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How Online Money Transfers Work

        Money | Online Banking

Online Money Transfers: Credit Cards and Fees
Credit cards have an interesting history.
Credit cards have an interesting history.

In some cases, you don't have to have a bank account to send money online -- or even to receive it from an online transfer. A credit card is a viable tool in this regard. But do note that, as is usually the case with credit cards, it's going to cost you. While most online transfer services (Western Union, MoneyGram) treat debit and credit cards the same for the money sender -- it's just a method of payment -- iKobo, for example, can charge as much as 30 percent if the sender uses a credit card [source: iKobo].

Fortunately, if you do use a credit card to apply funds to an online money transfer, credit card companies view it as a purchase, not a cash advance, because the money is not going to you. As far as the credit card company is concerned, you are purchasing a service. This is far more economically sound than using a credit card cash advance and simply sending the needy party a check; cash advance fees can run as high as 4 percent [source: credit.com]. But that's 4 percent on the transaction. The balance of that cash advance then goes on your credit card bill, where it's also subject to the usual credit card monthly interest rate. Payday loan houses, which are appealing because they don't require credit checks, charge even higher interest rates; the annual percentage rate (APR) can run, on average, 400 percent [source: Davidson & Miller].

As stated, iKobo's model uses a preloaded debit card. This is good for sending money to people who don't have a bank account, while offering the flexibility of point-of-purchase ease of use a standard bank-issued debit card offers. The sender can upload an amount onto the recipient's card for as little as $8 if the money comes from a checking account, as opposed to a credit card. The recipient, however, ends up paying for the convenience. The card carries a $1.99 monthly maintenance fee, a $2.25 ATM withdrawal fee, and 55 cents for point-of-purchase, like a store [source: iKobo]. All of these fees come off the balance of the card.

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