smartconsumer: Remittances - Do


{What to Know} {What to Do}
Do not use any transfer services that are not regulated, or “friend of a friend”!
You have no protection if you do not use one of the regulated services. And if you use those services you have the following rights:
  • The right to have your money delivered to the correct person and location.
  • Before you pay, and after the transfer is sent, receive information about:
    • Exchange rate
    • Certain fees
    • Taxes
    • Amount to be received
    • Cancel a transfer, generally within 30 minutes after it is sent, at no cost.
    • Report a problem to the company within 180 days and have it investigated.
The Most Common Methods of Transfers Are:
  • Walk-in money transfer services – RIA, MoneyGram and Western Union.
  • Direct Bank account transfers – Usable only if both parties have bank accounts.
  • Bank wire transfers – They tend to have high fees, and are best used when sending large amounts of money that exceed the daily or monthly limits imposed by other types of money transfers.
  • Credit or debit cards –You will pay more and some cards will charge you extra fees to use this service
  • Prepaid debit cards to another’s card means money is available in minutes, but high fees make this a very expensive option.
  • Cell phones – You can use your smart phone’s browser to access a money transfer service website. Several new technologies allow you to access a free PayPal app, which lets you text money from your papal account to another using recipient’s phone number or email address. PayPal accounts are free.
Remember to compare fees, exchange rates and total cost when choosing a service.
  • The transfer service Viamericas offers an online tool that calculates the total cost, making it easy for you to compare services.
Tips for Saving Money
  • Don’t pay extra to get the money there in hours, if it’s alright that it arrives in a few days.
  • Adjust the timing and amount sent to take advantage of the best exchange rates. This is particularly true with automatic transfers – they may be happening when there is an unfavorable exchange rate.
  • Send dollars to dollars if possible; it is almost always cheaper to send in dollars and have the recipient convert the money into the local currency.
Many banks now accept individual taxpayer identification and foreign government identification documents when opening a bank account – making it easier for undocumented immigrants to use these lower-cost services.
If you believe the company or person through which you sent money is part of a fraud or a scam, contact the CFPB immediately at (855.411.2372 x1) or at

Content Last Modified on 5/15/2017 11:30:37 AM