What is the cheapest way to send $4k USD from Greece to US?
July 6, 2009 2:36 PM   Subscribe

What is the cheapest way to send $4k USD from Greece to US?

I left Greece today and accidentally left behind $4k USD (I know, quite foolish of me) in a friend's safe. The friend can wire the money to my bank account, but I am worried that the Greek bank will require the funds to first be converted to Euros, and then converted back to USD over the wire, thus resulting in a double conversion charge. Is there any way to avoid this? I'm looking for the cheapest way to send $4k USD from Greece to US.
posted by lupefiasco to Work & Money (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is time an issue?
posted by Lolie at 2:39 PM on July 6, 2009

Response by poster: Time is not an issue.
posted by lupefiasco at 2:42 PM on July 6, 2009

I use PayPal when I need to convert money to $US. If time isn't an issue, this might be an option for you. If you have a credit card provider which operates internationally, they may have a relatively cheap way of converting the money. Here, banks are usually the worst option because they charge pretty hefty fees in addition to commission on the currency exchange. Check what fees the receiver might have to pay at their bank, too.

On the other hand, I've found that most currencies can be directly converted to $US, but I haven't tried converting to a European currency lately so I'm not sure whether the Euro thing will necessarily come into play.
posted by Lolie at 2:50 PM on July 6, 2009

Best answer: First, find out if your worry will come true. You can specify the currency of a wire transfer.

I've used Money Bookers in the past, they were cheap.
posted by devnull at 2:50 PM on July 6, 2009

Response by poster: Would I be insane to try to send the money with Fedex or UPS?
posted by lupefiasco at 2:55 PM on July 6, 2009

Cash and currency is prohibited by FedEx.

posted by dfriedman at 3:01 PM on July 6, 2009

How much are you seriously going to lose with "conversion rates"? So you lose a hundred bucks- you get most of your $4k back.

Why would have $4000 cash in the first place? Sorry but gotta ask.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 3:02 PM on July 6, 2009

4 questions and two are about how to send large amounts of currency internationally- seems awfully weird.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 3:04 PM on July 6, 2009

You could use Western Union, but from memory their fees are pretty hefty.
posted by Lolie at 3:04 PM on July 6, 2009

1. Friend opens account with bank with branches in both Greece and the US. HSBC is one I can think of off the top of my head.
2. Friend sends you activated ATM card, plus all online log-in info so you both can see what's happening in the account.
3. Friend manually deposits $4000. Conversion fee from dollars to euros (should be relatively small with an amount this large) paid once.
4. You withdraw the amount from a ATM. You pay a foreign withdrawal fee each time.
5. You send ATM card back to friend.
6. Friend closes account, or keeps it open...you've got your money now, so it doesn't matter.
posted by mdonley at 3:05 PM on July 6, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses everyone. I will have my friend check with the banks to see if I have to worry about double conversion. Also, is Western Union an option?

For the back story, I'm moving back to the US from another country, and converted my remaining funds in that country's currency to USD before I left. I stopped in Greece for a short vacation before heading back home.
posted by lupefiasco at 3:06 PM on July 6, 2009

Response by poster: Also, to clarify what seems to be some confusion, my funds are currently in physical USD cash (thus 'in a friend's safe'). So I'm looking for a solution that avoids any conversion.
posted by lupefiasco at 3:12 PM on July 6, 2009

Western Union is an option, it's just expensive. Honestly I think it's mainly used by people who don't have any other way to transfer money; the fees are that extortionate.

Do you have open accounts at any major banks that have branches in Greece? (Like HSBC or similar.) If you do, it might be possible for your friend to make a deposit in USD into your account from the local branch there. That might avoid the conversion charge.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:23 PM on July 6, 2009

If you use paypal, may i sugest asking your friend to put the money into his bank acount, and paying it to you via an "echeque". i sell a lot of stuff on ebay mostly international, when im recieving payment for big ticket items i always ask the buyer to use echeque as its capped at about US$8.00. otherwise they will hit you for about 3.4%. it takes about 5 days to clear, but its considerably cheaper.
posted by dent8101 at 5:03 AM on July 7, 2009

If your friend can open a USD chequing account in Greece, then he could write you a cheque for the amount and mail it to you. It would take time, but shouldn't result in charges.
For example, I have a USD account in the UK and cheques clear through the parent back in New York.
Shouldn't impact your friend's credit score in Greece as it doesn't work the same in Europe as the US. I would however, offer to pay for your friend to have a nice dinner out for the hassle.
posted by arcticseal at 11:53 AM on July 7, 2009

« Older Writer needs to spend time with an Asperger's. In...   |   6 or 1/2 dozen the other? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.