How to get the best rate, the lowest fees and the quickest international money transfers.
Are you looking to find the best way to send money overseas? We compare a number of providers that offer some of the best deals on international money transfers. Read on for tips about how to find the best deal you can get.
How to find the best exchange rate
Finding a great rate is essential to getting the best value for your money — so that more of your cash ends up in your recipient’s pocket, rather than in the hands of the service handling your transaction.
When comparing exchange rates, you’ll want to know the mid-market rate for your currency. This is the rate banks and other providers use when trading among themselves, readily available with a quick Google search. 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.
Some peer-to-peer providers can get you closer to the mid-market rate. Just be sure to factor in the transfer fee you’ll pay to make sure it’s an overall good deal.
We researched more than 35 providers and sent money to two countries to discover which international money providers are the best in the market. Read more about our in-depth research and testing to find the winning providers for Best User Experience, Most Convenient, Fastest Transfer, Most Trustworthy, Best Transfer Rates and Most Outstanding Product.
Best rate guarantees and price promises
At least two digital providers promise to undercut the competition by guaranteeing the best rate:
- Travelex. Offering its International Payments Price Promise, it will match a better overall price quote you receive from other transfer providers under specific conditions.
- World First. This provider boasts the World First Price Promise to registered users, offering to beat its competitors.
How to find the lowest fees
While most providers charge a flat fee or a percentage of your transfer for each transaction, you will find a few that don’t charge a dime — or charge much less than competitors. If you’re sending a large amount of money, some providers will waive their fees altogether.
If you’re looking for no or low transfer fees on your next international money transfer, these providers are a good start. Just be sure to compare the exchange rates of these providers to determine whether you’re getting the best deal.
No transfer fee
- World First. Typically you’ll pay $10 for transfers of up to $10,000 and no fee for higher amounts. But with our exclusive offer, all finder.com readers can take advantage of $0 fees on all transfers.
- OFX. This provider recently made $0 fees its standard offer.
- HiFX. Send more than $5,000, and HiFX will waive its $5 transfer fee.
- Wyre. Sign up through finder.com to send free transfers to countries like Brazil and China.
First transfer free
- WorldRemit. Send your first money transfer for free with using promo code FREE.
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.
Compare online money transfer services
Use our interactive table to compare transfer fees, exchange rates and other details for sending funds overseas with our money transfer partners.
How to find the transfer speed you want
Many money transfer specialists can get your money to loved ones and businesses at a good rate and price. But if it needs to get there fast, companies like WorldRemit, Western Union, and MoneyGram allow for quick cash pickups and deposits, sometimes in minutes.
When you need to transfer funds urgently, your fastest possible transfer will often be your most expensive option. Carefully review the exchange rate and transfer fee against your needs so that you understand exactly how much it will cost you.
How to find the money transfer features you want
Each money transfer specialists has its benefits and strengths. Western Union, for example, is an excellent choice for speed and accessibility but not so much for low fees and strong rates. If you’re purchasing overseas property or emigrating to another country, HiFX offers transfers with higher limits than its competitors.
Still others global providers offer flexible tools that can protect your international payments against the rapidly fluctuating market — and help you predict when it’s best to make your payments.
For an increasing number of businesses, the days of dealing only within the domestic market are long gone. If you’re looking to safely and affordably manage your overseas vendors or suppliers, a business payments specialist might be what you need. Online transfer providers like OFX, World First and WorldRemit can help you save.Back to top
Benefits and what to look out for when sending money overseas
- It’s convenient. Transfer money to loved ones and businesses worldwide, often without leaving your home.
- It’s quick. Your friends or family can receive funds in a few minutes, depending on your transfer options.
- Many choices. Don’t like the exchange rate your bank offers? Many other providers offer lower costs and stronger rates.
- Get your money where it needs to go. Whether helping friends and family overseas or simply making a purchase, you can take charge of your finances with an international money transfer.
Watch out for
- Fluctuating exchange rates. Changing rates can take a big chunk out of what your recipient ultimately receives. Look into options that allow you to lock in a rate for future transfers.
- Fees. You’ll typically pay a fee for each transfer you send money overseas. If you’re sending a large amount, ask whether you qualify for a fee-free transfer.
- Security. Look for a trusted provider that can guarantee the security of your personal and financial details.
How to compare international money transfer companies
|What to compare||Tips to help you save|
|Transfer fees||Find out whether the provider charges 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|
|Exchange rates||Nearly all providers skew exchange rates for a profit. Compare the rate you’re offered to the mid-market rate and look for the smallest margin between them.|
|Transfer speeds||If you have more time, you’ll get better rates and fees with nearly any independent provider.|
|Transfer limits||Your best option might depend on how much you want to send. For large transfers, weigh the best exchange rate — especially since providers encourage large transfers by offering low fees. For smaller amounts, consider the fees you’ll pay on top of the exchange rate.|
|Payment and delivery options||Some transfer companies allow you to pay with a credit card online, by phone or through an app. Others offer agent locations for cash payments and pickups. Also ask how your recipient can receive your funds: bank account, cash pickup, mobile wallet and more.|
|Customer service||Most companies offer customer service by Internet chat, phone, in person or by email. Make sure help will be available if you need it.|
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.
Why can’t I send 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 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.
Can I use my bank to send money online?
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 transfer money from one back to another?
A bank-to-bank wire transfer sends money directly from your bank account to another bank account. You can wire money between domestic and international bank accounts at a bank branch, through a third-party provider like Western Union or more frequently online. Many banks and services offering international wire transfers have 24-hour customer service lines to assist with questions or concerns.
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.
How do I send money to Mexico?
From bank transfers and online transactions to PayPal and options that allow recipients to collect your funds within minutes, sending an international money transfer to Mexico is easy. Before you settle on a provider, let finder.com help you research and shop around for the best available deal.
What's the best money transfer service to use?
Ultimately, the “best” service to use will be one that meets your specific needs. For example, you might need to get emergency funds to a loved one traveling in another country. Or maybe you’re looking to send a $50,000 transfer — or a transfer that’s much smaller.
We’ve recently reviewed 35 providers as part of the finder.com Money Transfer Awards 2017. Using more than 1,575 data points, we narrowed down our main competitors to 13 money transfer specialists. Learn more about who rose to the top for Outstanding Product, Best Transfer Rates, Most Trustworthy, Fastest Transfer, Most Convenient and Best User Experience.
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.
If you have any questions about comparing international money transfer companies, get in touch with us using the form below.