Transferring Money for (nearly) Nothing

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For those of you who live or have lived overseas and have both a US (or whatever your nationality is) bank account and a foreign bank account, you’ve probably encountered the annoying fact that banks rip you off on small overseas wire transfers.

My NY-based bank charged me $45USD per transfer on any amount, and the Aussie bank charged me $15AUD to receive the transfer. These transactions cost me over $60USD each time (the exchange rate was against the US dollar.)

$60 isn’t all that bad if you’re moving several thousand dollars, but hurts if it’s $200.

So what’s an alternative?


Because you can’t link overseas banks with US PayPal accounts, you’ll need to hack the system a bit, but I assure you it’s totally legit.

Pre Step 1. Make sure the country you were in has PayPal bank linking capabilities.

Step 1. Link your US bank account to your US PayPal account. This takes a few days.

Step2. Go to the PayPal site of the country you were in and open an account with them under a different email. For me this was

Step 3. Link your overseas account with your overseas PayPal account you set up in Step 2. This also takes a few days.

Step 4. Once both PayPal accounts are linked to their respective banks, pay yourself via PayPal from one account to the other in the desired amount. This takes about 5 business days to process because it’s an overseas transaction, but you get your funds delivered to your PayPal account, and then you can transfer it to your bank account for free.

That’s it.

Again, make sure your transfer cost will make sense, as this depends entirely on the amount you’re moving. Going with the bank will actually be cheaper than PayPal on large amounts.

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