Sending money from the USA to Germany isn’t a straightforward transaction. While sending money in the EU are very simple, overseas transfers are a bit of a headache. Nonetheless, US citizens and Germans living in the US are constantly sending money to Germany, hence, it’s a very frequent transaction.
You can send money to Germany from the USA by using:
- Western Union
- Wire transfer
When sending money to Germany you have several options, all of them differ in the total cost and transfer speed. How can you transfer your money from the USA to Germany in the most efficient way and without losing much on commission? Learn in this article.
How to send money from USA to Germany
The money transfer options are plentiful out there. You can transfer money to Germany using a normal bank wire or a money transfer provider. While sending money by doing regular SEPA transfers in the EU is super simple, transactions from non-EU countries look different.
International money transfers between EU and non-EU countries are always more expensive and can be a bit complex.
Plus, the USA and Germany have very different banking systems, hence, the simple wire transfer is usually with worst option.
When sending money to Germany you have several options, including remittance/money transfer companies, forex brokers, and lastly old and traditional bank wire transfers.
The best way depends on costs, speed, ease, and convenience. Be aware that “no fee” advertised by the provider, doesn’t mean “no cost.”
In the end, these companies need to make a profit and you usually lose some money on their exchange rate.
Here are the most common ways you can send money to Germany from the USA.
|Wise||2-5 days||$4,67 + 0.43% of the amount|
|PayPal||3-5 days||$2,25 + exchange rate
Recipient pays 2,5% fee
|Xoom||2-3 days||$4,99 + exchange rate|
|Western Union||Immediately or up to 5 days||$4,99 + exchange rate (+4-5%)|
1. Remittance services
Remittance or money transfers companies are one of the common ways to send money internationally.
Examples of remittance services are Western Union (WU), MoneyGram, and PayPal. Remittance companies are best for smaller amounts (up to $1,000) and when the recipient has no bank account.
If you send larger amounts you will lose quite a lot of money on their fees and bad exchange rates.
Remittance services are also the best for sending cash, and real-time money transfers. Western Union and others firms with physical branches offer international cash-to-cash (agent-to-agent) transfers. You simply give an agent cash and it gets transferred to another agent in Germany and converted to EUR.
Nowadays, you can send money online also with remittance companies, Western Union, MoneyGram, PayPal – they all have offer online transfers.
2. Forex brokers
To send larger amounts to Germany Forex brokers are the best. Most of which are based in the UK or Ireland, but also have offices in North America and Asia.
They specialize in multi-currency money transfers for individuals and businesses. For example, if you want to transfer $1,000 from a US bank account to a German account at the cheapest cost.
Sending money with forex brokers is by far the most lucrative way to transfer money between Germany and USA or when several currencies are involved.
Some of the forex transfer firms are:
These companies in most cases don’t have branches for clients, hence, they are cheaper to operate than traditional banks. Therefore, the rates of forex firms are more competitive, thus less expensive.
They are mostly young FinTechs with innovative business ideas and an infrastructure that is clearly superior to traditional banks. As a result, these companies process an international money transfer not only faster but also cheaper.
3. Bank wire
The last option is to send money to a German bank via your home US bank. Even if you transfer money with a credit card, it takes a percentage in commission and has bad exchange rates.
How long does it take?
As a rule, you can expect the money transfer between USA and Germany to take between 3 and 5 days. A shorter transfer time is possible.
With services like Wise, Xendpay, or traditional banks it usually takes one to three business days.
When using remittance companies like Western Union, you can send money in minutes. However, it only applies to cash transfers without the involvement of the bank.
How much does it cost?
Sending money from the USA to Germany will cost you and depending on the provider you choose it can be a small or large amount. Total costs of about $80 for a $1,000 bank transfer are realistic.
Here are the main factors influencing the total cost of your transfer:
- The transfer fee
- The transfer amount
- The speed of the actual transfer
- The exchange rate at the time of the transfer
For bank wire, for example, you pay: processing fees, your bank fees, recipient bank fees, and unfavorable exchange rates.
