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How to send money overseas cheaply

What's the most affordable way to send money overseas from Hong Kong? Find out with this guide.

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Times have changed, and you have more options than ever available to you when you want to send money internationally. And more money transfer services means having more details to sift through.

Your transfer’s total cost is one important factor, but only the tip of the iceberg in getting the lowest price. Benefit from our 14+ years of money transfer experience with these key tips.

Send money internationally with these tips in mind

While your ideal option depends on how much you send, how you pay for the transfer and where you send funds to, some industry-wide key tips include:

  • Use a comparison table. Review the prices of many different services at once to help you understand what fees exist and how to best avoid them.
  • Plan ahead. It’s best to plan your money transfer as far in advance as possible, but if you need to make an emergency transfer, read on to find the best deal.
  • Don’t bet on your bank. Banks are great for domestic money management, but once you get into international transfers, banks tend to offer worse exchange rates and higher fees.
  • Skip the bank altogether. When you want to send or receive money using cash, fees can add up, but we’ve put together some tips to avoid high costs whenever possible.

Online money transfer specialists profit on your transfers in two ways: transaction fees and exchange rates. When comparing providers, look for low fees and exchange rates closest to the mid-market rate at the time of your transfer.

Can I use my bank to send money abroad?

Most banks allow you to send money internationally, but high fees and poor exchange rates are good reasons to look elsewhere.

Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending 10,000 HKD to Europe.

To put this into perspective, let’s see what a transfer with each of these options looks like. This table uses real fees and exchange rates and is current as of 7 March, 2021.

Bank transferCash transferMoney transfer service
Fee65.00 HKD + additional correspondent bank fees8.00 HKD49.19 HKD
Exchange rate1.00 HKD = 0.107289 EUR1.00 HKD = 0.1070 EUR1.00 HKD = 0.108033 EUR
Transfer speed2-5 daysWithin minutesSame day
Amount received1,065.92 EUR1,069.24 EUR1,075.02 EUR
Overall
  • Slowest and most expensive
  • Fastest
  • Best value

The bank option is the slowest and transfers the least amount of money to your recipient. If you go with the specialist money transfer service, your recipient ends up with almost 10 EUR more than they would from the bank. However, if speed is what’s most important, the cash transfer can’t be beaten for nearly instant transfers.

Compare ways to send money internationally

Enter the amount you want to send, select your preferred destination and click Calculate to see how much your transfer could cost.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 10 1 - 2 days HKD 90.00 0.106 EUR
1,049
以透明的匯率,低收費及低最低金額的網上服務作匯款。 Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies. Go to site Show details
USD 10 1 - 2 days HKD 25.00 0.105 EUR
1,045
新客戶可享有首三個月無限次免手續費匯款。New customers get 3 months of unlimited free transfers.
可用15+種貨幣匯款,享有超越銀行的匯率以及快速轉賬時間。 CurrencyFair has bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
Go to site Show details
USD 60 1 day HKD 0.00 0.105 EUR
1,055
Skrill能令你輕鬆匯款至多個熱門目的地,可是要留意其加上的手續費。 Skrill offers easy transfers to many popular destinations, but keep an eye out for added fees. Go to site Show details
SGD 1 1 day HKD 48.00 0.106 EUR
1,054
你首兩次港幣$15,000或以下的匯款,手續費全免。Pay no fees on your first two transfers, up to HK$15,000.
象徵式收費以及中間價匯率,可匯款至高達30多個國家。 SingX offers the real exchange rate every time you make a transfer and can help you send money across the world.
Go to site Show details
USD 50 1 day HKD 35.00 0.106 EUR
1,055
New customers sending over AUD 500 to Australia use code FINDER50 to get AUD 50 off. Valid till 31st May 2021. T&Cs apply. Go to site Show details
USD 1 Within an hour HKD 20.00 0.105 EUR
1,052
提供現金提取、銀行戶口之間轉賬與及Airtime匯款選擇的網上匯款服務,。 WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups. Go to site Show details
GBP 5,000 1 - 2 days HKD 0.00 0.104 EUR
1,043
可匯款至20+個國家,無手續費。 CurrencyTransfer lets you shop around for the best exchange rate on its online marketplace. Go to site Show details
USD 2,000 1 day HKD 0.00 0.104 EUR
1,043
TorFX保證提供最佳的匯率。需受條款約束。TorFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate.
以30種貨幣匯款到全球。登記後,將會有一個客戶經理提供支持和引導。 TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
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Compare up to 4 providers

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

How can I save money when I send money internationally?

Fees vary widely depending on the provider you choose for the transfer. Overall, money transfer providers make money on your transfer in two ways: by marking up the exchange rate and by charging you a transfer fee.

  • Compare exchange rates. Use your currency’s mid-market rate as a baseline to compare against the rates you’re offered. Focus on providers that offer the closest rates.
  • Send more money per transfer. Many providers discount transfer fees or waive them altogether when you send larger amounts.
  • Look for hidden fees. Avoid surprises by reading the fine print for fees that could apply to your transfer, including charges your recipient will need to pay.
  • Sniff out special offers. Keep an eye on promotions that offer, for example, no fees on your first transfer. While ideal for limited transfer needs, you could also end up with a new preferred service.
  • Shop around. The best way to save is by comparing rates, fees and transfer speeds from each provider, closely looking at their benefits and drawbacks.

What’s the best way to send money internationally?

Because nearly everyone’s sending circumstances are different, the best way to send money internationally varies. Overall, using a digital money transfer provider to complete your transfer is one of the cheapest ways to send money because the company you’re sending through has fewer overhead costs.

We’ve curated a list based on common sending circumstances, so read up on our top money transfer picks for cash transfers, strong exchange rates and more.

Can I send money internationally without a bank account?

Yes. Even though most methods used to send money abroad require that you either have access to a bank account, a debit card, a credit card, cash, or Tap & Go, you have options.

Send money without a bank account

  1. Money transfer paid in cash
  2. Credit card payment to an online transfer agency
  3. Send funds through a mobile wallet
  4. Purchase a money order and mail it

Receive money without a bank account

  1. Transfer funds to a money transfer physical branch for cash pickup
  2. Spend a prepaid debit card received by mail
  3. Directly to a mobile wallet
  4. Cash a money order received by mail
Need more help? Read our full guide on sending and receiving money without a bank account.

Bottom line

It doesn’t have to be expensive to send money overseas, and fees differ depending on what country you send to. Countries where online money transfers are more common tend to have lower fees, while other countries may be more expensive. If possible, plan in advance to secure the best rates for your transfer.

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