March 31, 2016

MinistryCPA Special Topic: The Missionary and International Banking

WWNTBM* is a missions agency serving over 100 missionaries in more than 80 locations world wide. It seeks to assist its missionaries in every way possible. One of the ways it does that is to offer multiple banking options, in order to best meet missionaries’ individual needs.

We at MinistryCPA have asked one of WWNTBM’s representatives to share the following information with our readers.

Did you know that there are many ways a missionary can receive his support other than receiving a check in the mail? Technology has so progressed in this area that we no longer have to go to the bank daily to stand in line waiting to make deposits or send money. We can send funds all over the world right from our computer. It is so much faster and more efficient.

Some of the ways we at WWNTBM are able to assist our missionaries with their banking needs are described below.

 International Wire
The missionary chooses a bank in his country and we wire directly from our bank to his bank. We use a web-based system provided by our bank. We login to a secure site that we can use to send international wires. This option is used when the missionary wants the deposit to be in US dollars.

✦ Domestic ACH
Many missionaries have us direct deposit their support into their US bank. They then use an ATM card to withdraw funds in whatever country they are living. Depending on their bank, they are charged a fee. The amount of the fee depends on the amount of the withdrawal.

✦ Foreign Exchange Broker
We also use an exchange rate broker to assist with those needing a deposit in their local currency. The firm uses the same banking information that is used by a traditional bank. This is also accessed through a secured website. They do charge a fee, but it is typically less than the web-based traditional banking system.

✦ Cash Transfers
Some of our missionaries use Moneygram and/or Western Union services when they need cash the same day, or in remote areas where banks are not readily available.

Of course, all transactions have costs involved. Depending on the type of transfer used, our bank or service provider charges a fee for us to be able to send money. Then, depending on their personal financial institute, the missionary may be charged a fee on their end to receive funds. Missionaries can often save money by shopping around for the best financial institution, or even the best types of accounts offered by their current financial institution.

✦ Credit Unions 
Credit unions often offer savings and features not available through a traditional bank. ECCU is Christian Credit Union. They are able to reduce fees by not charging a fee on their side for an ATM withdrawal. They offer several services that a missionary would find useful. Their website is www.eccu.org.

✦ Free Checking Accounts
Although this option is not as commonplace, some banks do still offer checking accounts with limited fees. Charles Schwab offers a free checking account with no foreign transaction fees for ATM withdrawals. This is available to those who open a retirement account with them, even if it is one with a minimal balance.

WWNTBM indicates that there are many options to save time and money when transferring funds to foreign countries. It encourages agencies and missionaries to research what options will best meet their needs. For more information about WWNTBM, visit www.wwntbm.com.

*World Wide New Testament Baptist Missions (WWNTBM) of Kings Mountain, NC