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Cheap ways to send money overseas

What's the most affordable way to send money overseas from Malaysia? Find out with this guide.

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MoneyMatch

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  • Competitive exchange rates to more than 70 countries
  • Fast transfers that will often arrive within 1-2 days
  • Malaysia-based and government-regulated
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While banks do offer secure wire transfers around the world, they also tend to have weaker exchange rates, higher fees and fewer options to send and receive cash when compared with a money transfer service. Unlike banks, they specialise in one thing: transferring money to countries worldwide.

Compare money transfer services to help you send money overseas

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
USD 1 Same day MYR 3.99 0.225 USD
2,250
Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
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USD 60 1 day MYR 0.00 0.227 USD
2,270
Skrill offers easy transfers to many popular destinations, but keep an eye out for added fees. Go to site Show details
USD 1 1 day MYR 100.00 0.228 USD
2,256
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies. Go to site Show details
USD 200 1 day MYR 50.00 0.227 USD
2,258
Exclusive: Use code FINDER10 to receive US$10 off your first transaction.
InstaReM offers simple transfers with a flat 0.5% transfer fee for most transfers.
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USD 120 1 - 2 days MYR 5.00 0.226 USD
2,259
Malaysia-based MoneyMatch offers competitive exchange rates for overseas money transfers from MYR to more than 70 countries. 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.

What are the ways I can send money overseas?

With so many specialised money transfer companies to choose from, it’s no surprise that you have options when it comes to how your recipient receives your funds.

How you send your money and how it’s received will ultimately affect delivery speed and how much you’re paying in fees. In general, your options include the following:

  • Bank transfers. Many major Malaysian banks can safely transfer your funds to countries around the world. Banks rely on existing links between banks and banking systems worldwide and it’ll often be called a telegraphic transfer. However, two downsides are the high fees and the weaker exchange rates you’ll often receive in comparison to other options.
  • Online money transfer services. These specialists offer more affordable transfers than banks do, allowing you to quickly and easily 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.
  • Services with cash pick-up. Services like Western Union and MoneyGram offer the key advantage of giving your recipient fast access to the cash you send – sometimes within minutes. You can pay online or at one of the thousands of agent locations worldwide. However, services typically cost more than an online transfer specialist and vary by where you’re transferring your money and how you’re paying for it.
  • PayPal transfers. Not just for online purchases, 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 from 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.
  • Cheques and money orders. Although not a quick option, you could send an international cheque overseas, obtained from your bank. It costs a little more – you’ll have to purchase the cheque and your recipient may be charged a fee by their own bank when cashed.

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

Although the process differs by company, to send money overseas you’ll generally need to do the following:

  1. Register for a free account. You’ll provide your full name, contact info and date of birth. Most providers also require ID and proof of address.
  2. Provide your recipient’s information. Specify who’s receiving the funds by providing their name and contact information. If you’re sending money to a bank account, you’ll need to include the bank name, SWIFT code and your recipient’s account number.
  3. Add the details of your transaction. Enter how much money you’re sending and in which currency it’ll be received.
  4. Review and confirm. 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 or receipt for monitoring the progress of your transfer online or with a company branch.

You may also receive an email or text when your recipient 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 RM10,000 you plan on sending overseas, it can add up to a big difference in the amount ultimately received.

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

Crunching the numbers: Sending RM10,000 to the US

Let’s say you need to send RM10,000 to family in the US. Here’s what you might face as far as fees and exchange rates as of 3 November 2020.

Digital money transfer serviceCash transferBank transfer
FeeRM57.25RM10RM30 + additional correspondent bank fees
Exchange rate1 MYR = 0.2405 USD1 MYR = 0.2393 USD1 MYR = 0.2370 USD
Transfer speed1-2 dayWithin an hour2-5 days
Amount receivedUSD 2,391USD 2,390USD 2,362
Verdict
  • Best value
  • Fastest
  • Slowest and most expensive

Skipping the bank will get more than USD 29 to your recipient, as the bank’s exchange rate is far weaker than other options.

How transfer fees affect your total cost

Transfer fees can range from a few ringgit to up to RM80 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, RM5 for transactions under RM500 or RM10 for transactions under RM1,000.
  • A fee calculated as a percentage of the total transfer amount.
  • RM0 if you meet a fee-free threshold — RM10,000 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 cheque 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 favourable 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 cents 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 Malaysian ringgit to your recipient, allowing them to transfer these ringgit 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.

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 Wise can be useful for sending smaller amounts. Other providers impose minimum transfer limits of RM500, RM1,000 or more, so you should confirm any transfer restrictions before registering for an account.

How can I track an international money transfer?

Once you’ve paid for your transfer, you will be given a transaction reference number. Use this number to check on the progress of your funds, often through your service’s website.

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.

Can I pay for a transfer with cash?

Yes, some money transfer companies allow you to pay with cash, such as Western Union and MoneyGram. You’ll need to go into one of their agent locations to do this, however.

Can I transfer money from my smartphone?

Yes, you can transfer through your provider’s website, and many also offer apps that allow for more convenient transfers.

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