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Best ways to send money online

Our picks for the best services to use when transferring money to someone – within the US and internationally.

Updated

Fact checked

Choosing the right service to send money can save you time, money and headaches. And although your bank may offer wire transfers, it’ll often be more expensive than the many other options available to you.

To help you decide, we’ve narrowed those options done to our top picks for sending money and go into more details on each below the tables.

Sending money during the coronavirus

Social distancing and self-imposed quarantines may limit your ability to send or receive money in person. Consider avoiding options on this page that require physical contact, such as agent locations.

Best services to send money internationally

Best for…ServiceWhy use it?
No feesXE's logoXEEasily create market orders and forward contracts
Large transfersOFX's logoOFXSend as much as you need fee-free with no maximum limit
Best exchange ratesTransferWise's logoTransferWiseTransparent fees combined with the mid-market makes sending money overseas a breeze
Time-sensitive transfersRemitly's logoRemitlyMoney-back guarantee if your money doesn’t arrive on time
Huge networkWestern Union's logoWestern UnionSend to 200+ countries with this household name

Best services to send money within the US

Best for…ServiceWhy use it?Fees
No frills transfersCash App's logoCash AppEasily send and receive money from debit cards and bank accountsFree, with fees for extra options
Fast transfersGoogle's logoGoogle PayCombines contactless payments, an electronic wallet and money transfer services in an easy-to-use appFree, with fees for extra options
Free transfers between PayPal accountsPayPal's logoPayPalPayPal is a convenient option for free domestic transfers, paying businesses and sending money internationally.Free, with fees for extra options

Sending money internationally

When you’re sending money internationally, the most important things to look at are the money transfer service’s exchange rates, fees and what currencies are on offer.

Below is a curated list of the most popular services to send money internationally, why we like them and other alternatives.

XE

What we like:

  • No minimum or maximum limit — send however much you wish
  • Set up market orders and forward contracts

What we don’t like:

  • No cash pickup and no credit card payments

Why use XE?

Online transfers you plan to send from your bank account may benefit from XE’s competitive rates and $0 fees. There are no weekly or monthly transfer limits and you can schedule transfers using forex tools to secure better rates in the future.

XE’s fees and limits:

FeesTransfer limitsExchange rate margin
$0Minimum: $1

Maximum: $500,000

Typically between 0.4% and 1% above mid-market

OFX

What we like:

  • Exchange rates get less the more you send, making it better for larger transfers
  • 55+ currencies supported for both personal and business transfers

What we don’t like:

  • First transfer requires phone verification and a high minimum transfer may prevent new users from joining

Why use OFX?

Users planning to send large amounts of money can benefit from OFX’s nonexistent fees and forex transfer tools without having to worry about the high minimum transfer amounts. Plus, the larger your transfer is, the smaller the exchange rate margin will be.

OFX’s fees and limits:

FeesTransfer limitsExchange rate margin
$0Minimum: $1,000

Maximum: No limit

Typically 1.5% or less above mid-market

Alternative:

  • CurrencyTransfer: While also specializing in sending large amounts, CurrencyTransfer is slightly different — it’s an online marketplace. This means you get to choose between different brokers to get the best exchange rate. Find out more about how it works.

TransferWise

What we like:

  • Transparent fees presented before transferring make it easy to compare costs
  • No margin added to the mid-market exchange rate

What we don’t like:

  • Fees increase with larger transfers

Why use TransferWise?

TransferWise puts all of the necessary information upfront on its website so you can compare your transfer prices and fees while knowing how much your recipient will get. TransferWise also offers an international debit card, so if you’re traveling abroad, you can take advantage of the competitive exchange rates by using it for purchases.

TransferWise’s fees and limits:

FeesTransfer limitsExchange rate margin
Depends on payment method, amount sent and currency pair$1,000,000 per transfer for licensed US statesMid-market rate

Alternative:

  • InstaReM: Like TransferWise, InstaReM offers the mid-market rate, but be aware that this is only for some currencies during certain times. Customer loyalty points can add up over time if you’re using the service frequently, which helps save you more down the line. Read further about what currencies InstaReM supports.

Remitly

What we like:

  • Pairs with Ria to offer a growing number of global cash pickup locations with an on-time money back guarantee

What we don’t like:

  • Faster transfer times directly correlate with higher fees

Why use Remitly?

Although it’s a smaller, less known option, Remitly offers competitive fees and exchange rates to keep customers loyal. It may offer less currency pairs than larger competitors, but its on-time promise means if your money doesn’t get there on time, you get a refund. Remitly’s fees are proportionate to the speed you want your transfer sent, so if you aren’t in a rush, it’s often a cheaper option for international transfers.

Remitly’s fees and limits:

FeesTransfer limitsExchange rate margin
Vary depending on country, can be as low as $0 for popular destinations$10,000 per 24 hours,
$30,000 per 30 days, $60,000 per 180 days
Can be 1% or more above the mid-market rate, updated daily and depends on transfer speed and destination country

Alternative:

Western Union

Western Union logo

What we like:

  • Gas stations, grocery stores and corner bodegas are often home to this money transfer giant
  • The price of convenience is high, making Western Union a poor choice if you can plan ahead and use a different service

Why use Western Union?

