The Ultimate Guide to Safely Sending Money Internationally | CompareRemit
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Is Sending Money Internationally Online Safe?

Updated on June 17, 2022 11:01 am
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The protection of your funds should be your top priority when transferring money, whether as a person or as a business. There are various risks associated with online money transfers, and finding the safest option to send money internationally is a primary concern for many.

Sending money internationally online is now safer than ever, thanks to technological improvements and regulatory compliance, as long as the money transfer service you use is licensed, reputed, and regulated by the relevant authorities in the market they operate in. This gives you the peace of mind you need to send money over the world.

Is Sending Money Internationally Safe?

Money transfer businesses use numerous safeguards to prevent fraudulent transactions and ensure data protection. It is common knowledge that money transfer companies or any financial institution should safeguard you from identity theft, suspicious and fraudulent actions, and the interception of your information.

You must, however, protect yourself by safeguarding your passwords, and confidential documents, installing security updates, and keeping an eye out for hoax emails. 

The right choice for you will indeed depend on several other key factors such as speed, costs, pay-in and pay-out method, sender and recipient geographic locations, etc.

In this guide, we will discuss the most secure ways to send money internationally, how to track your transactions, how to send money overseas safely, how to choose a provider to safely send money, and how to report a scam/fraud.

What Are The Secure Ways To Send Money Internationally?

Money transfer scams are growing more complex with time. Therefore, it's a good idea to know the safest ways to send money before sending it. If you transfer money through a bank or a licensed operator, your transaction will be as safe as it gets, which means there are numerous safe ways to transfer money online. Here are some of the safest methods for sending money internationally.

Are Bank Wire Transfers Safe?

In bank wire transfers, the money goes from one bank account to another bank account. Opening a bank account necessitates the submission of legal documents as well as the completion of identity verification procedures. These procedures make it more difficult for scammers to use bank transfers.

Wire transfers, both domestic and international, are possibly the safest means for individuals and organizations to send money. The only significant danger is being misled into transferring money to a scammer. There is no risk associated with the money transfer process itself. Banks use the SWIFT network of international wire transfers, which are largely considered safe.

The fraud prevention measures and procedures put in place by banks are one of the key reasons for international wire transfer delays. On some occasions, transfers on the SWIFT network must pass through up to three correspondent banks before reaching their final destination.

Therefore, wire transfers are indeed a safe way of sending money internationally, provided you know or trust the person or business to whom you are wiring money.

Although sending money through a bank is secure, it can be expensive. When sending money abroad, banks offer bad exchange rates and charge extra transfer fees. Most major banks impose a margin of roughly 5% on the daily exchange rate in addition to the wire transfer fee. So, if you're shipping $10,000, you might be charged up to $500. 

So, while banks make it easy to send money overseas, they may not be the best alternative. That is why it is strongly advised that you compare costs and exchange rates among transfer services that are both safe and secure, as this will save you money in the long run while also ensuring your safety.

Are Online Money Transfer Companies Safe?

Online money transfer services provide users with a quick, low-cost, and reasonably secure way to send money overseas. Users can use a web-based platform or a mobile app to make the transfers.

These companies are regulated by Financial authorities such as the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), and other relevant authorities where they operate. Like any financial institution, they also have internal safety systems and security standards in place to protect users' information and payments during money transfers.

These services are safe to use as long as you transfer your money through a reliable provider. There are plenty of money transfer services in the market today. Some money transfer services have a longer track record of success and are hence more trustworthy. 

Factors including the amount of money transferred, the number of customers, financial regulator approval, the number of workers, and years in business all contribute to a money transfer company's long-term confidence and reputation.

Are International Money Orders Safe?

International money orders can be a convenient way to send money abroad. Senders can request cancellation and re-issuance of money orders if they are lost in the mail. Money orders are less regulated than bank transfers and money transfer businesses, making them more vulnerable to fraud. Money order scams typically target online vendors of goods or services, but they can also target purchasers.

Are Cash Transfers Safe?

Cash Transfers are perhaps the easiest way to transfer money abroad. However, it is the least secure in terms of security because if the money you are transmitting is stolen, there is no way to recover it. 

