How to Save Money When Sending Money to Family

The Philippines is the 3rd highest remittance receiver in the world.  India at the very top followed by China according to Wikipedia. It is part of the Philippine culture to send money or imported goods to their families back home. That dynamic plays a big role in the country’s economy. Sending money can be expensive with all the hidden fees and charges that comes with it.

Balikbayan (returning to town) boxes are often sent especially during holiday season for the family in The Philippines. It contains the  most random things you can imagine from electronics, gadgets, apparel, unique products unavailable to the country etc.. Despite the expensive balikbayan boxes, it still continues to be part of the culture. These boxes are filled with years of saved things we bought on sale that we send our families home.

Yet, sending remittances is the most common way people send love back home, may it be for family allowance, children’s tuition fee, or a simple household needs. With that, fees are also a weight to the expense of a sender especially if they have to send often in some circumstances. Be smart with every penny.

How To Save Money When Sending Money

  1. Wire Transfer – Use your bank account wire transfer feature to save money on fees. International bank transfers can range from $15-80 per transaction which makes it less friendly for remittances, but because the technology is catching up, there are other ways to send your remittance. I use Wells Fargo ExpressSend, which costs me $4 per transaction, but it varies with the amount and location from where the remittance will be sent (I am not paid by Wells Fargo, this is just my experience as a customer). Check your own bank’s online transfer feature. It would sometimes ask you to initially apply in person at the branch before you can use it online for identity verification.
  2. Western Union App – Most of us have used Western Union, but did you know that you can send money for FREE or as little as $4.99 per transaction? Yes, FREE! If you want a no fee transaction, all you have to do is use a bank-to-bank transfer. It would take 5 days to be cleared. It’s as simple as signing up with their app, and be aware that you should NOT use ‘remember me’ feature for cyber security. Once you’ve logged in, you don’t have to keep entering bank details every same transaction. Now, if you need to send immediately, a fee of at least $4.99 will be charged, may it be for pick up or bank transfers. I have been using them forever! I use the bank-to-bank feature which makes it FREE! Once it becomes a recurring transfer with same amount, same account, same receiver it gets cleared faster (sometimes same day).

At the moment, I only have 2 ways to save money when sending money home. I thought the latter will be great news to people sending money to their loved ones in their country especially if it’s FREE. Let me know if you have other tips for saving money when sending money to family.


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