The Best Way To Transfer Money To Asia, Revealed

As we all know, currency dealers, in general, are filled with nothing but malevolence and will stop at nothing to take as much as possible from you when you try to transfer funds. They employ monumental amounts of chicanery to achieve this, including egregiously and insidiously priced exchange rate spreads, and are able to catch you off guard, particularly, when you remit funds through a bank. This is frustrating to those that travel a lot, more so to those that need to send money overseas, and even more so to those like myself who would like nothing more than to see the complete and utter destruction of the business of currency middlemen, simply for personal pleasure.

Over the past decade, I have spent countless hours on this subject, perusing the internets feverishly for an answer. I have even deigned myself to scouring through the darkest corners of the digital world; the land of cryptocurrencies addled with degenerate gamblers and North Korean hackers, searching for a solution that may prove to be cheaper and more convenient than international bank remittances. The blockchain technology looks promising, albeit it does not quite yet offer what I need. However, for one with an existing digital wallet, a collector of bitcoins and other cryptos, there is a solution for you. Let’s start with that first.

Local Bit Coins. These guys provide a service that allows you to sell your bitcoins to a willing buyer that will purchase your coins in the currency you need. They deposit the fiat currency into your bank account, wherever you may need it to be, and you send them the bitcoins to their digital wallet. With thousands of users on this platform, you will generally find someone to buy at an exchange rate that is pretty favorable.

Abra. Fairly recent, blockchain based app. You can send your funds in your currency – it is converted to bitcoin for an instant and sent to the receiving party – to anyone in the world, and they can then find a ‘teller’ located nearby via the app that will physically meet them somewhere and hand them cash. Interesting, but not something I’d use personally, and not wholly convenient considering most of the world is still unsupported.

Or, well, you could simply send from bitcoin wallet to wallet – one of the advantageous of using cryptocurrencies I suppose.

Enough with Bitcoin. That’s not what I came to talk about.

Behold: Transferwise

Based out of the UK, these guys facilitate international transfers between banks, sans the fees and egregious exchange rate spreads. You pay pretty much the spot rate on the currency, and they take a paltry 1% of the total. The entire transaction can be done via their website, which sports an extremely user-friendly interface, and there is no need to visit your bank to initiate the transfer. There is also no need for you to create an account and fund it, like you would have to with a Bitcoin solution. You even have the option of using your credit card to remit funds, should you not be able to access your home bank account. In addition, the transfer generally takes no longer than 48 hours- far quicker than what banks can offer.

All you need is a local bank account to move the funds to. If you don’t have one, use a friends. For small amounts, this 1% fee with zero spread is far less than what you would pay if you were to bring cash and exchange at a physical dealer, or worse, if you drew out local currency from an ATM with your overseas card. Those cocksuckers at your bank can take an easy 5-10% off the currency exchange alone without you noticing, and in addition slap on extra fees, simply because they can. On that subject, Paypal is no different in terms of cost.

In the past, I have utilized offshore bank accounts to achieve this same sense of having a ‘borderless account’, which also allows you to move funds internationally cheaply, quickly, and seamlessly. The problem with offshore accounts is that they are expensive and time consuming to set up, albeit they come with other perks like free insurance and access to tax-exempt investments – perhaps a better solution for expats. At the end of the day, however, they are still banks and will make their money elsewhere off you. Consequently, that is not a practical solution for the average traveler, and the service provided by Transferwise essentially serves the same purpose, minus the hassle.