Reader Question: We have been using Wise to transfer funds to/from the US. What are other alternatives?
Sending money between France and the US is often done via wire transfers, using companies such as Wise, who you mentioned.
This is by far the most common way to send money between the two countries, however many companies offering such a service exist.
Unlike between the UK and France (where some banks and services do not charge an exchange fee), charges can be high for transatlantic transfers.
One thing to do if you are looking for an alternative but like the ease of using a wire transfer service is research to see if another company works better for you – you can compare the prices online and find one that suits your specific needs.
For example, rates will vary depending on how much you are sending, and when the money needs to be received by – in some cases, the advertised rates are not available to all clients so can be misleading.
Some companies such as Remitly offer services where the money can be transferred instantly (the recipient can access the money as soon as it is sent) but for an increased fee.
Think about a broker
If you often send money (and in large amounts) it may be beneficial to use a personal currency broker.
Look for one of the large, well-known companies, regulated by financial authorities.
They can add a personal touch and use extra secure wiring services.
What are the other options?
If sending small amounts, a service such as PayPal, which offers a flat 5% transaction fee (of the total money you are sending), can move money quickly and easily.
Another option is to use your bank instead of a wire transfer service.
However be aware their conversion rates and fees are usually not as competitive as those from services specialised in international money transfer.
Another option is to use cryptocurrency for the transfer, if you and the recipient both have cryptocurrency wallets.
Exchange rates for crypto transfers can vary – and can be either much lower or higher than standard methods – and the cryptocurrency market is not always stable. This means transacting this way can be risky unless you are extremely familiar with the technology.
Airports etc often have bureaux de change desks that offer to arrange money transfers, but again the exchange rates are usually much higher than the alternatives.
You may be taxed
If sending money to France you will need to provide the receiving bank account’s IBAN and SWIFT numbers, and sometimes the reason for the transfer.
Note that, depending on the reason for sending money, French taxes could be due on the amount.
This is especially the case if sending large amounts of money to friends and family that France would see as taxable gifts.
Remember also that, for example, if you send to the US money that originated from renting out French property, this income is declarable to France.
You can learn more about French taxes on sums of money sent as gifts on the French tax website information page.