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Find cheap ways to send money internationally

Save when you send money internationally with a secure online transfer.

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  • Fair service fees and mid-market rates – a major market differentiator
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Every person’s sending needs are a bit different, but without a doubt some sending methods are almost always cheaper than others. We used our years of money sending experience combined with data from The World Bank to determine the cheapest ways to send money internationally.

What are the cheapest ways to send money internationally?

Sending money overseas can be done in a variety of ways, some of which are typically more expensive. In descending order of cheapest to most expensive, in our experience, your options include:

1. Digital money transfer providers

These specialists offer more affordable transfers than banks, allowing you to manage your transactions from home. With competitive exchange rates and lower fees, you can send funds from your bank account. Many also allow you to pay with a credit or debit card.

2. Providers with cash pickup

Trusted providers like Western Union, WorldRemit and MoneyGram offer the key advantage of giving your recipient fast access to the cash you send — sometimes within minutes. You can often pay online or at one of the thousands of agent locations worldwide. However, services typically cost more than a digital money transfer provider.

3. PayPal transfers

PayPal offers transfers to more than 100 countries and supports multiple currencies. Its exchange rates are often better than those you’ll get from a bank, but not quite as strong as rates offered by money transfer companies. PayPal calculates its transfer fee as a percentage of the amount you’re sending — meaning it’s often better for sending smaller amounts of money.

4. Checks and money orders

Although not a quick option, you could send an international check overseas, obtained from your bank or the US Postal Service. It costs a bit more — you’ll have to purchase the check and your recipient may be charged a fee by their own bank when cashed.

5. Bank transfers

Many major US banks can safely wire your funds to countries around the world. Banks rely on existing links between banks and banking systems worldwide. Be aware that banks offer weaker exchange rates, have higher fees and fewer options to send and receive cash when compared to a money transfer service.

Compare cheap ways to send money internationally

Use our interactive table to compare transfer fees, exchange rates, sending limits and more for sending funds internationally with our money transfer partners.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
GBP 1,000 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 0.842 EUR 4,212 Exclusive: Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally $5,000).
For larger transfers, get no transaction fees and no maximum send limits.
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$1 Same day USD 0.00 0.847 EUR 4,236 XE offers fast transfers with no fees and a range of foreign currency tools. Go to site Show details
$0 1 - 2 days USD 1.99 0.834 EUR 4,168 Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Quick, affordable transfers around the world with both express and economy options.
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$1 1 - 2 days USD 40.00 0.851 EUR
Enjoy high maximum transfers into more than 20 currencies while saving up to 90% over local banks. Go to site Show details
$1 Within an hour USD 3.99 0.847 EUR 4,233 Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Send to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up. Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

How do I send an international transfer with a digital money transfer provider?

Although the process differs by company, to send money internationally, you’ll generally:

  1. Register for an account. Registration is almost always free. You’ll provide your full name, contact info and date of birth. Some providers also require proof of ID.
  2. Provide your recipient’s details. Specify who’s receiving the funds by providing their name and contact information. If you’re sending money for bank deposit, you’ll include the bank name, SWIFT code and your recipient’s account number.
  3. Indicate the details of your transaction. Enter how much money you’re sending and in which currency it will be received.
  4. Review the details of your transaction. For most providers, you’ll see a summary of your transfer showing the amount you’re sending, the exchange rate, any fee you’ll pay and the total your beneficiary will receive.
  5. Pay for your transfer. Payment methods vary by company but could include credit or debit card, bank account, cash or mobile wallet.
  6. Track your transaction. You should receive confirmation that includes a tracking number to monitor the progress of your transfer online or through an agent location.

You may also receive an email or text when your beneficiary has received your funds and the transaction is completed.

How can I save money when making a money transfer?

Fees vary widely depending on the provider you’re transferring with. Overall, providers make money on your transfer in two ways: by marking up the exchange rate and by charging you a transfer fee.

  • Compare exchange rates. Use your currency’s mid-market rate as a baseline to compare against the rates you’re offered. Focus on providers that offers the closest rates.
  • Send more money per transfer. Many providers discount transfer fees or waive them altogether when you send larger amounts.
  • Look for hidden fees. Avoid surprises by reading the fine print for fees that could apply to your transfer, including charges your recipient will need to pay.
  • Sniff out special offers. Keep an eye on promotions that offer, for example, no fees on your first transfer. While ideal for limited transfer needs, you could also end up with a new preferred service.
  • Shop around. The best way to save is by comparing rates, fees and transfer speeds of each provider, closely looking at their benefits and drawbacks.

The importance of a competitive exchange rate

Banks and other services are likely to add a little to the exchange rate, “padding the rate” to increase their profits. While a few cents may not sound like a lot on its own, when you multiply it by the $2,000 you plan on sending overseas, it can add up to a big difference in the amount ultimately received.

Specialized money transfer services typically offer rates that are closer to the mid-market rate.

Crunching the numbers: Sending $2,000 to Mexico

Let’s say you need to send $2,000 to family in Mexico. Here’s what you might face as far as fees and exchange rates as of March 18, 2020.

