I just want to send money to France from the USA without hassle
July 18, 2013 9:46 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to send money (less than 100 USD) to a friend who lives in France. He/She does not have any American bank accounts. I've tried to do it through paypal (they have a paypal acount as well) but i'm receiving an error "We're sorry, but we can't send your payment right now." This appears to be a very common problem without a clear solution. My Paypal account is verified and I've just used my paypal account to purchase other things within the month, so I know all of my info is current and correct.

How else can I transfer this to them with minimal hassle and minimal fees ? I've went to my local bank, but it's $20 for a wire transfer. I don't have their account information although I can ask them.

I've found a few similar questions but they're all a couple years old and hope that a mefite has had a similar experience very recently with paypal or otherwise.
posted by fizzix to Work & Money (16 answers total)
That small amount of money I would probably just throw it in a well sealed/padded envelope, drop it in the mail, and pray to the postal gods for a safe delivery.
posted by Captain_Science at 9:51 AM on July 18, 2013

There's always Moneygram/Western Union.
posted by Dragonness at 9:55 AM on July 18, 2013 [4 favorites]

Moneygram. I've used it to send money and there are offices all over the world, including across France. If you can't get an account set up online, you can send from a Moneygram office near you, your friend picks it up 20 minutes later at a Moneygram office in France. Your friend does need to sort out what office is easiest for them to reach before you send, though.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:57 AM on July 18, 2013

Western Union and such charge about $5.

That $20 wire transfer is a feature of all international bank transfers regardless of bank you are with because they all use the same third party wire transfer company.

My wife and I paid our student loans across international borders by giving signed blank checks to a very trusted person who deposited them for us each month. If this is a regular transfer you will be making I advise this route to avoid getting dinged on each transfer (over seven years our strategy saved us $3360 with Western Union it would have still cost $840 )
posted by srboisvert at 10:05 AM on July 18, 2013

Moneygram/Western Union. I've done it and it's very easy! You can do it on line.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:11 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Amazon.fr gift card by e-mail?
posted by iviken at 10:21 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

For less than $100? Send cash in the mail.
posted by ssg at 10:33 AM on July 18, 2013

I found xe.com to be very inexpensive and fast, though it took a bit of fiddling to set up all the account information on both sides. The fee to transfer $180 was like $5.
posted by wnissen at 10:38 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

minimal hassle and minimal fees ?

Less than $US100? Put the cash (crisp notes, please) in an illustrated, folded card. A birthday, greeting, Hallmark, whatever, kind of card. Then mail it to your friend. No bank charges. No Paypal aggravations.
posted by Mister Bijou at 10:39 AM on July 18, 2013

Seconding xe.com; it is a bit of fiddling (you will need to get your friend's account information) but it's very useful.
posted by xueexueg at 10:43 AM on July 18, 2013

Can't your bank help you convert $100 into the corresponding sum of Euros and then generate a cashier's check for that sum for you to mail? Do checks not work internationally anymore?
posted by BigLankyBastard at 10:52 AM on July 18, 2013

BigLankyBastard: the last time I tried to do something like that at my bank, they charged me $25 to convert the currency.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 12:08 PM on July 18, 2013

The way to do this while avoiding conversion woes is a hawala transfer. Find someone local with family in France, give them $100, and ask them to ask their family to send 76 Euros to your friend. In fact, since they (still) use the Euro, you can do this with anyone who has family anywhere in Europe.

(Okay, that was partly tongue in cheek. If they can deal with US$, I endorse all the above suggestions of just mailing 5 crisp $20 bills inside a card that says "Thinking of you".)
posted by RedOrGreen at 1:02 PM on July 18, 2013


Skrill (formerly called Moneybookers).

posted by Dansaman at 1:08 PM on July 18, 2013

On a limb here, I'd suggest trying to call PayPal (since the OP hasn't indicated that has been tried). I've lived in Asia since 2008, and the connection to my American account has been a lifeline. Go through the steps of contacting them by phone, and you'll get a six-digit number to refer to your case. Every experience I've had dealing with them on the phone has been easier than expected - and I'd bet they can tell you why the transaction's been blocked, and whether there's anything that can be done.

If nothing else can be done, of course, cash in the mail works wonders.
posted by chrisinseoul at 1:03 AM on July 19, 2013

Thanks for the responses although this has an anticlimatic resolution:

My friend actually had created their paypal account with a different email address than the one I had been trying to send to. I used their other email and it worked fine, a fee of ~$2.50 for $65. It was actually cheaper than WU [depending on how fast it'd arrive in their account, $5 or 10] or moneygram [10].

Thinking that paypal would give an explicit error message stating that would probably give them too much credit.
posted by fizzix at 5:01 PM on July 20, 2013

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