How to transfer money

Learn how to transfer money without overpaying. These money transfer options provide the best balance of speed, convenience, and price.

Transferring money used to be slow, difficult, and expensive. You’d have to go to your bank or find the closest Western Union station, fill out forms, then transfer the money to another Western Union station on the other end.

These are called “wire transfers,” and they aren’t particularly quick or easy compared to your options today. Now, a whole slew of new companies exist to facilitate money transfers quickly and digitally.

Western Union has also streamlined the money transfer process by giving customers the option to send funds digitally.

Let’s take a look at some of the methods you can use to transfer money, what to be wary of, and how much it will cost you.

Domestic transfers

Person to Person (P2P)

If you are transferring less than $10,000 to someone who lives in the same country, digital money transfers take mere minutes using a P2P app, such as Skrill or Paypal. That is if the app is linked to a debit card.

If you want to transfer between bank accounts, it can take one to three business days. Prices vary — from free on up — depending on the app and the way you decide to transfer the money.

Cash transfers

If you don’t like the idea of sending money using an app on your phone and you want to transfer straight cash, there are companies that provide this service. Walmart, for example, allows you to transfer funds from one Walmart to another one in the country.

Western Union, MoneyGram, Money Mart, and AccountNow are other companies that allow you to visit a physical location, hand over cash, then have someone pick up it up on the other end.

Bank to bank transfers

If you want to send more than the $10,000, a bank might be your best bet, such as Chase QuickPay. The fees for bank-to-bank transfers are sometimes higher — an average of $25 to send and $9 to receive — but if you’re sending someone more than $10,000, it’s likely that one-time fee isn’t your top concern and that you’re more focused on security and speed.

International transfers

There are two fees to be aware of when you transfer money internationally: the upfront fee for the transfer and the foreign exchange margin.

Upfront Fee

Some online platforms allow you to transfer money internationally for a low upfront fee. TransferWise, for example, has a $3 upfront fee for smaller transfers and will charge a low percentage of the transfer amount for larger transfers.

The downside is that the delivery of funds will take a few business days. The online platform OFX doesn’t chase any upfront transfer fees, no matter the amount. However, they have a minimum transfer amount of $1,000 and, like TransferWise, delivery takes several business days.

MoneyGram and Western Union will get your money overseas the fastest — typically same day delivery if you select a wire transfer — but their fees are higher than the online platforms mentioned above.

Foreign exchange rate

If you’re transferring money from California to London, for example, you need to know what the dollar is worth compared to the British pound. If you sent a dollar to London today, the recipient would receive 72 cents based on the exchange rate. That could go up or down tomorrow.

Nate Masterson, Chief Executive Finance Officer for Maple Holistics, advises that your monitor the rate before transferring, if you have the time. “This is usually the main area where people either lose their money or inevitably wind up paying more to make the transfer than they had originally calculated,” he says.

Melita DeHazes, North American marketing director for cross-border payments provider OFX, says shopping around for the best currency exchange rate can save you hundreds and even thousands on sizable wire transfers.

“Banks often charge a margin of up to 5% above the daily interbank exchange rate. So when your bank tells you that you’ll get .89 EUR for every 1 USD, a simple Google search may reveal that the real daily exchange rate is closer to .85. That means that, on a $10,000 wire transfer to Europe, you may be paying up to $400 by using your bank.”

Be careful

The FDIC warns consumers to be wary when wiring money to strangers, especially in another country, because they could be scam artists. Because money is moved quickly with wire transfers, it’s an appealing avenue for crooks, who can get the money fast then disappear.

The FDIC offers a few tips to avoid money transfer scams:

  1. Never wire money to people you don’t know. If you’re buying a product online, for example, there are other safer avenues.
  2. If you’re being pressured to send money right away, it’s most likely a scam.
  3. Never give out account numbers to someone who contacts you unsolicited, via text, email, or phone.

Do your research!

There are many factors to consider when transferring money and finding the right service to use.

To help you get started, check out SuperMoney’s detailed review page of the top money transfer services. You’ll be able to compare exchange rates and other key details side-by-side to find the best one for your needs.

You’re relaxing at home when your son, who is studying abroad in Spain for the year, calls with a desperate plea for money. He’s been stranded in a small town and doesn’t have any way to pay for the train back to school. Can you wire him some cash?

There are several ways to transfer money these days, but some take longer than others. The needs of your son may dictate where you decide to transfer the money and what method to use.

And the best place to transfer money is closer than you think. In fact, you’re looking right at it– your smartphone, tablet, or laptop is the closest, and often quickest, way to transfer funds.

Let’s take a closer look.

Need to send money fast

If your son doesn’t have a place to stay and needs to return to school as soon as possible, you’re going to want to find a money transfer opportunity near you. And again, the closest place is right in your pocket on your smartphone, or on your laptop.

Two fast options include Xoom, which is owned by PayPal, and MoneyGram.

Xoom offers same-day money transfers in many countries. Its costs tend to be higher, but you’re paying for the speed.

Read SuperMoney’s in-depth review of Xoom

MoneyGram is another fast option if you need to get funds across the ocean quickly. MoneyGram can get your transfer to its destination in hours, but, once again, its costs are higher because of this.

If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, TransferWise is another great option. The money transfer won’t be as quick as Xoom or MoneyGram, but if you want to send money overseas without an added cost, TransferWise is the way to go.

Find a nearby place to transfer cash

If you prefer to send cold hard cash, you’ll need to find a Western Union or MoneyGram.

Western Union and MoneyGram are two companies that allow you to visit a physical location, hand over cash, then have someone pick up cash on the other end.

If you’re using MoneyGram, the cash can get to your recipient within minutes, subject to operating hours and other factors. Same with Western Union. Pay for a transfer with a credit or debit card and have it delivered to a cash pickup location. This should only take minutes.

Walmart is actually less expensive than MoneyGram or Western Union if you want to transfer cash. However, you can’t send money internationally; you can only send it to other U.S. stores or Puerto Rican Walmarts.

Best ways to send money online

If you have internet access, then sending money online is always the closest option. The money transfer company you decide to use should be based on two key factors: cost and speed.

Inexpensive

The least expensive online method is OFX. Melita DeHazes, marketing director, North America, for the company confirms that OFX charges zero transfer fees.

She adds, “Occasionally, third-party banks may deduct a fee from your transfer before paying your recipient. This fee may vary, and OFX receives no portion of it.”

Most transfers with OFX are completed within one to two business days, so it’s not the fastest option, and the minimum transfer amount is $1,000, so that may also affect your decision.

Other cheap options include TransferWise and HiFX. TransferWise doesn’t charge an exchange-rate markup, and HiFX doesn’t charge a processing fee.

Fast

Google Wallet and Zelle are two of the fastest online options for domestic transfers, with funds being delivered within minutes.

Square Cash is another great option. With this service, you can send money for free, and it will show up in the recipient’s bank account the next day. They also have the option to receive it even faster for a 1% fee.

If you need to send money internationally, Xoom and MoneyGram will be your quickest options.

Highest amount

PayPal and Remitly allow you to transfer the largest amounts of money. If your PayPal account is verified, there’s no cap on the total amount of money you’re allowed to send. You can send up to $60,000 in a single transaction but may be limited to $10,000. Remitly allows you to send up to $10,000 per day and $30,000 per month.

Avoid scams

The Federal Trade Commission warns consumers about the possibility of scams when using wire transfer services. The site states that “scammers pressure people to use money transfers so they can get the money before their victims realize they’ve been cheated.

Money transfers are virtually the same as sending cash — there are no protections for the sender. Typically, there is no way you can reverse the transaction or trace the money. Also, when you wire money, the recipient can pick it up at one of many locations.

That makes it nearly impossible to identify the recipient or track him down. In some cases, the receiving agents of the money transfer company may be cooperating with a scammer.”

