Whether you are looking to send money overseas to your family and friends or pay for outsourced services, you need a money transfer solution that works for you. The increasing number of companies offering international money transfers has turned out to be a blessing and a challenge at the same time.
You now need to compare different services to find the cheapest way to send money internationally. If you are still using your bank to transfer money overseas, it is time you have a look at what money transfer companies offer.
For many years, banks have been seen as the safest and best way to send money, but that is no longer true. Choosing the best money transfer service can help you save money and time. You need to choose money transfer alternatives to banks if you are looking for the fastest way to send money to your loved ones.
We understand that the issue of sending money is sensitive, and you cannot afford to risk with your hard-to-earn cash. In this article, we will show you how to send money to someone safely and cheaply at your convenience.
The Benefits of Using Money Transfer
Nothing beats the ability to send money between accounts easily, safely and cheaply. Unfortunately, that cannot be said about bank transfers that come with time restrictions and a lot of paperwork before you can finally send money. Most money transfer options allow instant payments, bringing several benefits.
The topmost benefit of using the best money transfer service is the speed of transactions. You no longer need to wait for a week or more before the completion of the transaction. Most money transfer companies offer quick money transactions with same-day delivery.
You can be sure that most of your transfers will be received and processed within a day or two, giving you peace of mind as you will not need to keep checking the transaction. Sending money instantly also means that you will not have to encounter late charges and inconveniences.
If you are looking to send money to Nigeria for the medical treatment of your ailing parent, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that they will start treatment the same day you send the cash.
Bank transfers are anything else, but not flexible. Depending on your bank, you will need to personally verify the transaction, which can mean hours in the banking hall, before you can send the money.
With the best money transfer service, you can open a checking account online instantly at the comfort of your home or office. Once the account is working, which takes one to two days to verify, you can start sending money from anywhere, at any time of the day.
Furthermore, most companies have fewer money restrictions than a bank, enabling you to send lower or higher amounts more conveniently. You further have an option to use a website or an app to send or receive money.
You may also need to note that most money apps offer multiple ways to fund the transaction, making it flexible to most people. Receivers can also choose their favorite method of withdrawal. Some services allow withdrawal to a bank, mobile or collection center.
Sending a check in your mail is risky as there is a possibility it could get lost or hacked. You will also not be able to tell whether the recipient has received the check until it is cashed, which can take several days.
Although money transfer services are friendly and flexible, they do not compromise security. They have a strict registration process that requires you to fill and verify all your details before you can send money.
The apps and websites use the latest technology, including the highest-grade data encryption to ensure the safety and security of your data. Other apps use two-step verification before you can send or receive money to ensure the safety and security of your money.
4. Low service fees
Bank transfers are known for their high transaction fees, making them unsuitable for regular payments or small amounts. The highlight of online money transfer providers is their friendly cost.
Some apps offer free transfers for family and friends while others charge a small fee, making money transfer apps the cheapest way to send money to any part of the world.
Online money transfer providers offer a host of countries that you can send or receive money from the comfort of your home. Furthermore, most services have flexible service fees that vary depending on the amount you want to send.
Online money transfer services compete on usability. They spent a lot of money and time developing a user-friendly platform that is easy and safe to use. You will not get lost creating an account, sending money or receiving payment with most services thanks to a simple user guide.
You are less likely to experience any trouble sending or receiving cash with most providers. In case you want to confirm something, they tend to have a responsive customer service team.
A Guide to Find the Best Online Money Transfer Service
It is worth noting that every service provider has its unique aspects that give an advantage to its competitors. However, they all follow one model that makes it possible to send money with any app. Before, you can send money with an online app; you should put into consideration the following:
1. Applicable fees
You will encounter different types of transfer fees including a percentage fee, a flat fee or a methodological fee. A money transfer provider with a percentage-based fee will likely be cheaper to send smaller amounts while service with a flat cost is more economical when sending large amounts.
Nevertheless, you may need to check the flat fee as most services have limits on the appropriate amounts. It is common to find different companies charging different flat fees for a certain amount of money. The methodological cost is where a company offers a blend of flat and percentage fees.