Digital money transfer serviceCash transferBank transfer
Fee$20$3.99$25 + additional correspondent bank fees
Exchange rate1 USD = 23.889 MXN1 USD = 23.788 MXN1 USD = 21.982 MXN
Transfer speed1-2 dayWithin an hour2-5 days
Amount receivedMXN 47,299MXN 47,482MXN 43,414
  • Better than a bank transfer
  • Fastest and cheapest
  • Slowest and most expensive

Skipping the bank will get more than 4,000 pesos to your recipient, as the bank’s exchange rate is far weaker than other options.

How to get the best exchange rate

How transfer fees affect your total cost

Transfer fees can range from a few dollars to up to $80 or more, with some providers taking even more as a percentage on your total amount.

Depending on the provider, your transaction fee could be:

  • A flat fee on the transfer, no matter the amount you’re sending.
  • A tiered-fee structure — for instance, $5 for transactions under $500 or $10 for transactions under $1,000.
  • A fee calculated as a percentage of the total transfer amount.
  • $0 if you meet a fee-free threshold — $5,000 or more with some providers.

Be wary of other fees that could apply. For example, a provider could charge your recipient a fee to cash a bank check or pick up cash in person.

Tools to save on an international transfer

There’s a lot riding on a competitive exchange rate and low fee. But depending on how much you’re sending, how soon your recipient needs it and rates at the time of transfer, you could save even more with the following tools.

  • Forward contracts. With this tool, you lock in a favorable exchange rate for a future transfer, avoiding unpredictable movements in the rate.
  • Limit orders. A limit order allows you to request a transfer that’s executed only when a specific rate is reached, at which point your provider locks it in.
  • Regular transfers. You may be able to shave a few pennies off an exchange rate or pay lower transfer fees by setting up a plan to automate more regular payments overseas.
  • Same-currency transfers. It can sometimes be cheaper to transfer US dollars to your recipient, allowing them to transfer these dollars into their own currency when received. Your recipient may be able to pay lower fees overall this way.

Bottom line

Although it can be tempting to go with convenience over price, avoiding banks can save you both time and money when sending money internationally. Always pay attention to fees, and more importantly always pay attention to poor exchange rates that can quickly eat into your transfer.

Still not sure about your best way to send money cheaply? Use our hand-picked list of money transfer providers to help make your decision.

Frequently asked questions

How long do transfers usually take?

Transfer speeds vary greatly depending on the provider, where you’re sending your money, how you’re paying and how your recipient will access the funds. It could be anywhere from 10 minutes to several business days. Confirm the timing of your transfer before handing over your money.

What if I only want to transfer a small amount of money?

Companies like PayPal and TransferWise can be useful for sending smaller amounts. Other providers impose minimum transfer limits of $250, $500 or more, so confirm any transfer restrictions before registering for an account.

Can I change or cancel an international money transfer?

Federal protections are in place that require banks, credit unions and money transfer companies to give you 30 minutes to cancel a transfer, assuming it hasn’t yet been picked up or deposited. However, contact your provider to learn more about their specific policies.

Is it free to register for an account with an online money transfer provider?

Yes, in most cases you will not pay anything to sign up for an account.

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8 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    ShaynaSeptember 5, 2019

    Do you do door cash delivery?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezSeptember 6, 2019Staff

      Hi Shayna,

      Thank you for your comment.

      If you’re referring to money transfer provider that delivers your money right to your recipient’s doorstep, yes, there are money transfer services that offer this. I’d refer you to our page that will give you more details about door to door cash delivery.

      Please note that only some money transfer specialists offer this option and there are only a few countries where the service is available.


  2. Default Gravatar
    GioJuly 29, 2019

    I would like to know why you didn’t put Payoneer?
    I am an freelancer overseas worker and I get payed in different foreigner currencies. What is the best way for me to transfer to my local bank in Italy in Euro currency? Thanks

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoJuly 29, 2019Staff

      Hi Gio,

      Thanks for your question.

      While we are a comparison website, we may not have all the available money transfer services available globally. Nonetheless, I can send this to our publishers and check if we can add this to one of our pages.

      The find the best way to transfer funds to Italy, here is the page that shows options.

      Als note that 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. You can refer to this page as it provides tips on finding the best exchange rate.

      Hope this helps!


  3. Default Gravatar
    jasonOctober 4, 2018

    Is currencytransfer ltd a safe company to exchange with?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoOctober 5, 2018Staff

      Hi Jason,

      Thanks for reaching out!

      All providers listed on our page is proven safe and reliable. If you wish to find more information on Currency Transfer, you may visit their website or read reviews and forums available on the web.

      Hope this was helpful. Don’t hesitate to message us back if you have more questions.


  4. Default Gravatar
    ShanleySeptember 13, 2018

    Hi, I would like to transfer my money overseas from US to Indonesia, I have $ account in Indonesia. How much is transfer fee? Thank you

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      BellaSeptember 13, 2018Staff

      Hi Shanley,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      The money transfer fee would be different depending on the amount sent, the transfer and payment method and with the money exchange service provider.

      I hope this information helped.

      Kind regards,

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