The way to avoid this type of scam is to never send money via wire transfer to a stranger. There are other ways to pay strangers, if necessary, with more security features.

Do your research

Before you send money using a money transfer company, do your research. You have several options when sending money either domestically or internationally.

Determine whether speed or cost is more important, then find the right company for your needs.

You can easily do so by comparing money transfer services side-by-side on our detailed review page.

Best CD Rates

The 5 Best CD Rates of 2018

If you want to stash your cash somewhere safe but don’t want to deal with an ultra-low annual percentage yield (APY) in your savings account, you can put your money into a certificate of deposit (CD) instead.

You’ll not only earn a higher APY, but you’ll also be restricted from taking withdrawals for a period to encourage you to keep your money where it is.

Understanding what CDs are and how to get the best rates can help you get the most for your savings.

What is a CD?

A CD is a lot different than your typical savings account. With a savings account, for example, you can typically deposit and withdraw money whenever you want. But with a CD, you agree to leave your money in the account for a specific period.

The only reason to ever consider a CD, even in good times, is when you have a definite plan for a chunk of your savings in a specific time frame”

Because the bank knows the money isn’t going anywhere, it’s willing to offer a higher APY on CD accounts. If you do access the money during the preset period, you’ll usually have to pay a penalty, which can be a flat fee or a percentage of your interest earned.

You can get a CD for just a few months or as long as a decade. The right term length depends on when you think you’ll need the money. And of course, the longer the term, the higher the interest rate.

“So, you preserve the basis of the money, trading opportunity for greater interest to get safety,” says John Brandy, a financial consultant and Certified Financial Educator. “And when the due date comes, the money is there.”

CDs are great for people who want to earn a little interest but don’t want to take any of the big risks that come with investing in stocks and bonds. However, you won’t want to put your money in a CD, if you think you’ll need the money soon.

Specifically, avoid putting your emergency fund in a CD because you have no idea when you’ll need the cash.

The best CD rates on the market

If you’ve decided that a CD is right for you, now it’s a matter of finding the one that offers the best rates and other features. You may be tempted to head down to your local credit union or bank. But if you don’t shop around, you might end up with a lower APY than you could earn elsewhere.

To help you narrow down your choices, we’ve put together a list of the best CD rates on the market today. Since rates can vary depending on how long your term is, we’re going to show you some rates based on a one-year term for February 2018.

1) EverBank

With EverBank, you’ll get an impressive 2.00% APY with a one-year term CD. The main drawback is that you have to deposit at least $5,000 to open a CD with the bank. EverBank states on its website that early withdrawal penalties apply, but it doesn’t share what those fees are because they can differ depending on your term and how much you deposit.

2) Ally Bank

Matching EverBank’s rate, Ally Bank offers up to a 2.00% APY on one-year CD deposits. The catch is that you have to deposit more than $25,000 to get that rate. If you have less than $5,000, you’ll get a 1.75% APY, and a deposit from $5,000 to $24,999 will net you a 1.85% APY.

If you don’t want to deal with an early withdrawal penalty, Ally offers a no-penalty CD with an 11-month term. The same APY tiers apply, and they’re not as impressive — 1.15% APY (less than $5,000), 1.25% APY ($5,000 or more), and 1.50% APY ($25,000 or more).

3) Synchrony Bank

Matching Ally Bank’s mid-range APY, Synchrony Bank offers a 1.85% APY on its 12-month CDs. What’s more, the minimum deposit is just $2,000, so this may be a better option than EverBank and Ally if you deposit more than $5,000.

Like the other banks we’ve listed, Synchrony’s CD has an early withdrawal penalty. But it’s more transparent upfront about how to calculate it. For example, on a one-year CD, the penalty is 90 days of simple interest at the current rate on your account.

4) Marcus by Goldman Sachs

The retail banking arm of one of the biggest investment banks in the world, Marcus offers impressive CD rates, specifically 1.80% APY with a 12-month term. The minimum deposit is just $500,

making it more accessible to people who don’t have a lot of cash lying around.

And to make it even more appealing, Marcus promises to offer you the highest APY the bank offers for your CD within the first 10 days after you open the account, assuming you deposit at least $500 during that time.

So, if you get the 1.80% APY and five days later, the bank ups its rate to 1.90% APY, Marcus will increase your yield to match it.

5) Discover Bank

Offering a 1.76% APY, Discover is another great option for CD rates. However, its minimum deposit is $2,500, so it might not make sense to apply if you can get a better rate somewhere else with a lower deposit.

Which CD should you choose?

Before you decide which CD is best for you, ask yourself if getting one in the first place is your best option.

“The only reason to ever consider a CD, even in good times, is when you have a definite plan for a chunk of your savings in a specific time frame,” says Brandy. “For example, you plan to pay off your car or house in six months. You don’t want that money to be at risk in the market. It’s really the only good use of CDs.”

As you may have already noticed, each of these CDs is offered by direct banks, which operate mostly, if not completely, online. If you feel uncomfortable using a bank that doesn’t have brick-and-mortar branches you can visit, consider a traditional bank like BBVA, which offers a 1.50% APY and a minimum deposit of $500.

If that’s not a concern for you, consider how much you plan to deposit and pick the bank with the highest yield for your deposit amount.

Also, make sure to compare other CD rates to see if other options might suit you better. As you do your due diligence, you’ll be in a better position to get the best deal that you can qualify for.

Posted in CDs
Best Money Transfer Services of 2018

The 6 Best Money Transfer Services of 2018

Whether you’re trying to transfer money to your friend sitting next to you or a loved one who lives overseas, several money transfer services can make the process quick and inexpensive.

In fact, it’s gotten to the point that it no longer makes sense in most cases to do a wire transfer through your bank or credit union.

“Antiquated remittance companies have spent years pocketing billions of dollars in service fees from hard-working immigrants sending money to loved ones,” says Matt Oppenheimer, CEO and co-founder of money transfer service Remitly.

He adds, “The majority of banks and financial institutions offer wire transfers to help you send money abroad, but these services can often be expensive as well.”

So, to help you find the right money transfer service for your needs, we’ve put together a list of the top six companies so that you can narrow down your choices.

The best money transfer services

None of these services offer all the best features. “Before choosing an online platform, take the time to compare the various platforms’ features and fees,” says Oppenheimer. “The best service for you will depend on your preferences and needs.”

Antiquated remittance companies have spent years pocketing billions of dollars in service fees from hard-working immigrants sending money to loved ones”

And depending on your transfer needs, you may want to use more than one of these services to make sure you have everything covered.

1) Xoom: Best for speed

Owned by online payment giant PayPal, Xoom offers same-day transfers in many countries. And in a day and age where speed and convenience are crucial, that’s a must-have feature for many.

You can send money using Xoom to 63 countries from the U.S. Depending on the country. The recipient can either get the cash deposited directly into their bank account or pick it up at a physical location.

Depending on which level you belong to with Xoom, you’ll have different sending limits. For example:

  • Level one: Up to $2,999 per transaction and $6,000 per 30 days.
  • Level two: Up to $10,000 per transaction and $15,000 per 30 days.
  • Level three: Up to $10,000 per transaction and $25,000 per 30 days.

You can qualify for higher levels as you share more information about yourself, including your Social Security number and a copy of your passport and financial information.

The main drawback to Xoom is that it’s costly compared with the competition. The service charges up to $4.99 if you fund your transfer with a bank account, and even more, if you choose a debit or credit card.

For some folks, however, the convenience might be worth the cost.

2) TransferWise: Best for no exchange-rate markup

Unlike Xoom, TransferWise isn’t going to give you same-day delivery, or even next-day delivery for that matter. But if you’re sending money overseas and don’t want to pay an arm and a leg, this service is your best bet.

