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Wondering how to send your next international money transfer? Not sure whether you should send a bank wire transfer, use an online money transfer app like Wise or TorFX or send cash through a service like Western Union?
We’ve searched the market to find the best money transfer services based on low fees, strong exchange rates, fast delivery and flexible options. Here’s what you need to know.
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
An international money transfer is the process of sending money between people or financial accounts in different countries. Every day, trillions of dollars are transferred between people and businesses all over the world.
Typically, you need to give a bank or money transfer service your recipient’s details and the money you want to send. The bank or transfer service then converts your funds to the currency in which it will be received and electronically sends the payment to your recipient.
Depending on the money transfer service, you may be able to send funds online, via mobile app, over the phone or in person.
Not all money transfer services accept the same payment methods, but you may be able to pay by the following:
If you want to pay in cash, you’ll need to visit a bank branch or money transfer agent in person. If you transfer funds online or via mobile app, you can only pay electronically by card or bank transfer.
Again, receiving options vary between transfer services, but your recipient may be able to receive funds the following ways:
While it might be easy to assume that big banks are the best way to go when sending an international money transfer, there are many reasons why an online money transfer service might be just as good if not better:
There are multiple options to consider when sending money overseas:
|Online money transfer service||Electronic funds transfer through an online money transfer service.|
|In-person money transfer service||Cash or electronic transfer by visiting a money transfer service location in person.|
|Bank||Wire transfer or international money transfer through a bank.|
(Note: All major banks support wire transfers, but not all offer additional in-house money transfer services.)
|Cheque||Write a cheque and mail it to your recipient.|
|Money order||Get a certified money order printed and mail it to your recipient.|
Online money transfer services are increasingly competitive with big banks, in many cases offering more flexible options and lower fees. Sending an international money transfer through an online service is simple:
Most of the time, you can access your account immediately after submitting all the required information. For some services (particularly transfer services for businesses), there may be a delay while your information is reviewed and a transfer specialist is assigned to your account.
Bank transfers have long been regarded as reliable and safe. The steps for sending an international money transfer through your bank are generally as follows:
To send a bank wire transfer or money order, you need to visit your bank in person. You may also be able to get money orders at other financial institutions like post offices, credit unions, retailers and even some convenience stores and petrol stations.
Make sure you have the following on hand when sending an international money transfer.
In general, there are no additional documents that you need to initiate an international money transfer.
However, under the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act, banks are required to give details of international transfers above $1,000.
The cost of sending an international money transfer varies between service providers. Factors like the type of transfer, destination country and amount being sent can affect your total cost.
Generally, banks and money transfers services make money from international transfers in two ways:
Transfer for cash pickup can cost more than transfers to a bank account. Some companies charge higher fees for large transfers, while others will actually slash fees for large transfers.
Companies that offer fee-free transfers may make up for it with a poor exchange rate. This is why it’s important to look at the total cost of your transfer, not just the transfer fee or exchange rate.
Looking for low fees and strong exchange rates isn’t the only way to save on your next international money transfer besides. The following tips can also help keep your costs down:
To find the best rate for your next money transfer, check out our comparison of the fees, exchange rates and transfer speeds of Western Union and MoneyGram.
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