How Much Money Can I Transfer Internationally?

Byron Mühlberg, writer at Monito.com
Aug 31, 2021

If you're sending a large sum of money internationally, you may wonder how much money you can transfer abroad in the first place. The answer will hinge on the country you're sending from, the country you're sending to, your money transfer operator or bank, and the relevant laws and regulations.

These days, making large-value international transfers is as common as ever. For example, people frequently make high-value transfers (typically over US$10,000) for a variety of reasons, including the following:

  • Expatriation: Perhaps you’ve decided to relocate to another country, temporarily or permanently.
  • Property: You might be investing in a desirable location, or you want to buy somewhere to live over the medium- or long term.
  • Education: Studying worldwide can be expensive, so you’ll need to pay academic fees.
  • Business: If you’re a business leader expanding into new markets, opening an international office, or buying inventory, large amounts of capital are essential.
  • Other: You could be paying for a wedding, sending money home, buying a car, or any one of dozens of other possible reasons.

Whatever the reason for making a large transfer, in this guide, we go through the important limits on larger international money transfers you should know about, when gift taxes apply to transfers, and how to transfer a large sum of money abroad safely and as cheaply as possible.

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How Much Money Can I Transfer Internationally?

Keep the following in mind when sending a larger amount of money internationally:

  • You can generally transfer any amount abroad, but be sure to check whether or not the amount will be taxed or requires declaration.
  • A common maximum threshold for declaration is US$10,000 in many countries.
  • Banks and money transfer operators impose limits on your transfer amount.

How Much Money Can I Transfer Internationally?

As a consumer sending funds abroad, there are generally few obstacles in making international money transfers — regardless of the size of the transfer. However, the rules are not the same everywhere and can change regularly, meaning it's best to be clued up in the event you'd like to transfer large volumes overseas.

This is especially true when transferring sums of about US$10,000, which is the maximum amount that can be sent without declaration in many countries, including those involving US bank accounts. Even so, the declaration itself won't be something you'll necessarily need to deal with directly, as your bank or money transfer operator will declare the transaction on your behalf. If they do, they will have the permission to do so, which you'll have likely agreed to in the terms and conditions upon registration. The information that banks and IMTOs hold include:

  • Your full name;
  • Your physical address;
  • The reason for your funds transfer;
  • A government-issued ID number (e.g. an SSN in the US).

While knowing about the US$10,000 maximum is a good guideline for transferring large amounts of money abroad, it's worth noting that some countries don't impose a declaration requirement. In contrast, others impose an even lower one. Here are a few examples of major countries and declaration limits per sending or receiving transaction involving domestic accounts:

Country

Tax/Declaration Free Limit per Transaction

Relevant Law

US

USD 10,000

Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act

India

USD 14,000

The Income-tax Act, 1961

Canada

No limit

-

UK

No limit

-

Colombia

USD 7,500

Colombian Tax Code

Philippines

USD 10,000

BSP Foreign Exchange Regulations

Last updated: 01/09/2021

Additionally, it's also worth noting that the limit only means that the government will be made aware of the transaction (e.g. for anti-money laundering, anti-fraud, or taxation-related reasons, etc.) and does not mean that it's the maximum possible transfer — a limit which is generally imposed by banks or money transfer operators themselves due to technical constraints or in compliance with local and international regulations.

To get a better picture of how this works, let's assume you were sending a large sum of money from the US to Canada. Legally speaking, there's no limit to how much money somebody can transfer from the US across the northern border (although amounts about US$10,000 will need to be declared to the IRS under FACTA regulations). However, you may still find restrictions on how much you can transfer from the US to Canada*, depending on which money transfer operator you choose. For example, the following major operators impose the following limits:

As demonstrated above, the sending (and receiving) limit can change drastically not only from country to country but also from provider to provider. What's more, some banks and money transfer operators also allow you to provide more documentation and thus raise the sending limits. If you'd like to send a large amount of money abroad, be sure to check in advance if this is an option for you.