What makes it so cheap is that TransferWise doesn’t charge an exchange-rate markup. You can send money from the U.S. to up to 58 different countries with TransferWise, and it only offers bank account-to-bank account transfers (no cash pickup).

Actual fees can vary, depending on how much money you’re sending. For example, sending up to $10,000 could result in fees between $3 and $99. India and the Philippines are exceptions, charging fees starting at $2.70 and $5, respectively.

You get what you pay for, however. International transfers can take longer than a week, depending on the circumstances. But if there’s no hurry, why spend more to rush things?

3) Ria Money Transfer: Best for a wide reach

If you need to send money to a country that some of the other companies listed here don’t offer, you might have luck with Ria. The service has 314,000 locations in 144 countries, and also administers the money transfer service that allows you to transfer money between U.S.-based Walmart locations.

The majority of banks and financial institutions offer wire transfers to help you send money abroad, but these services can often be expensive as well.”

Ria offers same-day delivery in most countries (cash pickup only) and allows the recipient to get the money via a bank account deposit or a cash pickup at a nearby location (Canada and China don’t allow bank account delivery).

Fees for cash pickups are fairly cheap, and fees using bank account delivery are about average. You’ll typically pay between 0.2% and 4% per $1,000 you send using a debit card or bank account. There’s also an exchange-rate markup of 1% to 3% for most countries.

4) HiFX: Best for cheap fees

Regardless of how much money you send, there’s no processing fee with HiFX. Of course, you may still have to pay an exchange-rate markup. The service allows you to send money to 170 countries, and transfer speeds can vary between one and four days.

You can only do bank account-to-bank account transfers, though — no cash pickups. You can’t send money domestically, though. So, if you only need an international transfer and you want it cheap, HiFX can do that for you.

5) Remitly: Best for large transfer limits

As an individual, it can be hard to make large transfers unless you go to a bank. With Remitly, however, you can send up to $10,000 per day and $30,000 per month.

 

 

It offers same-day delivery with express transfers and also reasonable fees. You’ll pay nothing for an economy transfer, which can take a few days and a flat $3.99 for express transfer (based on a $250 cash pickup transfer).

“Remitly shows current exchange rates among our competitors on our site,” says Oppenheimer, “so you can always double check that you’re getting the best rate for your transfer.”

The main drawback to Remitly is that it’s still fairly small compared with the competition. You can only send money to 10 countries.

6) Square Cash: Best for quick domestic transfers 

If you’re just interested in sending money to pay a friend back for dinner, most of the money transfer services on this list won’t offer you much help. But with Square Cash, you can send that money for free, and the recipient can get the cash in their bank account the next day. They can even choose to get it faster for a 1% fee.

The initial transfer limit is $250 per week, but you can get that up to $2,500 in most states when you verify some of your personal information. If you need to send more than that, however, you’re out of luck.

Also, Square Cash doesn’t allow you to send money abroad.

How to choose the right money transfer service

As we mentioned before, there’s no one best money transfer service out there for everyone. Each has different fees and features that differentiate themselves from the others.

“The main things to consider when looking for an online money transfer platform are where and to whom you’re sending the money,” says Oppenheimer.

He adds, “The biggest pitfalls for money transfers tend to be in the fees and lack of customer service. So keep in mind that the lower the fees, the more money your recipient will get. And double check transfer fees and exchange rates.”

The important thing is that you consider what your needs are — for example, speed, cost, delivery options, transfer limits, and country availability — and pick the right service, or even multiple services, that fit those needs.

You can check out these and other top money transfer services using SuperMoney’s review page. There, you can learn the ins and outs of each one to give you a better idea of which options fit you best.

Remitly money transfer

Remitly is a digital money transfer service enabling overseas transfers. Through proprietary mobile technology, it allows people to quickly send money from their smartphones directly to people in developing countries, and for a fraction of the cost of traditional money transfer services.

About Remitly

Remitly’s co-founder and chief executive officer Matthew Oppenheimer said he founded the company after working with Barclays in Kenya. There, he saw how difficult it was to send money overseas.

Remitly’s mission is perfectly aligned with IFC’s long-standing objective of helping the private sector find solutions that benefit the world’s poor.”

Remittances, or money sent from those working in developed countries back to their developing countries, dwarfs foreign aid in its ability to make developing societies more wealthy and equal. Oppenheimer, who has an MBA from Harvard Business School, began working on his idea at Highway 12 Ventures in Idaho before launching the company from Seattle.

The remittances market is huge: in 2015, over $133.5 million were sent from the U.S. alone. (Source). It transmits $3 billion annually and is backed by international organizations such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and major entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos. (Source). The company says it has over 4 million transactions per year.

In 2016, when Remitly announced another round of funding from the IFC, the IFC said: “Remitly’s mission is perfectly aligned with IFC’s long-standing objective of helping the private sector find solutions that benefit the world’s poor.” (Source).

Quicker and cheaper service

The service is quicker and cheaper than traditional money-transfer services due to their technology and partnerships with local banks and institutions.

The company partners with local banks (around 40,000 around the world), and offers cash pickups and direct deposits. Most of their partnerships are in Mexico and Philippines because those populations have more unbanked people.

For example, the company recently partnered with Walmart in Mexico, allowing people there to pick up money transfers at participating Walmart locations.

Because there are no direct Remitly retailers or storefronts, the overhead costs are much lower, which allows the company to pass on more of the transfer to the direct recipient. Thus, fees are lower.

Who is Remitly designed for?

Remitly is designed for those who work in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada. It originally focused on transferring money between the US to Philippine. Now, it allows people to send money back to loved ones in 10 countries: Philippines, India, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Peru, according to its website.

“We are super refined to who we’re targeting. Our core group we’re trying to help is immigrants in developed nations,” said Britta Gidican, head of global marcoms at Remitly. “We know we need to have cash pickup because a lot of these people are unbanked, and we need to have a way to instantly deliver money,” she said. People mainly send amounts between $150-300.

The company recently launched a service that allows cruise ship workers to send money to the Philippines straight from their smartphones. This gave them access to $5 billion in the remittance market.

Best International Money Transfer Services

Money Transfer ServiceUpfront FeeExchange Margin RateTotal Cost on $1,000 
1% ($3 minimum)0%$10Apply Here
$5 (First transfer free)1.45% to 1.84%$24Apply Here

What are the fees?

The company’s service fees to send money abroad can range anywhere from $0 to $3.99, depending on how fast customers want it to be.

There are Economy (the cheapest) or Express delivery options. The Express option is important in cases of emergencies. If it doesn’t get there in a few minutes (around 5 minutes), the company promises to refund you the money.

For the foreign exchange rate, Remitly partners with Wells Fargo to track currency fluctuations. Often, the company can offer better exchange rates than the market rate.

“We have a team constantly purchasing currency and tracking currency flow. We try to offer rates much higher than market rates. They’re consistently purchasing currency,” said Britta Gidican.

You can send money using a bank account, credit card, or debit card. Debit and credit card transactions are faster than bank account transfers because the company can immediately authorize the card.

If you use a credit card, the company charges 3% per transaction. This is in addition to the fee for Express transfers. The company says it does this because credit card companies charge it a much higher fee, and thus it is passed on to the consumer.

How Remitly works

Remitly allows customers to quickly and easily send money straight from their desktop, tablet, or mobile device. The company’s mobile app makes the money-transfer process even easier. It eliminates the forms, codes, agents, as well as extra fees involved in the traditional money transfer process. Transfers submitted after 5 pm Pacific Time will be processed the next business day.

Here’s a step-by-step overview of how the process works (via computer):

1) Create an account in and select which country you’re sending money to (this can be changed at any time). For this review, we’ve selected the Philippines.

Remitly money transfer review

2) Enter the amount of money you’d like to send, select the delivery speed, and choose your delivery method.

