OK.. I have done quite a bit of research and here is what I found.
Originally posted by BleedingGum
I would FedEx an International Money order in Euros funds.
Creating an Internation Money order (also known as a bank draft) will cost a service fee of about $15 - $30 at the bank. Additionally, once you get the draft to your recipient it will take about 10 business days (minimum) before it clears and the money is available. If time is important, then this is not a good way to transfer money. However it is very secure.
Also watch out for the bank "spread" and make sure they aren't adding a few % to the exchange rate. This is very very common.
(What is the "spread"? The bank will add 3% or more to the actual exchange rate. This is how they pay themselves, in addition to the usual service fees, etc..)
Originally posted by ezCore
I use Western Union, works good and it's very safe.
Ouch. Western Union charges a fee based on the sending amount. The more you send -- the higher the fee.
Also, they have one of the highest spreads in the industry. (They add about 5% to the exchange rate as an additional hidden "service fee".)
WesternUnion is good if you need small amount sent quickly, but I would never use it for a large amount. (ie: More then $1000 USD.)
Originally posted by Lorenz
Just do a wire-transfer to their account and send it in Euro. The wire-transfer will cost you something like 10$ and the receiving is usually free or very cheap as well for them (depending on their bank).
1) Many European banks charge a wire transfer receipt
fee. There's not much I can do about that.. but if I have the choice.. check each possible "receiving" bank and choose the one with the lowest fee.
2) The sending banks typically charge a higher "spread" on the exchange rate then if you did the transfer using a broker.
I opened a "currency trading" account with XEtrade. It took a few days to do it, but it allows me to "lock in" an exchange rate, as well as other nice features.
They are basically brokers for Custom House, which is one of the worlds largest foreign exchange traders.. which means they have billions of $$ flowing through them.
1) They are highly respected and well known.
2) Their service fees (wire transfer fees, etc..) are the lowest I've seen.
3) They do not charge a "spread" at all.
Basically, they make their money on the sheer volume of $$ flowing through their system. They don't need to charge a spread or high service fees since they have tremendous volume.
It is #3 that makes them the winner. The only fees I pay are the wire transfer fees. That's it. No "hidden" service charges in the form of additional % points on the exchange rate
It is very difficult to compare the actual
exchange rate when comparing services. Most banks will tell you the exchange rate they use, but then they will not tell you about the spread that they add to it. You are forced to actually go through the entire transaction to get the ACTUAL exchange rate.. and then at the last minute you tell them you don't want to do it.
Do this for a few banks, and then compare that to the cost of doing it with XEtrade, and you'll be surprised.