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I would like to set up a monthly transfer of money (same amount every month) from my bank account (in the [mainland] US) to my parents' (in Puerto Rico).

I was surprised to learn from the person I spoke to about this at my bank that such transfers from the US to PR would be considered "international," and therefore subject to a $35 dollar fee per transfer.

This may very well be the standard going rate for such transactions, but I find it an unacceptably high price to pay for the service that I actually require, so I'm now searching for alternatives.

I'm also looking for better keywords to search for information relevant to what I'm trying to do. Everything I find when I search for transferring money between US and PR seems directed at time-critical one-time wire transfers.

In contrast, I want to set up monthly transfers, for which the speed of the transfer per se is not too important. All matters is consistency (i.e. reliability) in the time that it takes between the withdrawal from my account and the deposit into my parents', so that my parents can safely count on the money being there for them by a pre-arranged date.

(One additional difficulty is that my parents are not tech savvy, and in particular, not at all "internet-literate". I imagine that this rules out many possible options. Yet another possibility that is not an option for me is to send the money in yearly installments, so that the total yearly cost of the transfer is only $35 instead of $420.)

  • I would try asking at another bank, especially a large U.S. bank that has a branch in Puerto Rico, such as Citi Bank. – Ben Miller Nov 3 '15 at 14:02
  • Citi Bank does not have branches anymore in PR. – scubaFun Nov 3 '15 at 16:17
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    What's wrong with a good, old fashion check? You could set that up online with your bank as an "online bill pay" with your parents as the recipient, so it will at least be consistent out of your account. It would still require your parents to deposit the check, of course. – user32479 Nov 3 '15 at 17:05
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    according to city-data.com/forum/u-s-territories/… banco Popular de Puerto Rico also has on shore branches, perhaps that is a possibility? – MD-Tech Nov 3 '15 at 17:07
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Puerto Rico: Last I checked, the Puerto Rico banking system wasn't materially different than working within the US - though some Continental US banks exclude US Territories like Guam and Puerto Rico or charge more when dealing with them. I'm not certain as to why. However, most banks don't see them any differently than a regular US bank.

Regarding Wire Transfers (WT): $35 for an ad-hoc WT within the US and Puerto Rico is for the most part average. Wires cost money for the convenience of quick clearing and guaranteed funds. If you have a business/commercial account where you are doing this regularly and paying a monthly fee for a WT service, $10 - $15 each may be expected. I had a business account with US Bank where I paid $15 a month for a WT transfer service and reoccurring template (always went to the same account - AMEX in this case) and the transfers were only $15 each. But, a WT as a general rule, especially when it's only a once a month thing from a personal account, will cost around $25 - $35 in the US and Puerto Rico. As others have said, you can simply mail a personal check just as you would in the US. Many people choose to use Money Orders for Puerto Rico as they can be cashed at the post office (I believe there is an amount limit though).

ACH: If you want even easier, I would use ACH. Banks in Puerto Rico use this ACH (Automatic Clearing House) system as we do in the Continental US. It will take a little longer than WT, but as you said - this is fine. Not all US Banks offer free ACH, but a number of them do. Last I checked, Citibank and USAA where among them. Banks like, BAC charges a small fee. Much smaller than a WT!

This post may be useful to you: What's the difference between wire transfer and ACH?

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