May 092013

By W.H.A.|

1. othel ward wrote:
I sent money to Jessica Hottenstine and would like to know in what city she
picked it up. She said she was out of gas in Fort Wayne after a doctor
appointment but lives in Crawfordsville. Like to see if she lied to me or
not.tracking number is ********. I sent it from Frankfort In. 46041. I sent
20.00 dollars money gram transfer

Answer: Jessica, call the MoneyGram customer service line at 1-800-328-5678 or 1-800-MoneyGram, and ask them what city the money was picked up in. I don’t know if that will tell you if Jessica lied or not, though. If she’s a good friend of yours then maybe you should trust her. If not, then don’t send her any more money.

2. ma.lyka nate wrote:
can i know if this MoneyGram reference number is ready to pick up by reciever
ref:# ********

Answer: malyka, call MoneyGram customer service at 1-800-328-5678 or 1-800-MoneyGram, and ask them if the money was picked up.

3. Patricia Bassett wrote:
I have fraud charges on my debt card through pay pal account I would appreciate
some help on this matter. Thank you

Answer: First, contact Paypal customer support and notify them. Second, contact your bank and ask them to reverse the charges.

Best of luck to all of you. Always protect yourself when it comes to money transfers. Make sure your receiver is who they say they are. Check customer reviews of that seller. If you have any doubt, don’t send the money.

Jan 152013

Money transfer services have become an important part of modern society. Because of the number of online businesses growing and thriving, as well as individuals using the internet to shop from places around the world opposed to visiting brick and mortar stores, it has become essential to have a means of transferring money from one party to another.

Although an essential financial service, there is one big challenge in that not all companies are honest.

Worldwide money transfers

Money transfer

Companies that conduct fraudulent acts and people who scam hit virtually every market imaginable but obviously, anything that involves money becomes a primary target.

To avoid getting caught up in the madness, consumers have both the right and responsibility to research every aspect of money transfer services to find those deemed safe.

Top Global Transfer Companies

While most companies offer much the same services there are unique aspects of each. For that reason, a person would first need to determine what features are considered most important from a transfer company.

One thing in particular a person should learn is the countries for which services are offered. Because this is one of the many important features, we felt it would be beneficial to provide an overview of a few of the top-ranking money transfer services.

Personal FX

  • Specific to, which allows transfers of £5,000 and up for entry in prize drawings.
  • Monthly payments of at least £250.
  • No limit for the amount of bank transfer payments but a limit of £20,000 for debit cards.
  • If transferring £5,000 or less, fees could apply.
  • 24×7 access to real time exchange rates.
  • Services are authorized and regulated by FSA


  • Maintains a 5 out of 5 rating for service among the top five money websites specific to money transfer services.
  • £100,000 limit on transfers completed online with the amount higher for phone transfers.
  • Services are 100% transparent with mid-market rates being offered minus only a minimal service fee.
  • Services are authorized and regulated by the FSA.
  • 24×7 customer support via phone


  • Specific to, which allows transfers of £5,000 and up for entry in prize drawings.
  • Minimum amount of transfers is £250.
  • Online transfers available below and above £20,000 with phone transfers can be completed for even higher amounts.
  • Real time exchange rates and no hidden fees o Money transfer services of £3,000 or less are charged a fee of £9.
  • Services are authorized and regulated by the FSA


  • Specific to with money transfers of £10,000 and higher being used as entry into monthly prize drawings.
  • Only bank transfers are allowed, eliminating the need to deal with cash o Real time exchange rates and professional customer support.
  • Services are authorized and regulated by the FSA.

Lloyds TSB

  • Must be a current Lloyds account holder.
  • No limit on money transfers when completed at a local branch but a £5,000 limit on transfers completed via phone.
  • Fee of £17.50 for money transfers of £5,000 and over and £10 for transfers of less than £5,000 although any intermediary or receiving bank could tack on additional fees.
  • Currencies of all types are available.


  • Currently 23 unique currencies are available.
  • No minimum on transfer amounts.
  • Sending money involves a 3.9% transfer fee when using a balance maintained with PayPal or a bank account, as well as a currency conversion fee, and possible other fees charged by intermediary or receiving banks.
  • Exchange rate would only be confirmed at the time of money being transferred

Key Considerations

No matter the reason for sending/receiving money to or from another country, it is important to learn everything possible about the company offering money transfer services. A good understanding of what different companies offer for money transfer services could have a significant impact on your user experience.

After all, the amount of fees charged, amount of time for a transaction to complete, and the level of support received could vary dramatically. Spending time looking at the companies mentioned as well as others considered safe would be a worthwhile investment long-term.

Nov 082012

By W.H.A.|

I received the following question today:


Hello. I’m selling an item but the buyer’s payment (made through Paypal) is on hold until I pay the shipper’s fee. Is there any way that a payment on hold from Paypal for a reason of payment to a shipping agent can be released?

