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Review of Xoom: The Money Transfer Service by PayPal

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Xoom, a PayPal company, is a money transfer service that allows you to make international digital payments that are quick, easy and secure. If your loved ones are scattered across the globe, Xoom lets you send money, pay bills and reload minutes on mobile phones from afar. Xoom services are available in 132 countries, meaning there’s a pretty solid chance that the location you’ll need falls under its umbrella.

In this review, we’ll walk you through the basics of sending money through the platform and help you decide if it meets your needs.

A brief history of Xoom

Xoom was founded in 2001, and PayPal acquired the company in 2015 for roughly $1.1 billion. In 2016, Xoom upgraded its features to allow recipients to request funds and by 2017, the company expanded its presence from 40 receive markets to 67 markets.

Xoom’s international money transfer services have also been integrated into PayPal, making it easier for you to send money outside the U.S. on the PayPal platform as well.

According to its website, Xoom and PayPal have a “shared vision” of making the international payment platform accessible to millions more people throughout the world, so expect it to grow in the future.

Xoom key features

  • High transfer limits: Xoom allows U.S. residents to send up to $100,000 USD within a 180-day period — do note that sending limits are set at three different levels, with different amounts requiring different sets of identification documents. Providing additional information and documents allows for your account to be upgraded.
  • Several ways to pay: Any Xoom service — i.e., sending money, reloading phones and paying bills — can be funded with a bank account, debit card or credit card, as well as a PayPal account.
  • Fees vary: The transaction fee you’re charged for using Xoom’s services fluctuates according to payment method, amount of money sent, where the money is sent and currency selected for disbursement.
  • Fast money transfers: In most cases, money is available to recipients in a matter of minutes, but transfers can take up to a few days. However, if you send more than $10,000 USD within 24 hours, the funds won’t be received for two to three business days, plus the standard processing time.
  • Instant bill pay: Enjoy the ability to pay a variety of utility bills on a loved one’s behalf in Mexico, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica and Vietnam. Bills are paid instantly, with the exception of Telmex bills in Mexico, which take two business days.
  • Xoom app: You can send money, reload phones and pay bills from the app. Available for iPhones and Android devices, the app lets users check the status of all transactions.

Sending a money transfer with Xoom

How long does a transfer take?Most transfers are completed in minutes, but the process can take up to a few days.
Where can you send money?Xoom allows you to send money to recipients in 132 countries.
How much can you send?Sending limits are set at three different levels (for more detail, see the chart below). Top tier senders in the U.S. — Level 3 — can send up to $100,000 USD within a 180-day period.

To send money via Xoom, you’ll need to create a free account or log in with your PayPal account. If you create an account, you’ll be asked to create a password and provide basic information, including your name, email address, phone number and country of residence. Afterwards, you’ll receive a verification email to activate your account. To connect a payment source to your account, add a bank account, credit card or debit card, and use it in a transaction. Payment sources can be updated or deleted from your “My Account” page.

Senders are categorized into three different levels. Each level has a limit on the amount of money you’re allowed to send during a certain time period. Different information and documents are required to reach each level. During your transaction, Xoom may ask questions, and if you need to provide more information, the company will email you with instructions.

Here’s a look at the sending limits and requirements for U.S. residents, as per the provider’s website.

Level24-hour limit30-day limit180-day limitRequired information and documents
1$2,999 USD$6,000 USD$9,999 USDSender profile information
2$10,000 USD$20,000 USD$30,000 USDSocial Security Number or passport
3$50,000 USD$60,000 USD$100,000 USD
  • Driver’s license, passport or green card

  • Bank statement or pay stub

  • Answer security questions Xoom sends via email


In most cases, the recipient will receive the funds minutes after they’re sent, but it can take a few days. Several factors can affect transfer times, including the country where your money is headed, the method in which funds are received — either bank deposit, cash pick up or home delivery — and the payment type — from a bank account, debit card or credit card.

In addition to sending limits, this provider also caps the amount of money recipients can receive, based on the sending level of the person(s) transferring the funds — do note that the receiving limits apply across senders. Any transaction that exceeds a recipient’s designated maximum will be canceled.

