If you need to send money to someone in the Central American nation of Belize, you can do it the "old-fashioned" way by sending a check or money order. Modern technology provides three faster and more reliable ways to do this: bank-to-bank wire transfers, a bank-centered service like MoneyGram or Western Union, or an email-centered service like PayPal. Each method has its own costs and procedures, and the transaction times can vary.
Bank-to-Bank Wire Transfers
Visit a bank and send the money by wire transfer. This is the easiest method available, though the most expensive. Give the bank your name, the recipient's name and address and bank information (account and routing number).
The transfer can take from a few hours to a week. Confirm with your bank how long it will take. The recipient will have to go to the bank to pick it up, or it can be deposited directly into his account.
Fees for wire tranfers differ slightly from bank to bank. For example, in sending money to Belize, Bank of America charges $35 to $45 to the sender and $16 to the recipient.
Bank-Centered Service Companies
Try a dedicated money-wiring service like Western Union or MoneyGram. They use the same wire-transfer technology as the bank, but they streamline it so you can do it on line. As with a bank wire transfer, it takes a few hours to a week. The cost is lower: $5.00 to send $50 to Belize.
Visit MoneyGram or Western Union's home page and create an account or sign in. Fill in the country of origin and the recipient's country, choose a delivery option, and then click "Continue."
Enter the amount and type of currency. Fill in the tecipient's name. Put in your credit-card number to pay for the transaction amount plus fees. You'll see a date when the money will be available in Belize and a confirmation number. Send this information to the recipient, which he will need to receive the money.
Use PayPal if you know the recipient's email address. There are other email-centered companies, but Paypal is the most established. PayPal charges $1.50 to send any amount up to $300 to Belize. The recipient will receive an email telling her the money has arrived. It will be available to her immediately.
Find the PayPal home page and sign up if you don't already have an account. Registration can take several days. As part of the process, PayPal will make a small transaction with the bank account or credit card you're using, and you will have to verify that information.
Once you have an active account, sign into PayPal and click on "Send Money." Enter the email address of the recipient, plus the amount and type of currency. Attach an optional label to the transaction that reminds you of its purpose. Click "Send Money" to finalize the transaction. The recipient will receive an email telling him he has received the money. He can then transfer it to his bank account.
- The American money image by Viacheslav Anyakin from Fotolia.com