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Tips to send money internationally

Identify the pitfalls to avoid when you’re planning to send money abroad.

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Times have changed, and you have more options than ever available to you when you want to send money internationally. And more money transfer services means having more details to sift through.

Your transfer’s total cost is one important factor, but only the tip of the iceberg in getting the lowest price. Benefit from our 14+ years of money transfer experience with these key tips.

Send money internationally with these tips in mind

While your ideal option depends on how much you send, how you pay for the transfer and where you send funds to, some industry-wide key tips include:

  • Use a comparison table. Review the prices of many different services at once to help you understand what fees exist and how to best avoid them.
  • Plan ahead. It’s best to plan your money transfer as far in advance as possible, but if you need to make an emergency transfer, read on to find the best deal.
  • Don’t bet on your bank. Banks are great for domestic money management, but once you get into international transfers, banks tend to offer worse exchange rates and higher fees.
  • Skip the bank altogether. When you want to send or receive money using cash, fees can add up, but we’ve put together some tips to avoid high costs whenever possible.

Online money transfer specialists profit on your transfers in two ways: transaction fees and exchange rates. When comparing providers, look for low fees and exchange rates closest to the mid-market rate at the time of your transfer.

Can I use my bank to send money abroad?

Most banks allow you to send money internationally, but high fees and poor exchange rates are good reasons to look elsewhere.

Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending $1,000 to Mexico

To put this into perspective, let’s see what a transfer with each of these options looks like. This table uses real fees and exchange rates and is current as of November 24, 2020.

Bank transferCash transferMoney transfer service
Fee$25 + additional correspondent bank fees$3.99$0
Exchange rate1 USD= 18.833 MXN1 USD= 19.935 MXN1 USD= 19.874 MXN
Transfer speed2-5 daysWithin minutesSame day
Amount receivedMXN$18,362MXN$19,855MXN$19,874
Overall
  • Slowest and most expensive
  • Fastest
  • Best value

The bank option is the slowest and transfers the least amount of money to your recipient. If you go with the specialist money transfer service, your recipient ends up with MXN$1,512 more than they would from the bank. However, if speed is what’s most important, the cash transfer can’t be beaten for nearly instant transfers.

Compare ways to send money internationally

Enter the amount you want to send, select your preferred destination and click Calculate to see how much your transfer could cost.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
$1,000 1 day USD 0.00 0.831 EUR 4,154 OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies. Go to site Show details
GBP 1,000 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 0.831 EUR 4,154 Exclusive: Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally $5,000).
CurrencyTransfer lets you shop around for the best exchange rate on its online marketplace.
Go to site Show details
USD 1 Same day USD 0.00 0.835 EUR 4,177 XE has fast transfers with no fees and a range of foreign currency tools. Go to site Show details
$10 Within an hour USD 1.99 0.822 EUR 4,110 Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
Go to site Show details
$1 1 - 2 days USD 40.00 0.839 EUR
4,162
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies. Go to site Show details
$1 Within an hour USD 3.99 0.836 EUR 4,175 WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups. 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 can I save money when I send money internationally?

Fees vary widely depending on the provider you choose for the transfer. Overall, money transfer 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 offer 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 from each provider, closely looking at their benefits and drawbacks.

What’s the best way to send money internationally?

Because nearly everyone’s sending circumstances are different, the best way to send money internationally varies. Overall, using a digital money transfer provider to complete your transfer is one of the cheapest ways to send money because the company you’re sending through has fewer overhead costs.

We’ve curated a list based on common sending circumstances, so read up on our top money transfer picks for cash transfers, strong exchange rates and more.

Can I send money internationally without a bank account?

Yes. Even though most methods used to send money abroad require that you either have access to a bank account, a debit card, a credit card or cash, you have options.

Send money without a bank account

  1. Money transfer paid in cash
  2. Credit card payment to an online transfer agency
  3. Send funds through a mobile wallet
  4. Purchase a money order and mail it

Receive money without a bank account

  1. Transfer funds to a money transfer physical branch for cash pickup
  2. Spend a prepaid debit card received by mail
  3. Directly to a mobile wallet
  4. Cash a money order received by mail
Need more help? Read our full guide on sending and receiving money without a bank account.

Bottom line

It doesn’t have to be expensive to send money overseas, and fees differ depending on what country you send to. Countries where online money transfers are more common tend to have lower fees, while other countries may be more expensive. If possible, plan in advance to secure the best rates for your transfer.

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8 Responses

    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.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

    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.

      If you are looking to send money to Italy, you can compare international money transfers to Italy that you consider using to send cash and that will convert your USD to EUR.

      Use our comparison calculator to assess transfer fees, exchange rates and other features to help you find the service provider that’s suitable for you.

      Please note that the exchange rates and fees are subject to change at any time. Make sure to review the terms and conditions before making a decision on whether it is right for you.

      Hope this helps!

      Best,
      Nikki

    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.

      Cheers,
      Nikki

    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,
      Bella

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