The 3 Best Way to Send Money Internationally
If you’ve ever tried to send money online, likely the first thing you noticed is just how many options you have. It can be difficult to know which method is best for sending money internationally. Let’s look at the available choices and highlight the pros and cons involved.
- International wire transfer: You use a remittance series to transfer money to the recipient’s account or a local office for them to collect.
- Bank-to-bank: You work with your bank to send the funds directly to another bank account. This requires the recipient’s account information.
- Multi-currency debit card: You use a proprietary card to load an international currency through a bank transfer. This method allows you to withdraw forex using an ATM.
- Exchange through an international platform: You purchase something through a vendor or hire someone on a freelancing platform like Upwork to take advantage of their forex transactions.
- International transfer service: You use local currency to transfer to the recipient’s currency using a money transfer company. This company deposits the money directly into the recipient’s account.
- Digital banking: You send the money internationally through your mobile banking app. Only some online-only banks and neo-banks offer this option, but this functionality continues to grow in popularity.
- Cryptocurrency transfer: You convert or transfer your existing cryptocurrency into your local currency.
With all these options, many users will opt for what seems like the most straightforward choice and do a wire transfer. The problem with a wire transfer is that not only is it expensive, but it also requires quite a bit of information about both you and the recipient of the transfer.
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Considerations When Choosing an International Money Transfer Service
When looking for online money transfer services in the U.S., your most significant considerations should be who you’re sending your money to and what country they’re in. These two factors have an outsized influence on what the best choice for you would be.
A couple of other things to consider are the fees involved and the customer service of the app or service you’re using. A service might seem convenient at first, but it’s best to study the fine print and look at their service fees and exchange rate. The lower the service fee is, the more money your recipient will get. Check the service’s listed exchange rate against other services’ exchange rates to ensure fairness.
It’s best to check reviews before going with a money transfer company. You’ll want to look for openness and transparency, and the company should have a track record of keeping its customers informed throughout the entire transfer process. Availability is also vital. You should prioritize companies or services that are available for communication 24/7.
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The Fastest Way to Transfer Money Abroad
For many, the best way to transfer money internationally also has to be the fastest. If you need your transfer to become available right away or at least on the same day, the services below will work for you. It’s important to note that not all countries allow same-day service, and you may need to pay a fee. Your method of payment can also affect the overall speed of the transfer.
For instance, cash payments transfer most quickly and will generally be available immediately to your recipient. ACH payments (those done with a debit or credit card) will also transfer quickly. Paying from a savings or checking account tends to take the longest of all payment methods since the company must first verify all of your account information.
The fastest ways to transfer money overseas in 2022 are:
- Xoom: Xoom operates via PayPal and allows bank deposits, cash pickup, and delivery straight to a particular address. Once the recipient signs up for Xoom, remittances should appear in their account right away.
- WorldRemit: This service offers quick transfer times and has an easy account creation process, putting it high up on our list. Cash transfers appear immediately, and the recipient just needs to show their smartphone or sign to complete the transfer. WorldRemit’s fees are also lower than many of its competitors.
- Western Union: Western Union works especially well for countries that don’t have good coverage for international money transfers. Limits and fees vary, depending on where you’re sending your money, and its global network allows for recipient cash pickup options.
- MoneyGram: MoneyGram is well-known for a reason. Already among the largest remittance services in the world, it has recently expanded to include a new service called FastSend. With FastSend, you can send money through an SMS message. MoneyGram transfers typically appear the same day regardless of the payment method you use.
While speed is great, you should keep in mind that you’ll be paying for it in the end. Faster transfer services tend to have lower exchange rates and higher fees overall.
One additional fast money transfer service deserves separate mention: Google Pay.
Google Pay is completely free for all transfer types, it has a vast global network, and it’s incredibly fast.
If your recipient already has a Google Pay account and has a debit card set to their default payment method, this service might be your best bet. When you use a debit card to send money to their Google Pay account, the funds will appear in their account in minutes. Keep in mind that this is not the case for transfers using a bank account. Those bank account transfers can take up to four days to come through for your recipient.
Most users turn to Google Pay for peer-to-peer payments, so you shouldn’t expect substantial purchase protection. With that said, you will not be liable for unauthorized transactions.
