Making Online International Payments to Buy a Car From Overseas

. 6 min read

Only have a couple of minutes to spare on this article? Here are some key takeaways:

  1. Making a large international money transfer with XE is an affordable, reliable, secure way to buy a vehicle (or vehicles) overseas.
  2. There are several costs to consider when importing a car from abroad for your personal or business use.
  3. We have testimonials from XE customers who have bought cars overseas (for their business use) at the end of this article. Scroll down if you are interested in knowing how some of our existing customers find working with XE on buying cars from abroad.

Still hungry for more insights? Pull up a chair and read on:

It's a rainy Saturday afternoon. Your family is away visiting relatives, and you've taken care of your chores for the day. There's a James Bond movie marathon on television, and you settle in to watch the classic film, Goldfinger, with Sean Connery. As the credits roll, and Shirley Bassey sings the classic theme song, you find a story on your smartphone that the famous Aston Martin DB5 from the movie you are about to watch is up for auction.

"Only five million US dollars for the, (if not one of) the most famous cars ever made?", you exclaim. You scramble to put in a bid, then call your accountant. She will doubtless be able to help you find a service which can transfer your money internationally, and you can become the next 007.

A Promotional Video for the Auction of the famous Bond Car

We hope that such a large price tag for a car would seem like a bargain to you. For other automotive enthusiasts with smaller (read: realistic) budgets for their transportation needs, the temptation to purchase a car from overseas is real.

Maybe you have a penchant for Porsches, a lust for Lamborghinis, a craving for Corvettes, or maybe you are simply looking for your dream car from back in your home country. Like an SUV that has consumed the fuel of a foreign land (and it was filled up there too, since fuel is often exported from OPEC nations, Canada, and the US), or rolled down the roads of the nation of your birth. You may have heard the terms "grey market import vehicle" or "parallel import vehicle" used to describe the export and sale of vehicles outside of the traditional manufacturer or licensed retail channels.

Model 3 Sunset
Photo by Vlad Tchompalov / Unsplash

Here are three topics to consider when shopping for a car from a foreign owner in the international grey import market. When it comes to paying for your vehicle, XE Money Transfer is a wise choice. The affordability, breadth, and reliability of making international payments with XE makes buying a vehicle from a foreign country a safe, worry-free experience.

Understand Your Country's Laws, Buyer Protections, Documentation Requirements and Safety Standards

There are many legal considerations to buying a car internationally:

  • The age of the vehicle you are investing in. Canada, for example, requires a car be at least 15 years to be exempt from Canadian Registrar of Vehicle regulations. There are a number of grey market vehicles which are illegal to import into the United States, including popular manufacturers like Land Rover, Nissan, and Mini Cooper
  • The mechanical condition it is in, including fuel emission systems
  • The country you are buying it from
  • Whether the vehicle's warranthy will be valid in your home country
  • Whether the vehicle may have been stolen before you took possession of it
  • The side the steering wheel it is on, the measurement standards of the dasboard cluster
  • Whether the vehicle is equipped with sufficient seatbelts, air bags, and other safety equipment

Documentation requirements vary from country to country, however some of the most common document requirements include:

  • Shipper's Bill of Lading if a vehicle was transported by boat or plane even
  • Bill of sale and proof of ownership
  • Foreign registration documents
  • Environmental/emission control certification documents
  • Customs documentation
Photo: @alanking
CAR: @mtm-usa
Photo by alan King / Unsplash

Not having these documents can make for a big hassle when your vehicle arrives in the country where you intend to drive it.

Create a Comprehensive Budget for the Vehicle Purchase and Import

When you saw the car of your dreams for the first time, be it online or in your favourite automotive enthusiast magazine, you may not have considered all of the costs associated with the purchase, including:

  • The sticker or negotiation price of the vehicle
  • Taxes and government fees
  • Dealer preparation charges
  • Shipping costs, and marine insurance if transporting across the ocean
  • Destination fees
  • International money transfer costs, and in some cases, bank fees
  • Customs inspection fees and import duties

Needless to say, there are a number of fees to consider when buying a car from a foreign country. International car brokers are one way to simplify the process, however they also charge fees for their services.

Making International Payments with a Money Transfer Service Provider Instead of Your Bank - Customer Testimonials

McCullough International in New Zealand is an automotive import broker which uses XE Money Transfer on a regular basis to pay for the vehicles the import. Their owner, Joe McCullough said the following about using XE as opposed to a traditional bank for making international payments:

“Because we can purchase foreign currency at a sharp rate, we can then pass these low rates on to our clients meaning everyone’s winning – why would you use a bank?
Also, the ability to hold multiple currencies on account allows us to make payments as and when required, and it’s a big plus that XE does same-day payouts especially when urgent payments come up.”

Another company in New Zealand, a car and recreational vehicle rental company called JUCY uses XE to buy cars from Japan and RVs and campers from Europe. Their CFO, Jonathan Duncan said he prefers working with XE over the banks because:

“I’m talking to XE nearly every day just to make sure we know what’s sitting out there, what orders we’ve got there and what cover we’ve got in place. They just keep you up to speed on what’s happening in the market so you can be aware.”

“They’re looking ahead and saying ‘Hey we’ve got some big things happening out of Europe at the moment, how are you feeling about your European cover?’ Or ‘There’s big announcements coming out of the US.’ “They’re smart people who are happy to give their opinions which allow me to make informed decisions that improve how JUCY operates.”

Are you looking to buy a car, truck or recreational vehicle from overseas for your personal use? Need to buy multiple specialized vehicles for your commercial fleet? XE can facilitate high-value international payments ranging in tens to hundreds of thousands of pounds, dollars or other currencies around the world.  

To take XE for an international money transfer "test drive", open a free account, and get a no-obligation quote. Discover the difference XE-perience makes.


Please Note:

The information, materials, accompanying literature and documentation available on our internet site is for information purposes only and is not intended as a solicitation for funds or a recommendation to trade. XE, its officers, employees and representatives accept no liability whatsoever for any loss or damages suffered through any act or omission taken as a result of reading or interpreting any of the above information.

While we take reasonable care to keep the information on the website accurate and up to date, there may be occasions when this is not possible. Case Studies and articles are not intended to predict future moves in exchange rates or constitute advice.  

XE makes no representations, warranties, or assurances as to the accuracy or completeness of any information derived from third party sources. If you are in any doubt as to the suitability of any foreign exchange product that you are intending to purchase from XE, we recommend that you seek independent financial advice first.

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