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In the flat world we live in today, I regularly leverage the expertise of people in foreign countries. My go-to PHP developer is based in eastern Russian, I’ve leaned on general technology consulting out of India from time to time, and the plethora of manufacturers in China (thanks Alibaba) are easily accessible. I’ve had far more failures than successes, but the ability to engage in the international market has increased the options I have as a person interested in testing new side projects (on a small budget).

If you’ve ever participated in the world of small-scale international business, you’ve likely dealt with payment challenges. Payoneer, Paypal, and Western Union are commonly used but all have their issues. Paypal has some of the worst currency conversion rates around. Payoneer places the (high) burden of fees on the buyer. Western Union, while vastly improved with its electronic offerings, is just overpriced and a technology of yesteryears. Surely there exists a fairly priced, efficient method to deliver payments internationally, right?

Well, after struggling through lesser options for years, I finally was introduced to TransferWise. So far, I’ve used their service for seven transfers. The exchange rate is right on with the current market rates and fees are minimal – I recently paid $14.81 for a $1000 USD transfer to Russian RUB. One downside is that it requires full bank and personal information of the recipient, but the advantage is that the payment is directly delivered as an ACH transfer to their account, rather than some unnecessary dependency on a third-party account.

All in all, I can’t recommend TransferWise enough. Most of my international providers have been so pleased to use TransferWise that they have lowered the rate they charge me. It’s really a win-win for everyone. For me, it’s a simple to use, low-fee option to pay someone for their services or goods. For providers, TransferWise is often a better exchange rate than they could receive even from their local bank.

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