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Find the cheapest ways to send money internationally

Need to send money overseas? Compare different international money transfer services to find the best one for you.

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Without a doubt, some money transfer services are cheaper than others. We used our 14+ years of money sending experience combined with data from the World Bank Group to determine the cheapest ways to send money internationally. Spoiler alert: It’s not your bank.

What is the cheapest way to send money internationally?

The costs to send money to distant locations varies. From the cheapest to most expensive, your options are:

1. Digital money transfer providers

These specialists offer more affordable transfers than banks, allowing you to manage your transactions from home. In our experience, digital money transfer providers are typically the cheapest way to send money internationally.

With competitive exchange rates and lower fees, you can send funds directly from your bank account. Many also allow you to pay with a credit or debit card.

2. Providers with cash pickup

Trusted providers like Western Union, WorldRemit and MoneyGram give your recipient fast access to the cash you send — sometimes within minutes. You can often pay online or at one of the thousands of agent locations worldwide. However, services typically cost more than a digital money transfer provider, so compare cash pickup options before sending.

3. PayPal transfers

PayPal offers transfers to more than 100 countries and supports multiple currencies. Its exchange rates are often better than those you’ll get from a bank but not quite as strong as rates offered by money transfer companies. PayPal calculates its transfer fee as a percentage of the amount you’re sending — meaning it’s often better for sending smaller amounts of money.

4. Checks and money orders

It’s possible to send an international check overseas — either from your bank or the US Postal Service — but it’s the least efficient. It’s also more expensive because you have to purchase the check, and your recipient may be charged to cash it. But if transaction speed isn’t a factor, consider sending a check or money order overseas.

5. Bank transfers

Many major US banks can safely wire your funds globally, since banks rely on existing links between banks and banking systems worldwide. Be aware that banks offer weaker exchange rates, have higher fees and provide fewer options to send and receive cash when compared to a money transfer service.

Compare some of the cheapest ways to send money internationally

Use our interactive table to compare transfer fees, exchange rates, sending limits and more for sending funds internationally with our money transfer partners.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
$1,000 1 day USD 0.00 0.82 EUR 4,098 OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies. Go to site Show details
GBP 1,000 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 0.82 EUR 4,098 Exclusive: Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally $5,000).
CurrencyTransfer lets you shop around for the best exchange rate on its online marketplace.
Go to site Show details
$1 Same day USD 0.00 0.824 EUR 4,121 XE has fast transfers with no fees and a range of foreign currency tools. Go to site Show details
$10 Within an hour USD 1.99 0.811 EUR 4,055 Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
Go to site Show details
$1 1 - 2 days USD 40.00 0.828 EUR
TransferWise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies. Go to site Show details
$1 Within an hour USD 3.99 0.824 EUR 4,119 WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups. Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

Bottom line

Although it can be tempting to use a bank for an international money transfer convenience over price, it’s usually the most expensive option. When comparing services, pay attention to fees and exchange rates that can quickly eat into your transfer.

Still not sure about your best way to cheaply send money? Use our hand-picked list of money transfer providers to help make your decision.

Frequently asked questions

How long do transfers usually take?

Transfer speeds depend on the provider, where you’re sending your money, how you’re paying and how your recipient will access the funds. The process could take anywhere from 10 minutes to several business days. Confirm the transfer speed with the provider you choose before handing over your money.

What if I only want to transfer a small amount of money?

Companies like PayPal and TransferWise can be useful for sending smaller amounts. Other providers impose minimum transfer limits of $250, $500 or more, so confirm any transfer restrictions before registering for an account.

Can I change or cancel an international money transfer?

Federal protections are in place that require banks, credit unions and money transfer companies to give you 30 minutes to cancel a transfer, assuming it hasn’t yet been picked up or deposited. However, contact your provider to learn more about their specific policies.

How much does it cost to register for an account with an online money transfer provider?

In most cases you won’t pay anything to sign up for an account with an online transfer provider.

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