The Safest Way to Transfer Money Overseas
You can trust most finance services with recognizable names, but with the sheer number of money transfer scams out there and recent upticks in phishing and hacking, it’s always wise to take extra precautions.
No matter what service you choose, your first step should be to keep your information secure. Check URLs for accuracy and never give out personal information over the phone. This might seem like a common-sense point, but scammers have become increasingly sophisticated over the years.
Along with that, you should look for apps that have two-factor authentication and set this up so that you are the only person who will be able to recover your account should it become locked in the future.
Never share account passwords with anyone, and be sure to report all calls involving someone you don’t know asking you for money. Even if you don’t fall for the scam, someone else might. By reporting scammers, you’ll make it less likely for others to get scammed in the future.
If you’re looking for the safest way to transfer money, check out the following services:
- Currencies Direct: Currencies Direct follows the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) standard and adheres to quite strict UK regulations. The FCA standards especially help those looking to use a remittance service. Another plus with Currencies Direct is that it allows users to send money directly via a smartphone.
- Wise: A popular brand that’s made partnerships with Google, Monzo, and other large institutions, Wise has become synonymous with speed, reliability, and security. It also adheres to strict UK regulations, and its size adds to its overall security.
- Your bank (not recommended): Most banks prioritize the security of their clients’ funds and account information. In addition to their reputational incentive for security, the law requires banks to adhere to specific security regulations. It’s important to note that despite their security, banks will often have higher fees, slower transfer times, and a more complicated transfer process than your average money transfer service.
Each money transfer service comes with its own set of pros and cons. While it’s fine to sacrifice speed for a lower fee or vice versa, you should never sacrifice security. You should be especially wary of services you’ve never heard of or companies that don’t have much of an online presence. It’s best to get in the habit of checking reviews and posts online before going with any particular company.
If possible, try to get either a physical or digital copy of a transfer agreement before sending your money abroad. Check the fine print for any hidden fees or notes about personal data use. When you can, read the terms and conditions of any company you make an account for and ask your recipient to do the same if they also need to create an account. Verifying all of this information will take some time and effort, but it will also keep you safer in the long run.
The Top 3 Online U.S. Money Transfer Services
With as many companies and services that exist right now to help you send money online, it’s no surprise that many customers get overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices. To keep things a little more straightforward, we’ve taken the top three international money transfer services available in the U.S. and listed them below.
Along with information about the companies themselves, you’ll also learn more about what makes them great and why so many customers turn to them when they’re looking to send money online.
Currencies Direct makes overseas money transfers quick and easy. You can transfer through its mobile app, its online system, in one of its physical locations, or over the phone. Customers can send money through a bank transfer or a debit card.
Transfer time depends on where you’re sending your money and the length of time you take to settle with Currencies Direct. With that said, transfers to Europe can become available the same day, and most transfers become available in 24-48 hours.
Currencies Direct is bound by strict U.K. regulations, so it ranks among the most secure money transfer companies out there. While based in the U.K., customers don’t need to be U.K. residents to send money with Currencies Direct.
Exchange rates fluctuate very often, but Currencies Direct locks in exchange rates once you book a transfer. This company even offers a service called Rate Alerts that informs you of the latest exchange rates and helps you decide the best time to book your transfer.
Currencies Direct has no charges for most transactions, and it doesn’t include any commissions or hidden fees in its transfers either. In the event that your transfer will incur a charge or fee, Currencies Direct will inform you upfront before locking in your transfer.
Its largely fee-free model, quick transfer times, broad accessibility, convenient exchange rate locks, and ease of access make Currencies Direct one of the top three money transfer services available in the U.S.
XE Money Transfer is a U.S.-based money transfer service that’s best for those who want guaranteed security and a transfer that takes minutes. All you need to start sending money with XE is a free account and your recipient’s information. From there, you can send an unlimited amount (up to $500,000 in each transfer), and the service even has currency experts that can walk you through online currency transfers if you need help.
XE Money Transfer has an extensive network of participating countries, and customers can manage their accounts online, 24/7. XE currently handles 139 currencies and operates within more than 220 countries and territories. Those numbers should continue to grow as XE expands year after year. XE’s enterprise-grade security ensures that both your money and account information are safe.