Here’s a look at the receiving limits from U.S. senders, as per the provider’s website.

From24-hours30-days180-days
Level 1 senders$15,000 USD$25,000 USD$55,000USD
Level 2 senders$15,000 USD$25,000 USD$55,000 USD
Level 3 senders$75,000 USD$90,000 USD$120,000 USD

Additionally, Xoom’s partners — these include banks, cash pick up locations and home delivery services — have restrictions that vary by country. These could include the amount of money that can be paid in a single transaction or to a recipient in a certain time period.

Fees and fine print

Fees and Penalties
Transfer feesXoom charges a transaction fee to send money internationally. Fees can vary according to several factors:
  • your payment method

  • the amount of money sent

  • where the money is sent from

  • the currency selected for disbursement


For certain destination countries, you can avoid fees by paying with a bank account, but not every country.

Xoom’s variable fee schedule is on par with other money transfer companies. It’s very common for fees to be calculated based on the criteria used by Xoom. For example, to send $1,000 to the United Kingdom, there are no fees to send from a bank account, but a $30.49 fee to send funds from a debit or a credit card.

Is Xoom a good money transfer service to use?

ProsCons
  • Xoom app: You can send money, reload phones and pay bills from the app. Available for iPhone and Android, the app lets users check the status of all transactions.
  • Funding options: Users may pay with a bank account, debit card or credit card.
  • Fast cash: Most money transfers are available to the recipient within minutes, but can take a maximum of a few days. When sending more than $10,000 USD within a 24-hour period, it can take between two to three business days, in addition to standard processing time.

  • Variable fees: Xoom charges a transaction fee that can vary according to several factors, including payment method, amount of money sent, where the money is sent and currency selected for disbursement.
  • Limited availability: Money transfer services are available in 132 countries, fewer than competing services.
  • Receiving Limits: The amount of money recipients can receive is determined by the sending level of the sender(s). Receiving limits are also cumulative across senders.




Alternative money transfer options

WorldRemit and MoneyGram are international money transfer companies providing similar services to Xoom.

WorldRemit

  • Where can you send money? Send money to recipients in more than 145 countries, a broader reach than Xoom’s 132 countries.
  • How long does a transfer take? In most cases, funds are immediately transferred to the recipient; however, some transfers may take longer, depending on the mode of receipt. WorldRemit displays the expected delivery time before you make a payment.
  • How much can you send? The maximum amount you may send is determined by the country where you live, and can also vary according to your method of payment.
  • Fee to send money: The cost to send money is based on each individual transaction. All fees and exchange rates are displayed outright.

WorldRemit is based in London, with regional offices in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Since it serves more countries than Xoom, it could be a good alternative if your destination country isn’t on Xoom’s list.

MoneyGram

  • Where can you send money? MoneyGram’s global network of nearly 350,000 locations, along with retailers and businesses, in more than 200 countries and territories. In addition, you can transfer money within the U.S.
  • How long does a transfer take? In many cases, funds are available within a few hours. However, factors including destination country and banking hours can affect the amount of time a transfer takes.
  • How much can you send? When sending money to most countries, there is a maximum of $10,000 per online transfer and up to $10,000 every 30 calendar days. You can send additional funds from a MoneyGram agent location.
  • Fee to send money: The cost to transfer funds varies according to where the money is going, the total amount sent and the method of payment. Fees are generally lower when paid with a bank account than a credit or debit card.

MoneyGram could be a good alternative to Xoom if you need to make both domestic and international transfers. Since its services are available in more than 200 countries and territories, it could also be an option if your destination country isn’t part of the Xoom network.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Laura Woods
Laura Woods |

Laura Woods is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Laura here

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Banking

What Are Liquid Assets?

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

You’ve heard it countless times: Build your assets and invest for the future. It’s sound advice, but if you needed money right now, how easily could you turn your assets and investments into cash?

