What is a Wire Transfer?
Wire transfers, also known as money transfers, are an effective way to electronically transfer funds from one person to another. As an international student, understanding the wire transfer process is important because it will allow you to have continued financial support from family or friends while you are studying outside your home country. Wire transfers allow you to move money quickly and securely, making it ideal for sending large amounts of funds to cover expenses such as tuition and housing. The process uses a SWIFT number, also known as a bank identifier code, to transfer money from a bank in your home country to a bank in the country you’re studying in. Not only are wire transfers secure, but they are also very accessible.
Most people may be intimidated by the idea of sending a wire transfer due to the amount of paperwork that must be completed. However, by staying organized and gathering all necessary documents, you will be able to efficiently complete this process. It is important to keep in mind that the exact process is going to vary depending on the bank and company that you use to complete the transfer. Be sure to contact them and verify any additional information you need to gather.
To get started, a few general items you will need include:
- Account holder’s name, full mailing address and institution number
- Account number
- Branch number
- SWIFT code and routing number (international wires)
When sending a wire transfer, it is important to be aware of any wire transfer fees. Fees are charged whether you are sending or receiving funds, and the amounts vary if the wire is domestic or international. Wire transfer fees may vary depending on your bank, but can range from $15-$50 and take 3-5 business days. If you are using a third party bank, there may be additional fees that are withdrawn from the amount that you send. This means that you (or whomever is sending you funds) may have to send more than the amount you initially need so you do not come up short. Make sure you confirm the fee with each company involved and factor that amount into the amount you send.
If you need to transfer tuition directly to your college or university you will want to confirm with the school if there are specific wire transfer companies you should send the funds through.
Pros and Cons
If you’re an international student trying to decide if sending a money transfer is the best option for you, here are a few pros and cons to consider:
Pros of Wire Transfers as an International Student
Wire transfers are known for being safe, secure and fast. This is the main reason why people wire large amounts of funds. If you need to send funds domestically or from one European country to another, wire transfers may be the fastest way to send a large amount of money. In addition, since the funds go from one bank to another bank, and then directly into your recipient’s account, it is very safe to wire money.
Cons of Wire Transfers as an International Student
International students may need to send or receive money internationally in order to pay for tuition and living expenses but unfortunately it is more expensive to send funds internationally than it is to send them domestically. In addition, once you send a wire transfer, you cannot reverse the transaction if you change your mind. Scammers, in particular, may take advantage of this last point. Even though it is secure to transfer funds from one bank to another, there are often scams involved when transferring large amounts of funds.
Using Caution When Transfering Money
When dealing with large amounts of money it is important to thoroughly research the company you are using to send a wire transfer. Even though the process of sending a transfer is secure, be sure you know the person you are sending the funds to. Since you are required to provide a routing number, there is sensitive banking information that is required on documents. It is important to be cautious of scammers, especially when your funds and banking information is involved.
It is important to keep in mind that there is a system in place to prevent the risk of scams or fraudulent transfers. When transfering funds, the sender must provide the banking and account information for the recipient and the funds are transferred into each personal account. As such, there is no major risk of scams between banks. Also, if you are withdrawing funds from a cash transfer, you will be required to show a picture ID before the banks will allow you to make a withdraw.
Scams can however, occur in other ways, like fake lotteries and fake purchases. It is necessary to be careful of email scams where you may receive an email saying you have won a free laptop if you wire a small fee for shipping. You may also see an add for your dream car at a too-good-to-be-true cost and be asked to wire a certain amount of funds when you submit an inquiry. Another hack could be the work from home scam where they ask for your account information in order to deposit your pay.
There are certain red flags you can be on the lookout for if you are ever asked to wire money. For instance, if you are sent an email and see grammatical and spelling errors, this is most likely from an unreliable source. Scammers will also often send a fake check in order to gain your trust and see if you will send your account information. If you are ever asked by a stranger to wire money, that can also be a red flag in and of itself.
Wire Transfer Options
If you’re considering an alternative to banks for currency transfers, TorFX is a good option for international students to consider. TorFX provides fast, free transfers at excellent exchange rates. With the assistance of a personal account manager, you can arrange transfers online, over the phone, or through the TorFX app. TorFX has an easy-to-use system that allows you to make currency transfers quickly in four easy steps. Simply open a TorFX account, agree on an exchange rate, provide the bank account details of the person or institution receiving the funds and send the money that will be exchanged!