It is not uncommon to find money transfer providers charging a standard fee, plus a percentage of the transfer. That said, it is possible to find a money transfer service provider that offers a free service. The categories of fees that you should at when sending money include:
- Transfer fee – This is the amount you will pay to send money. It can be a free, fixed amount or a percentage figure of the amount you want to transfer.
- Conversion fee – Conversion fees apply when you are sending money into a different country. If you are looking to send money to the Philippines from the US, the money transfer provider will exchange the US dollars you send for the Philippine currency that the recipient will receive. Most companies tend to have a lower exchange rate than the market rate. You should look for a company with the best rate. Always look at the amount the receiver will get at the other end before sending.
- Other fees – Different service providers attract additional fees that vary based on how you fund the account. Credit cards tend to have higher costs than bank deposits and debit card transfers. Make sure you understand the charges applicable, including the receiving fee as they can take a big chunk of your money.
2. Duration of the transaction
How long are you willing to wait before the money reaches a recipient? Most service providers offer instant transactions that enable the recipient to get the cash in one or two days. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that some companies can delay the service for several days.
It is always better to find a quicker service that allows you to send money within a short period. However, those companies that offer instant money transfers tend to have higher fees. The ideal option is to find the right balance between speed and cost, depending on the urgency of the money.
3. Funding methods
Most money transfer companies allow you to fund your transaction with a credit card, debit card, bank transfer or an e-wallet balance. The methods of transfer have different completion times ranging from a few minutes to hours.
They also tend to attract different charges, and thus, you may need to read fine prints to understand how the different pay-in methods vary. Payments with a second chance credit card with no security tend to attract higher fees than normal debit and credit cards.
4. Withdrawal options
Different service providers offer various methods of withdrawal. The best option should enable the recipient to get the money quickly and conveniently.
It will be inconvenient for the receiver to travel a long distance to withdrawal money. Look for an option with different methods of withdrawal options. The common pay-out methods include:
- Cash pick-up – This option is the easiest as it does not require the recipient to have a bank account. The recipient just walks to an agent location with identification documents and walks out with the money. The challenge with this method is that the agents are commonly available in major towns and cities, making it inconvenient for rural recipients. The recipient identifications should also match with the indicated details for the transfer to be completed.
- Bank transfer – This option requires the recipient to create an account and link it to the bank account. It is convenient as it allows the recipients to withdraw money from their bank. However, it is ideal for those who have an active bank account. The transfer can also take longer to reflect on your bank.
- Mobile wallets – Mobile wallets allow your loved ones to get money at any place. They do not need to make long-distance travels or walk to a bank. Instead, the money gets to them through their phone.
- Pay to cards – The recipient can opt to withdraw to a prepaid card and use the card to pay for goods and services or withdraw money at an ATM.
5. Security and safety
Although most adhere to strict money laundering rules, you need to ensure that your money will be safe on both ends of the transaction. Imagine sending money, and someone else uses fake documents to receive the money.
In addition to offering high-end data encryption, the company should have a background check in place to verify the details of the receiver before giving out the money. The company should also give you an option to confirm the details before sending the money.
How We Choose The Cheapest Way?
We analyzed a number of the popular money transfer options to bring you the best, cheapest options based on a number of factors. The things we gave much importance to in our review include fees, customer service, the exchange rates, transfer amounts and exceptions and limits.
Why Trust Our Review?
We analyzed the providers that work in the US with a significant focus on international money transfers. Also used different data sources to rank the best, including expert analysis, market research, cost analysis and internet traffic.
We put into consideration money transfer data in different countries looking at payment methods, withdrawal options, delivery time, foreign exchange rates, sending limits and customer service availability.
The 10 Best Cheapest Ways to Send Money Internationally
- Western Union
TransferWise is a top choice if you would like to send money to Mexico cheaply and conveniently. You can send money to over 70 countries from the US with TransferWise at the best exchange rates in the market.
The company offers several methods of funding the transactions, including bank account, debit card, Apple Pay and credit card. However, your friends and loved ones can only receive money into a bank account.