Remitly money transfer review

Bank deposit:

Remitly money transfer review

Cash pickup:

Remitly money transfer review

Remitly money transfer review

3) Provide information about your recipient. If you choose bank deposit above, you’ll also need to provide his or her bank account information. 

 Remitly money transfer review

4) Provide information about yourself.

Remitly money transfer review

5) Choose your payment method. Using a bank account is free and the delivery speed is Economy (funds will be transferred in 3-5 days). When you use a debit or credit card, it changes the delivery method to Express and funds will be available in minutes.

Remitly money transfer review

Bank account: 
Debit or credit card:

Remitly money transfer review

6) Confirm your payment, and you’re all set. 

Note: If you’d like the cancel the transfer before the money has arrived, you may easily do so. There is a “Cancel Transfer” button at the bottom of your Remitly receipt. You will just have to provide a reason for your cancellation.

Remitly Summary

Remitly makes is easier for those working abroad to send money back home. It’s secure, fast, and easy to use. The fees are much lower than traditional money-transfer services, such as Western Union or Xoom. The company also offers 24/7 help.

Remitly has favorable referral perks for those who tell their friends about the service. If it’s your first time using it, you will get better exchange rates when you send your first payment.

Click here to learn more about Remitly.

Xoom review

Xoom is a digital money transfer service that enables U.S. citizens to send money, reload their phones, and pay bills in a growing number of countries. It is not for sending money within the U.S.

The company began in 2001 in San Francisco, California and was bought by PayPal in 2015. It now features PayPal integrations and can leverage PayPal’s global reach to expand its services. However, it does function as a separate service.

Here’s an in-depth review of Xoom’s money transfer service.

How does Xoom transfer work?

You can log in to Xoom through its website, mobile site, or the Xoom app. From there, you can send money to recipients, reload your phone, or pay bills. If you’re sending money to a person, you have the option to send it to their bank or one of the 14,000 participating locations for cash pickup.

Xoom transfer costs

Xoom charges a transaction fee and also makes money when it converts U.S. dollars to the currency of the destination country. Here’s a closer look at how it works.

Transaction fees

The amount of the transaction fee varies by the type of transaction, how much you send, how you send it, and the country of the recipient. Xoom has a transfer fee calculator, so you can easily see the cost of the fees.

Funding a money transfer from a bank account is the cheapest option. In most cases, it ranges from free to $4.99. On the other hand, the transfer fee for funding a transaction from a debit or credit card increases as the transfer amount increases. Here’s an example.

If you send $1,000 by credit or debit card, you pay $24.99.

Xoom transfer review

If you pay $10,000 by credit or debit card, the fee increases to $75.99.

Xoom transfer review

So, using your bank account to fund transactions is the best way to pay for transfers and minimize your costs. However, if you want the payment to go through as quickly as possible, using a credit or debit card can shave off a few business days of processing time.

Currency conversions

The second part of the cost comes from the currency conversion. Here is an example of how Xoom makes a profit from it.

Today, according to XE, the conversion rate for U.S. dollars (USD) to Mexican pesos (MXN) is 1 USD = 18.27 MXN. On the other hand, the Xoom exchange rate is 1 USD = 17.78 MXN. Note the 0.49 peso difference.

Now, you are buying something from a Mexican seller that costs USD 1,000. According to the exchange rate above, $1,000 MXN = $18,270 MXN. However, when you log into Xoom, your dollars are only worth 17.78 pesos each.

This means if you send USD 1,000, your recipient is going to receive MXN 17,780, which will be MXN 490 (USD 26.81) short of USD 1,000.

You will need to send MXN 18,270, which converts to USD 1027.84 at the Xoom conversion rate. The extra $27.84 in this example goes in Xoom’s pocket.

Xoom transfer review

While exchange rates can be a bit confusing, it is typical for currency converting services to make a profit from conversions. If you go into a bank in Mexico and convert your dollars to pesos, you will also lose a little on the exchange.

For example, Banorte, a large bank in Mexico, is buying dollars at the rate of 1 USD = 17.15 MXN on the day of this writing. This is a 0.63 MXN less than you get with Xoom, which means it would cost you $1065 USD to purchase the equivalent of $1000 USD in MXN.

Xoom transfer review

So, Xoom’s rates aren’t bad.

Best International Money Transfer Services

Money Transfer ServiceUpfront FeeExchange Margin RateTotal Cost on $1,000 
1% ($3 minimum)0%$10Apply Here
$5 (First transfer free)1.45% to 1.84%$24Apply Here

Xoom transfer limits

How much money can you send?

Xoom has different levels which allow for various limits.

Level one is where all customers start and it allows you to send the following amounts.

  • $2,999 USD per transaction
  • $2,999 per 24 hours
  • $6,000 USD per 30 days
  • $9,999 USD per 180 days

Level two requires you to provide your social security number, primary source of income, and occupation. If you go through this verification, you can send the following amounts.

  • $10,000 USD per transaction
  • $10,000 USD per 24 hours
  • $15,000 USD per 30 days
  • $25,000 per 180 days

Level three requires submitting a copy of your passport, your last two pay stubs, and your last two bank statements. Additionally, you will need to tell Xoom details such as your relationship to the recipient and the reason you are transferring money to them. The amounts can then increase as follows.

  • $10,000 USD per transaction
  • $10,000 USD per 24 hours
  • $25,000 USD per 30 days
  • $60,000 USD per 180 days

It’s important to note that some of Xoom’s payout partners have lower limits than Xoom, and other restrictions may apply.

One Xoom customer explains, “I wanted to purchase a car in Mexico and, due to daily ATM limits, couldn’t get enough money out to buy it in a timely manner. I found Xoom and saw I could send $6,000 within 30 days. I decided to use it to send money to myself for cash pick up.

When deciding on a pickup location, many had much lower limits than the $2,999 per day or per transaction set by Xoom. For example, WalMart has a limit of $930 USD per transaction, and Banco Banorte limits you to $8000 MXN (about $439 USD) per 15-day period in certain Mexican states. For this reason, when sending money for cash pickup, it is very important to research the pickup location limits in the city you are sending money to.”

What countries are included?

Visit Xoom’s website and click on “About Us” to see the growing list of countries you can send money to using Xoom.

Xoom customer service

Xoom provides live customer support 24/7. You can call in anytime and speak to a representative in English, Spanish, or Filipino. You can also log into your account on the website or in the Xoom app to view transactions and track their progress.

Further, when you initiate a transfer or payment, you can opt for you and the recipient to receive emails or text messages. These will update both parties as the transaction progresses.

One Xoom customer says, “My personal experience with Xoom customer service has been pretty good. I use Xoom several times per month as I am an American that works and travels abroad. I use it to pay bills. There have been a few instances where my transactions require further verification.

For example, when I sent two payments to the same person, due to limit restrictions, Xoom thought it might be a mistake. I had to go through a verification process, but the transaction was cleared within 24 hours. I was updated via email throughout the process. Overall, the customer service representatives were helpful and thorough.”

Xoom security

Xoom offers 128-bit data security encryption security on its website. This protects its users’ transactions and financial information. As for its servers, they are not directly connected to the internet and are behind a firewall. Further, all employees must pass a financial and criminal background check to work at Xoom.

When it comes to transaction security, if for some reason your recipient does not receive your money, Xoom refunds the transaction in full. If an unauthorized individual uses your Xoom account, Xoom will conduct a thorough investigation. It will refund any losses you incur as a result of fraudulent activity.

Xoom money transfer process

Here’s how the money transfer process works with Xoom. Once you create an account, you’ll visit the website and enter your Xoom login info. Then, follow these steps.

1.) Select the country where you want to send money.

Xoom money transfer

2.) Select the amount you want to send.

Xoom money transfer

3.) Select how you want your recipient to receive the money; cash pickup or bank deposit.