Best way to send money to Germany from USA
The overall best way to send money to Germany from the USA is by using Wise. It’s the most well-rounded option for sending funds to Germany. Wise offers the best benefits for a customer such as ease of use and very low costs.
With Wise, you can send money in a short period of time and with the lowest fees.
Cheapest way to send money to Germany from USA
The cheapest way to send money to Germany from the USA is through the company Wise. In fact, you will save more than 80% by doing a transfer with Wise and it’s 5 times cheaper than via a normal bank.
Wise charges a flat fee of $4,67 + 0.43% of the amount that’s converted. This is the lowest rate we have seen so far across all money transfer services.
Wise, formerly TransferWise, offers some of the best exchange rates you can find on the market.
|Transfer fees||Transfer time||Payment options|
|A flat fee of $4,67 + 0.43% of the amount that’s converted||Between 2-5 days||Debit Card|
Wise is a UK-based money transfer service founded in January 2011 with headquarters in London and offices in other countries. They support more than 750 currencies across the world including GBP, USD, EUR, AUD, and CAD.
With Wise, you transfer money at the real exchange rate which is the best you can ever find. Furthermore, money transfer with Wise is up to 5x cheaper than with banks. Over 7 million customers already use their services.
What is Wise offering?
Speed: Same-day delivery is possible. A transfer using a debit or credit card can arrive within minutes, while a transfer using a bank account can take, on average, about two to five business days.
Transfer limits and options: You can send go up to $1 million per transfer. The recipient in Germany needs to have a bank account to get a transfer from Wise.
Wise independent review:
- Trust & Credibility – 10
- Service & Quality – 9
- Fees & Exchange Rates – 9,2
- Customer Satisfaction – 9,7
- Total: 9,5
Why choose Wise?
- Favourable exchange rates. Wise always gives you the mid-market rate, which is the best exchange rate.
- Transfer transparency. You always know how much you are paying, how much the recipient gets and how long the transfer takes.
- Trustworthiness. Wise is used by millions customers and has a five-star rating on Trustpilot.
- Top customer support. Your questions and requests are answered by real people.
Wise offers services for private clients, businesses, and freelancers. Your first transfer up to $600, is free.
Services of Wise don’t have any hidden costs. They provide full transparency for customers. The company also guarantees that your bank or bank of the receiver doesn’t charge anything additionally.
Whereas, some companies in this industry do have a terrible exchange rate even when they don’t charge a commission.
For example, you can lose a lot of money while using the services of Western Union or Money Gram.
How it works:
If you never used the platform Wise you need to complete a short registration. The whole process including the transfer and registration takes only about 5 minutes.
- Log in or create a free account at the Wise.com
- Select international transfer and enter the amount.
- Check current rates and proceed with the transfer. At that point you will be able to see:
- transfer fee
- converted to the EUR amount
- exchange rate
- the sum that recipient gets
- your saving
- transfer time
4. After, you can select to whom you are sending money: yourself, another person, or a business.
5. Enter the recipient’s bank details and finish the transfer.
The recipient in Germany gets money in EUR at the best exchange rate you can ever find.
To send money in USD to Germany, you pay a small, flat fee of $4,67 + 0,43% of the amount that’s converted (you’ll always see the total cost upfront).
Wise’s exchange rate (1 EUR = 1.1319 USD) is even 0.04% better than the mid-market exchange rate.
Fees for Wise transfer to Germany from the USA:
|% fee for transfers up to 133,295 USD||0.43%|
|% fee for transfers up to 399,885 USD||0.33%|
|% fee for transfers up to 666,475 USD||0.28%|
|% fee for transfers up to 1,332,950 USD||0.27%|
Additional Fees: Transfers with bank debit (ACH) is the cheapest; then bank wire transfer; followed by debit card and credit card.
For example, on a $1,000 transfer to Germany, Wise charges a percentage fee of $4,67 along with the $2,59 bank fee for ACH transfers — the cheapest option.