All of your assets have value, but liquid assets are the ones you can quickly turn into cash without incurring any significant fees or penalties. Non-liquid assets either take time to sell or may lose value if you need to quickly turn them into cash.

The money you have in your checking and savings accounts, accessible on demand with a debit card? That’s a highly liquid asset. The RV parked in your driveway? It takes time and expense to sell, making it a non-liquid asset.

All of your assets and investments can be liquidated, if necessary. But before you sell anything, financial planners say you need to take stock of your asset portfolio and understand the liquidity of your holdings.

What to know about liquid assets

Simply put, liquidity is your ability to convert assets into cash. A liquid asset is often defined as cash or an investment with a maturity of 12 months or less, according to Marty Reid, president of Reid Financial Consulting and a certified financial planner. Holding liquid assets is important in case you need cash for emergencies, unexpected expenses or to make big purchases on short notice.

When explaining liquidity to clients, some financial advisors illustrate a pyramid of assets, with cash on hand or money in a savings or checking account at the top as the most liquid, and items or properties that take more time, effort and expense to sell, such as a house or a boat, towards the bottom.

Some assets that can fall into a gray area between liquid and non-liquid are stocks, mutual funds and longer term government securities. You can liquidate these investments for cash, but it could take up to a few days to get your money. You could also face penalties or costs, including brokerage fees, changes in market value, forfeiting interest gains or possible tax implications.

With stocks in particular, when you go to sell, you’re at the whim of the markets and it can take up to three or four days to get your funds. “What if the market is down the day you need money? If the market is down or volatile and you need money, you could be forced to sell and lose money,” said Kaya Ladejobi, a CFP and founder of New York-based Earn Into Wealth Strategies.

Examples of liquid assets:

  • Cash: Hard cash you physically have on hand to pay for expenses.
  • Checking or savings account: Money on deposit with a bank or credit union that you can access immediately.
  • Money market account: A money market, or MMA, is a high-interest savings account that can have check-writing privileges. MMAs may have more restrictions than a typical savings account, including higher minimum balances and limited number of withdrawals.
  • Certificate of deposit: Also known as a CD, this can have a duration that ranges from a few months to several years and offers higher interest rates than savings accounts. If you cash in your CD before the term expires, you could face a penalty on your accrued interest.
  • Treasury bills, notes and bonds: Government-issued securities with maturities ranging from a few weeks to 30 years. Shorter term securities are more liquid than long-term holdings. Interest rates are higher on longer securities. If you sell before maturity, you could lose value and possibly pay broker fees.

What to know about non-liquid assets

Non-liquid assets can be very valuable and marketable. These fixed assets should not be considered as a source of funds for your daily lifestyle or basic needs, but rather as tools to build long-term financial success, said Reid. If you try to sell a long-term asset on short notice, you might not receive the full benefit of their value and you could incur excessive fees associated with a hurried sale. Most of all, the sales process can be slow, which is the very reason they are not liquid assets.

That’s not to say there isn’t a market for these non-liquid assets. On the contrary, when you sell real estate or personal effects like jewelry or collectibles, you can realize considerable financial gains. Likewise, the long-term investment accounts, including IRAs and 401ks, can appreciate over time, but you’d lose value if you sold early, including potentially steep tax penalties.

“Any time you have to pay transaction costs, like using a broker, to sell something, it might be more costly. In addition to that, when you have to find a buyer and the pool of buyers is limited to turn an asset into cash, that makes it challenging,” Ladejobi said.

Examples of non-liquid assets

  • Real estate: Homes and land hold considerable value, but would take time and expense to sell, making real estate one of the most non-liquid assets.
  • Cars, RVs and boats: Recreational vehicles can also have strong monetary value, but take time and resources to sell.
  • Jewelry: Individual pieces and collections can fetch large sums, but you’ll need to find a buyer or possibly a broker to handle the transaction.
  • Furniture and collectibles: Like jewelry, these personal effects can appreciate strongly and may have enthusiastic buyers, but you’ll need to handle marketing and transactions, or work with a broker.
  • Retirement accounts (401ks, IRAs and investment accounts): These long-term investments will grow over time, eventually funding your retirement. If you cash out early (usually before you’re 59 1/2 years old), you could face steep penalties and tax implications. If you take money out of an IRA early, it could be included in your taxable income and incur a 10% additional tax penalty (there are some exceptions).

