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Bank transfers and Western Union are more common ways to send money overseas, but they’re also the most expensive.

New online transfer specialists can be faster and cheaper.

Check currency availability before sending to ensure that your recipient can receive your funds.

Scroll down to read the full guide to sending money overseas.

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Ofx Logo

Save money on your personal or business international money transfer today. Fill in the form and you’ll be contacted by a foreign exchange expert to have an obligation-free discussion about your options.

With over 17 years of foreign exchange expertise and over $100 billion transferred, OFX can help with all your currency exchange needs, including:

  • Buying property abroad
  • Emigrating
  • Regular overseas payments
  • Risk management
  • Forecasting

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Services Amount Received Description CTA Details
Wyre International Money Transfers
- - Online, Phone No transfer fees for readers. Make transfers with Bitcoin. Go to site View details
World First Foreign Exchange
USD 1,000 1 day USD 0.00 19.027 Online MXN 95,137 Exclusive offer: $0 transfer fee
No-limit transfers with competitive exchange rates for more than 100 currencies.
Go to site View details
WorldRemit International Money Transfers
USD 1 Within an hour USD 4.99 18.938 Online, Bank Account to Bank Account, Cash Transfer MXN 94,595 Use promo code FREE to send your first transfer for no fee, to over 110 countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up. Go to site View details
TransferWise International Money Transfers
USD 1 1 day USD 0.00 18.881 Online MXN 94,403 Enjoy high maximum transfers into more than 20 currencies while saving up to 90% over local banks. Go to site View details
OFX International Money Transfers
USD 150 1 day USD 0.00 18.995 Online, Bank Account to Bank Account MXN 94,975 Send safe, no-limit transfers with no fees and competitive exchange rates. Go to site View details
HiFX International Money Transfers
USD 100 2 days USD 5.00 18.985 Online MXN 94,832 Transfer money into 20 currencies and schedule regular payments. $5 fee waived for transfers over $5,000. Go to site View details
Wells Fargo Bank
USD 1 1 day USD 45.00 18.69 Online, Bank Account to Bank Account MXN 92,608 While more expensive than other options, securely send money to 13 Latin American and Asian countries. Go to site View details
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What is an international money transfer?

An international money transfer, also known as an international remittance, allows you to send money to a recipient overseas. Generally, a transfer involves you providing funds to a bank or an independent transfer provider, which exchanges the money into your desired currency, and then sends the money to your recipient in another country.

Depending on the provider, this can be done in person, over the phone, through a mobile app or online. Again, depending on the provider, you can use cash, a credit or debit card, or transfer funds from your bank account, which will then either be deposited into your recipient’s bank account or mobile wallet, or made available as cash for them to pick up at a location in their country. Delivery of the funds varies from provider to provider.

How much will a money transfer cost?

There are two ways that a provider makes money on your transfer. The obvious one is the transaction fee. But the sneakier one is what your bank or transfer service marks up on the exchange rate.


Most providers either charge a set fee per transaction or they charge a percentage of your total transfer amount. To safe on fees, keep an eye out for special deals.

For example, WorldFirst charges a flat fee of $10 on transfers up to $10,000 and no fee on transfers over that amount. But because WorldFirst is a trusted partner of, you can avoid the fee entirely.

Keep in mind that a lower fee doesn’t necessarily translate to the biggest savings. A lower fee might be accompanied by a poor exchange rate, negating any savings from the low fee.

 Exchange Rate

The exchange rate determines how much one country’s currency is worth in another currency. Most countries’ exchange rates are flexible, which means it can change from moment to moment. Factors that influence the exchange rate include interest rates, economic stability and inflation.

Most transfer services will advertise the real exchange rate, or “mid-market rate” — the mid-point between the buy and sell prices of two currencies on the global market. But when it comes time to make your transfer, you’ll notice you almost never get this rate. The provider will mark up the exchange rate — and pocket the difference. Using a provider that offers the most competative exchange rate could save you hundreds on your transaction.

How can I beat the banks and reduce what I pay in fees?