However, that same $1,000 transfer will be a bit more pricey if you selected wire transfer, debit card, or credit card as a means of payment:
- wire transfer — $5,64 fee
- debit card — $11,56 fee
- credit card — $37,44 fee
As you can see the fees are very transparent.
Wise is faster than many other providers; most of the transfers are done within the day. However, depending on the payment method, it can take to up to 5 days to complete, between 3-5 days is the average.
Send money to Germany from USA with PayPal
While living in the US you are most probably well aware of PayPal. PayPal it’s great for sending money in the same currency while making international transfers is super expensive.
Firstly, a recipient in Germany must have a PayPal account so you could send them money via PayPal.
|Transfer fees||Transfer time||Payment options|
|A flat fee of $2,25 + mark up in the exchange rate |
Plus recipient pays 2,5% conversion fee
|Between 3-5 days||PayPal balance|
What is PayPal offering?
Speed: Your transfer will take between 3-5 days.
Transfer limits and options: Individual transfers are limited at $4,000 as a one-time transaction.
Customer experience: Support is available mostly via chat or email.
PayPal independent review:
- Trust & Credibility – 7,9
- Service & Quality – 7,8
- Fees & Exchange Rates – 1
- Customer Satisfaction – 4,7
- Total: 5,4
There aren’t really benefits of PayPal over other money transfer options.
With PayPal, you pay a fixed sending fee plus exchange rate markups.
PayPal’s exchange rate (1 USD = 0.8562 EUR) is 3,37% worse than the mid-market exchange rate, adding $33,56 USD to the total cost for the $1,000 transfer.
The sending fee depends on the payment method:
- Bank account – $2,25
- Credit or debit card – $2,25 plus fee of 1,90% from sending amount plus $0,30
Moreover, the recipient pays a 2,5% conversion fee when receiving EUR (if their account is in EUR). Besides that, you might lose around 3%-4% on the conversion rate.
Most money transfers with PayPal take between 3 and 5 days depending on the payment method.
PayPal is a good choice if:
- You are sending money in the same country (not across international borders)
- It’s not a cross currency transfer
- Both you and the recipient have a PayPal account
- You can fund your account via direct debit from your bank account
PayPal isn’t a good choice if:
- You need to fund your account via a debit or credit card (commission)
- You are transferring money internationally
- You are sending money in different currency than receiver’s account
- In these cases, the costs can add up very quickly and will often be between 3% and 7% of the amount you transfer
Send money to Germany from USA with Xoom
Xoom is a money transfer option offered as a part of PayPal. Xoom is a forex exchange concept and is particularly good for making international transfers in a different currency.
|Transfer fees||Transfer time||Payment options|
|A flat fee of $4,99 + mark up in the exchange rate||Between 2-3 days||PayPal|
Xoom is a relatively cheap option to send money from the USA to Germany. They tend to have low upfront fees, under $5, when you use a bank account instead of a debit or credit card, but exchange rate markups can be over 3%.
Yet, Xoom still tends to be cheaper than banks’ international wire transfers.
What Xoom is offering?
Speed: Many transfers can arrive within minutes, regardless of the payment method. But it could take up to a few days.
Transfer limits and options: Individual transfers are limited at $2,999 per day if you have only a basic profile on the site, and up to $50,000 per day to a recipient’s bank account by verifying personal information through Xoom.
Customer experience: Phone support is available 24/7 in different languages.
The main benefit of PayPal’s Xoom is its speed – you can get your money in Germany in under 3 hours.
With Xoom, you pay a sending fee plus exchange rate markups. The sending fee depends on the payment method:
- Bank account – $4,99
- Credit or debit card – minimum $4,99 but can rise substantially – to $60,99 when sending $2,999
For example, when sending $1,000 from the USA to Germany, Xoom is using a conversion rate of 0.866 which is worse than the mid-market rate of 0.883.
In the end, you pay an additional $19,14 on top of the fixed transfer fees.
You can send up to $2,999 for only $4,99 from a US bank account. But the fee rises to $60,99 when using a credit/debit card.
