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A Money Transfer Comparison of Xoom, Moneybookers, Western Union and Ikobo

Feb 25, 2008
Here is a comparison of four of the main companies providing money transfer services around the globe:

Ikobo cards: This is a re-loadable prepaid visa debit card. It is in no way linked to your bank account meaning there is no need for any credit checks; very useful for those people with a bad credit rating. You can transfer money on to the card and then this can be withdrawn from any ATM anywhere in the world which has the Visa sign. To gain an Ikobo card you simply order one directly from them and have it sent to whom ever you want.

The Ikobo card works as follows: the card is sent via FEDEX to any individual in the world and can only be utilized by using the four digit pin code which only the recipient will be aware of. There is virtually no risk of more than the available amount of money being used as it is not linked directly to a bank account. The card can simply be reloaded using a secure online service where you can transfer funds instantaneously from any of the many supported currencies.

Main Advantages: cash withdrawals from visa atms worldwide, minimal reload costs, assignable to anyone worldwide, minimal credit checks required, avoids the need to carry large amounts of travelers cheques.

Main Disadvantages: these cards can only be used with Visa atms (occasionally limited and there is no credit limit available).

Western Union: Fund transfers with western union can be done either online or physically at a money transfer agent. Usually the funds will be available within minutes however to comply with anti money-laundering laws sometimes you are required to making a confirmation phone call before the money is released. A confirmation of money collection is also sent to the sender.

For online transfers and transfers made from an agent location the only information required are the personal names and details of the sender and the receiver. The send if at a agent location needs to provide their passport as must the receiver on collection. When the sender sends the money they receive a personal MTCN number (Money Control Number) which they then need to pass on to the receiver so that they can make the collection.

Main Advantages: funds transferred within minutes, transfers can be made online or offline, receiver will collect the money inn local currency, there is a huge network of agent locations around the world, receiver does not need a bank account to receive funds and there are other message services available as well.

Main Disadvantages: Generally this is one of the most costly money transfer providers; you may be required to make a phone call from your home address to confirm a transfer.

Xoom Money Transfer: This service works through the following process online: enter the recipients contact information, enter the amount you wish to send, select a delivery method- money can be collected, hand delivered or entered into your bank, credit card or paypal account. Enter your payment details bank, credit card or paypal account details. Press send and then let your recipient know the money is on the way. You will then be issued with a Xoom tracking number.

Main Advantages: the transfer fees are more competitive than from other companies, online transactions and the ability to transfer direct into US bank accounts also make it a very attractive option.

Main Disadvantages: The main limitatation is that they do not operate in as many countries as do some of the other companies, for example no service is available to transfer money to Thailand a very popular destination for sending and receiving money.

Moneybookers: With this company again you are required to register but the web-site has been created with similar security levels as sites containing banking services and share trading services.

After registering all you need is your email address and password to make payments and the receiver doesn't need a money bookers account. You follow the onscreen process to register your cards and then you are able to pay at over 3500 online shops so you don't need to show them each time you want to make purchases.

Money bookers supports 12 languages and payment in local currency is available in over 30 countries. They provide customer support through an online messaging which deals with enquiries quickly and efficiently.

Main Advantages: Very competitive transfer fees, additional services like sending SMS and faxes are available and instantaneous money transmissions as borderless as the internet.

Main Disadvantages: They don't quite have the scale or mass network as other more established companies do.

So, there you have four of the main companies available for money transfers outlined for you. There are plenty of other options besides; this is just to show you the variety and scope of services available. Both the number of money transfer companies and services available are growing daily so if you need to make a money transfer don't rush, have a look at a few different companies, check the small print and find the one that suits you the most.
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