When I became an expat, there was a lot I didn’t know. This was especially true in terms of finances.
I bungled along, losing money for months, before coming across international money transfer companies.
Paysend is one of the big names emerging in the industry. The good news is that PaySend has a strong global presence that extends to Indonesia.
I moved to Jakarta from South Africa at the beginning of 2017 and basically took my entire life with me. I’d been renting an apartment with my partner and we gave our notice and sold our furniture. We even sold our cars. We did not plan to live in Indonesia for the rest of our lives, but we wanted to go free of material attachments and knew we would eventually return as different people. Keeping a facsimile of our lives going in Johannesburg would have only held us back.
However, one thing we didn’t do was emigrate financially or even open a local bank account. We were both being paid in South African rands (ZAR) and it was easy enough to just swipe our debit or credit cards without ever thinking too hard about the exchange rate. This was a mistake.
For one thing, the exchange rate kept getting worse for us. For another, it constantly cost us money. The fees on a card transaction with our South African banks are negligible, but withdrawing cash is an expensive exercise. And anyone who has lived in Indonesia for any amount of time knows you need cash to get around.
Also, it really helps to have a local bank account in Indonesia. It makes it possible to connect a card to apps like GoJek and Tokopedia. It gives you access to endless rewards programs. It also means you are more fully committed to being in the country, without having to deal with your home bank all the time.
But what if your company will only pay you in your home country? And what about payments you need to make back home?
The financial life of an expat
Even if you emigrate financially, chances are you will still need to deal with international payments for the foreseeable future. You have a life back in your home country, whether relatives or a home you are holding onto or renting out.
Most expats are living in between two countries, at least in a financial sense. The unfortunate reality is that, as much as the world has progressed in terms of globalisation, banks have stayed in the past. Instead of financial institutions around the world being able to seamlessly work together, money transfers take days and are expensive.
This is why you should look into alternatives. Over the past couple of decades, international money transfer companies have been popping up, especially in countries like the UK. Paysend is one of the most recent startups, and it is truly flourishing.
What money transfer companies can offer
Money transfer companies like Paysend are modern versions of the traditional remittance services. They are a disruptive force in the foreign exchange field, which makes them exactly what we need in a fast-changing world.
Paysend and similar companies have been successful by identifying a niche that exists from banks remaining “dinosaurs.” Calling banks dinosaurs is nothing new. They are slow to change because they generally don’t have to. They are such important cogs in a country’s economy that their survival is in everyone’s interests.
When it comes to foreign exchange, most banks around the world have done little to improve processing and costs. A transfer can take days and they charge a significant fee. They also give you unfavorable exchange rates, which is their way of hiding additional fees.
Money transfer companies provide simple digital platforms to transfer money between countries. Not only do they charge much lower fees and commissions, but they also ensure transfers go through quickly and without too much admin. They are transparent about what they take and their continued success depends on their ability to keep the trust of clients who are sick of the banks.
Who is Paysend?
Paysend has come to my attention recently because it is making waves in the industry. From Paysend reviews, it is clear that both clients and experts are impressed with their service. They are consistently reviewed well when it comes to support, and their rates really are cheap.
They charge 1% on the transfer. Therefore, if you are transferring €400 from a country in Europe, you will receive €396.04 in Indonesia. This amounts to a little under IDR70,000 at the current exchange rate.
Banks on the other hand will charge a fixed fee as well as a percentage commission (which varies widely in different parts of the world), and hide extra fees in the exchange rate. You will be lucky to pay double what Paysend and similar companies charge you.
Paysend is continuing to extend its global presence, which is a good thing for expats everywhere. They are currently focusing on the US, and actually gained over 150 thousand new US customers in the last three months of 2020.
Do not make the mistake of assuming that swiping your credit card is going to be enough in Indonesia. You will need cash and you will benefit hugely from a local bank account. For this purpose, using a service like Paysend to transfer your money is seriously going to save you in the long run.