When you need to send money to someone fast, or you need to send cash for someone to pick up, chances are there is a Western Union near them to help you out. Although sending limits could be higher and fees could be lower, Western Union operates a massive network of over 500,000 locations to meet your needs.

Western Union’s fees and limits:

FeesTransfer limitsExchange rate margin
Fees vary heavily and depend on sending destination, origin, method of payment and preferred delivery$10,000 per transactionCan be up to 6% above the mid-market rate

Alternative:

  • MoneyGram: MoneyGram is one of Western Union’s most well-known competitors and offers almost as many transfer destinations. Chances are high there’s a MoneyGram location near you, making this company a contender when you need to move money fast to someone without a bank account. Discover more about MoneyGram.

Sending money within the US

Here are some of the most popular options — and their alternatives — for transferring money to friends or family within the country.

Cash App

Cash App's logo

What we like:

  • Straightforward app with no receiving limits and offers a way to purchase Bitcoin
  • Easy and fast to pay friends back

What we don’t like:

  • Instant withdrawals charge a higher fee than some competitors

Why use Cash App?

For users seeking a clean, simple interface and straightforward payment options, Cash App is high on our list. If all you want to do is send and receive money without social feeds or having to share your bank account numbers, this may be the choice for you.

Cash App’s fees and limits:

Instant depositTransfer limitsOther fees
1.5% (minimum $0.25)Send: $2,500/week
Receive: Unlimited
3% to send from credit card

Google Pay

Google Pay's logo

What we like:

  • Integrates with other Google services like Google Home and Gmail
  • Easy to use

What we don’t like:

  • When paying merchants, you have to use your phone — no physical card exists to spend your Google Pay balance

Why use Google Pay?

Google Pay is integrated with Android phones, but can also be used through a browser and iPhone app. It works well with many of the existing Google Services, such as Gmail, Google Assistant and Messages. It comes with enhanced security and has the option for Two-Factor Authentication and sign-in notifications — must-have features for anyone who’s prone to losing phones.

Google Pay’s fees and limits:

Instant depositTransfer limitsOther fees
Free to bank accountSend: $10,000/week
Receive: Unlimited
Google Pay charges no fees for bank transfers, but your bank may — contact it to find out

Alternative:

  • Apple Pay: Send and receive money directly in the iMessage app. A strong alternative to Google Pay for iPhone users. Find out more about Apple Pay.

PayPal

PayPal's logo

What we like:

  • Fraud protection covers the sending and receiving of funds for both domestic and international purchases
  • Free transfers to other PayPal accounts

What we don’t like:

  • Fees can add up quickly when sending money abroad

Why use PayPal?

Transferring money for both businesses and individuals is one of PayPal’s strengths, and its network of global coverage makes it a good option for international users trying to figure out how to wire money online safely. Sending money domestically is free between PayPal accounts, but pay attention to fees when sending money across borders from a linked bank account. PayPal also offers money transfer protection when making purchases online from other individuals, something Cash App and Google Pay lack.

PayPal’s fees and limits:

Instant depositTransfer limitsOther fees
1% (up to a maximum of $10)Unlimited for both sending and receiving2.9% + $0.30 to send from credit card

Alternative:

  • Zelle: Although Zelle imposes no limits, your bank probably does — check the terms and conditions on your bank account. And be wary when making purchases from other individuals with Zelle since it offers no buyer protection. Support for Zelle varies by bank, and if your bank isn’t supported, there isn’t much you can do. Learn more about Zelle.

Bottom line

There are a range of options that can securely transfer your money from A to B while avoiding steep bank fees — be it within the US or internationally. The best one depends on your situation, how fast you need the money transferred and to where.

But there’s no need to commit to just one service. With so many options available, it pays to road test a few first or keep several accounts at once.

Our approach to helping you pick a money transfer service

Understanding that our users have diverse needs, to find some of the most popular money transfer products, we investigated a variety of companies by comparing factors like fees, consumer sentiment, transfer limits and user experience.

All of the sending and receiving limits are based on the highest limits a user can unlock with each service.

Read more on this topic

  • US remittance statistics We've unpacked the most recently available data from the World Bank to get an idea of how much money is being sent around the globe.
  • XE vs. OFX money transfers Check out this side-by-side comparison of XE and OFX to find out which provider offers the best value on international money transfers.
  • Alternatives to InstaReM Find the best alternative websites to InstaReM for online money transfers.
  • XE vs. Western Union We compare XE's and Western Union’s fees, exchange rates and transfer speeds side by side.
  • Remitly vs. PayPal Compare a well-known payments giant to the newer Remitly and see which one can give you a better deal.
  • Remitly vs. TransferWise Remitly and TransferWise’s fees, exchange rates and speeds compared side by side.
  • How to send money to Guinea Compare the services that send money to Guinea. Find out how to get the best value for your money, how long it takes and what to look out for.
  • Best places to exchange currency in Sydney Your guide to currency exchange services in Sydney, including where to find the best exchange rates and lowest fees.
  • Best places to exchange currency in Winnipeg Looking for the best deal on Canadian dollars in Winnipeg? Compare popular services and access handy tips to get the most out of your next transfer.
  • Best places to exchange currency in Calgary Compare services and find out tips and tricks to help you get the best deal on your next foreign currency exchange in Calgary.

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