Why is asset liquidity important?

You never know what hardships or adventures life might throw your way. That’s why it’s important to have liquid assets at your disposal. Many investment advisors often urge clients to keep between three to six months of cash on-hand to pay living expenses, including housing, food and utilities.

Amit Chopra, a CFP and managing partner of Ramsey, N.J.-based Forefront Wealth Planning and Asset Management, often adjusts his advice based on a client’s age and expectations. Younger clients, he said, may want to keep six to 12 months of living expenses on hand in cash in case they decide to pursue a less stable job, such as at a startup, or a personal adventure. “Having a little more cash gives them the flexibility to do that,” he said. With older clients, who may be more established in their careers and personal lives, Chopra recommends setting aside enough cash for six to nine months of expenses.

As you prioritize how much liquidity you need in your financial portfolio, there are some additional considerations, including your tolerance for risk with investments and your long-term financial goals. To determine what’s right for you and how much liquidity you might need, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recommends investors take stock of their personal financial needs and determine the right mix of liquid and non-liquid assets. While cash and cash-equivalents are the safest investments — and the most liquid — they also yield the smallest returns.

Liquidity is a balancing act. Having cash on-hand is important for emergency car repairs or medical bills, and to fund lifestyle expenses, such as home improvements or a wedding, Reid noted. He encourages clients to mix liquidity with long-term investments.

“In real estate, they say, location, location, location. With investing, it’s diversification, diversification, diversification. How you diversify depends on your financial position, your risk tolerance level, and your long term and short term objectives,” said Reid.

The final word on liquid assets

When it comes to financial flexibility, cash is king. From there, your personal liquidity plan is a very personal choice, based on how much cash you think you need to be secure and comfortable. There’s no single right answer.

However, when it comes to realizing the value of your assets, not all investments are created equal. If you need funds quickly, with minimal headache and minor expense, cash and cash-equivalents are the easiest and fastest way. If you have more time to put into selling an asset or a longer timeline for needing money, non-liquid assets can be transformed into liquid ones, but it takes both planning and an active market to realize their fullest value. One thing is certain: The cash in your wallet and your checking and savings accounts are the ultimate liquid asset.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Alli Romano
Alli Romano |

Alli Romano is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Alli here

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Review of BBVA ClearSpend Prepaid Visa Card

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

The BBVA ClearSpend Prepaid Visa Card provides the convenience of paying for purchases with plastic for people who might not be able to qualify for a traditional checking account. In addition, the BBVA ClearSpend card offers handy budgeting features that can help you keep your finances on track.

This prepaid debit option is an excellent choice for users looking to avoid fees for loading funds onto the card. BBVA charges no fees for most funding options, although it’s worth noting that you cannot deposit regular checks onto this card, only paychecks via direct deposit. Before you rush to apply, read on to learn more about using this alternative financial product.

BBVA ClearSpend Prepaid Visa Card features

The BBVA ClearSpend Prepaid Visa Card is simple to use. You load money onto the card via one of the following five methods:

  • From a BBVA debit card, no fee
  • At a BBVA bank branch, no fee
  • At a Visa ReadyLink location, $4.50 fee (can vary by location)
  • Via direct deposit, no fee
  • Via a transfer service, such as Paypal, Popmoney, or Venmo, no fee

Once the money is loaded onto the card, you can spend it anywhere Visa is accepted. You can use the card to make purchases, pay bills or get cash out of an ATM. However, you can only spend up to a limit of $3,500 in transactions per day or $600 cash withdrawals from an ATM per day. If you try to make a charge that would overdraw your account, BBVA simply rejects the transaction.

This card also comes with handy app-based automatic budgeting tools. Use the card normally for 30 days. After this period, the BBVA ClearSpend app automatically generates a budget for you, complete with spending limits and an automatic spending tracker. If you have a secondary cardholder on your account, the budgeting tool will track spending for each user, letting you monitor each other’s spending patterns.