XE Money Transfer’s exchange rates fluctuate up until the moment you confirm your transfer, and once you lock in your transfer, those rates will not change. These exchange rates are linked to live foreign exchange markets, and they beat the bank rates.
The majority of transfers become available the same day with XE. In the rare event that your transfer will not be available that day, it will typically become available within 24-48 hours. XE is known for being responsive throughout the entire transfer process. You can transfer money via its mobile app or website, and it accepts credit and debit cards as well as direct bank transfers.
OFX keeps its money transfer process simple and to the point. All you need to do to start transferring with OFX is create an account, enter your recipient’s information, and click send. From there, OFX uses a global network of bank accounts to convert and deliver your money to your recipient as securely and quickly as possible.
OFX is open 24/7, and it sets no restrictions on when you can send a money transfer. OFX offers flexibility when it comes to payments. Some banks have a daily transfer limit, which would typically prevent a customer from sending more than a specific money transfer amount. OFX instead accepts partial payments and allows customers to send the transfer now and make the remaining payments later.
Many transfers with OFX become available that same day, with the upper limit sitting at 1-2 days. OFX also offers a mobile app where you can check the status of your money transfer, connect with an agent for assistance, and take advantage of its suite of money tools.
OFX employs technological, organizational, and physical security measures to ensure the safety and security of its customers’ funds and sensitive information. These safeguards include protection against modification, copying, use, disclosure, unauthorized account access, and loss or theft.
OFX takes its customers’ security seriously, and that extends to every money transfer they process, whether on its site or through its app. OFX enjoys broad accessibility, transferring 55 different currencies to over 190 countries around the world.
Summary Regarding the Top 3 Money-Transfer Services From the United States
A simple Google search for “best ways to send money online” will give you close to a dozen pages of results. It’s difficult to sift through so many companies and services and try to decide which is the best for you. When you check these sites, you’ll often find marketing copy that will put these companies in the best light without showing the drawbacks of their service, so it’s best to look at customer reviews and study the fine print of their agreements and terms.
Currencies Direct, XE Money Transfer, and OFX rank as the top three on our list for several reasons. All three companies have a broad global reach. Each offers quick transfers that typically take no longer than 48 hours, they’re all fee-free or have lower fees than the majority of other companies, and they offer customers 24/7 access to their accounts and services.
On top of that, these three services have excellent customer reviews, good and responsive customer service, and easy-to-understand terms and conditions. Any of these three companies would be a good choice for those looking to send money online.
The Best Apps for Sending Money Internationally
As recently as just a few years ago, most customers sent their money abroad via wire transfer. Bank-to-bank transfer used to be the norm, but radical changes in technology, communication, and commerce have upended the old ways.
Today, customers expect to be able to do just about anything with their smartphones. With apps that enable worldwide communication, business meetings, global commerce, and much more, it’s only natural that people would want and expect an app to be able to transfer their money online.
Luckily for those people, a number of money transfer apps have appeared on app stores in recent years to fulfill that need.
These apps offer easy setup, 24/7 support and customer service, and best of all is their ability to make transfers at any time of day. What used to require a trip to a physical bank during regular business hours can now be done on the couch.
It’s important to remember, though, that not all of these money transfer apps are equal. Here are the three best apps for sending money internationally:
We’ve covered OFX already, but its app deserves its own special mention. This remittance app has the broadest reach by far, and its service is available in more than 190 countries right now, with that number set to increase as OFX continues to grow.
If OFX has an Achilles’ heel, it’s that it doesn’t allow you to pay using a credit card, and you don’t have an option for cash pickup. Even so, the app has superb functionality, accessibility, and ease of access, and OFX remains an excellent choice for customers looking to send large amounts from either a savings or checking account.
On the other side of the coin, Remitly and its app offer a wonderful alternative for customers looking to send lower amounts. It offers low fees on its money transfers, and its high number of 5-star reviews speaks volumes about its popularity.
Another great feature of Remitly is that it tells you when your transfer will become available for the recipient. Remitly is especially great for customers looking to send money to Africa, South America, or Asia, and you can even send money to a smartphone.
