Money transfer services can be really expensive

Money transfer services are a quick method for transferals – but can also be very expensive.
Geldscheine und Münzen
Cash is still one of the most important means of payment.

A quick method for transfers abroad (or the other way around) are so called "Blitzüberweisungen" (express transfer), which are offered by money transfer services like Western Union or Moneygram. Especially for refugees without a giro account these transfers are often the only way to transfer money – e.g. you have to pay someone short-termed or you want to send your family money.

The principle: easy and quick

To send or receive money with these money transfer services, refugees do not need a bank account, but only a valid ID and several personal datas of the sender or receiver.

The money can usually be collected within a few minutes after the transfer of an agency of the payment service provider in the recipient country.

The other side of the shield: the costs

This service can be very expensive. The concrete costs are depending on varius factors:

  • From which country is transferred? In which country is transferred?
  • Which amount will be transferred? Is a currency translation necessary? If yes, when and where does this happen?
  • Is the transfer made by bank account, credit card or cash?
  • Receives the receiver the money cash or on an account?

The accruing costs are normally paid by the sender. But the receiver also can be affected by fees, for example if at the locally disbursement the currency is translated. Ultimately the level of costs is depending on the concrete situation and varies enormously. It is possible that the total fee (referred to the transfer amount) is 15 percent in the end.

Compare the conditions of several providers!

  • For this the site helps, which is run by the Federal Ministry für Economic Cooperation and Development. Also with the same provider miscellaneous costs can accrue. So the costs can be different for example whether you make the transfer in a branch or via internet.
  • Likewise the chosen type of the transfer (cash to cash, bank account to cash) can play a role – this should be considered when comparing prices.
  • Clarify ahead, how many of the deposited amount really makes it to the receiver (cost factors are fees for the sender, foreign exchange loss and fees for the receiver).
  • Clarify, where and how the receiver can take the money. Which documents are needed? Where is the next branch?
  • Clarify the duration of the transfer.
  • Keep receipts and proofs.


Information on how refugees get a giro account

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