You can use the provider’s website or mobile app to send money conveniently. TransferWise does not have minimum amounts you can send, making it ideal for people making small transfers.
The maximum amount you can send with TransferWise is $15,000 for most people for the first transfer using ACH and $20,000 thereafter. For large amounts, you should use a bank wire transfer that offers a maximum limit of up to $1 million per transfer.
The company does not charge an exchange-rate markup on its transfers, allowing you to get the full amount based on the mid-market rate. TransferWise offers some of the best transfer fees in the market, charging a combination of a flat amount of about $1 and a percentage of less than one percent of the total transfer amount.
You will not have to wait long for the money to arrive at the recipient’s method of pay-out. Your loved ones can receive the amount within minutes if you fund the transfer with a credit or debit card.
However, bank-funded transfers can take up to one week as each step can take days to complete, but most transactions take three days to complete. You will find completing a transaction easy and straightforward.
The website and app have a cost calculator that lets you preview the rates and fees before completing the transaction. It is also easy to set up and log in. The phone customer service support is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays.
- It charges low transfer fees without exchange markup
- Offers an option for same-day delivery
- It does not have lower limits you can send
- The bank transfers are slow
- It only delivers to the bank
Delivering money to over 80 countries from the US, OFX is a popular option for those looking for the best way to transfer money. OFX does not charge any transfer fee to all transactions, irrespective of the amount.
The company makes its profit off an exchange rate markup. However, OFX has one of the lowest markup margins of less than one percent from the mid-market rate. Most free money transfer companies tend to have a higher markup percentage of seven, making OFX a cheaper option.
The downside of the company is the speed of delivery. Money transfers take between two to four days to complete. It takes one to two days to fund the account and one to two days to deliver to your recipient.
OFX does not have a maximum transfer limit, making it ideal for the transfer of large sums of money. Nonetheless, OFX is not for you if you are looking to transfer smaller amounts.
The company has a minimum limit of $1000 per transfer, locking out people interested in making smaller transactions. You can send the money through the website or the app, depending on your preferences. OFX only allows a bank account as the payment and delivery option.
A domestic wire transfer option is an excellent alternative to direct debit if you are looking to speed up delivery, but you may have to pay a bank charge fee.
Where OFX fails in slow delivery, it makes up for excellent customer service. The company combines a unique digital experience with user-centric customer service, enabling you to reach your relatives and friends at any hour.
The highlight of OFX is the extensive network of offices across different countries. It also has a useful FAQ feature that helps you easily send money without trouble.
Nevertheless, the company does not have a live chat feature. You will also need to log in to review exchange rates. On the app, you will find current mid-market rates and the status of your transaction, whether completed or ongoing.
- It does not attract transfer fees
- Low exchange rate markup
- It does not have a maximum transfer amount
- It only offers bank-account to bank-account transfers
- Slow delivery
- Poor customer service
- It has a minimum limit of $1000
Xoom is a good option for people looking for the fastest way to send money to over 70 countries. The company competes on the speed of transactions, with most happening within minutes, making the Paypal owned company the go-to option for quick transfers.
The shortcoming of Xoom transfers lies in the transfer costs. The company charges a relatively affordable $4.99 or less for transfers that use bank accounts irrespective of the transfer amount.
Despite charging relatively higher transfer fees, the company also has a high markup rate of between one and three above the mid-market rate. Funding with a card is further expensive as you will pay about $90 to send the daily maximum of $2999 for a basic profile.
The highlight of Xoom money transfer is the delivery speed. Xoom allows people to send money online instantly with money arriving in minutes, irrespective of how you fund the transfers.
Transfers funded with bank accounts that take over a week with some companies can take a few minutes to complete with Xoom. However, some bank-funded transfers can take up to a few days to complete.
Xoom lets you send money through its website and mobile app and fund with a debit card, credit card or bank account. The company offers a host of delivery options, including bank deposit, cash pick-up and home delivery.
Xoom lets you transfer amounts of up to $25,000 per day once you verify your details. The basic profile has a limit of $2,999 per day. The minimum transfer you can make with zoom is $10. The service has an easy-to-use website that uses destination country data to help you make an informed transfer.
