Save on the exchange rate when you send funds overseas with a money transfer service.
International money transfers are ideal for sending money home to family overseas. They’re also an easy way to temporarily bail out friends who’ve run into trouble while on vacation. Even if you’re in a hurry, it pays to keep your eye out for the fairest exchange rate.
Finding a great rate is essential to getting the best value for 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.
Compare international money transfers
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
- Regular overseas payments
- Risk management
Tips for finding the best exchange rate for your international money transfer:
An exchange rate shows the value of one currency for the purpose of converting it into another. Exchange rates fluctuate due to a wide range of factors that include interest rates, consumer confidence, inflation and political stability. For instance, when interest rates in a particular country rise, investors are able to achieve better returns in that country, increasing the demand for that country’s currency. This increase in demand then drives the value of that currency upward.
Exchange rates affect our everyday lives in two ways. The first way is in the cost of everyday goods you buy. If these goods were purchased from an overseas retailer, or constructed using foreign materials, then the exchange rate for those goods or materials will obviously affect how much they cost you.
The second way is much more direct: when you travel out of the US, send money overseas or purchase goods directly from other countries, exchange rates affect how much your US dollars are worth.
For international money transfers, finding the best exchange rate is crucial.
Transfer service study
Say that you’re sending $1,000 to your child who’s studying in Germany. You’re going to want to find a way that results in the highest possible amount of euros to your student for your dollar.
Comparing your options, you find two international transfer services that offer slightly different exchange rates.
|Transfer service A||Transfer service B|
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 0.87 EUR||1 USD = 0.89 EUR|
|Total euros received||870 EUR||890 EUR|
While a difference of two cents in the exchange rates might not sound like a lot on the surface, going with transfer service B would put 20 extra euro in the pocket of your scholar.
For exchange rates, it all comes down to the 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. They make money by skewing exchange rates to make a profit. Use the mid-market rate as a baseline to compare against the rates they’re offering to learn who’s offering the better deal.
Here are a few other tips:
Know the mid-market rate for your currency
Also called the interbank 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. They make money by skewing exchange rates to make a profit. Use the mid-market rate as a baseline to compare against the rates they’re offering to learn who’s offering the better deal.
Get quotes from many services
Compare the quotes from a range of money transfer companies to see which offers a better deal. Many offer a quick and easy way to get a quote online, and it should include transfer fees to give you a better idea of how much your total transaction will cost.
Don’t send a transfer through your bank
Banks can offer secure and convenient international transfers, but they don’t offer value for your money. In fact, they offer some of the weakest exchange rates you’ll find when comparing money transfer providers.
Peer-to-peer vs. bank
|US bank||Peer-to-peer transfer service|
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 0.52 GBP||1 USD = 0.55 GBP|
|Pounds received||507 GBP||548.90 GBP|
Considering the exchange rates and fees, Lauren’s mother would receive an extra £41.90 when transferred through a peer-to-peer service.
Consider your transfer options
If you’re sending recurring payments, look into setting up regular transfers to take advantage of fluctuating exchange rates and save more on fees over the long term. With a forward contract, you can lock in the current exchange rate for a transfer that will be placed days, weeks, or even months into the future. Another option is a limit order, which allows you to set up a transfer request that will only be executed when specified market conditions are met — such as the exchange rate reaching a certain level.
Think about a multi-currency bank account
If you need to send more regular transactions using commonly traded currencies, a multi-currency bank account could offer better exchange rates and lower fees. Also referred to as foreign currency accounts, these accounts allow you to hold funds in multiple currencies, meaning you can convert them into dollars at a time when the rate suits you.
If you want the best exchange rates, you’ll typically get them from an online money transfer company. Providers like WorldRemit, Xoom, HiFX, and OFX offer higher exchange rates than you’ll find elsewhere. Some have other features to help you save money — for example, OFX doesn’t charge transfer fees for amounts over $5,000.
Because OFX is a trusted partner of finder.com, you can avoid fees on all eligible transfers. That’s right: $0 transfer fees simply by initiating the transfer from our site.
If you’re sending money to one of the countries on its long list, PayPal might be an option. But with transfer fees calculated based on the amount you send, it’s better for small transfers only.
Compare the fees among six providers:
|Ria||MoneyGram||World First||Wells Fargo||OFX||Xoom money transfer|
|Fees||$0||$4.99 from a bank account; $10 from a credit or debit card||$10||$0 for transfers of $500 or more||$5||$0 for transfers of $1,000 or more|
Compare your options to learn which offers the best rate for your transaction:
|USD = EUR||0.925 EUR||0.933 EUR||0.913 EUR||0.930 EUR|
|USD = GBP||0.767 GBP||0.791 GBP||0.791 GBP||0.800 GBP|
|USD = MXN||20.934 MXN||20.681 MXN||20.868 MXN||21.070 MXN|
|USD = INR||67.369 INR||67.500 INR||67.150 INR||66.970 INR|
|USD = CAN||1.281 CAD||1.316 CAD||1.303 CAD||1.310 CAD|
Rates accurate as of January 5, 2017.
As you can see, some companies offer better exchange rates for popular currencies. For example, WorldRemit’s rates for euros, pounds, and pesos are higher than the others. You’ll also want to take into account transfer fees and the exchange rate for your method of transfer — here, MoneyGram’s and Ria’s rates are for cash pickup only.
How can I find a trusted online money transfer provider?
Find a trusted and reputable provider by comparing the features, fees and exchange rates of your money transfer options.
How much will the transfer fee cost me?
International transfer fees vary by transfer provider, your transfer method, where you’re sending your money, how much you’re sending and how you’re paying for it. They can range from a few dollars to $80 and higher.
Why do banks offer weaker exchange rates than money transfer companies?
Unlike banks, which handle a wide range of financial products and services, money transfer companies concentrate their efforts solely on sending money overseas. They deal in large amounts and can pass the resulting savings to their customers.
How can I track the progress of my 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.
Will I need to register for an account with an online money transfer provider?
Yes, in most cases you will need to sign up for an account before you can send a transfer. Most are free and allow for easier future transfers, should you need to send another.