There are a lot of ways to transfer money online. The process is perhaps easier than ever as there are so many choices. However, not all of them are equally good and suitable for a variety of situations, as this post will try to explain. Some are good, some are better than others - it all depends on the merchant’s needs, taking into account various factors like speed of service, possible limits and the always-present fees and charges. It’s a matter of priority for your business and what works best at any specific moment.
With that in mind, here are the best ways to transfer money online for a growing business.
1. Wire transfer
A wire transfer is an electronic method of money transfer. In that regard, there are two principle ways wire transfer go about:
- traditional bank wire transfer
- specialist service wire transfer
Traditional wire transfer process goes between banks or credit unions through networks such as SWIFT and IBAN that allow secure sending and receiving information about financial transactions in a standardized and reliable environment. Wire transfer is a very popular way of transferring money because of its speed. The funds that arrive are considered “cleared” funds, meaning there is no “hold” period before you can withdraw the funds. It takes no longer that a day or two for the process to be complete. In some countries, like the United States, same-day transfers are possible while international transfers take an extra day or two.
The wire method is divided to:
- Local wire - transfer in local currency by using a local bank account;
- International wire - international transfers in multiple currencies using services like ACH and SEPA.
The main issue with wire transfers is, you probably guessed it - cost. For such a speedy service, you have to pay a bit higher than you’d expect. Fees are usually in double digits (around $40) but can often be non-existent for the receiving side. To complete a wire transfer, you’ll need to provide routing and account numbers. Once you make a deposit in your bank to wire money, the funds should arrive at the receiving bank either the same day or within one business day. This usually depends on how early you get in line and how fast the banks process your request.
As an alternative to traditional bank wire transfers, specialist money transfer services like MoneyNet offer a more streamlined process with lower costs. Because this type of service is more focused on the e-commerce environment, online store owners can actually save on processing costs while enjoying competitive exchange rates, an often underlined area of bank transactions where imposed rates are rather advantageous to banks and act as a “hidden charge”. In the case of MoneyNet, customers are directed to owner’s payment page hosted on the MoneyNet server and issued a reference number, which indicates the MoneyNet bank deposit details for the customer’s home country. Once the funds transfer, MoneyNet will credit your account in the same currency with no FX spread. As all incoming transfers are done in local currencies and there is no FX spread upon conversion, customers actually get to save money on international commissions.
ACH (Automated Clearing House) service is a major benefit for users that transfer between US bank accounts as ACH enables users to authorize direct debits from the customer’s checking or savings accounts, either for recurring payments or just a one-off. That way, you can use it for everyday transactions such as the deposit of wages, automatic payment of recurring bills, payments to vendors and suppliers and much more. The transactions are quite fast and easy, with average ACH debit transactions having the same day settling or within one business day at maximum.
In essence, ACH is a low-cost way of transferring money as it entails lower processing fees, eliminates the need to print checks or pay postage and is generally easy to track as there is an instant electronic record upon transaction. However, the main drawback with ACH is that there is a direct link to your checking account, meaning any potential errors or unexpected withdrawals, as well as customers reversing charges and taking back payments, can cause problems.
Similar to ACH, SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) is a method of transferring money between different geographical locations, this time. The difference here is that bank transfers process is denominated in Euros, while the rest of the process is much the same. The customer submits his bank details for direct debit and the service provider debits the customer bank account and credits your account.
SEPA transfers usually take one day to complete (the service stipulates a three-day maximum), It’s a great way to speed up and standardize payments, especially for businesses operating internationally, as the customer has to go through the process only once. The rest is automated each following time with no need to submit his bank account details over and over again.
4. Email Money Transfers
This type of money transfer is a relatively new(er) form of service that functions like an electronic check. The funds themselves are not transferred by email but rather settled through the existing fund transfer networks that banks use. The transaction is only initiated via email when the recipient is notified that the funds are available. Email money transfer (EMT) doesn’t require the recipient's bank account number, although there is a standard security measure in the form of security questions to identify the correct recipient before they can retrieve the money.
Transferring money through email is ordinarily charged a few dollars, which makes it a cheap option providing your bank offers the service in the first place. Receiving funds via email is typically free and quite reliable and fast, taking a few days at most to settle in the recipient's account. This method is considered fairly secure because only the notification of transfer is done through email, not the actual funds. Still, because this is email we are talking about, users are susceptible to phishing scams. EMT users are generally advised to not accept transfers from unknown parties (meaning a Nigerian prince is definitely not someone you know, probably) and to directly contact the sender when notified of an unexpected transfer.
Online money transferring requires some research to find the best deal that will not cost you in the long run. There are enough options for business to choose, depending on their needs. What this means is that the cheapest method for transferring money online in one situation might not be the best when there is an additional time factor involved, for example. Hence, take your time and look at all the options to make sure you choose the one that best suits you. Don’t pay more to big financial institutions than you should when there are specialist money transfer services like MoneyNet that are reputable, secure and upfront about their business. Most importantly - they are cheaper. There is no reason to give away your hard-earned money, right?
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