Expats living in Peru often have a tough time deciding on the best way to transfer money here from abroad because the array of options on offer, so we did a bit of research and hope that this article helps to serve as a guide.
We took a look at Xoom, Western Union, cash cards, ATM withdrawals and traditional bank-to-bank transfer, and while there are undoubtedly other options out there, these five are the most popular. When making a transfer it is important to keep in mind the amount of money you want to send, and how quick you need it – our look below at each service provides a guide to help.
Xoom:Powered by PayPal, Xoom is becoming more and more popular as a means of wiring money to Peru for expats, and in terms of transferring less than $650 to Peru instantly is a cheaper option than Western Union. Our table below shows Xoom’s fees per amount of money transferred.
If you already have a PayPal account then you can set up a Xoom account in seconds, the process of using the service is also quick and easy. You can either pick up your money from BCP, BBV Continental, Interbank, or Scotia Bank by showing your idea and confirmation email, or you can deposit your money directly to a Peruvian bank account with any of four banks mentioned.
Of most importance the service is secure, and offers a money back guarantee should protection of your financial information be breached.
*Note Xoom is only available for those transferring money from US
Western Union: Western Union is the most well-known of the money transferring services, and allows for money to be transferred instantly. Our table below details the cost of sending US$ to Peru.
*Note these are current fees from Western Union.com and are subject to change/international variation - Expat Peru has no affiliation with Western Union
For extra checks and balances the service requires you to validate your ID in order to link it to your outgoing bank account – this however is quite straight forward, and only usually requires confirming your address in your home country, and scanning a copy of your passport.
The process of sending and receiving your money is also very straightforward – you simply just need complete Western Union’s online form with the receiver’s name and ID, and then you will receive a confirmation email with a receipt of the transaction, and most importantly the transaction code. Once you have completed the online steps you can go to any Western Union branch in Peru to collect your money – but don’t forget to bring your ID, either a note of your transaction code, or a copy of your confirmation email as you need to present these in order to receive your money.
The process for sending more than $5,000 differs and you will be required to give the receivers Peruvian bank account details in order to exchange the cash – of course if you or the receiver do not have a Peruvian bank account then it will not be possible for you to transfer more than $5,000.
As you can see by looking at our table above transferring more than $1000 to Peru with Western Union will cost you at least $14.99, so it’s worth keeping in mind that there is a flat rate of just $4.99 if you are willing to wait 4 working days for your money, rather than picking it up instantly.
The service is also secure, and offers users a dedicated fraud helpline to ensure quick access to assistance should it be needed.
Cash Passport: A less well known service that is good for international money transfer Is the Mastercard-backed service Cash Passport. Cash Passport allows you to top up money onto a currency card from your home country, you can then use the currency card in any ATM machine to retrieve your money.
Below is a breakdown of the Cash Passport US service fees…
*Note Cash Passport fees vary depending on what country you card is from – please check the Cash Passport website for your country to access the country-specific fees that apply.
**Cash Passport services are only available to residents of Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malawi, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Zimbabwe, if not listed here there may be alternative services in your home country.
Cash Passport is primarily used by travellers, however uses for Expats can be found – especially if you are looking for a quick solution to transferring your money, and don’t like the idea of making a trip to a Western Union or Interbank branch to pick it up.
Using home country bank card directly in Peruvian ATM: Surprisingly withdrawing money direct from an ATM machine here in Peru with your home country bank account card at times can be a convenient option. This however all depends on the amount you are looking to withdraw, and terms and conditions of your bank account in your home country – there are examples of bank’s charging from $4 up to $10 for this, and so Expat Peru advises calling your bank before using your card in Peru to establish what the charges are.
It should also be noted that there is a $500 limit on daily withdrawals from ATM machines.
Traditional bank-to-bank services: Alternatively, you can do the traditional bank-to-bank transfer where you wire money from your home country to a bank account based in Peru, this however can be costly. Forum members have reported that they have had to pay up to $35 from their home country bank, and a further $37 from their Peruvian bank to make such transfers – Expat Peru suggests that you check with both your home country bank and Peruvian bank to be aware of charges you may incur – bank-to-bank transfers will also not be instant like the services listed above, and so the length of time to fulfil your transfer should also be checked with your banks.
Cashing a foreign check: Cashing a check from your home country is something we recommend against as it can be confusing, costly, and lengthy. Forum members in the past have reported that the transfer can take more than three weeks to be completed, and charges can be high.
In Summary Expat Peru suggests using Xoom (or Cash Passport) if you are looking to make a transfer of less than $650 instantly, and Western Union for instant-exchanges ranging from $651-$50,000. If you are willing to wait 4 days working days for your money, then we suggest using Western Union every time as it is a $4.99 flat fee for all sums $50,000 or less.
For transfers higher than $50,000, the only options you have is to do a direct bank-to-bank transfer or to send a foreign check, however as stated above we recommend against cheque’s due to the confusion, cost, and lengthy time it can take to cash them.