Xoom money transfer

4.) If you choose the cash pickup option, you will choose the pickup location that best suits your needs (all limits will be visible). If you choose the bank deposit option, you will enter the bank details of the recipient.

Xoom money transfer

Select a cash pickup location:

Or, enter the recipient’s bank details:

Xoom money transfer

5.) Provide the basic information about your recipient.

Xoom money transfer

6.) Select how you want to pay.

Xoom money transfer

7.) Enter your bank or card information (must be from the U.S.).

Xoom money transfer

Enter bank details:

Or, enter credit or debit card details:Review your transaction details and authorize the payment.

Xoom money transfer

8.) Review your transaction details and authorize the payment.

Xoom money transfer

It’s a simple and straight-forward process.

Xoom review and summary

Xoom’s service is helpful for U.S. citizens or permanent residents who want to transfer money internationally. This quickly growing company is under PayPal’s wing and is continuously adding new countries to the list of areas it serves.

It offers great accessibility and convenience so that international transfers don’t have to be a huge hassle. Further, the costs are competitive in the market. This is especially true when sending from your bank account versus your credit or debit card.

The drawbacks that appear in Xoom reviews warn users to check pickup location limits carefully. Some also say Xoom is “too secure,” requiring a tedious verification process on many occasions.

However, considering all aspects, it can make sending money abroad easier and more affordable.

Learn more about Xoom or sign up today.

Chase QuickPay review

Curious about Chase QuickPay with Zelle? Wondering if it’s a good idea to transfer money using this service? This Chase Quick Pay review covers what the service is, the pros and cons, how to get started, and answers to frequently asked questions.

What is Chase QuickPay?

Chase QuickPay is a service that enables Chase customers to send and receive money online. It works with Zelle, which is a multi-bank payment service that enables person-to-person payments to almost anyone in the U.S. with a bank account.

Using the service, you can quickly and easily send money to, or receive money from, people who are members of Chase and other participating banks.

The Pros and Cons of Chase QuickPay

Pros

  • No fees
  • Fast and easy transferring of funds
  • Large network of participating banks
  • Secure
  • Initiate transfers online or through the app
  • Can send money with just the recipient’s email or phone number
Cons

  • There are limits to how much can be sent
  • Transfer time can be up to five business days for banks that are not Zelle members
  • International transfers not supported
  • Recipients must have a bank account
  • You must enroll in chase.com and have a Chase checking account or Chase Liquid card

How to use Chase QuickPay

There are many different scenarios where Chase QuickPay comes in handy. For example, user Robert Campbell says, “I use QuickPay all the time to send small amounts of money to my adult daughters when needed.

I use QuickPay all the time to send small amounts of money to my adult daughters when needed […] both my daughters have Chase accounts as well – so for us it is instantaneous

‘Dad, can I get $20 for gas?’ they ask, ‘I guess I’ll put it in your account now,’ I say. Note – both my daughters have Chase accounts as well – so for us it is instantaneous.”

Another Chase customer Ksenia Newton says, “I’ve been using Chase for about nine years, and this QuickPay option was a really nice addition to their service.”

She explains, “The pros include that it’s quick and can be done through the mobile app, it’s free, it’s extremely convenient when using with other Chase users, and it can be integrated with PayPal. The cons include that sometimes I experience difficulties paying the bill over the weekend as well as making multiple payments.”

The pros include that it’s quick and can be done through the mobile app, it’s free, it’s extremely convenient when using with other Chase users, and it can be integrated with PayPal.”

Lastly, Diane DeMasi works with a client who pays her via Chase QuickPay and she says, “I like it because I don’t have to take a check to the bank and I can get paid quickly.

If I’m paid on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday (first thing), then the payment is usually in my account within two days. However, anything from Wednesday evening through Sunday will take until the next Wednesday before I see the funds in my account.”

These are a few real-life uses for the service. It can be used for any person-to-person payment that you need to make.

Enroll in Chase QuickPay with Zelle

To enroll, you’ll need to be a Chase customer with either a Chase Liquid® card or a checking account, and you need to have a chase.com profile. Then, you complete the following steps.

1. Sign into chase.com

Chase Quickpay review

2. Go to the “Pay & transfer” menu and select “QuickPay with Zelle.”

chase quickpay review

3. Review the service agreement and privacy notice and accept them

4. Verify your email address/phone number with the one-time code.

5. Select your card or checking account to send/receive money.

You are all set! 

Frequently asked questions about Chase QuickPay with Zelle

Can I use Chase Quick Pay with another bank?

Yes, but the processing speed of the transfer will depend on these things:

  • If both the sender and recipient are Chase customers, the money is usually available immediately and in no longer than one business day.
  • If the bank of the person you are sending money to or receiving money from is a Zelle member that supports real-time payments, the money will be available right away.
  • When real-time payments are not supported by the other person’s institution, the transfer takes one to three business days.
  • If the other person is a member of a bank that is not a Zelle member, it can take four to five days to receive funds and one to two days (plus the receiving banks processing time) to send funds.
  • If using the Zelle app, transfers occur right away.

Are there limits to how much I can send with Chase Quick Pay?

Yes. Consumer checking accounts and external accounts are limited to transfers of $2,000 per transaction, $2,000 per day, $8,000 per seven-day period, and $16,000 per 30-day period from all combined accounts with QuickPay.

Business accounts are limited to transfers of $5,000 per transaction, $5,000 per day, $20,000 within a seven-day period, and $40,000 in any 30-day period from all combined accounts with QuickPay.

Other limits apply to private banking clients, unverified accounts, and invoice payments.

How can I transfer money from my Chase account to another bank?

To transfer funds from your Chase account to another bank, you can enroll in Chase QuickPay with Zelle and send the money following the process outlined above.

How do you cancel a Chase QuickPay?

You can not reverse a completed payment from Chase QuickPay. The recipient will have to send the money back. However, if fraudulent activity has occurred, you can contact customer support.

Final Verdict

This service can be helpful for Chase customers who have a checking account or Chase Liquid® card and people who want to send or receive payments. It’s nice that it’s free and transfers can be processed online without a hassle.

The downside is that, depending on the specifics of the recipient or sender, processing time can take up to five business days. However, that is the worst case scenario.

Also, if you need to send amounts that exceed the limits, another payment processing solution will be needed. However, for most Chase customers, QuickPay with Zelle is likely to be a helpful service.

Learn more about Chase QuickPay with Zelle.

Fintech Cybersecurity

Hector Xavier Monsegur also known also by the online pseudonym Sabu, is an American computer hacker known for being part of a small, ultra-skilled group of hackers within Anonymous and co-founder of the hacking group LulzSec. The groups claimed responsiblity for cyber attacks against government systems in Tunisia, Algeria, as well as the U.S. Senate, corporations such as Sony Corp, PBS, and Newscorp, as well as security firms like HBGary and Mantech – to name a few.

SuperMoney Founder, Miron Lulic caught up with Hector to understand his perspective on cyber security and how Fintech startups can improve their security measures in today’s world. Here are prominent parts of the interview, where Hector talks about everything from how users can protect their identity online to how startups can reinforce their security systems. Read on.

Can you provide a brief bio about yourself and your experience within the cyber security space?

Hector MonsegurMy name is Hector Xavier Monsegur, and I’m a security researcher with two decades worth of experience spanning a wide range of infosec topics, and environments. Early on in my career, I was a security researcher, submitting security advisories for various products with a broad range of severity.

These days I’m an advisor and Lead of Penetration Testing for Rhino Security Labs, located out in Seattle, Washington.

In a previous life, I was convicted of hacking in 2011. I was able to reform and change my life around for the best. This situation, and turning over a new leaf has presented me with wonderful opportunities to not only give back to the community but help my customers with their concerns.

What are some common misconceptions about financial cyber security?