You can review the cost, delivery options and speeds of your transfer without logging in. The site also has a link to help you quickly send a common transfer. A 24/7, multilingual customer support is always available to help you solve any issue.
The agents speak English, Spanish and Filipino, making it an ideal option if you are looking to send money to the Philippines. Xoom app is available for Android and Apple phones. However, the service does not have live chat support.
- It offers same-day delivery
- Supports a low minimum limit of $10 per transaction
- It provides multiple delivery options, including a pick-up option
- The fees are generally higher
With over 350,000 agent locations and kiosks in over 200 countries, MoneyGram has one of the largest money transfer networks in the world. The company has a full range of funding and withdrawal methods, and the transfers are quick.
MoneyGram is the best way to transfer money if you are looking for a service with a vast network and offers fast delivery. The company transfer fees vary depending on the countries involved, the amount sent and the methods of payment and withdrawal.
Funding your transfer with a bank account is cheaper than other options while sending to a bank is affordable than sending money for cash pick-up.
MoneyGram transfers are subject to an exchange markup rate that can be as high as five percent above the mid-market exchange rate. In addition to sending and receiving money, MoneyGram offers additional services such as bill payment, money orders and mobile top-up.
You can choose to pay the bills of your relatives or top-up prepaid mobile phones of your loved ones. The maximum amount of money you can send with MoneyGram is equivalent to $10,000, every thirty days.
MoneyGram offers several delivery options depending on the location. Your relatives can receive money through a bank account, cash pick-up, debit card, mobile wallet and home delivery. The company has a relatively easy-to-understand FAQ and help center, ensuring that you can easily send money to your relatives.
MoneyGram is easy-to-use as you only need to open a free account, enter details of the recipient, pay for the transfer, and your relatives collect money at the selected pay-out option.
- It has an extensive network of agent locations
- Flexible money pay-out options
- It offers same-day delivery
- It has higher transfer fees and a higher exchange markup rate.
5. Western Union
Western Union has the largest money transfer network in the world. The company has over 500,000 locations in over 200 countries, giving people flexibility. It offers both domestic and international money transfers allowing people to send and receive money quickly.
Western Union is useful if you are looking to send or receive physical cash, due to its vast network. It is also the best way to transfer money to places that are not widely covered by other providers like overseas US military bases and prisons.
You can send physical cash with western union, which is not possible with most money transfer providers. Western Union money transfers are quick with debit and card-funded transfers arriving within minutes.
Western Union transfer fees vary depending on multiple factors, including the country you are sending money to, transfer amount, payment method and pay-out mode. The fee is usually between $0 and $150, and the cost is only available once you enter the details of your transaction.
You will pay less on a bank transfer, while credit and debit transfers are the most expensive. The transfers are also subject to an exchange markup rate that reduces the pay-out amount as per the mid-market exchanges.
The highlight of Western Union money transfer is speed flexibility. You can choose between fast and late transfers depending on your needs. Fast transfers are more expensive than late transfers, allowing you to choose depending on whether you want quicker or cheaper delivery.
Credit or debit card funded transfers with cash pick-up as the delivery option are the fastest, offering money in minutes or the next day. Bank transfers with cash pick-up can take up to four days while bank-to-bank transfers can take up to seven business days.
- It has a vast network of agent locations across the world
- Offers same-day delivery
- Provides multiple pay-out options
- It supports nonbank money transfers
- Complicated transfer fees
- It is not the cheapest option
WorldRemit is a convenient, low-cost money transfer service that lets you send money to 150 countries across the world in 90 currencies. The service allows people to send money to bank accounts, local pick-up agents, mobile wallets, airtime top-up, or door-to-door delivery.
The company claims that a third of its transfers go to mobile phones, claiming to be the leading sender of remittances in the world. The pay-in options are highly variable depending on the country.
WorldRemit is highly convenient, letting you send money from anywhere with an app or website. It has some of the best exchange rates for people looking to send money to Nigeria.
WorldRemit fees vary depending on the payout method, amount and the country you want to send money to. The company fees are usually flat, but they change based on the amount you are sending.