Tips for saving on your international transfer

There’s no one best way to transfer funds overseas. It depends on how much you’re sending, how soon you need it to be made available and the exchange rates at the time. Below are a few tips you can use when sending money overseas.

  • Know your transfer currency’s mid-market rate. This rate is the midpoint between worldwide supply and demand for that currency — and the rate banks and transfer services use when they trade among themselves. Use it as a baseline to compare against the rates you’re being offered. The company that’s closest is offering you the best rate.
  • Send more money per transfer. Many services discount the fees or waive them altogether when you send larger transfers. WorldFirst, for example, World First waives fees for all transfers above $10,000. Sending less comes with a $10 fee.
  • Use forward contracts and limit orders if sending money regularly. A forward contract allows you to lock in a favorable exchange rate for future transfers. This means you avoid unpredictable movements in exchange rates. A limit order allows you to wait until a favorable exchange rate is found, and then lock it in for your transfer.
  • Send same-currency transfers. It can sometimes be cheaper to transfer US dollars to your recipient, allowing them to transfer the dollars into their own currency when received. Depending on the situation, your recipient could pay lower fees overall.

Alex sends money to Mexico

Alex wants to help his family in Mexico with bills and critical home improvements. He initially planned to transfer $1,000 through his local bank, but he’s decided to compare his bank to an independent service to see what his best option is.

Bank transferMoney transfer service
Exchange rate1 USD = 19.61 MXN1 USD = 19.95 MXN
Transfer fee$35$15
Processing time2 business daysWithin minutes
Amount received in MXN19,610 MXN19,950 MXN

Visiting his local bank, Alex learns that he’ll need to transfer money from his account to another bank account, which will take a few days. His bank offers a weaker exchange rate and a stiffer transaction fee than a money transfer service does. Overall, he’ll be out $1,035 for the transfer.

Working with a money transfer service, Alex discovers it offers not only a stronger exchange rate but also a lower transaction fee. It charges a mere $4 for bank-to-bank transfers but offers quicker cash pickups for only $11 more. By going with a transfer service, Alex saves $20 in fees and his family can pick up the cash — and an additional 340 MXN — within minutes.

Business or personal?

Consider the purpose of your transfer. Are you sending money to friends and family overseas, or are you a business looking to pay for goods and services, potentially regularly? For business owners, time is our greatest commodity. Without time to research our options, we often end up going with our bank. But a little planning can set you up for significant savings on your transfers.

If you send transfers of $1,000 every week, you could save $40 each time. That’s a savings of $2,000 a year simply by choosing a competitive independent service over your bank.

Need help? Speak to a money transfer agent to help you set up payments

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Enter your details to speak to a foreign exchange expert

By submitting this form, you agree to privacy policy
Ofx Logo

Save money on your personal or business international money transfer today. Fill in the form and you’ll be contacted by a foreign exchange expert to have an obligation-free discussion about your options.

With over 17 years of foreign exchange expertise and over $100 billion transferred, OFX can help with all your currency exchange needs, including:

  • Buying property abroad
  • Emigrating
  • Regular overseas payments
  • Risk management
  • Forecasting

Instant cash transfers

Many online money transfer providers allow you to send and receive funds almost instantly. Transferring the money into a bank account might take a few days. Bank-to-bank transfers also take a few days to clear.

If you need to send a same-day or emergency transfer, there are providers that allow your recipient to pick up their funds quickly, often within an hour.

How to safely make an emergency money transfer to a friend or family member.

Larger payment networks allow for nearly instant transfers with cash pickup:

Today’s live rates

We’ve gathered today’s best rates to inform your foreign exchange decisions.

