In our increasingly globalized world, many people have friends and family that live overseas. On occasion, they may want to send money to loved ones — such as for birthdays, the holidays, or to help them out while traveling. Fortunately, financial institutions offer numerous ways to move funds across borders, and they’re easier than you might think. In this article, we’ll explain how to send money internationally. That way, you can send funds to family and friends across the world hassle-free.

How do international money transfers work?

International money transfers aren’t much more complicated than domestic transfers. To send money internationally, you may need to provide information such as:

  • The amount of US dollars or other currency to be transferred
  • The recipient’s full name and address
  • The recipient’s bank and International Bank Account Number (IBAN)
  • A SWIFT code or Bank Identification Code to verify the transaction

Transferring money abroad usually requires you to pay fees, but some banks may not have transfer fees for certain services. Many banks and credit unions let you send money internationally through a few methods:

  • ACH transfer: This is an electronic bank transfer method that’s usually free for international transfers, but can take several days.
  • Prepaid debit card: A prepaid debit card is a reloadable card you can send money to internationally.
  • Bank wire: These allow you to send money internationally immediately but usually involve transfer fees.
  • Check/cashier’s check/money order: You can mail checks and cashier’s checks internationally. You can also buy a money order to send it internationally.

How to transfer money internationally

Transferring money internationally may be easier than it sounds. Here are a few steps you can follow:

1. Pick your transfer method

First, pick the method you want to use. The right money transfer method for you may depend on how much you’d like to pay in fees, how urgently the recipient needs money, and how they’d prefer to spend the money. For instance, if the recipient doesn’t need money immediately, an ACH transfer can save you on fees. But if they need funds right away, a bank wire may be a better option.

2. Gather necessary information

Next, gather any information needed to transfer the funds, like the recipient’s full name, address, bank and IBAN number, and a SWIFT code or Bank Identification Code. Some countries, such as Canada, India, and Mexico, may require additional codes or other information to send money.

3. Fill out the money transfer forms

Now, you’ll go to your bank or credit union’s website and fill out the proper form to authorize the transfer. Tripe check that everything looks right before authorizing the money transfer to ensure the money goes to the right place.

4. Pay any fees

If your transfer method requires any fees, pay them. You may be able to draw from your bank account or use a credit card.

5. Send the money

Once you pay the fees, the bank or credit union should send the money to your recipient. This can be instant or take a few days, depending on the transfer method you use. It’s always a good idea to contact your recipient to ensure they got the funds after you’ve completed this process.

The bottom line

No matter where your friends and family live, sending them money can be straightforward. You have several international money transfer options, and authorizing the transfer may only take a few minutes. Make sure to compare transfer methods so you can make sure your recipient gets the funds they need in as little time as possible while minimizing your own fees.