With Peru becoming extremely attractive with travelers, expats and investors over the past years, and family members and friends often living far from home, the need for quick, easy, reliable, and inexpensive international money transfers from and to Peru increased.
While for decades the traditional bank account to bank account transfer processed by the SWIFT network or using an international money transfer company such as Western Union were the only options to transfer money abroad, today there is an incredible number of so-called peer-to-peer companies transferring funds from one person to another or a bank over the internet or mobile networks; and a few of these working as well to send money to Peru, and just a handful sending money from Peru.
Finding the best option to get money from Peru abroad and from abroad to Peru needs some research and time as needs, priorities and preferences differ and other rapidly changing factors such as fees, exchange rates and time play into it.
Hopefully, our overview of available money transfer choices helps you to find the right option for you.
Transferring money from and to Peru using traditional bank transfers
For decades, the traditional bank account to bank account transfer using the SWIFT network, a secure payment system used to connect banks all around the world, was considered the safest way to send money internationally. However, sending money from / to Peru usually can take anything from 3 to 7+ working days. Additionally, the sending bank as well as the receiving bank charge a sometimes quite substantial fee; and if an interim bank that you usually know nothing about is involved, it might get even more expensive. Moreover, the exchange rate might not be the best, particularly if you don’t send / receive US Dollar or Peruvian Soles, but a third currency is in play, for example Euros. Then usually Euros are first changed into US$ and then into S/ or vice versa; so you might lose twice only due to the double conversion.
All in all international bank account to bank account money transfers might not be the best option, if you are looking for a fast and inexpensive way to transfer smaller amounts. However, in certain circumstances and for large amounts the existence might be still justified even though in these cases using an FX broker might be wiser.
Sending money to and from Peru with international money transfer companies
The two most popular international money transfer companies in Peru are Western Union and MoneyGram who offer money transfers from / to nearly every country in the world.
Western Union has numerous branches in all major cities in Peru where you can either send money abroad or collect cash send to you in person. So, no need for a bank account neither from the sender nor the receiver.
For quite some time now Western Union as well offers the option to send money online / via app; payment is done with a debit or credit card, in some countries as well via bank account. Collecting send money in Peru is only possible in person at one of Western Union local agents with the Money Transfer Control Number and an official ID (make sure that the name given to Western Union matches exactly the name in the ID).
The large advantages of Western Union are surely its reputation of being the largest and oldest payment company in the world, its reliability, the large network of local agents, and the super-fast transfer speed (usually the money can be picked up in minutes after sending it). However, transfer fees can be low or high depending on a long list of factors including the form of payment (cash, debit card, credit card, bank account), how fast the money needs to be delivered, how much money you send, whether it is paid out in cash or wired to an account, where it is sent from, and where to. Another factor is the used exchange rate which sometimes varies extremely and usually is only average.
Find more information under https://www.westernunion.com
After Western Union, MoneyGram is the second largest international money transfer company in the world. In Peru they operate own local agents and additionally work with banks, such as the Banco de la Nacion, Banco Azteca and Banco Pinchincha where you can send and collect money in person. Additionally, MoneyGram offers an option for same-day transfers to bank accounts available in some countries including Peru.
Similar to Western Union MoneyGram shines with its massive international transfer network, its reputation and fast delivery time with cash being available within minutes. However, all this comes at a cost. Fees are often at the top end and exchange rates inconsistent.
Sending money online from and to Peru
With technological advances and the increasing demand for easy, quick, and cheap international money transfers, numerous peer-to-peer-companies popped up transferring funds from one person to another or bank online. However, only a few of these companies work sending money to Peru or receiving money in Peru.
Wise (formerly known as TransferWise)
Wise, formerly known as TransferWise, surely is one of the easiest ways to transfer money online. Setting up an account and making a transfer using their app or website is incredibly simple and money send is usually credited to the recipients account within one working day or less. Their fees are transparent (fixed fee plus a small percentage of amount), and you get the best exchange rates available.
Find more information under https://wise.com
Xoom powered by PayPal
Xoom is a digital funds transfer and remittance provider, allowing its users to send to and receive money in over 130 countries worldwide. For quite some time Xoom was the most popular option to send money to Peru, especially as cash could and still can be picked up at Interbank, Banco Continental and BCP, so the recipient doesn’t need a bank account. However, deposits to bank accounts is an option as well.
Even though Xoom is still fast (minutes to two business days), easy (simple sign up and transfer), reliable (safe and trustworthy, linked to PayPal) and convenient for international money transfers from and to Peru, cost-wise it’s at the higher end. Their fees depend on how you pay and how much you send, and the exchange rate usually ends up being only average as Xoom adds a margin.
Find more information under https://www.xoom.com/
Remitly is an extremely good and with their express option a lot cheaper option for international money transfers within minutes than for example Western Union. Normal transfers however can take up to three to five business days and - at least at the moment - you can only send money to Peru from 17 countries including the US and Canada, a few countries in Europe, Australia and Singapore, but not vice versa.
Setting up an account and transferring money is incredibly easy no matter if you use your phone, tablet or a computer. Transfer fees are clearly stated and depend on send amount and service (express or economy) chosen. The exchange rate you receive depends as well on the amount of your transfer and which country your money is being sent to, however it’s usually extremely competitive. Transferred money can be either deposited to a Peruvian bank account or collected at a Remitly cash-pick-up location in Peru such as Interbank, BCP, BBVA, Banco Azteca, Peru-Express or Jet Peru
Find more information under https://www.remitly.com
Global 66, a Chilean company offering money transfer services, money orders and fast remittances, could be a good option if you want to make an account-to-account transfer from Peru (or 6 other Latin American countries) to 55 countries worldwide or to Peru from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Mexico. Fees are affordable and transparent, the real time exchange rate is used and transfers are fast (1-2 business days).
Find more information under https://global66.com
Those familiar with or already using cryptocurrency should as well consider bitcoin and other digital assets as possible attractive medium for fast and inexpensive international transfers.
Several blockchain startups and services today offer platforms facilitating international transfers. However, transaction fees are often unpredictable as they are calculated on a per-byte basis, making some transfers even more expensive or slower when users waited for lower congestion than traditional ones. So, do your research.
Future international money transfer options hopefully as well to and from Peru ….
For the last couple of years now startups try to eliminate the flaws of cryptocurrency transfers while bringing its advantages together with the more user friendly “traditional” transfer options (even though the technology behind it is completely different). One promising candidate in this field is Strike.me. Combining the bitcoin network, the lightning network and their app, they offer their users, even those without any idea of bitcoins, wallets, or blockchain, to send any amount of money from their bank account or debit card, at any time, to any place, for zero cost. Right now, Strike is running a beta version of their platform however only in the US and interestingly El Salvador. Probably soon other countries including Peru may be added.
And I’m sure other providers working on other solutions are out there too. So, keep your eyes and ears open for future cheaper, faster and easy to use international money transfers to and from Peru.