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Whether you have family members living in a different country, or a child studying abroad, you may face a time when you need to send money abroad. It could be for a birthday, holiday, or something more serious. Don't wait for an emergency to figure out how to send money abroad.

Here are four ways to send money abroad.

Bank Wire Transfers

As an electronic transfer of money, wire transfers go from one bank to another. However, these are not the same as money transfers from organizations like Western Union or TransferWise.

  • Pros: Wires are a quick way to send money, though the speed can depend on the country of your recipient. The money gets sent directly to your recipient's account.
  • Cons: Depending on your bank, outgoing international wires can get pricey. You may not get the best exchange rate, and the recipient's bank may also charge a fee. Check to see if your bank reduces the fee for a particular type of account; if you have more than one account with the same bank, one may offer a better rate than another.

You'll also need the routing number and bank account number of your recipient, plus you may have to go into your nearest bank branch to set up the wire transfer.

Gift Card

Unlike a check, which your recipient may not be able to cash, prepaid gift cards allow you to gift money with a little more flexibility.

  • Pros: Many gift cards are accepted at locations worldwide. They also work at ATMs marked with the Cirrus logo. PIN may be required.
  • Cons: They're only as fast as the mail carries them. There may be daily ATM withdrawal limits, so if you need to send a lot of money in a hurry, it probably isn't your best bet.

Mobile Payments

Mobile payment services like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay allow you to quickly and easily send money via your phone.

  • Pros: Services are free or low-cost.
  • Cons: The person you're sending money to must have a U.S. bank account.

You can use Google Pay to send money to the United Kingdom (web only) and the United States. Other services require the recipient to be signed up for the service or have the applicable technology.

Transfer Services

Services like TransferWise allow you to send money online directly to a recipient bank account or to in-person cash-pickup locations around the world.

  • Pros: The exchange rate is generally better and, depending on how you send money, it can also be fast.
  • Cons: It can be confusing to understand how much the service will cost you since fees and costs vary depending on your payment method. Make sure the service you choose is insured, or your money may not be protected (and may never reach your recipient).

There may be minimum and maximum limits on how much money you can send, including a cap on how much you can send in a given year. Minimum and maximum limits also depend on your payment method.

Before you decide what service to use, compare your options and ensure you know what the real exchange rate is by using a site like XE. Then check fees from the various providers to see which options minimize the hit you or your recipient will take to send or receive the money.

This information and recommendations contained herein is compiled from sources deemed reliable, but is not represented to be accurate or complete. In providing this information, neither KeyBank nor its affiliates are acting as your agent or is offering any tax, accounting, or legal advice.

By selecting any external link on, you will leave the KeyBank website and jump to an unaffiliated third-party website that may offer a different privacy policy and level of security. The third party is responsible for website content and system availability. KeyBank does not offer, endorse, recommend or guarantee any product or service available on that entity's website.

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