Could Gmail offer an easy solution to your money transfer problems?
PayPal has long been the first port of call for people looking to send money online to friends or family members, but this long-standing dominance is set to be challenged by Internet giant Google. It’s now possible for people in the USA and the UK to send money via Gmail. The service is fast, secure and easy to use, but at the time of writing, it is not yet available in Australia.
So, how does Gmail’s money sending service work, and what other options are available to Australians looking to send money online?
While this service is not available in Australia, you can still send money using a service below
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Sending money via Gmail
The ability to send money via Gmail is available thanks to the integration of Google Wallet, the Internet giant’s electronic payment processing service, with its popular email service. It’s a very convenient and simple way to send money: all you have to do is “attach” money to your email in the same way you would attach any other file. This makes it simple to pay your roommate rent, pay your share of a split dinner bill, or send money to friends and family for whatever reason.
However, the service does have two very big drawbacks. First, the service is only available to British and American Gmail customers, not Australians, so you’ll need to look elsewhere for a way to send money online for the time being.
Second, the service does not allow international transfers, only domestic ones. So UK customers can only send money to friends and family within the UK, and US customers can only send funds within their own country.
How to send money via Gmail
The process of sending money via Gmail is simple. All you have to do is:
- Login to your Gmail account.
- Click the “Compose” button.
- Enter the email address of the person you want to send money to.
- Add an email subject and message (this step is optional).
- Click the $ icon (£ for UK users) from the menu screen at the bottom of your email.
- If you’re a new Google Wallet customer, at this stage you will be asked to set up your account.
- Enter the amount of money you want to send and choose how the transaction will be funded. You also have the option at this stage to request money from someone else.
- Click “Attach”.
- Review your message and then click “Send”.
It’s free for your beneficiary to receive money, but they will need to have a Google Wallet account.
Features and benefits of sending money via Gmail
Although it does have its drawbacks, Gmail’s online money transfer service also has its advantages:
- Free transfers. It’s free for US users to send money using their Google Wallet Balance, debit card, or your bank account linked to Google Wallet. For UK users, transactions are free if funded by their Google Wallet Balance or debit card.
- Security. Google Wallet Purchase Protection provides 100% cover for any eligible unauthorised payments. You can also enable two-step authentication on your Google Wallet account for added security.
- Transfer limit. A transfer limit of USD$9,999 applies to each transaction, with a total limit of USD$50,000 per five-day period.
- Fast transfers. The funds you transfer from your Wallet account, debit card, or linked bank account will typically be available to your beneficiary within minutes.
Not available to Australians
Unfortunately, Australian consumers are not able to send money via their Gmail accounts, with the service only available to Gmail account holders from the UK and the US at the time of writing. The service is also only available for domestic transfers, so it’s of no use if you want to send money overseas.
Fingers crossed that Google’s online money transfer service will be expanded to our shores soon, but in the meantime, it’s not an option for Australians.
International money transfer options from Australia
So, what options are available to Australian consumers looking for an easy and affordable way to send money overseas?
- Online money transfer providers. Recent years have seen the emergence of specialist money transfer companies such as OFX and WorldFirst. These providers are foreign exchange experts which trade large volumes of foreign currency. This allows them to offer competitive exchange rates, minimal fees, and safe and convenient online transactions.
- Cash transfer providers. There are certain situations where you may want to send a cash transfer to a loved one overseas, for example if they need emergency funds to pay an urgent bill. Both Western Union and MoneyGram offer this service, allowing you to send funds to hundreds of thousands of locations around the world.
- Bank transfers. Your bank can help you send convenient transfers just about anywhere in the world. Bank transfers are easy to send and also mean you won’t have to open a new account – simply use your existing account – but you’ll typically be able to find better exchange rates and lower fees elsewhere.
- PayPal. PayPal’s international money transfer service allows Australians to send funds around the world in 100 currencies. It’s simple, convenient and affordable for smaller transfers, but PayPal’s fee structure means it may not be the best option for large transfers.
Which transfer service is the best?
The best transfer service for you will vary depending on your personal needs and circumstances. In most cases, the cheapest transfers are available from specialist online transfer companies because they take smaller exchange rate margins and charge minimal or no transaction fees.
However, depending on the amount you’re transferring, it may be possible to find a cheaper option when sending a small sum via PayPal. Alternatively, if you need to send a cash transfer, Western Union and MoneyGram offer fast and reliable services.
The amount you send, where you send it, and how quickly you need it to get there will all affect your choice of transfer provider.
How to compare international money transfer providers
You should always consider the following factors when choosing a provider to handle your international money transfer:
- Exchange rate. Shop around for the company that consistently offers the best exchange rates, as even a slight variation in rates can make a big difference to the amount you can send. However, be wary of exchange rates that sound too good to be true, as they may come with high transaction fees attached.
- Transfer fees. Examine the provider’s fee structure for the amount you want to send. Does the company charge a flat fee or a fee calculated as a percentage of your transfer amount? If you send more than a specific amount, for example $10,000, will the provider waive its transfer fees?
- Transfer amount. Does the provider impose a minimum or maximum limit on the amount you can send? Will the transfer amount have any effect on the transaction fee you must pay?
- How the money will be sent. Will the money be sent online, in cash form or straight from your bank account to your recipient’s account? It’s also worth comparing how you will be able to pay for the transfer: bank transfer, debit card, credit card or cash.
- Availability of transfer options. If using a specialist online transfer company, you might want to check if it offers special transfer options such as forward contracts, limit orders and recurring transfers. These convenient options can help you save time and lock in a better exchange rate.
- Supported currencies. How many currencies does the provider support for international transfers? Are all the currencies you are ever likely to use available? It’s also a good idea to specifically compare the exchange rates each company offers on the currency pairs you will want to trade.
- Processing time. Compare how long it will take for the money you send to be made available to your beneficiary. If you need to send an urgent transfer as soon as possible, you may have to pay an extra fee.
- Customer support. If you ever have a question or a problem with a transfer, how will you be able to access customer support?
Even though Australians don’t have the option to send money via Gmail, there are still plenty of other international money transfer choices available. Compare your transfer options to find a provider that offers convenient and affordable transactions.