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Are there any laws that protect me if I send money to someone in another country?

Yes, there are laws to protect you. Many businesses that send money to other countries for consumers must follow federal consumer protection law, as well as some states’ laws.

 These businesses include many money transfer companies, banks and credit unions, and possibly other types of financial services companies.

Under federal law, remittance transfer providers typically must provide certain information before and after consumers pay for an international money transfer:

  • The exchange rate.
  • Fees and taxes they collect from you.
  • Fees charged by the company’s agents abroad and certain other institutions involved in the transfer process.
  • The amount of money expected to be delivered, not including foreign taxes or certain fees charged to the recipient.
  • If appropriate, a statement that additional foreign taxes and fees may apply.

You will also get information about when the money will be available, instructions on your right to cancel transfers, what to do in case of an error, and how to submit a complaint.

The law gives most consumers 30 minutes (and sometimes more) to cancel remittance transfers at no charge, unless the transfer has already been picked up or deposited into the recipient’s account.

If you think an error was made with a remittance transfer and you promptly contact the company, it generally has 90 days to investigate the matter. The company also must notify you of the investigation’s results. For certain types of errors, such as if the money never arrives, you may be able to get a refund or have the transfer sent again. You can also submit a complaint to the CFPB.

The law regarding remittance transfers does not apply to every company that sends money internationally. But other protections may be available to you, depending on how you send the money and the laws in your state. Contact your state attorney general or state financial regulator for more about your state’s laws.