Xoom is slightly better than Western Union. For a $1,000 transfer to Germany, you will pay about 2% to 4% in exchange rate fees along with a debit or credit card fee of $30,49.
Most money transfers with Xoom take between 2 and 5 days depending on the payment method.
Send money to Germany from USA with Western Union
Western Union is the world’s biggest provider of remittance services. You can easily send money between the EU and the USA. Transfers are available in their offices across the country or online.
However, Western Union is one of the most expensive ways to send money from the USA to Germany.
|Transfer fees||Transfer time||Payment options|
|Transfer fee + mark up in the exchange rate |
The fee depends on the amount and payment method
|In minutes or up to 5 days (when sending money from bank account)||Cash|
Instant cash delivery – this company is well known for its in-person real-time cash transfers.
It’s the best overall for the same-day delivery. You can just walk into the WU office and send cash for the receiver to get it almost immediately on another side of the world.
What Western Union is offering?
Cost: Fees for transfers vary. The cost for sending up to $1,000 can be under $5, but Western Union’s rate markups range and add about 4-5% on top.
Speed: Same-day delivery is possible when you send money to cash pickup locations in Germany. The cheapest transfers require bank accounts for sending and receiving money and can take over a week for delivery.
Transfer limits and options: Western Union has various transfer limits which are hard to identify.
Customer experience: They have phone support and live chat available, but the website doesn’t make it easy to compare exchange rates.
The cost of transfers ranges widely. Transfer fees for amounts under $1,000 can be less than $5. For example, for sending $1,000 you pay depending on the fund source:
- Bank account – $5
- Debit card – $7
- Credit card – $34
Additionally, customers pay a difference in the exchange rate, which adds roughly 4-5% to the total transfer cost.
Hence, when sending $1,000 from the USA with Western Union, someone in Germany receives only 817,90 EUR ($929) in the best case.
Transfer time depends on the payment way, transfers via bank take between one and five business days. For debit and credit card transfers, a recipient could get money in one day.
Money for cash pickups is delivered in minutes.
How to transfer money from US bank to German bank?
If you for some reason need to transfer money from one bank account to another directly without the involvement of third parties, it’s also possible to do. However, bank wire might be less straightforward and more expensive than other solutions.
When sending money via banks internationally different cost structure applies. As a sender, you will incur:
- processing fees
- your bank fees
- and unfavourable exchange rates
And someone in Germany will face – recipient bank fees.
Moreover, the main problem is that banks usually have higher foreign exchange rates when sending money overseas. Banks also charge fees for their services plus the conversion rate.
Almost any US bank offers wire transfer services. The average cost at the top ten American banks for an outgoing international wire transfer is $45,50.
Using Bank of America, for instance, you’ll pay a fixed fee of $45 no matter how much money you transfer into Germany.
Since a bank’s fee is a flat rate, it’s a good option for transferring larger amounts of money.
Hence, banks are good for sending money to make some big purchases in Germany e.g. make down payments on cars or property.
For transfers of up to a few thousand dollars, it’s best to avoid banks and stick to Wise.
To transfer money to the German bank account you will need the following information:
- The name and address of the beneficiary
- The name and address of their bank
- IBAN Number
- SWIFT/BIC code
SEPA transfer is the most common and uncomplicated bank transfer within the EU, which is, unfortunately, not available in the US.
All transfers from outside of the EU are considered as foreign transfers by German banks.
There are some limits to the money transfer in Germany. A recipient will need to report a transaction that exceeds 12,500 EUR in accordance with the Foreign Trade and Payments Ordinance.
|Transfer time||2-5 days||3-5 days||2-3 days||Immediately or up to 5 days|
|Fees||$4,67 + 0.43 % of the amount||$2,25 + exchange rate |
Recipient pays 2,5% fee
|$4,99 + exchange rate||$4,99 + exchange rate (+4-5%)|
|Payment method||Bank account / Direct Bank Transfer / Debit Card / Credit Card||PayPal / Bank account / debit card / credit card||Bank account / debit card / credit card||Bank account / debit card / credit card / cash|
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