Many people in the U.S. regularly transfer money to family and friends living in other countries. In 2002, remittances to Latin America totaled more than $32 billion. Until recently, almost all of these payments were sent electronically through companies with agents located near both the sender and receiver. More and more, other companies are offering similar services. Some financial institutions have introduced programs that allow someone in the U.S. to put money into an account that can be accessed at an ATM in another country by the recipient. These services are often available to everyone, even people who don't have an account at the financial institution. In the last several years, the number of companies competing for this business has grown, and the cost of sending money internationally has begun to fall. The central banks of the U.S. and Mexico recently announced plans to set up a system between the two countries, which should make sending money to Mexico even less expensive.

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