Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Give Us Money to Travel... Please.

Two years ago when Mr. NM and I bought our house together, we got rid of all our college décor once and for all.  Then we spent a lot of time replacing all those knick knacks with new things - things we loved, that would last a long time and most importantly, things that weren't made of plastic .  So we already have great pots, pans, towels, bedding, and all the other typical registry stuff.  And trust me when I say that our postage stamp of a house in San Francisco doesn't afford a lot of room to store a bunch of other gifts, no matter how lovely and thoughtful they are.  So we knew from really early on that our primary wedding registry would be for our honeymoon.  It's pretty much the only thing that we could really use contributions for at this point (unless there's a student loan registry out there, which I'm sure there is), and it gets bonus points for actually being a unique and memorable gift for us since we're not frequent travelers. 

Mr. NM was tasked with researching honeymoon funds and choosing one that was reputable, would be easy for our guests, and had reasonable fees.  I thought I'd share his research with you, in hopes that it saves you from having to reinvent the wheel by researching these yourself.  Hope it's helpful!  BTdubs, all the sites included in the list below are established businesses with generally positive reviews.

The Honeymoon

{logo via thehoneymoon.com}

  • Free set-up.
  • Service fee is based on the size of the total gift (7.5% for $0-$500, 6.5% for $500-$1000, 5.5% for $1000+).  It can either be paid by the couple or paid by the gift-giver at time of purchase.
  • No fee for withdrawal.
  • Money is delivered to you by check 5 days prior to your departure date, and another check will come 30 days later when your registry is closed.
Distinctive Honeymoons
  • Non-refundable set-up fee of $100.
  • They create the registry for you, and you can let them know if you want to make changes.
  • Gift-givers are charged a 9% service fee.
  • Money delivered to you via check 2 weeks before your honeymoon, or earlier if requested.  Another check mailed to you 2 weeks after honeymoon, when your account is closed.
Send Us Off

{logo via sentusoff.com}
  • Free set-up.
  • 7.5% service fee paid by the couple when money is withdrawn from the account.  No additional fees are added to gift-givers' purchases.
  • Money mailed to you via check a week before your wedding date.
  • Account stays open for 12 months after the wedding.  New checks are mailed each month a gift is given in that month.
  • Confusing information about splitting up costs for bigger ticket items:  "Keep in mind that there is no way to split up one of these pieces into multiple payments; all gifts must be purchased on a single credit card." 
A Great Affair


{logo via agreataffair.com

  • Free set-up.
  • 7% service fee.  You choose if it is charged to your gift-givers at the time of purchase or whether it's deducted from your gift at the time you withdraw the money.
  • You designate up to 2 withdrawal dates.
  • 90% of available funds sent to you via check at your first withdrawal date.  Remaindar of money sent to you via check 30 days after your event, when the account is closed.

Honeyfund
{logo via honeyfund.com}
  • Free set-up for basic account or $29 charge for premium account (no ads).
  • No service fees.
  • Money comes directly to the couple from their gift-givers, either in the form of cash or check or via credit card through Paypal.  No withdrawals are needed.
  • Couple needs a premier or business level Paypal account (free to sign up for) in order to receive credit card payments, but gift-givers do not need a Paypal account.
  • Paypal fees of 2.9% + $.30 per transaction are deducted for credit card gifts made through Paypal.
  • No customer service available for guests who aren't internet savvy.
Traveler's Joy

{logo via travelersjoy.com}
  • Free set-up.
  • 7.5% service fee paid deducted from the gift amount at the time the money is given.
  • Money can be withdrawn via check, Paypal, ACH ($3 fee), or international wire transfer ($30 fee).
  • Money can be withdrawn at any time, and you can make as many separate withdrawals as you wish.
  • Account remains open for 2 years after your event date.
Honeymoon Wishes / HoneyLuna / The Big Day

  • These 3 companies appear to be run off the same platform and are the same in nearly every way, other than the graphics on their pages.
  • Free set-up.
  • Registry fees can be waived when travel is booked through the same company.
  • 3% service charge for all credit card purchases.
  • 7% service fee.  You choose if it is charged to your gift-givers at the time of purchase or whether it's deducted from your gift at the time you withdraw the money.
  • Money can be withdrawn at any time, as many times as you wish.
  • You can receive the money via check or ACH transfer (no fee).
  • Account stays active until you delete it.
Can you guess which one we chose?  It was actually a super simple decision for us.  After looking at everything side-by-side, we realized that all the sites had many of the same things to offer - minimal set-up fees, the ability to customize our registry, and simple user interfaces.  We decided to go with Honeyfund because they had the lowest service fees ("lowest" like none, or only 2.9% for credit cards) and it gave us the most control over our gift money.  We opted to pay the $29 premium fee, both because we liked the upgraded graphics and so that our guests could pay by credit card via Paypal.  Because the money comes directly to us, we'll be able to spend it immediately on our honeymoon rather than putting everything on the credit card and then using the registry money to pay ourselves back.  But just to cover all our bases, we also have limited registries at Amazon.com (for guests who prefer to give material items) and Macy's (for guests who need a brick-and-mortar option).

Now I just have to tell you where we decided to go!  But I'm holding on to that secret for a while, just because I can.  :-)

If you could register for anything in the world and no one would judge you for it, what would you register for?  (I'm thinking that student loan registry sounds really appealing, even if I'd have to keep it open for the rest of my life to successfully reach the monetary goal...)

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for doing all this research. Mr. ST and I are in the same situation - we don't need typical registry gifts. Honeymoon it will be!

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