* True as of 05/09/2021

Gift Taxes on Receiving Amounts

When it comes to large international money transfers, taxes often come into the picture. For example, if a business in the US wired a transfer of US$25,000 to a business in Japan in exchange for inventory, this would result in taxation along the way.

However, taxes don't always affect large money transfers. For example, if you're sending a money transfer without the expectation that goods or services will be exchanged for the funds, this usually qualifies as a "gift" according to tax codes in many international jurisdictions and is thus less heavily taxed or not taxed at all, depending on the country and the transacted amount.

In the US, gift amounts transacted up to US$15,000 annually are tax-exempt¹. In Canada, there are no gift taxes on transfers². In India, the maximum that can be transacted without taxation is ₹50,000 (around US$700)³, while in the UK, this amount is £3,000 (around US$4,200).

Transferring Large Sums of Money Internationally

Sending a large amount of money internationally (i.e. more than US$10,000) can sometimes be slightly more complicated than sending a smaller sum. This is because there are usually a greater number of steps and regulatory checks involved along the way.

However, the process itself is more or less the same and tends to be relatively straightforward in the end. Although the steps may vary from provider to provider, in general, you should do the following to best transfer large sums of money internationally:

  1. Review which FX broker offers you the best exchange rate on Monito (find out more about this below).
  2. Set up an account with your currency provider. They'll typically need your name, address, contact details, bank details, and proof of identification.
  3. Specify the currencies and countries between which you'd like to send your funds.
  4. Book a rate through your currency provider. You can often choose a spot rate or get a forward contract to lock in an exchange rate.
  5. Provide details of the sender and receiver of the funds.
  6. Send money to your currency provider. For larger value transfers, this will typically be from a bank account, although you may sometimes also be able to choose to fund the transfer with a credit or debit card.
  7. Your currency provider will make the exchange and deposit funds in the new currency in the recipient’s bank account.

Tips for Sending a Large Amount of Money Abroad

If you’re transferring large sums of money internationally, it’s essential to do so in the most secure and least risky way possible. There are several steps you can take to get the job done:

  • Understand the costs: Use Monito's real-time comparison engine to determine exactly how much you can expect to pay and receive.
  • Work with a personal account manager: Some currency providers will assign you a specialized account manager to help negotiate a favourable exchange rate on your behalf.
  • Use a forward or limit order: Forward orders let you set a rate now for currency exchanges that you’ll complete in future. In contrast, limit orders mean your currency exchange will only happen when certain conditions are met (e.g. the exchange rate hits a particular value.) Both can help protect you from exchange rate risk.

Comparing Providers to Transfer Internationally

To get a better picture of just how much money you could save by choosing the right foreign exchange broker, let's suppose you wanted to send £50,000 to US dollars. Here’s what that means based on typical exchange rates. In the table below, you’ll see how much £50,000 is worth in dollars using various providers*:

Exchange Rate

Received (USD)

Loss (USD)

Loss (%)

Mid-Market**

1.2547

$62,735

$0.00

0.00%

Ave. FX Broker

1.2515

$62,575

$160.00

0.26%

PayPal

1.2118

$60,590

$2,145.00

3.54%

Ave. Bank

1.2085

$60,425

$2,310.00

3.82%

Last updated: 15/07/2019
* This table compares only exchange rates and does not account for commissions and fixed fees
** Mid-market exchange rate

As you can see, the exchange rate makes a significant difference to the value of your foreign exchange transaction. Using a bank like HSBC, Barclays, or others for international transfers can mean you’re up to almost 4.00% worse off.

That’s why you should always choose a specialized currency provider who can provide much more competitive foreign exchange rates. Rune a search on Monito's real-time comparison engine below to find the best deal today:

Compare Exchange Rates Across Foreign Exchange Providers

Frequently Asked Questions About Large Transfers

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