Compare money transfer companies to send money to this Mediterranean country.
Our pick: TransferWise
When you need to send money, benefit from competitive mid-market exchange rates and straightforward fees with TransferWise.
- Fair service fees and mid-market rates — a major market differentiator.
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Compare international money transfers to Italy
How do international money transfers work?
An international money transfer allows you to send money to a recipient overseas. Generally, a transfer involves you providing funds to a bank or an independent transfer provider, which then sends the money to your recipient in another country — in this case, Italy. This can be done in person, over the phone, through a mobile app or online. You can use cash, a credit or debit card, or transfer funds from your bank account, which will then either be deposited into your recipient’s bank account or mobile wallet, or made available as cash for them to pick up at a location in their country.
Banks vs. money transfer companies
Although banks are quite capable of sending money to Italy, you’ll face high exchange rates and multiple fees to get your money into the hands of the person who needs it. If you need a quick option, banks also fall short — it could take up to a week, while money transfer companies may be able to exchange your money in a few hours.
Specialist money transfer companies are the best place to start. These companies — such as OFX and WorldRemit — offer fast, secure and much more affordable transfers to Italy. The fees are usually lower than what you’d find at a bank, exchange rates are higher and the transactions can be handled from the comfort of your own home. This gives money transfer companies a competitive edge over banks, so consider one when you’re in need of a money transfer to Italy.
Filippo Sends Money to Italy
Filippo is a professional soccer player in the MLS. He wants to send a $1,000 gift to his sister back home in Florence for her 30th birthday, but the idea of paying his bank’s $50 transfer fee is too much to bear. He compares two money transfer companies in the hope of finding a more affordable solution.
|Money transfer company 1||Money transfer company 2|
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 0.89 EUR||1 USD = 0.87 EUR|
|Transfer method||Bank account deposit||Bank account deposit|
|Processing time||3 business days||1-3 business days|
|Amount received (in EUR)||890 EUR||870 EUR|
As you can see, Filippo can send an extra 20 euros to his sister if he uses the second transfer company.
How to compare transfer companies when transferring money to Italy
- Exchange rates. A better exchange rate means more money for your recipient, so look for a company that offers attractive exchange rates.
- Fees. A hefty transfer fee can easily turn an affordable transaction into an astronomically expensive one, so check how much each provider will charge for handling your transfer.
- Transfer methods. Can you send your transfers online, through a mobile app, by calling the company or visiting one of its branches?
- Transfer options. Can you lock in an ideal exchange rate now and transfer the money later, known as a forward contract? Does the institution offer limit orders, which allows you to take advantage of changing market conditions by executing the money transfer when a certain exchange rate is met? Can you schedule recurring payments?
- Turnaround time. How long will it take for your money to arrive? Processing times can vary from a few minutes to several days.
- Minimum limit. Some companies will impose a high minimum limit on all transfers, a fact that can be quite restricting if you don’t want to transfer very much money.
- Pickup methods. Can the cash you send be collected from a branch in Italy, and if so, how many branches does the provider have? Alternatively, can you send funds via bank account transfer.
- Customer service. If you ever have a question or a problem, when will customer support be available and how can you access it?
Foreign exchange rates explainedExchange rate determines how much money you can get when you convert it to the currency of another country. The USD and EUR have traditionally been competitive with one another, but for the most part, the euro is the stronger currency. This means you’ll only get a few cents for every dollar you send to Italy.
Exchange rates for Italy
How to send money to Italy from the US
- Bank transfers. A transfer from your bank account to an Italian bank account is a secure option but will typically cost you more.
- Online money transfer providers. Send money all around the world and enjoy cost-effective transfers when you use a specialist online transfer company.
- Money transfer companies with cash pickup options. Ria, MoneyGram and Western Union all offer this convenient service.
- PayPal. PayPal allows its customers to use their accounts to send international money transfers.
- Checks. An international check from your bank can be sent to your recipient in Italy.
Steps to send money to Italy
- Choose a provider from our comparison table above.
- Register for an account with a provider.
- Provide information about yourself, including your name and contact details.
- Provide your recipient’s information and contact details.
- Select the amount you want to transfer and complete your transaction.
- Keep your receipt to monitor the progress of your transfer.
- Check in with your recipient to make sure the transfer was successful.
Same-day cash transfers in Italy
There are certain circumstances where you may need to send a transfer urgently, for example, if your son or daughter is traveling through Italy and has their wallet stolen. When this happens, there are companies that can get the funds to your recipient in minutes, but you’ll have to pay extra for the privilege of a rapid transfer. Higher fees and lower exchange rates may apply, so check the fine print to determine the total cost of your transfer first.
Tips for picking up cash in Italy
Italy is a safe travel destination for American tourists, but you should still take care whenever you pick up cash from a transfer agent. This means staying aware of your personal safety at all times and taking a few steps to prevent yourself becoming a target for thieves.
- Call ahead. Learn the company’s business hours and choose a safe time to pick up your cash. Daylight hours are best.
- Bring a friend. Carrying money when alone can be dangerous. Ask a friend to come along.
- Deposit your money immediately. The likelihood of losing your money to theft or simple carelessness grows the longer you have it with you. Go straight to a bank and deposit your cash as soon as possible.
- Keep your cash hidden. Place your money in your purse or wallet before leaving the office. Carrying cash out in the open could make you a target.