There are many ways to transfer funds between different countries: Check, Paypal, WireTransfer, WesternUnion, Cash Advances, Withdrawing cash at an ATM abroad or travelling with currency to exchange it in a local bank. However, usually it is connected with several fees and in particular, the currency exchange rate differs significantly from the interbank rate (the exchange rate that banks when they exchange huge amounts). It is very common to pay between 2-8% of your transferred amount, just because you don’t get an optimal currency exchange rate.
A very good comparison of good services that allow to transfer funds between the US and other countries is given in this EXCELLENT POST. It mentions some of the best known (and less known) services. Comparing the different services, it seems that the two services CurrencyFair and TransferWise offer the best rates:
- CurrencyFair offered the best rates within its “Marketplace” where it is not uncommon to pay between 0.1-0.3% of the official interbank rate. There is also the “QuickExchange” function where one pays around 0.5-1.0% of the official interbank rate. Due to some US regulations, CurrencyFair does not provide service to US residents, but it does provide service to graduate students on an F-1 visum. However, it is important that you register with your address in your home country and with a bank account from your home country.
- TransferWise does not offer a Marketplace, but its rates are consistently cheaper than most other offers. However, CurrencyFair’s “Marketplace” often offers even better rates (at least at the moment, late 2014).
PS: Using the links provided above, will give you a discount on your first exchange.