Refreshing in: 60s | Fri, 28 Apr 10:15am GMT
1 USD = 1.0000 1.3394 Inverse: 0.7466 1.3637 Inverse: 0.7333 0.920101 Inverse: 1.0868 6.8957 Inverse: 0.1450 0.775801 Inverse: 1.2890 64.099998 Inverse: 0.0156 19.0713 Inverse: 0.0524 49.950001 Inverse: 0.0200
1 AUD = 0.7466 Inverse: 1.3394 1.0000 1.0181 Inverse: 0.9822 0.6869 Inverse: 1.4557 5.1483 Inverse: 0.1942 0.5792 Inverse: 1.7265 47.8571 Inverse: 0.0209 14.2387 Inverse: 0.0702 37.2927 Inverse: 0.0268
1 EUR = 1.0868 Inverse: 0.9201 1.4557 Inverse: 0.6869 1.4821 Inverse: 0.6747 1.0000 7.4945 Inverse: 0.1334 0.84317 Inverse: 1.1860 69.666294 Inverse: 0.0144 20.7274 Inverse: 0.0482 54.2875 Inverse: 0.0184
1 GBP = 1.2890 Inverse: 0.7758 1.7265 Inverse: 0.5792 1.7578 Inverse: 0.5689 1.1860 Inverse: 0.8432 8.8885 Inverse: 0.1125 1.0000 82.624263 Inverse: 0.0121 24.5827 Inverse: 0.0407 64.3851 Inverse: 0.0155

What are the best international money transfer services?

finder Money Transfer Awards

We researched over 35 providers and sent money transfers to two countries to find out who offers the best products. Click to have a look at our in-depth research and testing to find out which providers won awards for Best User Experience, Most Convenient, Fastest Transfer, Most Trustworthy, Best Transfer Rates, and Most Outstanding Product.

How do I compare international money transfer providers?

exchange rates icon

Exchange rates

This is the rate at which your money will be converted to your target currency. Some transfer providers offer lower fees but weaker exchange rates, while others charge no fees but profit from the margin between its rate and the mid-market rate. Compare the total cost of your transfer to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

Money transfer fees icon


Your bank or transfer provider will usually charge a fee for making a transfer. Fees can vary widely depending on who you’re transferring with. Generally, fees come in the form of a flat fee (such as $5 for transfers up to $5,000) or a percentage of your transaction (such as 1% of your transfer amount).

Money transfer options icon

Transfer options

Independent transfer services like OFX and World First offer competitive exchange rates and no fees. If you want to send and receive cash right away, compare options like WorldRemit, Ria, MoneyGram and Western Union. Bank-to-bank transfers are safe and convenient but typically not your cheapest or fastest option.

Money transfer coin stack icon


The best method for transferring money might depend on how much you want to send. If you’re making a transfer of five figures or more, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the best exchange rate — especially since providers encourage large transfers by offering low fees. If you’re sending a small amount to friends or family, it’s wise to also consider any fees you’ll pay on top of the exchange rate.

Money transfer frequency icon

Frequency & Purpose

Sending a one-time transfer differs from sending regular transfers, whether to pay for bills like an overseas mortgage payment or for goods and services. With a one-time transfer, you may put more weight on speed and flexibility in delivery, such as cash pickup. But if you’re sending recurring payments, you’ll want to set up regular transfers that can save you the most on rates and fees over the long term.

Money transfer speed icon


Sometimes you or a loved one is in an emergency and needs funds quickly — and in cash. Thankfully there are global money transfer providers with tons of agent locations that allow your recipient to pick up the funds in cash, often within minutes. If you have a little more time, however, consider an independent transfer provider that can get you much lower fees and stronger exchange rates.

What currencies can I send overseas?

The United States does business with just about every country worldwide. When it comes to money transfers, you have options to convert your dollars into Mexican pesos, Kenyan shillings and many currencies in between. Larger networks like Western Union will have the largest number of possible currencies, whereas smaller banks and other services usually limit their supported currencies to the most popular ones, including:

Don’t see your country listed?

Top 10 most popular money transfer companies

List of international money transfer services

Moneygram LogoPaypalRia LogoWestern Union
transferwise logoHIFX logoWorldRemit LogoTravelex
OFX LogoWorld First LogoCurrencies Direct LogoTORFX Logo

Your best exchange options are online

The rise of online money transfer services gives you more options — and stronger rates — than ever before. These services specialize in safely moving money internationally, saving you frustration when making or receiving regular payments.

