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Can I transfer money overseas with my credit or debit card?
Explore ways to make an international transfer with your card and learn what to watch out for.
Updated . What changed?
There are several ways you can transfer money overseas from your card, but you’ll need to keep an eye on the fees. It’s often not the cheapest method of sending money overseas – paying with a bank transfer attracts fewer fees. But if you have to, picking the right company to send money using your credit card can save you on excess fees.
Money transfer services that let you pay by credit/debit card
Use our comparison table below to see what the total cost of your transfer could be by entering the amount you want to send, selecting your destination country and choosing Calculate.
You’re often able to pay for a transfer money overseas with your credit or debit card. But compare costs among providers to make sure you’re getting the biggest bang for your buck.
How do I send money internationally with my credit card?
You have several ways to use your credit card when paying for an international money transfer, including:
- Your bank. Use your credit card to transfer money overseas from your bank account either online, over the phone or by visiting a branch. But with one caveat: Your credit card provider will likely consider your transfer a cash advance, resulting in both a higher rate of interest and a cash advance fee.
- Money transfer specialist. Specialist transfer companies like Western Union, MoneyGram, WorldRemit, Ria Money Transfers and more allow you to send money with your credit card. All allow you to pay for online transfers using your credit card, and a few also allow for in-person transfers with your card.
- PayPal. Link your credit card to your PayPal account to make an overseas transfer. Fees are 2.9% of your transaction amount and $0.30 per transaction.
How do I send money internationally with my debit card?
Even if you don’t have a credit card, you may be in luck: many money transfer providers accept debit cards. If you decide to use a debit card, be sure to understand any processing fees you’ll pay.
Here are a few excellent options for international transfers using your debit card:
- OFX. Exclusively through finder.com, you can get $0 transfer fees on OFX. As a bonus, the platform offers excellent exchange rates.
- TransferWise. Through TransferWise, you can pay no debit card fees for transfers to select countries. Watch out for percentage-based transfer fees, but rest easy knowing you’ll get the mid-market rate on all currency trades.
Want to make domestic money transfers with a debit card?
A debit card is a great option for domestic money transfers. If you pick the right transfer provider, a debit card will let you send money quickly and for free. Consider these top-notch apps:
- Google Wallet. Arguably the best way to send money domestically, Google Wallet offers free transfers with a debit card. When your recipient receives the transfer, the money is automatically forwarded to the bank account linked to their debit card.
- Square Cash. With Square Cash, it’s free to load money with a debit card. It’s also free to send and receive money. On the downside, your recipient will have to wait a few days for the money to transfer from Square Cash to their bank account. However, they can pay a 1% fee to withdraw the money immediately.
- Venmo. Venmo doesn’t offer instant withdrawals, but you can use it to send free transfers via debit card.
Fees to send money online with your credit card
You have many options when it comes to sending money with your credit card, as companies are often willing to accept payment by plastic if you’re willing to pay for the convenience. Here are the fees charged by popular options for sending $1,000 to Mexico with your credit card when we checked on September 18, 2020.
|Sending $1,000 to Mexico via||Percent fee||Flat fee||Total credit card fees|
Without a doubt, WorldRemit charges the lowest in credit card fees compared to the other popular sending options we checked, but these fees aren’t the whole story.
Should I ever transfer money internationally with my credit or debit card?
You could find yourself in a situation where sending a money transfer from your credit or debit card is a good idea. Here are just a few:
You want credit card rewards
If you have a rewards credit card, you may earn travel miles or cash back after you fund your transfer. However, this works best when you use a service like MoneyGram or Western Union — not your bank. Transferring through your bank could saddle you with higher interest rates and fees, erasing any rewards you might earn.
You need your card in a pinch
Credit and debit card transfers could be useful in an emergency. For example, you may need to send an urgent transfer to a loved one who’s mugged overseas and has no cash. In this case, it may be most effective to send a card-based transfer via Western Union or MoneyGram.
The fees work in your favor
Before you initiate your transfer, check on fees for both credit and debit cards. If there’s any difference, you’re likely to find a lower fee for debit card transfers.
You don’t have a bank account
Using a bank account is the standard funding source for money transfers. However, you may not have your bank account details handy. In that case, it may be more convenient to use your credit or debit card.
If you don’t have a credit card, bank account or debit card, consider picking up a prepaid debit card. You can purchase one at a local store — such as a supermarket or Target — and use it to fund your transfer.
Why you should avoid sending money online with your credit card
Compared with using your bank account, it could be more convenient to transfer money with your credit or debit card. However, keep these potential pitfalls in mind.
Your credit card transaction could be treated as a cash advance
When you pay for a transfer with your credit card, the transaction is often treated as a cash advance by your card provider. This typically attracts a cash advance fee and higher rate of interest than an ordinary card payment. The interest may also apply from the day you make the transfer — without an interest grace period.
Look out for credit and debit card fees
Using your bank account is typically the cheapest option. When you use your credit or debit card, your provider is likely to charge you a higher transfer fee.
You can transfer money overseas with a credit or debit card, but it’s typically your more expensive option. It’s almost always cheaper to fund your transfer with your bank account. No matter how you’ll ultimately pay, compare multiple transfer providers before parting with any of your money.
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