3. PayPal – Xoom
While PayPal – Xoom isn’t the cheapest option on this list, these companies make up for their fees with excellent user experience and overall ease of use. You can use your bank account or PayPal balance to make a transfer, but it’s important to note that your recipient must create a PayPal account in order to receive their money. Luckily, the account creation process is entirely free and relatively simple.
Summary on International Money-Transfer Apps
With a host of money transfer apps available on a variety of mobile app stores, you will no longer have to wonder how to send money internationally. Thanks to their ease of access, great functionality, and 24/7 support, the apps we’ve highlighted here remain the best in the field. Any of these apps would be a good choice if you’re looking to send money online.
Risks When Sending Money Abroad
All of the services and companies we’ve gone over so far provide a secure, safe, and effective way to send money overseas. Even so, risk is always involved in any money transfer, whether domestic or abroad. Let’s go over some of the risks you’ll find when sending money internationally.
Most of the money transfer services you’ll find will lock in the exchange rates before transferring your funds. If you’re able to, send the money in the receiving bank’s currency. This will prevent you from incurring an additional exchange fee. If you’re not able to do this, make sure that you’ve read and understood the fees included in your transfer. It’s not unheard of for companies to offer a low transfer fee but then raise exchange rates.
As we mentioned earlier, do not send money to anyone you don’t personally know. Be especially wary of any spam emails or offers of some sort of free product or service. Scammers have in the past used websites, direct calls, text messages, and emails to initiate scams, so keep your guard up. New scams and scam artists crop up with each passing day.
Scammers especially like to target international money transfers because you have very little recourse once the money is out of your account. While banks can freeze and reverse fraudulent purchases using stolen account information, they can do very little in the face of money transfer fraud.
Always use reputable transfer services and companies when sending money abroad. If you’ve been the victim of a scam, or even if someone attempted to scam you, report the incident to the police. Your report could help reduce the overall number of scammers that are out there.
A reputable money transfer company will provide you with every cost and fee up front. Disreputable companies will not only hide their fees, but they’ll typically add a markup to the exchange rate. They may even charge you commission fees and transfer fees. Since these rates display as a percentage, it can be difficult for some folks to understand the dollar amount the company is charging them until it’s too late.
If you’re able to, always compare rates from several services to see which company will give you the best deal. Don’t be fooled by offers like free introductory transfers. Companies will often offer those, only to then add high ongoing fees once you’ve chosen that service.
Not all money transfer services are alike, nor should they be. Some work better with small transfer amounts, and some are ideal for larger transfers. Again, reputable companies will be upfront about their capabilities, services, and fees. The company you choose should also list its daily limits, so be sure to do your research ahead of time.
Delays happen, even for well-established companies that have a global presence. With that said, most companies have a policy set up to compensate you in the event of a delay. Ask each company what their delay policy is.
Best Wishes With Your Money Transfer
With as many companies, services, and apps available right now, you’ll never find a better time to send money online. By following this guide, you’ll be able to sift through the search results, send your money safely, and avoid fees and scammers.
Our #1 Recommended Service: Currencies Direct
|💱 Currencies||40+ provided|
|🏢Offices||London, Spain, France, Portugal, USA, South Africa and India|
|📱 Platforms||Retail presence, phone service, online service and mobile app|
|⚖️ Regulation||Authorised by the FCA as an Electronic Money Institution (EMI)|
|✔️ Credit Rating||Level 1 credit rating with Dun & Bradstreet (Highest Possible)|
|🏆 Awards||MoneyAge award (three time winner of ‘Money transfer Provider of the Year’)|
|🌟Reviews||Excellent 4.9/5 from 7.973reviews on TrustPilot|
|💰 Fees||No transfer fees|
|📈 Trading Volume||550,000 payments last year, trading £7.5bn in currency in 2021|
|🌐 Official Website||Visit Currencies Direct|
Matt is a veteran of the moving industry, a recognized moving expert and is the founder of Mover Focus. Matt holds a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) majoring in Finance and Marketing and Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in Economics and History. He also has completed the EiM (Essentials in International Moving) course from the FIDI Academy. His advice has been featured in Reader’s Digest, Yahoo Finance, MSN Money, Business News Daily and The SpareFoot Blog Go. Read more.