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International money transfers

Compare today's fees, rates and transfer speeds from multiple international money transfer services.

Wondering how to send your next international money transfer? Not sure whether you should send a bank wire transfer, use an online money transfer app like Wise or WorldRemit, or send cash through a service like Western Union?

We’ve compared several international money transfer companies to find the best options. Here’s what you need to know.

Send money internationally with XE

XE has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools.

  • Send money to 170+ countries
  • Competitive exchange rates that are often better than banks
  • Transfer up to $500,000 online
  • See exchange rates in real-time
Promoted

Compare money transfer services

Finding it hard to cut through the noise? We can help. We find the most useful comparison features to be fees, exchange rates and transfer speed, and you can use our comparison table to compare money transfer providers on those features. Click Go to site to send money with the transfer provider of your choice.

Name Product Minimum Transfer Transfer Time Transfer Fee
Wise (TransferWise) - Ireland
EUR 1
1-2 days
Varies
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies.
CurrencyFair - Ireland
EUR 5
1-2 days
Varies
CurrencyFair has bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
Azimo - Ireland
GBP 10
Instant
Varies
Azimo sends money directly to a bank account or over 280,000 cash pick-up points. It also has fast transfers to 50+ countries.
XE Money Transfers - Ireland
EUR 1
Same day
EUR 2
XE has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
Revolut - Ireland
Revolut - Ireland
USD $0
Same day
USD $0
Make fee-free transfers in 27+ currencies from Monday to Friday.
WorldRemit - Ireland
EUR 1
Same day
Varies
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
Key Currency - Global
Key Currency - Global
£5000.00
Same day on all majors, 1 day on exotics
None
Make same-day transfers in all major currencies across Europe.
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What is an international money transfer?

An international money transfer is the process of sending money between people of financial accounts in different countries. Every day, millions of Euros are transferred between people and businesses all over the world.

Typically, you need to give a bank or money transfer service your recipient’s details and the money you want to send. The bank or transfer service then converts your funds to the currency in which it will be received and electronically sends the payment to your recipient.

Depending on what money transfer service, you may be able to send funds online, via a mobile app, over the phone or in person.

How can I pay for my money transfer?

Not all money transfer services accept the same payment methods but you may be able to pay by the following:

  • Debit card
  • Credit card
  • Bank transfer (requires your bank account details)
  • Cash

If you want to pay in cash, you’ll need to visit a bank branch or money transfer agent in person. If you transfer funds online or via a mobile app, you can only pay electronically by card or bank transfer.

How can my recipient receive the money?

Again, receiving options vary between transfer services but your recipient may be able to receive funds the following ways:

  • Bank account
  • Mobile wallet
  • Cash pickup at a bank or money transfer location
  • Airtime top-up

What are the benefits of using an online money transfer service?

While it might be easy to assume that big banks are the best way to go when sending an international money transfer, there are many reasons why an online money transfer service might be just as good if not better:

  • Security. Similar to banks, online transfer services usually follow industry-standard security practices to protect your money and personal information. This often includes encrypted data transfer, SSL certificates, two-factor authentication, security questions/answers and personal identity verification.
  • Cost savings. Online transfer services often translate to lower fees and stronger exchange rates
  • Fast. Online money transfer companies often use the latest financial technology to get your money where it needs to go fast.
  • Easy. Mobile apps and convenient online platforms make it easy to send money anytime from anywhere. Additionally, many money transfer services offer features that let you set up recurring transfers, making it easy to pay bills, send regular transfers, manage international business payments and more.

Compare money transfer services

How do I send money overseas?

There are multiple options to consider when sending money overseas:

Transfer methodDescriptionProsCons
Online money transfer serviceElectronic funds transfer through an online money transfer service.
  • Can be done from anywhere via mobile app
  • Low cost (compared to banks)
  • Fast
  • Cannot pay in cash
  • Many online services don’t support cash pickup (some like WorldRemit and Remitly do)
In-person money transfer serviceCash or electronic transfer by visiting a money transfer service location in person.
  • Multiple transfer options
  • In-person customer service
  • Requires local travel
  • Can only be done within business hours
BankWire transfer or international money transfer through a bank.

