German nationals residing in the USA may sometimes want to send money to loved ones, purchase properties or pay for investments in Germany. Whether for professional or personal reasons, there are ways to get the best rate for your money transfers to Germany.
Finding the best rates on exchange can be a daunting task, especially with the number of banks and money transfer providers currently existing. With proper research and information, you can discover which service provider best suits your need and offer the best exchange rates.
These search and comparison tool can help you find the best real-time rates on offer.
In this guide, we explore different payment methods based on various situations. In a haste? Our quick comparison table of exchange rates and fees will give you the information you need.
The Best Ways to Transfer Euros
Moving to or from the USA
It is evident to all that banks charge high rates on international money transfer and usually never offer the best exchange rate. All banks in the US will allow you to transfer to Germany in USD, but most of them won’t accept Euro.
Besides that, it is hard to get the best exchange rates in banks. Plus, they charge high transfer fees on overseas transfer.
Using online transfer service providers is a good way to avoid these fees. It also offers you the chance to choose between different alternatives. Transfer service providers that allow you to transfer money from USA to Germany include OFX, HiFX, TorFX, WorldFirst, Venstar and AFEX.
Our Verdict: OFX for great exchange rates on USD and EUR transfers to Germany. Particularly for payments under $10,000.
Business Currency Transfers
If your business deals with transferring currency to Germany from USA, take note of these 2 important points:
- The exchange rate margin – this is the difference between the wholesale exchange rate you can see on xe.com and the rate you get
- 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.
Buying a Property
Employ the services of an established agent in Germany and the US. These will ensure you get proper support and flexibility needed when getting the property.
Our Verdict: TorFX is a great choice for property settlement transfers. A local account manager will be selected to guide you through each step. They are fully licensed in the US and also offer a global support network.
Sending Money Home
Perhaps you have been away from home for quite some time and would like to send a gift to your family. A transfer service like Western Union is a fantastic choice for transferring small amounts. On the other hand, there are other providers that will also offer to waive transfer fees if the amount is larger.
That’s why it is important to shortlist providers that suits your needs, and discuss your options with a currency exchange and money transfer specialist.
Tuition fees have become exorbitant and ever-increasing. As an international student, you would expect to pay between $15 000 to $50 000 annually, depending on your course. Bring in accommodation, bills and living expenses to the equation and you’ll be looking at a hefty sum.
For large payments like tuition, make sure you hunt down the best exchange rate.
Taking a part time course? With smaller payments, look out for the transfer fee that is being charged.
Best Ways to Send Money to Germany
The Costs of Sending Money between USA and Germany
Computing the cost of your transfer can be complex. 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
- A Transfer Fee – Also known as a TT, Telegraphic Transfer, Wire or Remittance fee
- Exchange Rate Margin – this is the difference between the wholesale exchange rate you can see on xe.com and the rate you get
- Correspondent Bank Fees – The fee your 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.
- 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?
Banks in the USA have higher fees and uncompetitive exchange rates but this doesn’t mean you should not use them. German banks tend to have more competitive exchange rates. Using a bank is usually the quickest way to transfer between bank accounts.
This is a great option for anyone sending smaller 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 transacting 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”
- Get a quote for the amount you want 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 Germany.
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 referred to as Beneficiary or Recipient Details
- The Account Name of your Recipient (person/business you are paying)
- Their address
- The SWIFT Code of their bank
A note about making money transfers to Germany
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.
Here is a list of SWIFT codes for the biggest banks in Germany:
How long does it take to send money to Germany?
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.
Is there a minimum transfer amount?
Unlike banks and PayPal that don’t have a minimum transfer amount, most money transfer companies do. If you are sending less than $500 to Germany and intend to use a money transfer company, make sure you check their minimum transfer amount.