Estimated annual cost for cyber crime. (Source – Ponemon Institute)

One of the biggest misconceptions many financial institutions have yet to deal with is equating compliancy with being secure. From a legal standpoint, compliancy may be the difference between having a security compromise written off or having a compromise be the end of the institution.

Security incidents in organizations like  J.P.Morgan and others prove this notion. I feel very strongly about taking security seriously and approaching it from several angles:

a) Education

b) Pre-emptive security measures

c) Pro-active security measures

In hindsight, this can be applied to any organization or business although when it comes to financial cyber security, there are various steps an organization must take to ensure that sensitive customer information is properly safeguarded from would-be attackers. From the end-users’ perspective, it gets a bit complicated and much more difficult. The end-user, very much like an employee at a financial institution, is the weakest link to any secure environment. They face an almost infinite attack surface: phishing (email, VOIP), malware (drive-by, or targeted), security vulnerabilities (0-day, 1-day) and a plethora of other vectors. I believe that the aforementioned (education, pre-emptive and pro-active) measures would help and would deter most attacks, but there is almost no guarantee against dedicated attacks.

Thus, security awareness becomes part of one’s lifestyle as opposed to an add-on.

Are there any common financial cyber security mistakes you see a lot, and how can they be avoided?

A common mistake that users make is using common, or universal passwords.

Password re-use has been a major problem for internet users going back to the beginning. With the rise of large-scale compromises, large amounts of passwords are stolen and users face the risk of compromise on third-party sites. It is common practice, especially these days, for attackers to go through lists of dumped passwords and associated email addresses, and ironing out which accounts work on what sites.

This can be problematic, especially if a user re-uses their password across all of their financial accounts.

What are some ways one can protect themselves from financial related fraud online?

There are many ways the average person can protect themselves from compromise, many of which are not difficult to implement.

 Generate unique and high entropy passwords per account, preferably with the use of a strong password manager.

Password managers like KeePass will generate strong entropy passwords, or allow you customize password generation. It is also a great organization tool for your credentials, and sensitive information.

Enabling 2FA or similar post-authentication security features on your accounts. Hector_Recommends

These come in various flavors and have their pros and cons respectfully. In most cases, the company hosting your account will provide their own technology. The most common is 2FA (via SMS, Email or Phone call).

  Being mindful of the software you run, and keeping them up to date is very important.

This applies to everything from software, your operating system, and your phones and tablets.

Set secondary passwords with cellular, banking and healthcare providers.

It is not unheard of for someone to wake up in the morning to find their cellphones have been deactivated, and transferred to another sim. By setting a secondary password with your mobile provider, you’re limiting the attack scope from social engineers who call into technical support pretending to be you.

  Limit, minimize or be very aware of your social media presence, including having a grasp of the kind of personal information is out there.

This allows you to minimize your attack surface, but also have an idea of what kind of attacks can be employed against you.

Avoid using easily guessable security questions, answers and the classic “mothers maiden name.”

Attackers have an assortment of tools and information, allowing them to guess a portion of your questions and answers.

With the venture capital world flocking to fund fintech startups, what are your thoughts on the capability of these startups to securely protect this intimate data from hackers?

Startups have a lot on their plate, and if they do not include a strong security policy into their infrastructure from the beginning of their formation, it becomes a major problem down the road. With the many obstacles startups face on a day to day operation, it’s very easy for them to put security on the backend especially if they have to deliver for investors in a timely fashion.

I’ve seen a split in startups over my time working with them. In many cases, I’ve seen daunting cases of lax of security measures. However, almost equally I’ve seen very good practice and security implementation from developers to at least safeguard applications against common risks. Let us hope that the latter becomes more prevalent.

What can startups entering the fintech space do to protect their user data?

Be careful how you place user data on the internet, but more specifically on cloud providers. Relying on a third parties security is a major problem.
Understand their attack surface.

A lot of startups entering the fintech space are reliant on compliance and at most vulnerability assessment. There is more to securing user data than that, and I believe that understanding what you have and what attackers may want is a good step forward.

Next step is to be careful how you place user data on the internet, but more specifically on cloud providers. Even if a company maintains a strong security policy, having lapse security configurations in cloud services like AWS would allow an attacker to simply walk in and exfiltrate sensitive information.

Relying on a third parties security is a major problem, and there should be more thought and planning involved in this process.

I’ve seen lots of startups indicate that user data is safe because they use ‘bank-level’ encryption. What does this mean and should a user be satisfied?

256bit_EncryptionThis is a common misconception and is more snake-oil than anything. What they really mean is that they’re using HTTPS to tunnel sensitive information between the user and their endpoint servers. The problem with that is that in most cases the backend servers are storing customer information in plaintext, as encrypted databases to this day can become a hog on resources.

Secondly, the technology commonly used to power HTTPS, which is the OpenSSL library, has had a lot of security problems since inception. Between downgrade attacks, to weaker cryptographic algorithms to replay attacks – users find themselves at the mercy of Man-in-The-Middle scenarios.

Just because it looks like your data is flowing to its intended target does not mean it is. It also does not mean that once your data reaches its intended target, that the servers are securing your data properly.

What should users look for to better judge level of security of a financial institution claiming “bank-level security”?

Users should use due diligence in looking over the security history of the institution they are going to do business with. Do they have financial stability? If not, how are you sure they’re able to 1) Pay developers to emphasize proper security practice, but 2) Are they able to repay you in case the worst occurs?

Do they have a history of security compromise? What’s the context behind those compromises?

Does the company force your web requests through HTTPS, and is there a lock beside the URL in the URI bar? When you click on the lock, does it provide you valid information about the company?

Are there reviews online about how the company operates? If the company is compromised, who regulates them? Are they a legal entity?

There are many questions, and fortunately, the answers are Google queries away.

Citibank experienced a major security breach several years ago. In your opinion, is consumer data safe with large established financial institutions?

There is no such thing as a 100% secure environment. The bigger the company, the broader the attack surface.

Absolutely not. The bigger the company, the broader the attack surface. Even if the financial institution has their own security teams, do monthly security audits with various security companies, make use of the bug bounty system, and are compliant – there is no guarantee that the institution can safeguard your information.

There is no such thing as a 100% secure environment. Always keep in mind that your personal information is one compromise away from happening.

This is fact and is not meant to scare you. My point here is to make you aware of the possibility that a compromise can occur and its better to be:

1) Educated about the possibility

2) Be pro-active about your personal security

3) And be pre-emptive. Have an emergency plan in case something like a major compromise occurs.

What reforms do you feel are necessary to improve the overall banking/financial system?

I’m no legal expert here, so I don’t think I can provide a real answer. Some ideas, however:

– I believe there should be tougher consequences for financial institution who do not invest or push strong security practice

– Fines and lawsuits make corporations change bad practice. Consumers should be made aware of their options and should be given support

Where do you see personal finance cyber security headed in the next few years?

I think a strong trend will be the removal of passwords at some point, making authorization or authentication a much more personal affair. This would require that mobile devices, gadgets like yubikeys, or other mediums are thoroughly tested and properly audited and finessed before something like this makes sense.

As more users become more security conscience, and companies are forced to take security a bit more seriously is when we will see serious change. There is little regulation, or consequence, for lax security practices.

There are compliance regulations in place, but companies who face a realistic consequence for user data compromise or breaches seem too low to make a difference. Attorney Generals need to be more involved in the process, or a regulatory system of overseers involved to make sure financial institutions are on top of their security practices.

Image courtesy – Daily Dot, CBS News.

high yield checking accounts

Think stashing money in a savings account is a waste of money?

  • The average savings account interest rate in 2018 was 0.06% APY (and has been since 2013).
  • The inflation rate in 2017 was 2.15%.
  • The savings accounts with the highest interest rates max out at 1.11% APY.

