How to easily send money online to the US

Sending payments to business partners in your own state or country is usually hard enough. There are a ton of details you need to keep track of: deadlines, bank account numbers, and not to mention the varying preferences regarding payment methods, depending on your preference: Cash, bank transfer, credit card, and even cheques are usually all in play.

Add an international border to all this and sending payments can feel nearly impossible. Foreign exchange rates, IBAN numbers, and SWIFT/BIC codes are just a few pieces of data you’ll need to provide if you want to send an international payment.

But in today’s increasingly global economy, avoiding payments to other countries has become increasingly difficult, not to mention harmful. Since going global provides your business with tons of new opportunities, missing out on these could seriously impede your company’s growth.

Let’s take a look at the US, for example. This powerhouse economy with the second largest GDP in the world has everything your business may need: high quality products, world-class services, and a talented, well-educated workforce.

Sending money online to the US is simple

What if you found a US-based freelancer who’d be the perfect addition to your team, or a supplier offering a great deal that you just couldn’t pass up? Don’t let your business miss out on the great opportunity of working with them. Instead, take a deep breath and get ready to send payments to the US. Don’t worry, we’re here to help.

We’ve listed the most common payment options for sending money to the United States, and how to do it. But, keep in mind that what’s common may not necessarily be the best. Talk with your business partner and your team to see which methods fit your needs.

Check

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While it may seem easy to just shove a check in an envelope and let the mailbox take care of the rest, this is by far the least convenient option for you, and the person you’re paying.

For instance, depending on how far your money needs to travel, it can take weeks for the check to reach your receiver. Then there’s the question of foreign exchange (FX). It’s highly likely that your bank account (and thus your check) is in your local currency while your US freelancer converts their payments to USD.

When your check reaches your team member, they have to go to their bank and kindly ask them to switch your currency into USD (unless you’ve already sent the payment in their preferred currency). Provided that the bank offers this service (not all US banks can be expected to cash cheques in foreign currencies), your receiver will have to wait even longer for the check to clear. Why? Because their bank will have to verify with your bank that the check is genuine and you have enough funds in your account. Banks don’t like bouncing checks.

When your check finally clears, your business partner gets their payment. But how much money do they get? That depends on the FX rate of the day, as well as the myriad of fees the bank will impose on the payment (you made them work so hard, after all).

And why does this concern you? Well, first of all, your US freelancer may get tired of all the legwork that comes with every single payment and decide to quit working for you. Second, an unfavorable FX rate will cost you a lot more money than you might think. And what kind of FX rate do you think you’ll get from a bank on a random day, weeks after you mailed that pay check?

A word of advice: don’t send checks to the US.

Bank wires

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Sending international payments to the US via bank wires seems a much more sophisticated approach than simply mailing checks. It’s certainly more common and convenient for both you and your receiver. But what is a wire transfer, and how do they work?

Once you’ve dug up all the banking information of your remote team member or partner (e.g. IBAN number, SWIFT/BIC code, etc), you can order the transfer at your bank. Then, after waiting around for a while (nobody knows the actual wait time, it depends on where you’re sending the payment from but it’s certainly less than the post), the payment lands in your receiver’s bank account.

But how much money has landed?

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Again, that depends on the actual FX rate of the day. But, it also depends on the SWIFT network. International wire transfers travel across the SWIFT network, a method developed back in the 1970s. SWIFT is a network of banks all over the globe that forward your payment from your bank to your receivers, tracking your money from start to finish at every intermediary bank along the way.

While this might sound good, it really isn’t. The system is outdated (it hasn’t been significantly updated since its inception), slow, untrackable, and costly. You never know when your money arrives or where it even is, since participating banks don’t keep track of the actual route your payment takes. Seems odd when the system was specifically built as a tracking method, right? Oh, and if your payment is lost, you have to pay to find out where it is.

Also, banks aren’t known for offering the most favorable FX rates to customers. Not to mention the transfer fee your bank, and the landing fee your receiver’s bank will tack onto the transfer.

This means that your payment will have shrunk considerably by the time it arrives at your freelancer’s bank, resulting in an angry freelancer and another payment you’ll need to send to make up for the lost amount. And with another payment comes another trip to the bank, providing all the banking details again, and all the other inconveniences our banking system seems fit to impose upon customers.

All in all, while bank wires may be more convenient than checks, they’re certainly not your best option for sending payments to the US.

Fintech solutions

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This is where financial technology, or fintech comes in. According to Investopedia, fintech is “new tech that seeks to improve and automate the delivery and use of financial services.”

While most of them work in different ways, fintech companies all seek to modernize, simplify, secure, and lower the costs associated with global payments.

But how does it work? It really depends on the payments gateway of your choice. Veem, a global business-to-business payments network, leverages multi-rail technology that combines established and modern transfer methods to ensure your payment travels the most efficient, secure, cost-effective route possible.

If you wanted to pay your US business partner or freelancer through Veem, there’s no need to make a trip to the bank. All you have to do is sign up and provide your own and your receiver’s banking information – once. We do the rest for you, including verifying your contact’s banking info to make sure your payment lands in the right account. You can start each subsequent payment with just a click.

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Veem offers better FX rates than a bank or other payments processor, and we tell you about any potential fees upfront. So, no unpleasant surprises when your payment lands in the US.

Moreover, Veem allows you to track your payment in real time, which means you’ll always know where your money is, and when it will arrive. If you use Quickbooks, Xero, or NetSuite, you can sync your Veem account to it and let your books update themselves automatically after each payment. All this results in lots of time and money saved – and a happy partnership with your US freelancer, supplier, manufacturer, and anyone in between.

All in all, fintech providers like Veem help you send seamless payments to the US – and to more than 100 other countries around the world.

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* This blog provides general information and discussion about global business payments and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.