If you need to transfer money internationally during the coronavirus outbreak, the best way to do so is online.

As the world is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic by social distancing – or outrights government-mandated lockdown – waiting in line at a bank or money transfer agency is probably not the best option.

The recent travel restrictions and cancelled flights as a result of the coronavirus have left many travellers stranded abroad. In several instances, tourists and other travellers have expressed their worries about not being able to afford an extended stay abroad. Whether you are trying to help a stranded family member or you would like to avoid crowds, here are some ways you can transfer money without having to wait in line at the bank or a transferring agency centre.

How to Transfer Money Internationally During the Coronavirus Outbreak?

Transferring money online is the fastest and most inexpensive method of international money transfer, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.  You can transfer money online in one of the following ways:

  • Through your bank’s e-services
  • Through TransferWise.
  • Through a money transfer agency

In order to transfer money abroad, you need:

  • The recipients International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and Bank Identifier Code (BIC) / Swift Code.
  • The IBAN and BIC from your bank account.

The IBAN is a standard international numbering system which identifies an overseas bank account. It consists of a two-letter country code followed by two numbers and then the basic bank account number.

The BIC / SWIFT code is a set of 8 or 11 number representing a bank branch used to transfer money over the SWIFT network.

You can usually find both of these numbers on your online bank account or on your bank’s website.

Transferring Money Through Your Bank Account

If you want to practice social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic – as you should – you can transfer money abroad through your bank’s online services. You can avoid going to the bank and waiting in line in order to make a transfer.

You have to transfer the money from your bank account directly into the bank account of the recipient. Transferring money through your bank is secure, but in a lot of cases, it can take a few days for the transfer to be delivered on the recipient’s bank account.

If you transfer money through your bank, you don’t pay a money-transfer fee. However, the exchange rates in a bank are usually higher than the actual exchange rates. Therefore, they may offer 0% commission and fees, but you will still lose money because of the high exchange rates.

How to Transfer Money with TransferWise?

TransferWise is a money transferring agency that operates entirely online. It is safe, fast, convenient, and inexpensive, and most importantly, you can still comply with the coronavirus social distancing rules.

TransferWise has relatively low fees, that are up to 8 times less than what banks will normally charge for the same kind of transfer. Before you make your transfer, you can see all their costs upfront, so you won’t receive a surprise extra charge later down the line.

TransferWise. is regulated by several different authorities around the world, to ensure the safety of your funds, such as FinCEN in the US or FCA in the UK. Once you transfer your money, they are safeguarded at authorised financial institutions like JP Morgan Chase, Barclays, and Deutsche Bank, ensuring the safety of your money.

To transfer money through TranferWise you have to:

  1. Create an account. Register through their website or app with an email address, or Facebook or Google account. The registration is free.
  2. Enter the amount of money you will transfer. Select whether it is a personal or business transfer. You will be shown the fee that you have to pay and when the recipient will receive the money.
  3. Add the recipient’s bank account details. IBAN and BIC / Swift Code
  4. Verify your identity. You may have to certify your identity by sending a picture of your ID card. This is not always necessary and is mostly for large transfers.
  5. Transfer the money. You can make your payment via bank transfer or through a debit or credit card (Visa or MasterCard).
  6. Wait for your money to be transferred. In the meantime, you can track the process through their website or app.

Learn more about the Borderless account at TransferWise.

Transferring Money Abroad Through Other Money-Transferring Agencies

If you need to transfer money abroad, you can also do it through money-transferring agencies that have service points all over the world, such as Western Union and MoneyGram.

Both of these agencies operate both online and through their local agents. To use their online services, you will have to register an account through the website of the respective agency.

Another money transferring method that operates entirely online is PayPal, which you can use for international transfers both to PayPal users and non-users.

If You Cannot Transfer Money Online During Coronavirus

If for some reason, you are not able to transfer money online, you may be able to transfer them through your bank or the local points of money transfer agencies.

You will have to go in-person at the respective branch, hand in the money, and give the bank account information of the recipient.  If you use a money transfer agency, you can hand in cash, pay the fee, and the recipient can pick up the money, again in cash, in another branch of the agency.

However, depending on where you are or in which country you will be transferring money to, make sure you find out whether the recipient can receive the cash. Some places have closed down non-essential services in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which may include money transfer agencies or even banks.

How Long Will It Take to Transfer Money During Coronavirus Outbreak?

That will depend on the transferring method you choose. However, since it is an international transfer, it will most likely take a few days. On average, it takes about 5-6 days if you are transferring your money through your bank. You can have it transferred quicker, but you will have to pay extra. If you use TranferWise it will be delivered in about 1-2 days. If you do a cash transfer, it will be even quicker, but the fees, in this case, are higher, and during the coronavirus pandemic, the option may not be available.

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