How Do I Withdraw Money from My Bank Account in Another Country?

Written by James Hirby | Fact checked by The Law Dictionary staff |  

These days, business doesn't stop at national borders. In fact, it doesn't even stop at continental edges. Today, trade is a global phenomenon that involves the international exchange of hundreds of billions of dollars per day. From the foreign exchange markets to the global shipping industry, many millions of the world's citizens make their livings by sending money and goods around the world.

Personal finance and consumption have "gone global" as well. For one reason or another, untold millions of people live outside of their home countries. In the industrialized world, this has led to the creation of multicultural societies in which people from a range of backgrounds live and work among one another. It has also led to the development of financial networks designed to facilitate the smooth flow of currency between industrialized and developing countries. For instance, people send billions of dollars from the United States to Mexico each year thanks to the efforts of companies like Western Union and MoneyGram.

Although these services can be useful, they're often not ideal for orchestrating quick international money transfers. For so-called remittances to be transmitted successfully, the sender must specify a set destination and arrange for a willing recipient to pick up the money upon its arrival there. There may be certain other security-related obstacles to overcome as well. If you're trying to send money across international borders quickly and safely, you might want to consider using a traditional bank transfer. In order to execute such a transfer, all you need are two bank accounts.

You can successfully execute an international bank transfer in several ways. The easiest of these is known as a "wire transfer." Most major banks have the capacity to send money via electronic transfer to virtually anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, wire transfers are often quite expensive. Depending upon where you wish to send your funds, your wire transfer could cost $20 or more. If you're only trying to transfer or withdraw a small amount of money, this fee might be unacceptable.

If you're traveling abroad, you can "transfer" money from your home bank account to an account in your current country without paying these fees. Alternatively, you can simply use money from your home account to purchase items in your current location. In both cases, you'll simply need to visit a local bank branch or ATM and use your home bank's debit card to withdraw cash from your overseas account. You can either deposit this money in a local bank or spend it freely.

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