GUIDE: Transferring Money to Italy

USA’s immigrant population is constantly rising and for most Italian nationals living in USA, it means that international currency transfers is absolutely necessary. Whatever the reason may be for transferring money to Italy, getting the best possible exchange rate is highly sought after. 

The first step to finding the best value for your transfer is research. Compiling a shortlist will help you compare between providers that would best suit your needs.

In this guide, we cover the intricacies of money transfer based on various situations. This is to help you avoid having to pay more than you should on bank fees and associated costs. If you are short on time, our quick comparison table will give you an overview of the best exchange rates and fees.

 transferring money to Italy

So What Are The Best Ways to Transfer Money to Italy?

 

If You Are Moving from Italy to USA 

Moving to a new country can be exciting but also stressful. Using a bank is the fastest way to transfer money directly to and from Italy. However, not all banks will accept Euros (EUR).

Do keep in mind that banks charge a high international money transfer fee. If you’re eyeing for the best possible exchange rate, you’d be left disappointed. 

An online money transfer service is one way to avoid these hefty fees and the choices are varied. Transfer service providers that allow you to transfer money from USA to Italy include OFX, HiFX, TorFX, WorldFirst, Venstar, and AFEX.

Our Verdict:  OFX for great exchange rates on USD and EUR transfers to France. Particularly for payments under $10,000.

 

Business Currency Transfers

If your business requires you to transfer funds between USA and Italy, consider these 2 important points: 

  1. The exchange rate margin – this is the difference between the wholesale exchange rate you can see on xe.com and the rate you get.
  2. The business products they offer – like forward exchange contracts, foreign currency accounts and limit orders

Our Verdict: HIFX. Why? Their exchange rates and $0 fee structure will allow you to maximise your overseas receipts or payments. They also offer Foreign Currency Accounts which allow you to keep the funds in foreign currency and convert them when you feel the time is right.

To find out more about Foreign Currency Accounts, watch this video here.

 

Buying a Property in Italy

It is relatively easy for Americans to buy properties in Italy because there is no restriction policy on foreign property ownership. Whether you are purchasing a property in Italy for personal or investment purposes, search for a provider that has a strong presence in both USA and Italy. This will provide you with the support and flexibility you may need during your buying process.

Our Verdict: TorFX is an ideal choice for property settlement transfers. A local account manager will be appointed to guide you through each step. They are fully licensed in US and also offer a global support network.

Read more: Sold Your Property Overseas? 3 Ways To Transfer Money Back To The U.S

 

Sending Money Home

Being away from home for some time can be difficult. Perhaps you are missing out on eventful moments with family and friends and want to send them a gift during the holidays. Western Union is great for transferring small amounts back home

If you have a larger amount on hand, look around for a provider that will offer to waive transfer fees.

This is why it’s important to research and discuss your individual needs with a currency exchange and money transfer specialist.

Our Verdict: With the right foreign exchange specialist, such as OFX or TorFX it is possible to receive a spread of 1% – or even lower. And with fees reduced or removed.

 

Studying Overseas

The cost of tuition fees are continually increasing. With some part time courses starting at $15 000 and full time courses even surpassing the $50 000 mark. As an international student, you would also have to consider living expenses, accommodation and bills. At this point, we’re no longer looking at a small amount.

For larger payments, keep a close watch for the provider that offers the best exchange rate. For smaller payments, take note of the transfer fee that is being charged. 

Our Verdict: WorldFirst.  This is perfect for students and their parents paying the bills to save on hefty transfer costs.

 

Finding Ways to Send Money to Italy

Ways to Send Money to Italy

 

The Costs of Sending Money between USA and Italy

Calculating the cost of your transfer can be tricky. Depending on how you send the money, the fees, charges and margins aren’t always obvious. Here are the most common charges to transfer money from one bank account to another

  1. A Transfer Fee – Also known as a TT, Telegraphic Transfer, Wire or Remittance fee
  2. Exchange Rate Margin – this is the difference between the wholesale exchange rate you can see on xe.com and the rate you get
  3. Correspondent Bank Fees – The fee your banks bank will take out for getting the money to the right account. It’s deducted from the amount that finally arrives in the account and is almost impossible to estimate or reverse
  4. Receiving Bank Fee– If you are paying foreign currency into an account, the receiving bank will charge you for it. For instance, if you send Euros to your US bank account, your US bank will charge you to convert it.

 

What are your options?

 

A Bank

Banks in USA have higher fees and uncompetitive exchange rates but this doesn’t mean you should never use them. Italian banks tend to have more competitive exchange rates. Using a bank is the quickest way to transfer between bank accounts. 

 

PayPal

This is a great option for anyone sending amounts under $1000. The exchange rate you’ll get are comparable to a bank but the fees are significantly lower. It is particularly handy when the person you are paying has a PayPal account.

 

A Money Transfer Company

Money transfer companies like OFX and HiFX are often the cheapest option when you are sending between $1000 and $1,000,000 at a time. This is because they offer better exchange rates and lower (and sometimes no) fees. The downside to using a transfer company outside of a bank is that you’ll have to set up an account with them first. This can take between 10 minutes to 2 days depending on how much information they need from you. Also, the transfer itself will usually take 1 day longer than using a bank.

 

How to use a money transfer company (instead of a bank)

Sending money using a money transfer company is similar to using a bank but there are some important differences. Here are the main steps to do it online.

Setting things up (only has to be done once)

  • Log on to their website and register your details. You’ll need to have some I.D handy
  • Once your account has been approved, you’ll get a login and password
  • Enter the banking details of where you are sending the money. They are usually called the “Beneficiary” or “Recipient”

Transferring Money

  • Get a quote for the amount you wish to send
  • Confirm the details including the rate and how much it is in US dollars 
  • You’ll get a deal confirmation. Finally you’ll need to pay them the US dollars before the money is sent to Italy.

Information you’ll need before you make your transfer

To send money overseas, you’ll need the following information of the bank account you are sending the money too. These are commonly known as Beneficiary or Recipient Details

  1. The Account Name of your Recipient (person/business you are paying)
  2. Their address
  3. The SWIFT Code of their bank

 

A note about sending money to Italy

It is particularly important to make sure ALL the bank details you use are correct. Banks are picky and will reject a payment even if a single digit is wrong or a single letter is out of place.

 

SWIFT Codes

Here is a list of SWIFT codes for the biggest banks in Italy:

UniCredit : UNCRITMMXXX

Intesa Sanpaolo : FIBKITMMXXX

Banca d’Italia : BITAITRRISS 

Depositi e Prestiti : CADPITRRXXX

 

How long does it take to send money to Italy? 

Paypal, HSBC and Western Union (cash pick-up) are the fastest options. The transfer can be done in minutes. If you are sending the money to a bank account, it will take 1-2 days if you are using a bank; or 2-3 days if you are using a money transfer company.

 Click here to find out how long an international money transfer takes.

 

Is there a minimum transfer amount?

Banks and PayPal do not have a minimum transfer amount but most money transfer companies do. If you are sending less than $500 to Italy and intend to use a money transfer company, make sure you check their minimum transfer amount.

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