(Note: All major banks support wire transfers, but not all offer additional in-house money transfer services.)

  • Considered a very secure way to send money
  • Can be expensive
  • Can only be funded through your bank account
  • Slower turnaround times
ChequeWrite a cheque and post it to your recipient.
  • Can be postdated to delay payment.
  • Can be cancelled in transit.
  • No transaction fee (assuming you already own the cheques)
  • Additional time for delivery
  • Cheque could get lost in the post
Money orderGet a certified money order printed and post it to your recipient.
  • Difficult to cash fraudulently
  • Can be cancelled in transit
  • Additional time for delivery
  • Money order could get lost in the post

How to send money using an online money transfer service

Online money transfer services are increasingly competitive with big banks, in many cases offering more flexible options and lower fees. Sending an international money transfer through an online service is simple:

  1. Compare services, and select one that suits your needs.
  2. Create an account by entering personal details like your name, email, address and phone number.
  3. You may need to submit a scanned copy of your personal ID (i.e. passport photo page or driver’s licence) to qualify for higher transfer limits.
  4. Link your bank account, debit card or credit card to your newly-created account, so you can pay for transfers. Alternatively, you may need to transfer funds from your bank account.

Most of the time, you can access your account immediately after submitting all the required information. For some services (particularly transfer services for businesses), there may be a delay while your information is reviewed and a transfer specialist is assigned to your account.

Best international money transfer services

How to send money through a bank

Bank transfers have long been regarded as reliable and safe. The steps for sending an international money transfer through your bank are generally as follows:

  1. Log into your online banking portal.
  2. Navigate to the international money transfers section of your account. It’s usually a good idea to check your bank’s exchange rates before sending money.
  3. Typically, you need the address and SWIFT code of your recipient’s bank and their account information. SWIFT codes are used internationally to identify banks.

To send a bank wire transfer or money order, you need to visit your bank in person. You may also be able to get money orders at your local post office.

What do I need to send and receive money abroad?

Make sure you have the following to hand when sending an international money transfer.

  • Your personal details. Name, phone number, and government-issued identification like a driver’s licence or passport. Additional details may be required for security purposes, particularly for very large transfers.
  • Your recipient’s personal details. Name, phone number and address.
  • Your recipient’s bank information. Bank name, SWIFT code and your recipient’s account number and sort code.
  • Payment. Check beforehand what types of payment methods are acceptable. For example, not all money transfer services accept credit cards.

Compare money transfer services

How much does it cost to transfer money internationally?

The cost of sending an international money transfer varies between service providers. Factors like the type of transfer, destination country and amount being sent can affect your total cost.

Generally, banks and money transfers services make money from international transfers in two ways:

  1. Transfer fee. This is typically a flat fee or a percentage of the transfer amount.
  2. Exchange rate margin. Most banks and money transfer services make a profit by taking a fee worth a small percentage of the mid-market rate (the “true” exchange rate between two currencies). This fee is called a “markup.” To save money, look for services that have as small a markup as possible.

Transfer for cash pickup can cost more than transfers to a bank account. Some companies charge higher fees for large transfers, while others will actually slash fees for large transfers.

Companies that offer fee-free transfers may make up for it with a poor exchange rate. This is why it’s important to look at the total cost of your transfer, not just the transfer fee or exchange rate.

Tips to save money on your international transfer

Looking for low fees and strong exchange rates isn’t the only way to save on your next international money transfer besides. The following tips can also help keep your costs down:

