Compared to banks, money transfer companies can typically save you 3-4% of the amount you transfer abroad. It might not sound like much, but when you add exorbitant exchange rates, hidden fees, non-transparent margins and limits on transfer amounts, it quickly adds up to a sizeable sum over the course of a few transactions.
In this article, we're going to help you save that 3-4% by comparing the best cheap international money transfer services available. We're also going to tell you about the traditional methods and whether you should opt for them.
So if you're looking for inexpensive ways to send money overseas, read on!
Top 7 Cheap International Money Transfer Services
There are many different ways to send money internationally, but not all of them are created equal. Some methods are more expensive than others, and some can take days or weeks to complete the transaction. If you're looking for the best and cheapest way to send money overseas, then you'll want to consider a cheap international money transfer service.
Our list of the best and cheapest ways to send money overseas gives you a quick overview of all your options.
Headquartered in Sydney, OFX is an Australian company that predominantly deals in payments and foreign exchange. OFX services e-commerce retailers, small and medium businesses and high-value consumers
What We Like About OFX:
- No transfer fees
- Easy and simple to use
- Large banking network
- Cheap and fast transactions
- Available 24/7 online and over the phone
- Outstanding customer service and expertise
- A long-time player and one of the largest in the world
What We Dislike About OFX:
- India not supported
- Only available in English
- More expensive than the competition
MoneyGram is an American company dealing in money transfer and P2P payments with its headquarters in Dallas, Texas. Apart from having local and regional offices worldwide, its main centre of operation is based in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.
What We Like About Money Gram:
- Various pay-in options
- Supports 50 currencies and 200 countries
- A very large and reputable organisation with a vast service history
What We Dislike About MoneyGram:
- Very low maximum transfer limits
- 90% of hidden charges and fees are not transparent
- Exchange rates are more expensive
- Inconsistency of exchange rates with the rate shown on the website
Founded in 2010 by Catherine Wines, Ismail Ahmed, and Richard Igoe, World Remit is a digital money transfer company with its headquarters in London, United Kingdom. World Remit provides its services in six languages to customers in over 130 countries and 70 currencies.
What We Like About WorldRemit:
- Good customer support
- Ease of use and customer satisfaction
- Large network of cash pickup locations
- Various options for sending and receiving money
What We Dislike About WorldRemit:
- Exchange rates and fees are not always cheap
- Exchange rates and fees are not transparent; hidden fees charged often
4. XE Money Transfer
Founded in 1993 and headquartered in Newmarket, Ontario, XE is a Canadian money transfer company. It is best known for its currency conversion tool, which compares companies offering international money transfers and exchange rates.
What We Like About XE Money Transfer:
- Backed by Euronet Worldwide
- Supports 100 currencies across over 130 countries
- Transactions are typically completed within one day
- A service loved by people worldwide, with one of the best reviews to date
What We Dislike About XE Money Transfer:
- Hidden fees under non-transparent margins
- Limited pay-in methods (bank transfer and cash deposit)
- Exchange rates and fees are competitive but not the cheapest when compared to the competition.
Founded in 2001 with its headquarters in London, United Kingdom, Skrill is primarily a digital wallet provider. It offers multiple money transfer and online payment services. Skrill services 131 countries in 40 currencies.
What We Like About Skrill:
- Very low exchange rates and fees
- Excellent customer service reviews
- Many countries and currencies are supported
- Transactions are fast, secure and convenient
- Pay-in options available for debit and credit cards
What We Dislike About Skrill:
- Currencies available depend on the origin country
- Exchange rates and fees are hidden under nontransparent margins
- Supports only bank account and mobile wallet for the destination country
Founded in 2011 in Seattle, United States, Remitly became a publicly traded company on the Nasdaq in 2021. Remitly offers money transfer services in 135 countries. It is well known for its large network of cash pickup locations.
What We Like About Remitly:
- Excellent choice for cash pick-ups
- 135 destination countries supported
- Offers a variety of pay-in and pay-out options
What We Dislike About Remitly:
- The website and the app are outdated
- 35% of fees are hidden in the exchange rate margin
- A limited number of origin countries can't send to each other
Founded in 2011 with its headquarters in London, United Kingdom, Wise was formerly known as TransferWise. It is a fintech company that offers multiple money transfer options at the cheapest price.
What We Like About Wise:
- No exchange rate margin
- Fees are low and transparent
- A large number of pay-in options supported
- The cheapest foreign money transfer service of all time
- The mobile app is designed well with a beautiful interface
What We Dislike About Wise:
- Transfers can take 2-3 days
- Cash pickup services are not available
- Sometimes not the cheapest if the origin country is outside Europe and North America
Things To Know Before Transferring Money Overseas
When you're looking to send money overseas, there are a few things you need to consider. These include the exchange rate, transfer limits, hidden fees, and the current day's exchange rates:
Banks typically offer guaranteed rates for international money transfers; however, they also charge high fees.