So, yes, you have a point. But don’t give up on checking accounts quite yet. This article reviews 9 nationally available high-yield checking accounts that will change your mind about checking accounts. Frist, a brief primer on high-yield rewards checking accounts.

What Are High-Yield Rewards Checking Accounts?

High-yield rewards checking accounts are a less known investment that can earn you up to 5% returns on your cash. These accounts offer higher returns than savings accounts, CDs, and money market accounts.

High Interest Checking Accounts 2016 Graph

Source: FDIC 

What’s the catch? High returns are only paid on a certain amount: called the balance cap. Balance caps vary by bank or credit union. There are also certain requirements account holders must meet, such as opting for electronic statements, having a direct deposit, and making a minimum of 10 (or more) debit transactions a month. The secret is to stay as close to balance cap as possible to maximize the yield of your savings and ensure you meet the account requirements. Any month you do not meet the minimum requirements, you will not receive the higher yields.

How To Use High-Yield Rewards Checking Accounts

High-yield rewards checking accounts provide better returns than savings accounts, regular checking accounts, and CDs. True. There are some hoops you have to jump through and the high yield is usually restricted to $5k to $25k. Still, they generate 2x to 5x the APY of high-interest savings accounts, so the extra effort is well worth it. Although high-yield rewards checking accounts are not an alternative to a diversified retirement fund, they do provide important advantages that make them a valuable tool in anybody’s portfolio. Here’s why.

High-Yield Checking Accounts, Emergency Funds, And Cash Drag

Financial advisors agree cash is a terrible investment. Once you calculate inflation, taxes, and the opportunity cost, you are losing money by holding cash in your investment portfolio. However, financial advisors also recommend having an emergency fund with enough cash to cover three to six months worth of household expenses. For the average American household, that means saving anywhere between $13,000 and $26,000 in cash, which is a serious chunk of change for most of us.

High-interest checking accounts provide a perfect solution for the cash drag vs. emergency fund dilemma. By depositing your emergency fund in a high-yield checking account, you have quick access to your savings (the whole point of an emergency fund) while still earning a solid 2.5% to 5% APY. Unlike stocks and bonds, there is no risk involved because your deposits are federally insured up to $250,000.

When done correctly, the savings you put in a high-interest checking account can balance, instead of dragging, your investment portfolio. Take 2015 for example. It was a bad one for my retirement fund. It wasn’t just me. Around 70% of investors lost money in the worst year for the stock market since 2008. My fund is mainly invested in stocks (90%) and bonds (10%) and generated a negative yield of -2.5%. Ouch. On the other hand, my emergency fund, which I have parked in a couple of high-yield checking accounts, generated a tidy 3.5% APY.

Follow these guidelines to make the most out of your high-yield checking account

  • Only open as many high-yield checking accounts as you can realistically manage. Consider two or three as a reasonable limit. Remember you need to make 10 or more debit transactions a month and set up automatic payment/direct deposits. The time involved in managing these accounts adds up fast.
  • Make sure one of your checking accounts allows you to transfer funds as direct deposits for free. If not, you may struggle to meet the “direct deposit” requirement. Some financial institutions accept PayPal and other money transfer services as a direct deposit.
  • Never spend money just to meet the minimum requirements. It will negate the interest you are making from the high-yield accounts.
  • Stay as close as possible to the balance cap to maximize your interest returns.

 

Banks — Best High-Yield Rewards Checking Accounts For 2018

This list breaks down the top 5 bank accounts offered nationwide with the highest yields. It also includes the requirements you must meet, and any restrictions you should consider. Good hunting.

Northpointe Bank
Northpointe Bank high interest bank account

APY: 5%

Number of Debit Transactions Required: 15

Balance Cap: $5,000

 

Northpointe Bank is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and offers a 5% APY on its Ultimate Account. The catch is that it has a balance cap of just $5,000. Hey. That is still $250 a year. Anything above $5,000 earns 0.1% APY, which is still ten times better than what Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America offer. To qualify, you must make 15 monthly debit transactions, have bill pay and direct deposit (minimum of $100 a month), and opt for e-statements.  As a bonus, Northpointe Bank offers a monthly $10 refund on ATM fees for customers that meet the requirements. If you don’t meet the requirements your savings will earn 0.05% APY.

Ouachita Independent Bank

Ouachita Independent Bank high interest bank account

 

APY: 3.01%

Number of Debit Transactions Required: 12

Balance Cap: $15,000

Ouachita Independent Bank is based in Monroe, Louisiana, and offers a 3.01% APY on its OIB Reward Checking. The balance cap is $15,000, which translates to $450 a year. Anything above the cap receives a 0.25% APY. There is a catch that may be a deal-breaker for some. Although this bank account is available for people throughout the United States, customers must open it in person. Ever caught a game at the University of Louisiana? Go Warhawks! To qualify for the higher yield, you must also make 12 monthly debit transactions, opt for e-transactions, and have a monthly direct deposit or Bill pay. If you don’t meet the requirements, your savings will earn a 0.05% APY.

Main Street Bank

MAIN STREET BANK high interest bank account

 

APY: 2.25%

Number of Debit Transactions Required: 12

Balance Cap: $25,000

Main Street Bank is based in Bingham Farms, Michigan. It offers a 2.25% APY on its Kasasa Cash with a balance cap of $25,0000. Anything above $25k will earn 0.25% if you meet the account requirements. To qualify for the higher yield, you must make a minimum of 12 monthly debit transactions, have either a direct deposit or an automatic bill payment, and opt for e-statements.

It’s worth noting that Main Street Bank may close or convert your account to an account with a lower yield if you don’t use it as your main checking account. In other words, if all your purchases are for $1 or you wait to the end of the month to use your card, they may suspect that — gasp — you are only using the checking account for the rewards. Customers who meet the minimum requirements receive ATM fee refunds. However, if your ATM fees exceed $4, you must present receipts to the branch.

Cross Keys Bank

cross keys bank high interest bank account

APY: 2.05%

Number of Debit Transactions Required: 12

Balance Cap: $10,000

 

Cross Keys Bank is based in St. Joseph, Louisiana, but has branches throughout Northern Louisiana. What is it with Michigan and high-yield bank accounts? Cross Keys offers a 2.05% APY on its Cold Key Rewards Checking with a balance cap of $10,000. Anything above $10,000 will earn a 0.35% APY. On months that requirements are not met, the account yields a 0.05% APY, and customers must pay a $25 fee per statement cycle and a $5 Bill-pay fee (Bill pay is not a requirement though). To qualify for the high yield and avoid the fees, you must make 12 monthly debit transactions, have either a direct deposit or an automatic payment per month, and opt for electronic statements.

All America Bank

All America Bank high interest bank account

APY: 1.5%

Number of Debit Transactions Required: 12

Balance Cap: $10,000

 

All America Bank is based in Oklahoma City, OK. It offers a 1.5% APY on its Ultimate Rewards Checking account with a balance cap of $10,000. Anything above the $10k cap earns a 0.5% APY. Half that (0.25% APY) if you don’t meet the account requirements. The requirements are easy to meet. Just make 10 monthly debit transactions and accept e-statements.

Why Haven’t I Heard About These Banks?

The banks that offer the highest interest are not household names. The financial institutions that offer the bank accounts with the highest yields are community banks and credit unions. Don’t worry. The banks on this list are all insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, FDIC. Your savings (up to $250,000) are as safe as if they were deposited in any other bank.

Credit Unions — Best High-Yield Rewards Checking Accounts For 2018

Do you prefer credit unions to banks? No problem, so do I. Credit Unions also have high-yield checking accounts, and they are federally insured up to $250,000 by the NCUA. If you’re looking for a high-interest checking account, it may be a good idea to see what your local credit union has to offer. I get a 4% APY from my local credit union, Option1 CU,  but they are not available nationally. The following credit unions, however, are available to consumers throughout the United States and offer yields ranging from 2.5% to 4.59% APY.

