How to transfer money online with your credit card
You usually can't transfer money directly from your credit card account, but you can use your credit card to pay for an international money transfer with a transfer specialist.
Credit cards let you pay for goods and services, but most don’t allow you to make transfers of money. In other words, you usually can’t log into your credit card account and move money around.
There are plenty of exceptions to this rule, including appropriately named “money transfer credit cards“. These cards do let you login and initiate a transfer to another account, potentially in another country. But when you do this you may be charged a money transfer fee (typically around 3% of the amount) and you may be charged a currency conversion fee (again typically around 3%).
The alternative is to use your credit card to pay for a transfer through an international money transfer specialist. These popular services offer better rates than most banks, and most of them will accept payment by credit card.
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When a money transfer service takes a payment from your credit card, it also passes your bank its “Merchant Category Code” (MCC). Banks use these to classify different types of transactions. Unfortunately, credit card payments to companies which banks identify through the MCC as being money transfer services, may attract “cash advance” fees. A cash advance fee is usually around 3%. More commonly cash advance fees are incurred if you use a credit card to withdraw cash at a cash machine or get cashback at the till.
Can I send money overseas with my credit card?
The short answer is yes, you can send money online using a credit or debit card. There are multiple ways you can do this, but you’ll need to keep an eye on the fees. It’s likely to work out cheaper with a debit card. You may be able to send money directly from your credit card account, or alternatively pay by credit card for a transfer through a money transfer platform like Wise. And picking the right company to send money through using your credit card can make a big difference in fees.
Pros and cons of paying for your transfer with your credit card
These apply specifically to using a credit card to pay for a transfer using an international money transfer specialist.
- You get to transfer-now-pay-later and/or spread the cost.
- Dedicated money transfer services generally have better exchange rates than the banks.
- Dedicated money transfer services can also let you set exchange rate targets, or can lock in exchange rates for an amount of time.
- If you don’t clear your credit card balance in full every month, you’ll usually pay interest on your outstanding balance.
- You’ll probably incur a cash advance fee – typically 3%. This could wipe out the savings you’ve made by choosing a money transfer specialist over your bank.
- Cash advances can also incur a higher rate of interest than regular purchases.
How do I send money internationally using my credit card?
Specialist transfer companies like Western Union, MoneyGram, WorldRemit, Ria Money Transfers and more allow you to pay for online transfers using your credit card. They can provide credit-card-to-debit-card transfers (transfers to your recipients’s account) or even cash pick-up transfers, where your recipient can pick up the transfer as cash from a local branch.
Alternatively you can link your credit card to your PayPal account to make an overseas transfer. You’ll then be charged PayPal’s fees and potentially also fees from your credit card issuer.
What are the alternatives to paying for an international transfer by credit card?
If you don’t have a credit card, don’t panic – a debit card is actually a better bet.
Here are a few options for international transfers using your debit card:
- OFX. OFX stands out from other money transfer provides with its competitive exchange rates.
- Wise. Through Wise, you can pay no debit card fees for transfers to select countries. Watch out for percentage-based transfer fees, but rest easy knowing you’ll get the mid-market rate on all currency trades.
But the cheapest way to pay for a transfer through an international money transfer specialist is – you guessed it – by bank transfer. In other words, you transfer GBP to them for free, and then they transfer a different currency to your nominated recipient (charging you a fee or a margin along the way for the privilege).
If you don’t have a credit card, bank account or debit card, consider picking up a prepaid debit card. You can purchase one at a local store — such as a supermarket — and use it to fund your transfer.
Can I earn credit card rewards on my transfer?
In theory, if you have a rewards credit card, you could earn air miles, reward points or cashback after you fund your transfer. However, cash advances (that’s withdrawing cash at an atm, buying foreign currency, spending money at a casino, getting cashback at the till, or other “cash-like” transactions including paying for a money transfer) are often exempt from rewards. And if you end up paying interest on the outstanding balance, that will quickly outweigh the value of any rewards you might have earned.
Is it a good idea to transfer money overseas using a credit card?
Put simply, it’s not ideal due to the fees involved. If you pay for your international transfer with a global transfers specialist by debit card or a bank tansfer, that will almost certainly work out cheaper.
But if you’re aware of the fees and go into the transaction with your eyes open, endeavoring to clear the credit card balance as soon as possible, then it is at least a viable method.
If you’re set on using a credit card, compare multiple transfer providers before parting with your money so that you can find the cheapest option.
Frequently asked questions
Can I send money overseas using a prepaid card?
Can I transfer money from my credit card to Paypal?
Can I use a credit card to transfer money with Western Union?
Does Wordremit accept credit cards?
Can I pay off a credit card with an international bank account?
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