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The best ways to send money abroad: a quick guide

Need to send money to family or friends overseas? Have funds in foreign accounts you need to access in your new home? Sending money abroad may be cheaper and faster than you might think.

The best ways to send money abroad: a quick guide
Photo: TransferWise

As more people live their lives across borders, the need to send money abroad is greater than ever. There are plenty of reasons expats need to send money overseas, and the number of available options is on the rise as well.

Whether you’re an expat juggling funds across banks in multiple countries, or a small-business owner who needs to pay invoices to an overseas supplier, there are plenty of options for moving money abroad safely and efficiently. And many are cheaper and more-user friendly than an old-fashioned bank transfer.

Below are a few options to consider when you need to make your next international money transfer.

Xoom

Xoom is a PayPal company that allows users to transfer money abroad, reload mobile phone credit balances, and pay bills with an easy-to-use app or online interface. Xoom currently provides service in 53 countries, with manageable fees ($4.99 for using a bank account). The maximum transfer amount is $2,999. And as you can guess by its name, Xoom is fast – delivering funds quickly regardless of which option you choose.

TransferWise

TransferWise is a user-friendly peer-to-peer service that lets users transfer money abroad in 38 different currencies spanning 55 countries. Fees are minimal and always upfront, with transfers under €400 costing only €2 (larger transfers cost just 0.5 percent of the total amount transferred). TransferWise also features the true exchange rate as well as fast delivery times. The app and web interface are also well-designed and easy to use, with a handy comparison tool.

Currencies Direct

This online service is good option for anyone looking to transfer more than £100. Currencies Direct offers international money transfers in 39 currencies and doesn’t charge any fees, and there is no upper limit on how much you can transfer. Exchange rates vary with the size of the transfer – the more you transfer, the better the rate. The website is also translated into 9 languages.

CurrencyFair

Founded in 2010, CurrencyFair is a peer-to-peer currency exchange that allows you to bypass banks altogether. Besides the basic €3 transfer fee, users pay an additional fee (0.38 percent on average) based on the amount exchanged and how easily they match with another user. The service is currently available for 20 currencies.

OFX

OFX (formerly known as UKForex) allows users to make international transfers in 155 currencies. There are no fees, although there is a minimum transfer of £100. Users can make transfers online or over the phone, and with offices across the world, OFX offers 24-hour customer support. Setting up recurring transfers is a snap, and OFX also offers different hedging tools to minimize risk.

This article was produced by The Local and sponsored by TransferWise

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How do food prices in Norway compare to the rest of Europe? 

Known just as much for its high prices as its stunning scenery, Norway doesn't have a reputation as a cheap place to live. But how much does food cost, and how does it compare to the rest of Europe? 

How do food prices in Norway compare to the rest of Europe? 

Famously known for being on the pricey side, Norway has many factors that draw foreign residents, such as the scenery, wages and work-life balance. 

However, one common complaint is the high prices. Is the cost of food and groceries as bad as everyone says? 

Unfortunately, according to the statistics, Norway lives up to its reputation for expensive food and groceries. 

Eurostat, which monitors price levels across the EU, EEA and EU candidate countries, has ranked Norway as the country with the second highest price level index for food and non-alcoholic beverages.

Out of the countries monitored by the stats agency, only Switzerland had a higher price level index. A price level index measures the price levels of a given nation relative to other countries. This means that compared to the rest of the other countries measured, food and non-alcoholic beverages in Norway are the second most expensive overall. 

According to Eurostat’s data and price level index, prices in Norway were 49 percent higher than the EU average in 2021. Norway also had the highest price for fruits, vegetables, potatoes, and ‘other food’ products. ‘Other foods’ consist of chocolates, sugars, jams etc. 

READ ALSO: Why food in Norway is so expensive

In addition, non-alcoholic beverages in Norway were also the most expensive found among 36 European countries. The price of alcoholic drinks in Norway lived up to their reputation for priciness, with the cost of alcoholic beverages being 160 percent higher than the average and the second most expensive after Iceland

Scandinavia as a whole has a reputation for high prices, so how did Norway compare in this regard? 

Finland had the lowest overall food prices out of Scandinavian countries when measured by the price level index for food and non-alcoholic beverages. This was followed by Sweden, which had a score of 117, Denmark with 120 and Iceland with 139. 

This highlights that even among the Nordics, Norway is an expensive country for food. 

One noticeable trend is that the food prices in Norway are becoming less expensive compared to the European average. In 2018, food prices in Norway were 63 percent higher than the European average. Three years on, this had fallen to 49 percent. 

Even though the prices are high, is it really that expensive when considering wages? 

While food is certainly more expensive in Norway than in most countries, wages are also considerably higher. 

For example, the average monthly salary in Norway was 50,790 kroner per month in 2021. This equates to just over 5,000 euros. In 2022, the estimated monthly average wage in the EU was around 2,570 euros. However, it’s worth pointing out that large differences exist between EU countries. For example, the average monthly wage in Bulgaria was estimated to be around 852 euros, while in Denmark, it’s estimated to be about 5,979 euros (44,514 Danish kroner). 

Therefore, a more accurate way of measuring the true cost of food would be to measure how much of a household’s monthly income is spent on food. 

In Romania, food made up more than a quarter of household expenditure, making food more expensive there for households as it eats up a larger chunk of consumers’ budgets, despite lower prices than the EU average. Across 36 countries measured by Eurostat, food and non-alcoholic beverages made up around 13 percent of total consumption expenditure by households. 

In this regard, Norwegians actually spend less money on food than other European households. Food and non-alcoholic beverages accounted for 11.3 percent of households’ total spending in 2022, according to Statistics Norway

Typically, someone aged 31-50 years will spend between 3,100 – 3,660 kroner per month on food, according to the Consumption Research Norway’s (SIFO) Reference Budget for Consumer Expenditures

So even while Norway spends more money on food, it’s less expensive overall as it takes up a lower portion of household expenditure. fra

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