Save on the exchange rate when you send funds overseas.
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Compare exchange rates of money transfer services
How important is an exchange rate?
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.
How can I get the best exchange rate?
For international money transfers, finding the best exchange rate is crucial.
Here are a few 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.
Send a larger amount
Some providers encourage larger transfers by offering better exchange rates and lower — or even $0 — transfer fees. With a stronger exchange rate on $10,000, you could save a lot.
Exchange rate comparison
We’ve gathered today’s best rates to inform your foreign exchange decisions.
|1 USD =||1.0000||1.4019 Inverse: 0.7133||1.3145 Inverse: 0.7607||0.882396 Inverse: 1.1333||6.7142 Inverse: 0.1489||0.766208 Inverse: 1.3051||71.023487 Inverse: 0.0141||19.1493 Inverse: 0.0522||52.044029 Inverse: 0.0192|
|1 AUD =||0.7133 Inverse: 1.4019||1.0000||0.9377 Inverse: 1.0665||0.6294 Inverse: 1.5887||4.7895 Inverse: 0.2088||0.5466 Inverse: 1.8296||50.6634 Inverse: 0.0197||13.6599 Inverse: 0.0732||37.1247 Inverse: 0.0269|
|1 EUR =||1.1333 Inverse: 0.8824||1.5887 Inverse: 0.6294||1.4897 Inverse: 0.6713||1.0000||7.6091 Inverse: 0.1314||0.868326 Inverse: 1.1516||80.489316 Inverse: 0.0124||21.7015 Inverse: 0.0461||58.9803 Inverse: 0.0170|
|1 GBP =||1.3051 Inverse: 0.7662||1.8296 Inverse: 0.5466||1.7156 Inverse: 0.5829||1.1516 Inverse: 0.8683||8.7629 Inverse: 0.1141||1.0000||92.694837 Inverse: 0.0108||24.9924 Inverse: 0.0400||67.9242 Inverse: 0.0147|
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.
Find the best way to send a transfer of $50K or more, including a bitcoin comparison.
Get the most competitive rates and fees when you transfer using a P2P service.
If you want the best exchange rates, you’ll typically get them from an online money transfer company. Providers like WorldRemit, Xoom, XE, and OFX offer higher exchange rates than you’ll find elsewhere. Some have other features to help you save money — for example, OFX charges $0 fees.
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||TransferWise||Wells Fargo||OFX||Xoom money transfer|
|Fees||$0||$4.99 from a bank account; $10 from a credit or debit card||0.6% of transfer||$0 for transfers of $500 or more||$5||$0 for transfers of $1,000 or more|