United States of America postage stickers

By Blair Pedersen

All you need to know when you send money to the United States

America, the land of the free, is a country like no other in the world. The United States is a popular tourist and migratory location as many of the world’s top companies are headquartered there, providing career opportunities for ambitious and talented people. Once you’re over there, you’ll need an online money transfer company with low fees and charges to get money to you. Choosing an online money transfer company should be an easy decision. However, there are a few things that you’ll need to think about first before you go ahead and transfer. Here is some key information to consider before you send money to the United States.

Registration: make sure you’ve got all your documents

If this is your first money transfer to the USA, it’s important to understand that you’ll need to verify. Every online money transfer company has some sort of registration process followed by online verification.

You’ll save lots of time, ultimately making the process much quicker if you have all the necessary information about yourself and your recipients ready before you start. By having the documents ready before you start, you’ll quickly finish the registration process and have all information needed to load a recipient. You can then then whizz through the biometric verification. These are the documents you’ll need to ensure a smooth first transfer:

  • The name of the recipient’s bank in the USA
  • The recipients bank account information; account number, address, email and phone number

Now that you have this information, you’re ready to get verified!

Online verification

Any reputable online money transfer company will have a robust verification process. If you’re new to a money transfer service, upon registration, you’ll find that you need to provide your personal information so that you can be verified. It’s due to Anti Money Laundering obligations which, in lay-man’s terms, this means that a company is checking that you’re a respectable citizen with good intentions.

The verification process is called ‘Biometric verification’ and is not offered by all companies. Biometric verification is usually a quick process if you have your documents ready. Biometric verification will require you to:

Take a clear photo of yourself

An official document that states your name and address, like a passport or driver’s license and in New Zealand customers need to provide a proof of address document

The part of the biometric verification process that can take the longest is the selfie.

On mobile:

When you take a photo for your international money transfer verification it’s as simple as taking a good selfie. Have you ever taken a good selfie before? If you’re a millennial, chances are you’ll already know how to operate a camera and understand the need for lighting. If you’re unsure about taking a selfie, follow these basic rules:

  1. Make sure the light is facing you
  2. Watch the screen so that it captures your whole face
  3. Make sure the document is laid on a flat surface when taking the photo

With a laptop computer:

Laptop computers usually have a camera built into the top of the screen. When taking a photo it’s important that a light source is behind the camera and facing towards you, illuminating your face. Once you have mastered lighting with your laptop computer, the selfie process is the same as with a phone.

If you need another explanation of how to complete your biometric verification, follow this link.

Locking in your exchange rate

Once you’re verified and have setup a recipient, you’re ready to go. Now all you need to do is setup a transfer and lock in a foreign exchange rate. Foreign exchange rates change very quickly. The fastest way to lock-in an exchange rate is to have your account setup and ready to go first. It’s that simple. The final rate you lock in will not include the transfer fee, which is slightly different for Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Bank details

Prior to getting verified you’ll be required to setup a recipient to send money to. You will need their first and last name and their bank details. This information will enable OrbitRemit to make a payment

Hidden costs

Within an international money transfer there are hidden costs that are easily spotted with a keen eye. The first cost to note is the rate on offer for your remittance: There is the *interbank rate and the conversion rate.

The interbank rate is the exchange rate of your local currency to the destination currency and the conversion rate is the rate that’s offered by online remitters such as OrbitRemit. When you remit to the United States with OrbitRemit the conversion rate will usually be a couple of points better than other international money transfer companies and far more competitive than a bank.

For an NZD to USD transfer the conversion rates could look like this:

Interbank rate: 1 to .6245

Competitors exchange rate: 1 to .6199

OrbitRemit’s exchange rate**: 1 to .6239

This example illustrates why you would want to use OrbitRemit send money to the United States as you will get slightly more for your dollar than with a competitor.

*Interbank rate is only available to banks, licensed remitters and FOREX traders

**This rate is hypothetical and used for illustrative purposes for this article. Click here to see the real conversion rate. 

Man Taking Photo Of Golden Gate Bridge From Car in united states of america

The Golden Gate Bridge in united states of america peaks out from the fog
View of downtown San Francisco through the Golden Gate bridge in united states of america

There’s a gap between the buy and sell prices of any currency, called the ‘spread’. The provider takes this as profit, on top of their other fees. Every company will charge a different spread, depending on the additional fees they charge. Companies with higher fees take a lower spread, and vice-versa. Banks have a very large spread which is the reason why online money transfer companies are the best option for international money transfers. They also include a hefty fee at both ends of the transfer. You’ll find that some companies also provide options like debit card and credit card options, which they charge a price premium for. So not only is a greater spread, there is an extra charge attached to the transfer.

The final thing to include is the upfront fee. OrbitRemit has a flat fee to send money to the United States from Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain. Banks on the other hand charge exorbitant fees (sometimes up to $50!) to send money overseas.

As you can see, this illustrates the need to examine exchange rates and fees together so that you can see the total cost of the transaction. It’s often quite easy to miss the total cost of the spread as it goes on behind the scenes.

Trust score

A safe and secure, reputable online money transfer provider is essential. The best way to gauge this by visiting the companies individual Trustpilot account to check their trust score. We recommend using a company that has at least 15,000 reviews. Why 15,000? It’s a good number of reviews to give you an informed view of what the company is like and how they treat their customers. Make sure you read the top 20 reviews as they’ll be the most relevant to your situation.

Customer service

In this connected world it’s important to understand how the companies communicate with their customers. A good indication of whether the company has a fast and effective customer service team is to take a look at their facebook page. If the response time is fast and it has many positive interactions, you can be sure that their customer service team works hard behind the scenes to field questions and speak with customers. Also, a live chat function on their website will make customer service requests even faster and more personalized.

Now you’re ready to send money to the United States

Whether you’re transferring to family and friends or yourself, it’s easy to transfer your money online. Practice taking a good selfie and have all your documents lined up and ready to go before you start. Exchange rates vary in importance depending on how you are using the service and remember to assess the hidden costs of transferring. A credible, trustworthy company will have many Trustpilot reviews and have a highly engaged social media page.

No two online remitters are the same so remember to go with the one that suits your personal needs. Send money to the United States with OrbitRemit.

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