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Regular overseas payments with international money transfers

Here’s how you can make regular overseas payments without going broke.

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Wise (TransferWise)

Wise (TransferWise) logo
  • Fair service fees and mid-market rates – a major market differentiator
  • Next-day delivery for most currencies
  • Easy-to-use app
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From mortgage payments to utility bills and even regular remittances to loved ones — there are a range of reasons why you might need to send money regularly overseas. It wasn’t long ago that the only option for making regular overseas payments was to go through your bank — and endure a big hit to your wallet.

But the rise of online money transfer providers that specialize in moving funds internationally means that you have more options.

Compare providers that can set up your recurring payments

Our table lets you compare the services you can use to send money abroad. Compare services on transfer speeds and fees, then click Go to site when you're ready to send.
1 - 12 of 12
Name Product Filter Values Fastest Transfer Speed Fees (Pay by Bank Transfer)
Wise (TransferWise)
Within minutes
From 0.41%
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 50+ currencies.
Cash App
Within minutes
From $0
With this peer-to-peer payment app make payments to your friends and family with no transfer fees within the US or from the US to the UK or EU.
Instarem
24 hours
From 0%
New Instarem customers will get a special FX rate and zero-fees on their first transfer.
Instarem offers offers rewards on every transaction.
MoneyGram
Within minutes
From $0
MoneyGram has fast cash pick-up transfers to more than 350,000 agent locations worldwide.
OFX International Money Transfers (Business)
24 hours
$0
Business customers: Send safe, no-limit transfers with no fees and competitive exchange rates.
CurrencyTransfer for Business
24 hours
$0
Increase business efficiency with zero transaction fees and same-day transfers.
OFX
24 hours
$0
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies.
Xe Money Transfer for Business
24 hours
$0
Save your time and money with Xe Money Transfer for business.
Currencies Direct (business)
24 hours
$0
Minimizes costs of international transactions and offers custom solutions for business clients. Currencies Direct may call you to confirm your transfer, so be prepared for a phone call shortly after initiating a transfer.
Xe
Within minutes
$3
Xe has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
CurrencyTransfer
24 hours
$0
CurrencyTransfer lets you shop around for the best exchange rate on its online marketplace.
Currencies Direct
24 hours
$0
CurrenciesDirect makes transferring money abroad simple with bank-beating exchange rates. Currencies Direct may call you to confirm your transfer, so be prepared for a phone call shortly after initiating a transfer.
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Why might I need to make regular overseas payments?

  • Do you own property overseas?
  • Are you spending a few months traveling but still need to keep on top of your bills at home?
  • Are you working in the United States and sending money back home when you can?

From mortgage payments, credit card bills and other debts to utilities, salary transfers and rental income deposits — there’s a long list of reasons why you might need to set up a recurring international transfer. It makes sense to compare your options to find a secure, cost-effective solution.

How does an overseas payments work?

Making an overseas payment requires you to pay money to an intermediary to handle your transfer — typically your local bank or a money transfer company. The provider you choose then converts your US dollars into the currency you’re sending overseas and transfers the money to your recipient. The money you send can be transferred directly into a bank account or sometimes can be made available for a cash pickup at an agent location abroad.

Setting up a recurring payment

Many digital money specialists allow you the convenience of setting up regular payments, whereby you submit your recipient’s information and transfer details for payments as far as 12 months into the future. Some even offer tools — like forward contracts and limit orders — that protect your transfers against market fluctuations, locking in more favorable exchange rates. And giving you the freedom you need to affordably manage your international payments.

Banks vs. money transfer companies

For many years, banks offered the easiest, most convenient way to send money overseas through wire transfers. But there’s one big drawback to using your bank when you send money overseas: the cost.

Banks don’t specialize in international transfers — they offer everything from savings accounts and home loans to credit cards and insurance — and so the exchange rates they offer to customers can be disappointing. Couple that with frustratingly high fees of $50 or more per transfer, and making regular overseas payments through your bank could become very costly.

Thanks to technology and a more competitive transfer industry, there are now far more international transfer providers to choose from. Providers like OFX, Wise and WorldRemit allow you to send bank account transfers overseas, but with much stronger exchange rates and lower fees than your local bank. Not only that, but they’re also fast and secure.

Case study: Sourav’s transfer solution

Sourav is an Indian national who’s spent the past year working in construction in Los Angeles. He’s sent a payment of $1,000 home to his family every month for the past year. But sending these payments through his bank has resulted in a major drain on his finances.

Sourav compares the costs and features of his bank’s transfer service with that offered by a specialist transfer provider to see if he can find a better deal on his recurring transfer.

Major US bankMoney transfer company
Exchange rate1 USD = 63.24 INR1 USD = 64.10 INR
Transfer fee$45$5
Transfer speed2–3 business days1–3 business days
Transfer optionsBank-to-bank wire transferOnline bank account transfer
Total INR received
63,240 INR64,100 INR

Sourav learns that he can save $40 in transfer fees just by sending the funds with a transfer company instead of a bank. He can also ensure that his parents receive an extra 860 Indian rupees.

How do I compare international money transfer services?

When looking for a money transfer provider to handle your regular overseas payments, keep the following factors in mind.

  • Transfer fees. As Sourav learned, fees vary substantially and can make a big difference to the financial effectiveness of a transaction. If you’re sending a large amount, ask whether you qualify for a fee-free transfer.
  • Recurring transfers. Does the provider offer the option to set up recurring transfers in advance? How far ahead can you schedule transfers, and will you need to pay an extra fee?
  • Exchange rate. The exchange rate is a crucial factor when calculating the overall cost of your transaction, and early all providers skew exchange rates for a profit. Compare the rate you’re offered to the mid-market rate — the rate banks and transfer services use when they trade among themselves — and look for the smallest margin between them.
  • Transfer options. Can you take advantage of flexible transfer options to save yourself time and money or protect your transfer against market fluctuations with a limit order or forward contract?
  • 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.
  • Transfer speed. If it needs to be there fast, some companies allow for quick cash pickups, often in minutes. If you have more time, you’ll get better rates and fees with an 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.
  • Customer support. Most companies offer customer service by Internet chat, phone, in person or by email. Make sure help will be available if you need it.

Compare the cost of three methods of transfers

Money transfer methods and costs infographic

What are the pros and cons of regular overseas payments?

Pros

  • It’s simple. Sending regular overseas payments is simple and convenient with online transfer specialists.
  • It’s affordable. You can now send more affordable transfers than before thanks to competitive exchange rates and fees offered by transfer providers.
  • Manage your finances. Sending regular overseas payments allows you to keep on top of your finances no matter where you are in the world.

Cons

  • Regular transfers are not always an option. Some companies offer only one-off transfers. The time it takes to enter all your transaction details every time you need to send a transfer can be frustrating.

Frequently asked questions