Expat passport icon

For expats

Whether you’re putting roots down in France, opening an office in Japan or spending while vacationing in Australia, compare to get the best exchange rates and lowest fees on sending money internationally.

Overseas property icon

For owners of overseas properties

Buying, selling or investing in a property abroad? International money transfers can maximize the value of your dollars, whether closing on your dream home or scheduling recurring payments.

Stack of dollar bills icon

For larger international payments

Maybe you’re ready to buy that boat you’ve been eyeing. It could be time to pay off your child’s education abroad or support their destination wedding. Perhaps you’re coming into an inheritance that needs to be transferred to your US account. When transferring big money, it all comes down to the exchange rate.

How important is the exchange rate?

A solid exchange rate is crucial. When it comes to larger amounts, even two cents in your favor can save — or cost you — hundreds of dollars.

If you have the luxury of time, you may be able to take advantage of a limit order. A limit order allows you to set a target exchange rate with a service or broker, which monitors the markets 24/7 to ensure you don’t miss that target. Once rates meet your what you’re looking for, you give the OK to complete the transfer. Services like OFX offer free limit orders for transfers of $35,000 and more.

When a few cents totals thousands

How important is the exchange rate? Say you need to get 500,000 euros to a broker in Spain for a down payment on a pied-à-terre.

The mid-market rate for dollars to euros is 1 USD = 0.95 EUR. You’re happy to find two online services that are pretty close to the mid-market rate — one is offering 0.93 for your dollar and the other 0.92. But to be sure, you crunch the numbers.

Service AService B
Exchange rate1 USD = 0.93 EUR1 USD = 0.92 EUR
Inverse exchange rate1 EUR = 1.075 USD1 EUR = 1.087 USD
500,000 euros in dollars$537,500$543,500

Finding the inverse rate, you learn that the exchange rates are a mere 1 cent difference (0.012 cents, to be exact). Yet, when applying these rates to 500,000 euros, you’d lose $6,000 to the first money transfer service on the exchange rate alone. That’s a lot of rioja you could be sipping in Madrid.

How do I find the inverse exchange rate?

The world of finance can feel hopelessly complicated. But it’s easy to find the inverse exchange rate for your currency. If you think of an exchange rate as A = B, you’d simply divide the number 1 by B: 1/B

Take 1 USD = 0.93 EUR. To find how much 1 euro is worth in dollars using this same exchange rate, divide 1 by 0.93: 1/0.93 = 1.075. With this exchange rate, 1 euro is worth $1.075.

Best exchange rates from USD to foreign currencies April 2017

Compare minimum and maximum transfer limits

Minimum and maximum transfer limits can vary by provider, currencies and recipient country.

ProviderMinimum transfer amountMaximum transfer amount
OFX$150No limit
HiFX$50No limit
World First$1,000No limit
WorldRemit$1No limit
Travelex International Payments$500No limit
TorFX$200No limit
Currency Online$0No limit
Western Union$1$5000 per transaction
TransferWise$1Private individual — $49,999 a day and $199,999 a year
Business — $199,999 a day and $1 million a year
XoomVaries by country$2,999 every 24 hours, up to $6,000 every 30 days and up to $9,999 every 180 days
MoneyGram$1$2,999 a day and up to $2,999 every 30 days
RIA$1$2,999 a day and up to $7,999 every 30 days

Understand transfer limits:

What are my rights when it comes to money transfers?

Since 2013 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has enforced rules to keep US citizens safer when transferring money internationally. Federal law now requires many banks, credit unions and money transfer providers to disclose information both before and after a transfer. These rules apply to all international transfers of $15 or more.

Before an international transfer, you have the right to know:

  • The exact exchange rate you will pay.
  • Fees and taxes collected from you.
  • Fees charged by agents overseas and others involved in the process.
  • The amount your recipient is expected to receive (excluding foreign taxes and any pickup fees).

You should also be provided details on:

  • Your right to cancel the transfer. Unless the transfer has been picked up or deposited, you have 30 minutes (and sometimes more) to cancel at no charge.
  • The bank or company’s process to investigate and fix any errors. It generally has 90 days to resolve any problems.

