Tuesday, July 25, 2023


Adam Engst:

Then we found Melio, which promises ACH payments for free and has no transaction limits (banks may have their own). Melio makes its money by charging for rush payments, credit card payments, paper checks, and what are essentially payment loans. While those upsell opportunities are always visible in the interface, there’s no problem with using it purely with ACH for free. Note that Melio doesn’t do wire transfers.


Everyone I pay regularly said entering the necessary routing and account numbers to receive payments was easy, although they were all in the US. When I looked into paying Kirk McElhearn, who lives in the UK, I found that Melio supports international payments, but that requires getting the recipient’s SWIFT or IBAN number and costs $20 per transaction.


Melio also lets you upload a PDF invoice or image, then parses it to create a bill, which is quite slick, or you can sync with QuickBooks. A quick search revealed that there’s also a Melio Payments integration with Xero, but reviews suggest it has synchronization problems.


PayPal is very expensive way to send money across currencies or borders. If you need to do this in the future, I recommend Wise (that’s my referral link which gets you your first transfer for free). Their rates+fees are generally the best you’ll find, and the interface is excellent. I’ve been using them for many years (they were formally called TransferWise). And don’t be fooled by ‘no fees’ from PayPal and similar – it’s all in the ridiculous exchange rate they use!


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Atlantic Money is one of the cheapest international money transfer services currently, and can be faster and less expensive than Wise for larger transfers.

It never ceases to amaze me how bad (for an average person) the U.S. money transfer system is. I mean I get it – it’s very old, it has a lot of stakeholders (all legacy infrastructure and small banks). Still, sending money in the U.S. seems like a major pain. The Europe seems to be so much ahead here – whole of the EU (and a few other countries such as Norway or Switzerland) are within SEPA. Works in Euro, sending money to any other country takes up to one working day and is generally free of charge (or something very low such as 1 or 2 EUR). And in some countries the situation is even better. In Poland, for example, everything is SEPA integrated as well, even though we don’t have euro instead of the national currency. Money transfers in Poland are free (maybe some banks still charge a bit for them but it’s been years since I’ve seen it personally), usually arrive within few hours. If you need to send it urgently, you can pay 1-2 EUR equivalent. It goes without saying that all banks are integrated with it as it’s a legal obligation to do so.
Not to mention that there are other innovative methods of transferring money – many people can transfer money using just phone numbers instead of bank accounts.
I’m also surprised nobody mentioned Revolut – it’s a financial app that’s also available in the U.S., known for its ease of use and relatively low fees. Feels much better especially for smaller payments (e.g. when settling a restaurant bill with friends) than Wise.

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