Can Paypal and my local Western Union get together to complete the payment without the seller getting ahold of funds? I have a $2,850 payment on hold because buyer wanted me to pay shipping agent $900.00 and then I would get credited with the money after said transfer. I am unable to get funds so I want Paypal to send it to a Western Union and take care of it that way.. is that possible?

– Patrick


Cargo ship.

Shipping agent fee?

Patrick, you are being scammed. There is in fact no $2,850 payment on hold, and the “shipping agent” is fake. If you make that payment to the shipping agent, the “buyer” will disappear, and you will receive nothing.

This is a fairly new type of scam that almost always involves Paypal and Western Union. A “buyer” contacts you, expressing interest in some expensive item you are selling – often something you’ve advertised on Craigslist. The catch is that the buyer has his own shipping agent who will pick up the item, and you must pay the shipper.

The buyer claims to have deposited the funds in an escrow account, or in your case Patrick, he claims to have paid through Paypal but the funds are “on hold” until the shipper’s fee is paid. The scammer might send you a fake Paypal notification email, indicating that funds have been received in your account, or explaining why the funds are on hold. You are asked to pay the shipping agent by Western Union.

In reality, the shipping agent’s fee itself is the scam. The scammer takes that money and splits, paying you nothing.

See Woody Leonhard’s investigation of this type of scam here:

New “419” scam involves Paypal and Western Union

I’m glad you wrote to me before paying anything! Take care.

– W.H.A.

May 152012

By W.H.A.|

If you’re a foreigner living and working in the USA or some other Western country, and looking for ways to send money to your family back home, you’re in luck. Most Western nations have active and extensive money services markets. So there are plenty of options for sending money overseas. Another benefit of an active money services market is that healthy competition means lower rates for you.

Here are six super tips for finding a money transfer service for overseas remittances. These tips are based loosely on an article by Investopedia, with my own thoughts added in.

1. Banks Are the Best Option


Citibank is a good example of an international bank with branches in many foreign nations. This can be a convenient and cheap way to transfer money to family members overseas.

The best and most cost effective choice for sending money to a family member or friend overseas is an international bank with branches in both countries. You could have an account in the USA and grant access to the account to your family member overseas. Or your family member could set up an account, and you could simply deposit money in it. Either way, it will cost nothing at all, and the funds will typically be available the next business day.

Before opening an account, talk to the bank and verify that the branch in your home country and the branch overseas are connected; in other words, that the same account can be accessed from both countries.

2. Paypal is Quick and Affordable

If a bank account with an international bank is not an option, Paypal is not a bad second choice.  Paypal’s money transfers are instant, and quite affordable (in fact, when sending money from one account in the U.S. to another, they are free).

3. Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute

Start comparison shopping well in advance of when you need to send the money. Talk to the banks about their rates for international wire transfers. Look at affordable options like Paypal and Xoom. Check out specialized remittance agencies that serve the part of the world to which you want to send your money. Find a service that is affordable and reliable.

The problem comes when people don’t do their research, and all of a sudden they have to send money right away. Then they go to one of the ubiquitous and well known money transfer agencies like Western Union or MoneyGram. Don’t get me wrong, these services are extremely reliable, and have agents in every country of the world. But they are not cheap! For example, a $500 Western Union transfer to Mexico will cost $14 if you visit an agent in person. If you send transfers every month, those fees add up.

For last minute transfers, Paypal would again be the cheapest option if it is available in both countries.

4. Send More Money, Less Often (Rather than Less Money, More Often)

It’s often cheaper to send larger amounts of money than smaller amounts (cheaper in terms of the percentage of your transfer amount that you pay in fees – not in total dollars).

For example, if you wanted to use Western Union to send $100 (American dollars) from Los Angeles, California, to Indonesia, it would cost you $15 in fees. If you wanted your recipient to pocket $100, you’d have to pay $115. Let’s say you walked into a Western Union shop every week for nine weeks, and every week you sent $100. You’d end up paying $135 in fees.

On the other hand, if you sent the $900 all at one go by Western Union, the fee would be only $68.

So it’s much cheaper to send large amounts. It pays therefore to plan ahead, save the money you need to send, and send it in a large lump sum.

5. Shop Around

It’s easy and affordable to send remittances to very popular destinations, like Mexico (from the US), or India or Pakistan (from the UK). But if you’re sending money to a more remote or less popular destination, you’ll have to do your homework to find an affordable, safe money transfer service. Shop around and compare rates.

6. Know Your Exchange Rates

Some remittance services earn a profit by converting currencies. They might charge a low transfer fee, but ding you on the exchange rate. Before making a money transfer, look up the current exchange rate. Many websites can give you this information. I personally like Yahoo Finance’s currency converter.

Once you’ve checked the current exchange rate, make sure the rate being charged by the money transfer agency, remittance service or bank is close to that.

Be smart with your money, do your homework, and find a service that works for you.