Should I be concerned about taxes?

There is so much attention on money leaving the country that whether you fail to report, don’t know you have to report or don’t report your taxes as required by law — it will likely be discovered. If you’re found not in compliance, you’re on the hook for some stiff penalties that include multi-year penalties and even jail time.

To avoid a tax minefield, know the tax thresholds and how to report when you’ve met them.

What are the tax requirements when sending a large transfer?

How to avoid a money transfer scam

You’ve undoubtedly heard about someone who’s fallen prey to a money transfer scam. Scammers are becoming more sophisticated, using increasingly elaborate plans in an effort to separate you from your money.

Common scams to look out for include:

  • Advance fee scams. Maybe you’re notified you’ve won a prize or the lottery, but you need to first pay a fee to receive it. Perhaps you’re “approved” for a loan but must wire a down payment. In both cases, you’re probably dealing with a scammer.
  • Bogus check scams. You may have gotten a reply to your online auction with a check that’s for more than your item — all you need to do is wire back the difference. The check is likely fake, leaving you on the hook for both the money you wire and a bounced check fee from your bank.
  • Wire payments only scams. If anybody online says you can pay only with a wire transfer, find another retailer to do your business with.
  • Phishing scams. Be wary of unsolicited emails or calls asking you to re-send or confirm personal information or passwords. Instead, take down the name of the company and contact them directly with questions.

If you suspect you might be the victim of a scam, contact the Federal Trade Commission toll-free at 877-382-4357 or file a complaint at

How to keep your wallet safe from common money transfer scams.

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Learn more

Compare the most popular providers to their competition

Popular providers
Bitcoin vs. PayPalHiFX vs. TransferWise
MoneyGram vs. OFXMoneyGram vs. Ria
MoneyGram vs. TransferWiseMoneyGram vs. Western Union vs. Paypal
OFX vs. TransferWiseOFX vs. Wells Fargo
OFX vs. Chase BankTransferWise vs. CurrencyFair
Western Union vs. Bank transfersWestern Union vs. CurrencyFair
Western Union vs. MoneyGramWestern Union vs. OFX
Western Union vs. PayPalWestern Union vs. Ria
Western Union vs. TransferWiseWestern Union vs. Walmart-2-Walmart
Western Union vs. WorldFirstWestern Union vs. WorldRemit
Western Union vs. HiFXWorld First vs. TransferWise
WorldRemit vs. Chase Bank

Common questions about money transfers

How can I track the progress of my money transfer?

Most services will give you a tracking number or ID that you can use to check the status of your transfer. In many cases, your recipient will also receive one so they can check as well.

What’s the maximum amount I can send overseas?

The maximum you can send depends on both the transfer service you use and the type of transfer you’re making. Money orders through USPS are capped at $700, although you can send multiple orders. MoneyGram and Ria both have a per-transfer limit of $2,999.99. These providers also have 30-day transfer limits of $3,000 to $7,999. Services like Xoom allow you to transfer up to $2,999 per transaction with a 30-day limit of $6,000, but you can increase this limit if more information is provided.

What’s the minimum amount I can send overseas?

The minimum you can send depends on the service you use. Travelex has a slightly higher minimum of $500, while others let you send as little as $1.

PayPal’s services are optimal for transactions under $200. Some forex providers waive transfer fees when you send more than $5,000 per transaction.

          • WorldRemit: $0 minimum
          • World First: $1,000 minimum
          • Travelex: $500 minimum
          • TransferWise: $1 minimum
          • OFX: $150 minimum
          • TorFX: $200 minimum
          • MoneyGram: $1 minimum
          • HiFX: $50 minimum
          • Currency Online: $0 minimum
          • CurrencyFair: 8 EUR minimum

Why can’t I sent money to a particular country with my selected transfer service?

This could be for a few reasons — including whether the country is currently under economic sanctions (such as Iran) or your transfer provider hasn’t yet built the facilities and networks needed to send money to a particular country. See the countries you can send money to on our individual review pages.

How much does it cost to send money?