This list breaks down the credit union checking accounts with the highest yields offered nationwide. As we did with the banks, the list also includes the requirements you must meet, and any restrictions you should consider.

Consumers Credit Union

consumers credit union high interest credit union checking account

APY: 3.09% to 4.59% APY (Tiered APY)

Number of Debit Transactions Required: 12

Balance Cap: $10,000

 

Consumers Credit Union is based in Waukegan, Illinois, and offers a tiered APY on its Free Rewards Checking account.

  • Customers who meet the necessary requirements receive a 3.09% APY. That is, they must make 12 monthly debit transactions, opt for e-statements, and have either one direct deposit, one automatic debit or Bill pay.
  • Customers who meet the basic requirements and spend $500 in credit union VISA purchases can get a 3.59% APY with a $15,000 balance cap.
  • Customers who meet the basic requirements and spend $1,000 or more on VISA purchases receive a 4.59% APY with a balance cap of $20,000.

Great Lakes Credit Union

great lakes credit union high interest credit union checking account

APY: 3% APY

Number of Debit Transactions Required: 10

Balance Cap: $10,000

 

The Great Lakes Credit Union is based in North Chicago and offers a 3% APY on its Ultimate Checking account with a $10,000 balance cap. To qualify, customers must make a minimum of 10 debit card purchases per month ($100 or more), have a $500 direct deposit, pay at least one bill per month through Bill pay or log into the credit union’s mobile banking platform once per month. ATM fees are also refunded when minimum requirements are satisfied. On months where they are not, customers receive no interest and must pay $5 per statement cycle.

Lake of Michigan Credit Union

lake_michigan high interest credit union checking account

APY: 3% APY

Number of Debit Transactions Required: 10

Balance Cap: $15,000

 

The Lake of Michigan Credit Union is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and offers a 3% APY on the first $15,000 you deposit in its Max Checking account. Didn’t I tell you about great checking accounts and Michigan? The minimum requirements to receive the high yield are 10 monthly debit transactions, logging into the account at least four times a month, a direct deposit (a PayPal deposit will work), and electronic statements. Anything above the $15k balance cap does not receive interest. The same applies to months customers don’t meet minimum requirements.

CapEd Federal Credit Union

capEd Federal Credit Union high interest credit union checking account

APY: 2.5% APY

Number of Debit Transactions Required: 12

Balance Cap: $10,000

 

 

CapEd Federal Credit Union is based in Meridian, Idaho, and offers a 2.5% APY on its High Yield Checking account up to $10,000. Anything above $10k receives a 0.2% APY. The requirements are 12 monthly debit transactions, either a direct deposit or an automatic payment per month, and e-statements. Customers that satisfy minimum requirements also receive up to $25 in ATM fee refunds.

choosing currency paid

If you are an entrepreneur or a freelancer, you are likely, sooner or later, to encounter a foreign customer or client. Such is the global financial village we live in. While working with an international company or client can represent an exciting opportunity to expand your business, it also raises questions. How will you be paid? In what currency? What about currency transfer fees? Find out how freelancers and entrepreneurs can “go international” without sacrificing profit margins to transfer and currency exchange fees.

US Dollars Versus Foreign Currency

almighty dollar vs other currencies

Your first instinct may be to request payment in US currency and be done with it. In many cases, this is the smart choice. But because of fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, being paid in US currency may result in being paid less than you would have received had you opted to receive payment in the client’s currency. To determine whether it makes sense to be paid in US dollars or the currency of your client or customer, conduct a sample conversion using an online calculator. Then, inquire about the exchange rate used by your foreign company or client as well as the exchange rate for your bank. Don’t forget to consider any currency conversion fees that your bank or your client might impose. Such fees can take a significant bite out of your payment.

If your calculations disclose significant discrepancies between the exchange rates of your bank or client with those of your online conversion, your next move is to attempt to reduce or eliminate conversion fees.

  • If the fees originate with your bank, ask for a courtesy waiver. If you’ve been a good customer, your request may well be granted.
  • When you are charged flat currency conversion fees, request larger installments at less frequent intervals.

Multi-Currency Bank Accounts

An elegant solution to bank transfers and currency exchange fees is to hold several currencies in a single account. Take, for instance, Zenbanx. Zenbanx is an FDIC insured bank that supports up to 9 currencies, many of which earn interest while they are parked in your account. When you travel, you can pay for stuff with your debit card in the country’s local currency. When sending money from a Zenbanx account to a Zenbanx account, there are no fees. Even when you send payments to a non-Zenbanx account, fees are 10 times cheaper than the wire transfer services offered by large US banks.

Electronic Payments

electronic payments

Electronic payment systems, such as PayPal, are fast and they allow you to request funds in US Dollars or the currency of your choice. The tradeoff is that they generally impose additional currency conversion fees. If you are being paid by PayPal, and you have ties to the country where your client or customer is located, you may opt to be paid in its currency instead, avoiding PayPal’s hefty fees in the process. For instance, you can receive payment from a UK client in pounds and make payments to British merchants that accept PayPal directly from your PayPal account.

Foreign Wire Transfers

international wire transfers

Your client or customer may opt to conduct international financial transactions through wire transfers. In such cases, you should have access to your money in a matter of days. To receive payment by wire transfer, you will need the Society for Worldwide Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) code of 8 to 11 characters for your bank, or for the intermediary bank your financial institution uses to process international transactions. You will also need to provide your name as it appears on your account as well as the routing and account numbers for your account (and for the account your bank maintains with the intermediary bank, if necessary).

Paper Checks

In the unlikely event that a client offers to pay you with a paper check, you may be in for a long wait before you have access to your money. This is because many banks submit most or all foreign checks to a process known as “collection for verification,” which can require up to six weeks before your account is credited.

With “collection for verification,” your bank returns the physical check to the originating financial institution to request payment. If the bank complies, you receive your money. If the originating bank fails to honor the check, you receive nothing. Worse, your bank may impose an additional charge against your account.

Avoiding “Collection for Verification.”

Fortunately, you can avoid this aggravation. You could request your customer or client to issue a draft payable in US Dollars and drawn on an American bank. You should not have to pay any fees for this sort of transaction. It’s also possible that your client or customer works with a “corresponding” bank located within the United States, if so, request a check drawn against the check that is payable in US Dollars. Another option is to consider check clearing services such as Fedwire or Clearing House Interbank Payments System (CHIPS), which process international checks in days, not weeks. Large banks are more likely to offer check clearing services than smaller financial institutions.

Not all checks are made equal. Clearance speeds vary widely. For example, if you receive a check from a Canadian publisher with the number “45” in the Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) line located near the bottom, you are in luck. Your “check” is a Canadian Postal Money Order, which many banks treat as a cash deposit. You should be able to access your funds immediately.

Don’t Forget Uncle Sam

irs share taxes 1099

When you work with domestic clients, you often receive a Form 1099 detailing your earnings for the previous year. You will not receive such documentation from foreign clients or customers. This does not mean that you can skip out on declaring those earnings on your federal and state income tax returns. Such conduct falls under the category of income tax evasion – which can lead to hefty fines or even time behind bars. (If you actually maintain residence outside the United States, you may be entitled to claim the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion for much or all of your income. Consult with a tax professional with questions about your particular circumstances.)

It is your responsibility to keep track of payments received through bank statements or copies of contracts. If you are paid through PayPal or an electronic payment system, you should have access to monthly reports which provide verification of payments from foreign clients or customers. Regardless of the method, you are entitled to claim the same credits and deductions on your Schedule C as you would for earnings from companies or clients located within the United States.

Still confused about the best way to transfer funds internationally? Looking for the lowest currency exchange fees? SuperMoney’s free expert and consumer reviews can help you find the best option for your business.