Checklist: What you need to know to avoid losing money on your next international money transfer
Whenever you make an international money transfer from Sweden – whether sending money to family back home or perhaps just transferring savings – there's a chance that you’re not always getting the best deal possible from the money transfer company of your choice.
Especially around holidays and celebrations like Easter, Ramadan, Christmas and New Years when there is a steep increase in sending money back home - it’s important to know how you can save money on your transfers. Together with consumer advisory service, Money from Sweden, we examine how you may be losing money.
Avoiding common traps
There could be an attractive upfront flat fee, for instance, which often disguises a unfavourable exchange rate. Or you’re offered a decent rate, but then the transfer simply takes far too long.
Although most banks now offer online banking and mobile apps for money management, international money transfers can often be costly and banks still take a big cut. Transfer terms, fees, and exchange rates can be complicated or unclear, so you run the risk of paying more than you need to send your money abroad.
The cost of sending money abroad often varies because each company is allowed to set its own fees. The companies that offer a transfer service to other countries charge money for the service.
When the transfer has been made, they also make a charge for converting the money to the recipient country’s local currency. And those fees vary widely. It can be a bewildering process. There’s a vast amount of money being sent across the world and much of it is being shaved off by the banks and transfer companies.
So you really need to do your research. You need to find out how much is deducted in fixed fees for the transfer and for the conversion of the money. A company that offers low fees for one thing may charge more for something else. Always ask if any money is charged in the recipient country when you make a transfer. And remember to count all the costs. The bottom line is the amount of money received at the other end - of course needs to be as high as possible.
There are other issues to consider. For instance, a large single transfer of money is generally cheaper than many small transfers. Also, it’s wise to plan ahead when it comes to your transfer; a super-urgent transfer that you need to take just a few hours, will cost more than a transfer that takes several days.
Also beware of private individuals offering to transfer your money. Formal transfer channels - banks and agents - have their businesses regulated by Swedish law and the companies are subject to scrutiny by Swedish authorities. There are also laws that regulate international services for transferring money.
Making the most of your money
It is therefore smart to choose services provided by banks and agents rather than private individuals. Banks and agents have a responsibility for the money arriving at its destination. This responsibility is detailed in the terms and conditions that apply when a transfer is made. Money transfer is a hugely complicated, time-consuming process, made worse if you don't have a Swedish bank account or personal number.
But there is help at hand. Konsumentverket (the Swedish Consumer Agency) offers a free money transfer comparison service, Money from Sweden, that is certified by the World Bank. It’s an unbiased, transparent service that offers advice and rates in not just the Swedish and English languages but in Arabic too. You can be sure you’re getting the best advice possible in your language.
The Money from Sweden comparison service shows you clearly how much of your money is actually transferred and how much has been deducted in fixed fees and exchange rates. Almost all companies charge a fee for converting the money to the recipient country’s local currency.
The service also shows you how long each company has said that it takes for the money to arrive. You can sort the whole list by fastest and cheapest transfers - it’s very flexible.
If a company has not answered the questions Money from Sweden has asked, this is shown by a warning triangle and an exclamation mark. This means that there may be hidden fees. If you choose one of these companies, it is important to ask exactly how much of your money will be transferred from Sweden on the date you choose to send it.
Below each company’s name on Money from Sweden you can click the “More information” tab. There you can read about other services that the company offers for the country you have chosen. You can also find the address to the company’s website to find out more.
So when making your next international money transfer - make sure you have all the facts and consider all the factors: from fee, exchange rate and transfer times - and make the best choice for you. Money from Sweden is there to help you.
This content was paid for by an advertiser and produced by The Local's Creative Studio.