BBVA ClearSpend Prepaid Visa Card fees

BBVA has few fees, most of which are relatively easy to avoid. If you plan your card usage strategy in advance, it’s entirely possible to use the BBVA ClearSpend card and not pay any fees at all.

One of the downsides of using the BBVA card is that there are certain loading limits in place. You can load up to a maximum balance of $6,500 onto the card. Each time you load it up with money, you’ll have to load at least $25 onto the card, up to a maximum amount of $2,500 per day. If you’re using the Visa ReadyLink service to load funds onto the card, you’re even more restricted: you can only load $600 per day onto the card via this route.

BBVA ClearSpend Prepaid Visa Card Fees

Activation Fee

$0

Reload Fee

$0 if you load cash from a BBVA bank branch, from a BBVA debit card, or from a transfer service such as Paypal or Venmo. A fee of $4.50 if you load cash from a Visa ReadyLink location, although this fee may vary by location.

Direct Deposit Fee

$0

Check Deposit Fee

There is no way to deposit checks written out to you.

ATM Fees

$0 when using a BBVA ATM. $2 for each out-of-network domestic ATM withdrawal and $3 for each out-of-network foreign ATM withdrawal, although your first withdrawal of the month is free. Out-of-network ATMs may also charge their own fees in addition to BBVA fees.

Card Replacement Fee

$0. However, you are only allowed three replacement cards.

Monthly Service Charge

$4, unless you load at least $400 per month onto the card.

Foreign Transaction Fee

3% of the purchase amount

ATM Balance Inquiry Fee

$0 at any domestic ATM. $1 at any foreign ATM. You might also be charged a separate fee by the ATM’s owner for using an out-of-network ATM.

Express Delivery Fee

$20 per card

Paper Check Fee

$15 if you want a paper check for the remaining balance mailed to you when you close your account.

Using the BBVA ClearSpend Prepaid Visa Card mobile app

Most of the day-to-day management for your account can be completed through the BBVA ClearSpend app. You can even download it first and apply for the card through the app. Downloading the app also allows you to do certain things:

  • Lock your card if you lose it or want to stop spending on it
  • Load money onto your card with a transfer service such as Paypal, PopMoney, or Venmo, or with a BBVA debit card
  • Get spending alerts from secondary account holders
  • Use the automatic budgeting and spending tracker feature

The mobile app lets you to manage your card from your account, but it gets rather mixed reviews on the iTunes store — 2.5 out of 5.0 stars — and the Google Play app store — 3.0 out of 5.0 stars.

Opening a BBVA ClearSpend Prepaid Visa Card account

Getting a BBVA ClearSpend card is as simple as it is to use. There are three ways you can get one of these cards:

  • Through the app
  • Online through the BBVA website
  • In person at a local BBVA branch

BBVA does not run a credit check or use ChexSystems when deciding whether to approve you for a card. Even if you’ve had trouble being approved for a checking account in the past, you will still qualify for a BBVA ClearSpend card as long as you pass fraud security measures. This involves identity theft and fraud alert checks through the Visa Prepaid Clearinghouse Service.
Your card will be mailed to you 7-10 days after you apply online, or you’ll be issued it immediately at a BBVA bank branch if you apply in person.

Overall review of BBVA ClearSpend Prepaid Visa Card

Two things make this option particularly useful for prepaid debit card users. First, this card provides handy budgeting and spending tracking tools that can help you manage your money. Second, it’s relatively easy to avoid fees by doing the following things:

  • Load at least $400 per month onto the card
  • Only use BBVA ATMs to make cash withdrawals, or limit yourself to one cash withdrawal per month at a non-BBVA ATM.
  • Avoid using Visa ReadyLink locations to load cash onto your card

Follow these rules, and the BBVA ClearSpend card is a great prepaid debit card and an excellent alternative to a checking account.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

Lindsay VanSomeren is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lindsay here

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