  • Use a service that offers zero markup the exchange rate. The mid-market rate is the “true” exchange rate between two currencies. While most transfer services add a margin on the mid-market rate to make money, some don’t. Instead, these services prefer to make money through transfer fees and possibly other charges. Depending on the type of transfer, it may work in your favour to use such a service.
  • Send larger transfers. Some services offer discounted or waived transfer fees if you send at, or above, a minimum amount.
  • Use forward contracts and limit orders. A forward contract lets you lock in a favourable exchange rate for future transfers. This means you’ll avoid unpredictable movements in exchange rates. A limit order allows you to wait until a favourable exchange rate is found before locking in your transfer.
  • Watch out for scams. Scams cost people millions of euros each year and continues to rise. It’s important to keep an eye out for the most common money transfer scams. It’s usually best to avoid sending money to anyone you don’t know personally.
  • Pay attention to taxes and regulations. Every country regulates money transfers differently. Make sure your recipient is aware of any tax or reporting obligations that apply to your transfer. Learn more about tax guidelines and regulations for large transfers to the US in our guide.

Best international money transfer apps

Frequently asked questions

What’s the cheapest way to send money abroad?

Usually, online money transfers directly to a bank account are less expensive than sending funds for cash pickup. However, fees and options vary between service providers, so the cheapest option depends on which service you choose and the type of transfer you want to send.

How long does an international money transfer take?

It depends on the service provider and transfer method you choose. In general, if you pay with a credit or debit card, your money will arrive fast — often within the day. Paying by bank transfer is a lot slower and could take up to 2-5 days to process. Check out our guide on factors that can affect your transfer to learn more.

Can I transfer money internationally instantly?

It’s possible to send money within seconds up to an hour if you use services such as WorldRemit, MoneyGram or Western Union. Funds transferred electronically typically pass through a national clearinghouse and other intermediary financial networks before being released to your recipient. If you opt to send an international money transfer with an instant cash transfer, then this could be available for collection as cash within as little as 20 seconds.

Are there minimum and maximum sending limits for international money transfers?

Most transfer services impose minimum and maximum transfer amounts, but the exact amounts can vary. Check with your service provider to find out what limits apply to your transfer. Note that some services may raise your maximum transfer amount if you provide additional documents to verify your identity and employment.

You may be required by law to provide extra personal and/or employment information for large transfers. These laws are designed to track and prevent illegal financial activities such as fraud and terrorist financing.

Are international money transfers taxed?

That depends on the tax laws in the country in which your recipient lives. In the US, international money transfers are not taxed. But you do need to report foreign gifts of money or other property to the IRS on Form 3520 if the value of the gift exceeds certain thresholds.

Are there free international money transfers?

Ultimately, no. Banks and money transfer services must make a profit to continue providing international money transfer services. Some services offer zero transfer fees but charge a margin on the exchange rate. Others don’t add a margin to the exchange rate, but you’ll have to pay a transfer fee.

You may be able to find special promotions designed to attract new customers like zero fees on your first transfer.

Can I track my international money transfer?

Yes. Money transfer services typically provide a tracking number once payment is received. You can use this number to check the status of your transfer online, by phone or by mobile app (options vary between services).

Is an international money transfer the same as a bank wire transfer?

International money transfers and wire transfers are both types of electronic funds transfers. But international money transfers are typically handled by companies that offer money transfer services exclusively, while wire transfers are offered by banks. Additionally, wire transfer must usually be submitted in person at a bank branch, while money transfer services can be sent online.

Why do international transfer fees vary?

Money transfer services have different strategies for making a profit, which results in different fee structures. Some may choose to cater specifically to a certain target audience like businesses or those who send recurring transfers. Fees are set up to carve out a market niche and appeal to different customers with different needs.

When is the best time to transfer money?

It’s best to transfer money on regular business days. Try not to send money on, or just before, holidays and weekends to avoid delays. Note that you may be able to submit transfers online outside of regular business hours, but funds may not be processed and received until financial institutions reopen.

How to make sure my international money transfer is safe?

Many money transfer services implement industry-standard measures for protecting your personal data and money, similar to banks. This can include data encryption, SSL certificates, multi-factor authentication and regular monitoring to detect and prevent fraudulent activity.

Can I send money to any country in the world?

You can send an international money transfer to almost any country in the world. Certain countries may be restricted due to government sanctions that have been put in place because of political instability, extreme social turmoil, economic instability or other reasons.

Sending to a specific country? Learn more

Read more on this topic

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