Money transfer apps usually have lower fees than banks and can conveniently send money internationally. However, they typically have lower per-transaction limits.
Debit and credit cards can be used to send money internationally, but you'll need to ensure that your card has no foreign transaction fees. You'll also need to be aware of the current exchange rate before making payments.
International money orders can be a convenient way to send large sums of money overseas. However, they can be slow to arrive and involve fees.
Finally, international wire transfers are one of the fastest ways to send money internationally. However, they can be expensive, so it's important to compare fees before you choose this option.
If you're looking for the best and cheapest way to send money overseas, there are a few things you need to know:
- Check the guaranteed rates offered by different services.
- Be aware of any hidden fees.
- Compare the current-day exchange rates to get the best deal.
By following these tips, you can ensure that you get the most bang for your buck when sending money internationally.
Other Cheap Ways To Send Money Overseas
Apart from the services mentioned above, here are the more traditional ways to send money overseas.
Most banks will allow you to make free international transfers if you have an account with them. However, the exchange rate you'll get with a bank is not as good as what you would get from a dedicated currency exchange service.
Most banks will allow you to send money overseas using what's called a SWIFT transfer. SWIFT transfers usually take 1-3 business days to process, and you'll usually be charged a fee by your bank for sending the money. The exact amount will depend on your bank's policies.
Forward Exchange Contract
If you're looking to send a large sum of money, you may also be able to take advantage of something called a forward exchange contract. This is basically a contract between you and your bank that fixes the exchange rate for a certain period of time, typically 1-2 years.
With a forward exchange contract, you can lock in the current exchange rate and know exactly how much foreign currency you'll receive when the time comes to make your transfer. This can be helpful if you're worried about exchange rate fluctuations in the future.
However, forward exchange contracts typically have high fees and are only available for large sums of money. So unless you're sending a very large amount overseas, this probably isn't the best option for you.
Money Transfer Apps
There are now a number of apps that allow you to send money internationally without having to go through a bank. These apps usually use something called peer-to-peer (P2P) technology, which means that they connect people who want to send money with people who want to receive it.
Debit and Credit Cards
If you need to send a small amount of money overseas quickly, you may be able to do so with your debit or credit card. However, it's important to note that most cards will charge a foreign transaction fee of 3% or more.
Plus, the exchange rate you'll get with your card will probably not be as favourable as what you would get from a dedicated currency exchange service like Wise. For these reasons, we don't recommend using a debit or credit card to send large sums of money overseas.
International Money Orders
International money orders can be purchased at many post office branches as well as some grocery stores. They work just like regular domestic money orders, except they can be used to send money internationally.
While this method is convenient, it's important to note that international money orders typically come with high fees. And like debit and credit cards, the exchange rate you'll get with an international money order is likely not likely to be as favourable as from a dedicated currency exchange service. For these reasons, we don't recommend international money orders.
International Wire Transfers
With an international wire transfer, you can send money directly into a foreign bank account. The process is usually quick and easy, and you can do it online or in person at your local bank branch. However, there are a few things to keep in mind before sending an international wire transfer:
- You'll need the recipient's bank account number and SWIFT code in order to make the transfer.
- There is usually a fee associated with international wire transfers, which is significantly high per transaction.
- The exchange rate you'll get with an international wire transfer is not always as good as what you would get from a dedicated currency exchange service.
For these reasons, we don't recommend using international wire transfers unless you absolutely need to send a large sum of money overseas quickly.
Cheaper Ways To Send Money Internationally Based On The Requirement
We have segregated the companies depending on your money transfer requirements. This list will guide you in choosing the right money transfer service.
If you need to send a one-time payment overseas, then you'll want to consider using a service like Skrill. These services allow for quick and cheap transfers, with very low fees and exchange rates that are much better than those offered at your bank.
Regular Money Transfers
If you need to send regular payments overseas, then you'll want to consider using a service like Remitly. Again, these services allow for quick and inexpensive transfers with affordable fees and attractive exchange rates.
Instant Money Transfer
If you need to send money instantly, then you'll want to consider using a service like XE Money Transfer or MoneyGram. These services allow you to send money within minutes, but they typically charge higher fees than other methods.
Large Amount Transfer
If you're sending a large amount of money overseas, then you'll want to consider using a service like OFX or World Remit. These services specialise in big-ticket transfers and usually have lower fees and better exchange rates than other methods.
By following a few simple tips, you can make cheap international payments efficiently. Remember to check the guaranteed rates offered by different services. Be aware of any hidden fees and compare the current-day exchange rates to get the best deal.
With these tips in mind, you can send money overseas without breaking the bank.
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