This company has a transparent exchange rate that lets you know the amount the recipient will receive in advance. The company locks the exchange rate, ensuring that the rate does not change during the transaction.
You will pay a transfer fee of about $5 and a conversion fee of less than two percent of the mid-market rate to send money to Mexico from the US.
WorldRemit has a user-friendly setup. It is easy to sign up and send money with an app or website. The company has apps for both Android and iOS users.
The fees you pay per transaction vary depending on the amount, the delivery option and the currency involved, but you can expect to pay anything between $3.99 to 24.99. The exchange rates at WorldRemit are better than most competitors offer.
The company has an exchange markup rate of about one to 1.5 percent. Most WorldRemit transactions happen instantly, but the speed depends on the payout method. Bank-to-bank transfers take several days while cash pick-up and mobile money happen immediately.
- It has a large and growing payouts countries and networks
- Competitive fees and exchange rates
- It supports instant transfers
- It can take up to seven days to send money to some countries.
Azimo offers convenient ways to send and withdraw money. The service lets you send money to over 190 countries around the world and supports over 80 different currencies.
Recipients can receive money in a variety of ways, including cash pick-up in over 270,000 locations and credit to over 20,000 banks. A recipient can choose to receive cash in a mobile wallet or even home delivery.
The company is user-centric, supporting over ten different languages. The fees and exchange rates are competitive, ensuring that you have the maximum payout possible.
Azimo offers variable and flat fees, depending on the currencies and countries involved as well as the funding and withdrawal methods. The exchange rate depends on the payout.
You can see the final figure the recipient will receive in advance. The company locks the exchange rate to ensure reliability. It also offers multiple pay-in options that include credit card, debit card, bank transfer, SOFORT and iDeal.
The available payout options include cash pick-up, bank deposit, mobile top-up, mobile wallet deposit and home delivery. You can send a minimum of $10 and a maximum of $250,000 with Azimo.
The highlight of Azimo money transfer is a 100 percent money-back guarantee. The company will reimburse the full amount of your payment. If your payment cannot go through due to cancellation or any other reason.
- It supports multiple languages
- Offers several pay-in and payout options
- It has a friendly customer support
- You can find cheaper rates
- It does not offer phone support
Remitly competes as the best mobile-optimized money transfer service. It is user-friendly and relatively inexpensive, giving people an alternative to help them send money to their loved ones faster and cheaply.
The service is available in Spanish, English, German, French, Turkish, Italian, Vietnamese and Romanian. The company makes it easy to send and withdraw money with a host of friendly options.
You can use bank transfer, credit or debit to fund a transaction. Recipients have a host of withdrawal options that range from bank deposits to cash pick up, mobile wallets and delivery to a home address.
Remitly supports two types of service, including economy and express. Economy service requires a bank deposit and has lower fees with the transfers, usually taking three to five days.
The express service is more expensive and accepts credit or debit card deposits. Transfers under express service happen within minutes, making it ideal for people who need faster transfers. Sending money to the Philippines with the Remitly economy service will not attract fees, but the transaction will take three days.
For you to spend less than $1000 to the Philippines with Remitly’s express service will cost you $3.99, and the transaction will happen instantly. The express service is ideal if you want to send money online instantly to the Philippines.
- It offers fast and cheap money transfer
- Professional customer service
- Text message alerts for easy tracking
- It offers a 100-percent satisfaction guarantee
- It can be expensive when sending smaller amounts
- Some locations have limited pay-in and payout options
InstaReM is one of the few upcoming money transfer companies that are challenging the dominance of traditional means. Started in 2014, InstaReM has established its market by offering low-priced, fast and secure money transfers.
The company provides up-front fees based on commission, making them ideal for individuals looking to send smaller amounts. You will find InstaReM amazing if you are looking for the cheapest way to send money regularly.
It charges a small premium on mid-market, ensuring that you have the best exchange rate. The transaction fees are usually between 0.25 and 0.5 percent of the amount.
InstaReM does not have a maximum amount you can send as long as it is within the limits of your country’s laws on the inward and outward flow of remittances.
