You’re someone reading this perhaps who needs to send money abroad regularly.
But what is the simplest, cheapest and fastest way?
At the time of writing (2018-19) I still use TransferWise, but using cryptocurrency is a very close option, with only the high fees on Coinbase, Bitpanda (European alternative) etc. etc. the factor holding it back.
[I have a $10 Coinbase sign-up referral link, which will give you $10 extra bitcoin, every time you buy or sell $100 of bitcoin or more.]
Even then, I could deposit the money in advance via online banking (to Coinbase) which might take a couple of days but will reduce fees. The only problem is the fiat-crypto conversion.
There may be other exchanges available to you in your country that will be a cheaper way of getting that fiat-into-crypto initially, nice and cheap. You could also buy in bulk and get a good deal on btc at Localbitcoins.com. The latter is peer-to-peer, so it recommends meeting up directly to perform the transaction.
TransferWise will also take a few days, but it has a great website and has been slashing bank fees for users for some time. Once you’ve set up the details of the accounts you’re transferring to and from, then the process is recorded and you’re settings are remembered. You only have to click ‘repeat transfer’ in future.
The rest of the process involves simply sending Transferwise the payment from your registered online bank account and then waiting a couple of days (max) for them to notify you when it’s been sent and arrived. In fact, their email notifications are great, and track the whole process giving you nice peace of mind.
By using Transferwise, you’re cutting down on bank fees and getting the support, if it’s a large sum. You can use my referral link, to get one free, international transfer.
However this service may not be available in your country.
The Rise of Crypto Infrastructure
Using cryptocurrency is already the quickest, most direct and in fact, the most simple (and cheapest if you’ve been mining into profit). The process can be almost instantaneous, depending on which one you use (Bitcoin can sometimes take a few hours to complete.)
With more fiat-to-crypto exchanges (and more competition to Coinbase) we should see an even cheaper process of getting regular fiat changed into crypto.
Perhaps another concern is the possibility of price fluctuation before and after a payment, but Bitcoin is actually one of the most stable cryptos.
Crypto is incredibly safe, but once the value is sent, it’s gone. It’s necessary to check the address you’re sending it to carefully beforehand. For future use, most wallets give you an address book so you can save the public address and ‘whitelist’ it for repeated payments.
Although you can check the transaction progress on block explorers, with Bitcoin or crypto there’ll be no way to stop the transaction once it’s been started, at this time.
If you possess a large quantity of crypto already, you can also choose a crypto with privacy features, which ensures the payment cannot be tracked back to you.
I wouldn’t even suggest Paypal for payments in general, due to the high fees, although there are quick access and ease-of-use qualities, once bank accounts are linked and all set up. You can also specify who pays those fees (sender or receiver).