Although both the sender and recipient need to provide a photo ID and other details to carry out the transfer and receive the money, it may not deter scammers from stealing your money. If you are sending large sums of money, avoid cash pickups as payout options.  

What To Look For When Choosing A Money Transfer Company?

No money transfer service provider will admit to being insecure. There are, however, several parameters to look at to determine how to transfer money safely online and evaluate a provider’s level of security.  

Here are the things to check for:

  • Regulation: The financial services sector is one of the most heavily regulated. Local, national, and international regulations apply to all transfer providers. There would be no accountability if there was no regulation to ensure that money moved safely and securely from sender to receiver.

Know your customer (KYC), anti-money laundering (AML), and anti-terrorist financing (ATF) regulations apply to all transactions, regardless of whether they are conducted through a mobile app or by a bank. So, transfer providers who are regulated by the competent authorities in the jurisdictions in which they operate are thought to be safer.

  • Security Procedures: Each authorized money transfer company has various security measures in place to provide a secure environment for electronic fund transfers. SSL encryption, Norton Secured monitoring, and two-factor authentication (2FA) protocols are all examples of this.
  • Identity and Document Verification: A money transfer firm conducts identity and document verification when customers sign up for products and services. The sender and receiver's identities must be verified.
  • Online Customer Reviews: Customer feedback and reviews on sites like Trustpilot and social media platforms provide customers an indication of the kind of service they may anticipate.

How Are Online Money Transfers Kept Safe?

Banks and money transfer businesses employ a variety of measures to ensure the secure transmission of funds from the sender to the receiver on their platforms. The following are some of the technologies that are used to secure internet money transfers:

  • SSL encryption: SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It's the industry standard for keeping an internet connection safe and encrypting critical personal information like login credentials and bank account numbers so that unauthorized users can't read and use the information. 

The "HTTPS" address and the lock icon that users see on SSL-secured websites indicate that the internet connection is secure. When your browser tries to connect to the money transfer operator's website, your browser receives a copy of the website's SSL certificate. The website establishes a 128 or 256-bit SSL encrypted session after verification to ensure an end-to-end secure connection while you transact.

  • Two-factor authentication (2FA): It is a login security mechanism in which users submit two different authentication factors to validate their identity. It is also known as two-step verification or dual-factor authentication. It works by providing a second layer of authentication to your accounts, such as a biometric factor or token, in addition to your username and password. It improves the level of safety.
  • Norton Secured Seal: It is the most well-known trust mark on the web. It has stringent security standards in place to protect consumers' information while they transact. From search to browse to purchase, it provides clients with peace of mind. When visitors see the Norton Secured Seal, they know the link, the site, and the transaction are all safe.
  • Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) Compliance: This is a set of security requirements for every company that accepts, stores, or processes credit or debit card transactions. PCI certification helps businesses develop long-term and trusted connections with their consumers by ensuring that cardholder-sensitive data is protected from data theft and fraud.
  • Safeguarding Account: A safeguarding account is a type of segregated account that separates a customer's funds from the company's operational funds. Payment Institutions (PIs) and Electronic Money Institutions (EMIs) are required to safeguard their customers' accounts. The goal is to protect clients' funds by segregating them and preventing third-party access.
  • Verified by Visa: It is a password-protected authentication protocol designed to confirm the identity of the cardholder when a Visa card is used online. This rule applies to providers accepting Visa-branded debit cards or credit cards.
  • Mastercard SecureCode: It's available as a one-time password/PIN (OTP) sent via SMS. When a Mastercard user makes a payment using their card, the card-issuing bank generates an OTP. You confirm that you are the authorized cardholder when you input the right OTP during your transaction and your transaction is completed.

How To Safely Send Money Online And Avoid Fraud?

