payments. These feature slightly higher fees, but rates much lower than those offered by banks. It’s a great time for people seeking efficient currency transfer, and because many of these companies have expanded their services internationally, most people will find a way to save.

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