Get your money safely to loved ones and businesses cheaply and quickly with an online transfer specialist.
Your typical US bank versus a money transfer provider
While there’s no question that banks are a convenient option for sending funds from a bank account, overseas money transfers aren’t their specialty. With a bank, you’ll typically pay transfer fees of up to $35 to $40 and receive exchange rates that are anywhere from 2% to 5% or more above the mid-market rate, depending on the country you’re sending it to.
What’s the mid-market rate?
The mid-market rate is what your money’s actually worth on the global market compared to another currency. It’s the midpoint between worldwide supply and demand for that currency — and the rate banks and transfer services use when they trade among themselves.
Use the mid-market rate as a baseline to compare against the rates provided by your bank or transfer service. With it, you’ll discover which companies offer the best rates.
Unlike your typical US bank, an independent money transfer provider specializes in one thing: safely moving your money from the US to countries around the world. This one focus means that they can offer more options — and stronger exchange rates — than a bank can.
What are my cheapest options when sending money online?
Online money transfer specialists make a profit on your transfers in two ways: transaction fees and exchange rates. When comparing providers, look for low fees and exchange rates that are closest to the mid-market rate at the time of your transfer.
While your best option will depend how much you’re sending, how you’re paying for the transfer and where you’re sending your funds to, your cheapest options are:
- TransferWise. Unlike the competition, TransferWise doesn’t skew exchange rates to make a profit. Instead, it offers the mid-market rate to all of its customers.
- OFX. A safe way to send money with no fees and competitive rates.
- XE. This provider offers one-off and regular transfers with a no-fee threshold of $5,000 and a low $5 for all other transactions.
- WorldRemit. WorldRemit offers bank-to-bank deposits, cash pickups and mobile top-ups. Use promo code FREE to send your first transfer with no fee.
- Currencies Direct. This UK provider offers strong exchange rates and low fees for transfers of $100 or more.
Sending $1,000 to Mexico
Let’s say you want to send $1,000 to your sister who’s traveling throughout Mexico. Which online service will charge you the least, get the money to her the fastest, give her the most money — and not give you a headache?
Here’s what you’d get when paying for a money transfer to Mexico with your bank account.
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 19.841 MXN||1 USD = 19.738 MXN||1 USD = 19.630||1 USD = 19.82||1 USD = 19.622|
|Typical transfer speed||1–2 business days||1–2 business days||2–3 business days||1 business day||2 business days|
|Transfer options||Bank transfer||Bank transfer||Bank transfer||Bank transfer, cash pickup, Mobile Money, mobile top-up||Bank transfer|
|Total MXN received||19,841 MXN||19,738 MXN||19,630 MXN||19,820 MXN||19,622 MXN|
Compare cheap ways to send money overseas
Can I make an emergency money transfer cheaply?
Being able to transfer money quickly, easily and safely during an emergency can be tricky. But with an online specialist, you can often transfer money quickly at a cost that’s cheaper than your local bank.
Before you make your transfer, compare:
- Exchange rates. Look for a rate that’s as close to the mid-market rate as possible.
- Transfer fees. Fees can range from flat fees of a few dollars to up to $80 or more, depending on how quickly you need it there.
- Transfer options. Can your recipient accept a bank account transfer, or do they need to pick up cash right away?
- Security. Make sure you can track your transfer through to receipt.
To get the best value for money for your international money transfer, compare the benefits and features of competing services before selecting a provider.