Providers generally turn a profit on your money transfer in two ways. One is by charging you a fee to complete your transaction. These transfer fees can vary wildly by provider but are typically a flat fee or a percentage of your transfer. If you’re sending a large amount, ask whether you qualify for a fee-free transfer.

The other “fee” is an often hidden markup on the mid-market rate — or the rate banks and transfer services use when they trade among themselves. Nearly all providers skew exchange rates for a profit, so be sure to find one offering the smallest margin between the mid-market rate and the rate they’re offering to you.

Other fees will depend on how you’re paying for your money transfer and how you’d like your recipient to pick it up. Credit or debit card transfers are often your most expensive option, though often the fastest, while cash pickups can also increase what you’ll pay.

How long does money take to arrive?

The quickest money transfers will arrive instantly depending on the specific service you use and where you’re sending the money to. Western Union can have funds to your recipient almost instantly. MoneyGram, on the other hand, can send funds to China that are available in as little as an hour, but funds are available the next business day when sent to France.

Other services like OFX can take longer than quicker cash services like MoneyGram and Western Union. Sending money to Australia using OFX takes at least a day, whereas countries like Canada can take one to three days.

Is there such a thing as a free international money transfer?

Yes, a number of providers have fee-free thresholds for international money transfers. For example, OFX charges no fee for transfers of $5,000 or more, while WorldFirst charges no fee for transfers of $10,000 or more. Keep in mind that even if a service is free, you’ll likely pay through a margin applied to the exchange rate.

Because they’re trusted partners of, OFX and World First are waiving transfer fees for our readers on all qualifying transfers. See how they compare to find the right one for your needs.

How can I send money online?

Today, you have many options for initiating money transfer. But if saving money is your goal, online services are a wise choice.

Most banks offer the ability for account holders to initiate a transfer online simply by logging into their account. Banks, however, typically won’t be your cheapest online option.

Online money transfer specialists like TransferWise and World First have been giving banks a run for their money, offering lower fees and stronger exchange rates. Still other online options include PayPal and payment apps like Circle. With these services, you can often send funds to friends and family for free.

How do I make a wire transfer?

To initiate a wire transfer, you can visit your local bank, go to a money transfer office or use an online money transfer specialist.

With any of these option, the process will differ slightly. Generally, you’ll need to complete a wire transfer form indicating your personal banking information, your recipient’s name and banking information and the amount you’re sending.

Once your transaction is complete, you’ll typically receive a tracking number to confirm that your recipient receives your funds.

Can I use PayPal to send money internationally?

Yes, PayPal is a popular way to make international payments. Both the sender and the receiver both need an active PayPal account. Once the funds are transferred to the recipient’s PayPal account, they will then need to transfer to their bank account to be withdrawn. PayPal international transfer fees vary according to the method of payment. Using a credit card to credit a PayPal account with money is more expensive than transferring the money from a bank account. The fee is a percentage of the total transfer amount.

How do I send money to a PayPal account?

To send money to a PayPal account, you must sign up for a free account online. Once signed up, click “Send & Request” at the top of the screen. If the account you’re sending to is in the US, click “Send to family and friends in the US” and follow the prompts to enter your recipient’s email address or phone number, the amount you’re sending and where your money will be pulled from. Transfers among PayPal accounts are free.

If you’re sending money to an international account, click “Send to friends and family internationally.” Choose your recipient’s country from the drop-down menu and click “Next.” Indicate how much you’re sending to see how much your recipient will receive in their home country’s currency. Confirm the exchange rate you’ll receive and transfer fee you’ll pay, then follow the prompts to complete your transaction.

Are international money transfers safe?

Yes. It is industry standard for international money services to use 128-bit SSL encryption systems at a minimum. Many also are licensed with US financial regulators.

When processed through a reputable bank or company, your funds are safely tracked until in the hands of your recipient. And if you’re sending money internationally, federal protections are in place that require banks, credit unions and money transfer companies to, for example, disclose all fees upfront and give you 30 minutes to cancel a transfer, assuming it hasn’t yet been picked up or deposited.

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