Before sending money internationally, keep the following tips in mind to send money safely and avoid money transfer scams or fraud:

  • Send money only to people you know and believe in. Sending money to somebody you don't know is never a good idea.
  • Make sure the recipient's information is correct. It can be difficult to recover funds that have been paid to the incorrect account.
  • Anyone who tries to persuade you to send money immediately should be avoided. It should raise a red alert right away. Before sending any money, be sure it's legitimate.
  • Banks or other reputable financial institutions will never call you to ask for your PIN or full password or to move money from one account to another. Any caller or message requesting your PIN or personal information over the phone or via email should be avoided.
  • Avoid using unsecured Wi-Fi connections. Use unsecured Wi-Fi connections as little as possible. When making online payments over public networks, you risk becoming a victim of identity theft. Use password-protected private networks at all times.
  • Personal information should not be saved on public computers. When you leave your computer, be sure you log out. If you're using a computer, make sure it's locked up and not left out in the open.
  • To protect your device, use anti-virus software such as Kaspersky or Norton, among others. 
  • Suspicious emails should be treated with caution. Never click on a link in an unexpected email or text message by accident. Whether someone from a well-known group or government agency calls you to ask you to transmit money, check the organization's contact information or website to see if they are authentic. Scams can range from emails that appear to be from friends in an emergency to someone offering a high commission if you make a little contribution to assist them in moving funds.
  • Check to see if the money transfer company you've chosen is licensed by a regulatory body in its home country.
  • Check to see if the money transfer service offers you a variety of payment options. It's more likely to be authentic. Scammers frequently demand payment by wire transfer, which is extremely impossible to track once sent.

How To Report A Money Transfer Scam?

If you believe you have been duped into sending money to a scammer, there are two steps you can take to protect yourself from loss and possibly receive a refund.

The first thing you should do is contact your bank or money transfer service as soon as possible. Notify their customer service department and explain the situation. If they have an emergency or hotline number, call them right away so they can try to trace down the transaction and reverse it.

While it is true that you may not be able to get your money back after wiring it to a scammer in many circumstances, there is a good chance that your transaction can be reversed if you move quickly enough as soon as you realize you have been duped.

The second step is to notify the police or anti-fraud unit, as well as the relevant authorities in your nation, about the situation. You should report the fraud regardless of whether your money has been paid out or not. Although you are unlikely to get your money back, a written record of the incident can help police and law enforcement respond to and trace such incidents in the future.

You can report fraud to state consumer protection offices or the Federal Trade Commission on their website, ReportFraud.ftc.gov, in the U.S. You can report scams to Citizens Advice Scams Action and Action Fraud in the United Kingdom. 

In Australia, IDCARE is a free service that will work with you to establish a strategy to minimize the impact of identity theft. Scamwatch is an Australian organization that collects information on fraud. Identity theft can be reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre in Canada.

If you were scammed while transferring money through a company like Western Union, and the money has already arrived, you can register a fraud claim using your tracking number and transfer details.

How To Track Your Online Money Transfers?

It is not difficult to track your money transactions online as long as the payment providers are trustworthy.

Banks and money transfer businesses such as Wise, Remitly, and XE have online facilities to track money transfers on their websites. If you made the money transfer through a bank, you could track the status of the transfer by going to the bank's website and entering information like the tracking number and the beneficiary's account number. 

Customers are kept informed about changes in transfer status using the status tracking tools available on these businesses' websites. The status of the transfer can also be checked by your receiver.

Some providers notify the sender and recipient of the status by email and SMS. Customers may check the status of their money transfers on their mobile devices thanks to the majority of providers' money transfer apps.

Bottom Line

Every year, remittance volumes increase, and sophisticated networks built by today's global money transfer operators connect more remittance corridors. Digital technology and mobile money are transforming international money transfers. More people around the world now have access to flexible and cost-effective remittances. Sending money across borders is now faster, cheaper, and more convenient than it was a decade or so ago.

However, new technology and practices provide both dangers and opportunities. Identity theft and fraud incidents have become more complex, prompting a need for both money transfer providers and consumers to bolster their surveillance systems for security.

Make sure to evaluate the security and safety measures that have been discussed to find the safest method of sending money internationally. 

Whether you utilize a bank or online money transfer, take all possible precautions to ensure your money is safe. Visit review sites like Trustpilot and social media networks to read the customers' feedback about the services before you make a decision. Use real-time comparison tools like CompareRemit to find the most secure services.

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