The Minimum amount is $1, giving you flexibility and freedom to send any amount. The company supports several pay-in options, including bank transfer, debit card for EU residents, POLi payment for Australia, FPX for Malaysia and ACH Pull for the US.
Recipients will only receive money to bank accounts, but Philippines residents have an option for cash pick-up.
- It offers better exchange rates and low fees
- It supports same-day delivery
- Their services are limited to a few countries.
TransferGo has competitive prices, making it a good alternative for cheaper, faster money transfers. The company offers several fee structures ranging from free to standard and today, depending on the countries involved in the transaction.
The free option is ideal for those who do not mind delays as transactions take three days to complete. However, you will have the maximum payout as the company will not charge a transfer fee, and the exchange rate markup will be zero.
The standard option guarantees next-day delivery and charges a flat fee depending on the currency you are sending and has an exchange markup of between zero and 2.2 percent.
TransferGo today’s option is for time-sensitive money transfers. The service is a quick delivery option that delivers money to your recipient in less than 30 minutes. It guarantees same-day delivery as long as you make the transfer by 12:30 pm GMT.
The flat fees vary depending on the amount you are sending, but the exchange rate markup is between zero and 2.2 percent. Sending money with TransferGo is easy and straightforward.
You only need to create an account, verify, enter the country of origin, the amount you are sending, enter the details of the recipient and send the money. TransferGo requires you to verify your identity if your first transfer exceeds $900. Otherwise, you can send money with a basic profile.
- It offers an entirely free service for cost-sensitive people
- Supports same-day delivery for time-sensitive transfers
- It has low fees and exchange rate margin
- You can send smaller amounts without verifying your identity
- The pay-in options vary by countries
- The service is available in fewer countries
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the least expensive way to send money?
The least expensive way to send depends on many factors, including the money you are sending, the country of the receiver and the methods of payment and pay-out. However, bank transfers tend to be expensive and slower than the use of money transfer options. You also need to note that money transfer options also vary significantly as some do not charge transfer fees while others offer a combination of transfer fees and a markup rate.
How can I send money for free?
While it may seem like a fantasy to many who pay exorbitant fees to send money overseas, you can send money to your loved ones at no cost. Money transfer providers charge a transfer fee, a markup rate or both. You only need to choose a company that does not charge a transfer fee to send money for free. However, you should look at the markup exchange rate before using the service as some providers charge a higher rate that makes them more expensive than some services that charge a transaction fee. OFX money transfer does not charge transaction fees, allowing you to send for free. Nevertheless, the minimum you can send with OFX is $1000.
What is the cheapest way to send money to the USA?
You have several options that you can use to send money cheaply in the USA. Bank deposits are quick and affordable, especially if the transaction is within the same bank. You can also opt for the best money transfer apps in the US, like Venmo and Paypal. Nevertheless, you will need to understand that different apps have unique features that make them competitive, like free transfer and quick delivery.
What is the safest way to transfer money?
As long as you are using a reputable money transfer company, you can be sure that your money is safe. Bank-to-bank transfers are traditionally the most reliable, but that has changed over the last few years. Money transfer providers in this guide are as safe as any bank without the bureaucracies that make international bank transfers expensive and slow.
Which bank is best for international transfers?
All banks use the same rules, which make their international transfers almost the same. However, different banks offer attractive perks that make them more appealing to a specific group of people. For example, Wells Fargo charges $15 for domestic incoming that is waived portfolio with balances of at least $250,000. Bank of America, Chase and Citibank charge $30 for domestic outgoing, $16 for foreign incoming and $45 for foreign outgoing. You will need to compare bank charges based on your needs as different banks have unique attributes. Some banks have a low cost for domestic incoming, but higher domestic outgoing or foreign incoming.
The use of money transfer providers is the cheapest way to send money. As it lets you compare the best rates while also giving multiple pay-in and pay-out options.
Money transfer services are also quicker and safer, offering services like same-day and next-day delivery. However, you will need to compare transfer fees, exchange markup rate, transfer limits, delivery time and pay-out options to find the best service.