The Cheapest Ways To Send Money From the USA to Europe
Co-Founder of Monito and money transfer expert, François has been helping Monito’s users navigate the jungle of money transfer fees, bad exchange rates and tricks for the last ten years.
A writer and editor at Monito, Jarrod is passionate about helping people apply today’s powerful finance technologies to their lives. He brings his background in international affairs and his experiences living in Japan to provide readers with comprehensive information that also acknowledges the local context.
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If you're looking to send money internationally from the United States to Europe, you have many options. For one, you can transfer money directly through your US bank. Alternatively, you can use your PayPal account (which we highly discourage) or a dedicated money transfer service. No matter your choice, it's crucial to understand how long the process will take, what you'll pay in fees, the exchange rates you'll get, and the type of service you can expect.
In this guide, we'll explore the cheapest and most cost-effective ways to send money to Europe from the US. You'll also learn some valuable tips and handy resources to help minimize your costs to ensure your money goes further or your beneficiary receives more on the other side.
We compared 14 providers available for USD-EUR transfers on our comparison engine over the last three months. These three are most often the cheapest:
- OFX (cheapest in 28.3% of searches)
- Instarem (cheapest in 26.1% of searches)
- CurrencyFair (cheapest in 20.3% of searches)
If you'd like to find out which service is the cheapest for your transfer right now, use our live comparison tool below 👇
Compare to find a better deal than your American bank:
Key Facts About US-Europe Transfers
|Number of Providers on Monito|
Wire transfer, debit/credit card
|Avg. Cost With the Bank|
5% - 8%
|Avg. Cost via Monito|
|Avg. Cheapest to Turkey|
|Avg. Cheapest to Spain|
|Avg. Cheapest to Germany|
|Avg. Cheapest to UK|
|Avg. Cheapest to Poland|
|Avg. Cheapest to Italy|
|Avg. Cheapest to Ukraine|
|Avg. Cheapest to France|
Cheapest Ways To Send Money From the USA to Europe
- 01. Path 1: Sending through your bank and why costs are high
- 02. Path 2: Using PayPal: Is PayPal a good alternative?
- 03. Path 3: Using money transfer specialists is the best way to transfer
- 04. How to transfer money from the US to Europe
- 05. Which services are the best to transfer dollars to euros?
- 06. What to consider before you transfer money from the US to Europe
- 07. FAQ about US-to-Europe transfers
Top Providers For transfers from the USA to Germany
Based on 7,048 comparisons made by Monito users in the past 3 months.Compare live results
Best for Transfers to a Bank Account
- 9.0CheapestGo to OFX
in 28% of all comparisons
- 9.5Top ratedGo to Wise
in 100% of all comparisons
- 8.1FastestGo to Instarem
in 75% of all comparisons
Best of 14 providers. Compare all
Best for Transfers to Cash Pickup
- 9.1Top providerGo to Remitly
in 92% of all comparisons
in 92% of all comparisons
in 92% of all comparisons
in 92% of all comparisons
in 92% of all comparisons
in 92% of all comparisons
Best of 2 providers. Compare all
Path 1: Banks (Expensive)
It might be tempting to send money to Europe using your US bank account, but we’d urge you to fight that instinct for one simple reason — it can be very expensive. Banks charge a fixed fee for an international wire transfer and offer you worse exchange rates than you can get elsewhere. This combined cost means you can pay between 5% and 8% more than you would using a specialized currency service. Take a look at our in-depth comparison of banks versus currency exchange services here.
What does that actually mean? Well, if you’re sending $1,000 to Europe, it means you could be spending an additional $50 to $80 on fixed fees and hidden exchange rate costs when making your transfer. Let’s break it down.
Expensive Fixed Fees
When you use your US bank to send money to a recipient in a European country, you’ll send the money as an international wire. Here are the fixed fees that major US banks charge for making an international wire transfer:
- Wells Fargo: $30 to $45 per transfer, depending on the sending currency,
- Citibank: $35 to $45 per transfer, depending on the transfer method,
- Chase: $40 to $50 per transfer, depending on the transfer method,
- Bank of America: $35 to $45 per transfer, depending on the sending currency,
- US Bank: $50 per transfer,
- PNC: $45 per transfer,
- TD Bank: $40 per transfer,
- Capital One: $40 to $50 per transfer.
Where fees vary depending on how you’re sending money, you’ll typically pay the lower fee for sending the money online via your banking portal, but you’ll pay more if you visit a branch or make the transfer over the phone.
Poor Exchange Rates for USD/EUR Transfers
While US Banks don't often publish the exchange rates that they provide for international wire transfers, we do know that the exchange rates they offer between US dollars and Euros are often significantly worse than the base rate. The bank will keep the difference, meaning that you’ll pay a hidden fee, as your recipient won’t get as much money when you send it overseas.
According to our analysis, the exchange rate margins offered by US banks are normally up to 25% worse than the mid-market exchange rate for small transfers (i.e. under $300) and between 5% and 10% for medium- to large-sized transfers. Take a look at our analysis of Bank of America's and Wells Fargo's exchange rates to find out more about how this works.
Other Fees Charged by US and European Banks
You or the beneficiary may also pay other fees when sending money between the U.S. and Europe:
- If the wire transfer passes through intermediary or correspondent banks on the way to the beneficiary, each of those banks is also likely to charge a correspondent bank fee, usually in the region of $10 to $20, but possibly as $100,
- The beneficiary's European bank may also charge a fee to receive the money into their account.
Path 2: PayPal (Also Expensive)
PayPal is a popular way to send money internationally, as many people already have a PayPal account. While a fast and convenient P2P mobile payment method, unfortunately, the service offers less than ideal exchange rates when you're converting between US dollars and Euros.
At PayPal, exchange rate margins fall between 5% and 7% of the transfer value, making it one of the priciest ways to send money abroad, next to your bank.
Take a look at Monito's in-depth PayPal review to learn more.
Path 3: Money Transfer Providers (Best Deal)
If you'd like to save money when sending abroad, a specialist money transfer service will be your best option for converting your US dollars and sending them to a European country. Because these currency exchange companies specialize in sending money overseas, they're very efficient and pass those cost savings on to you through low fees and reasonable exchange rates.
Benefits of International Money Transfer Services
In addition to low costs, using a money transfer specialist service offers you the following benefits:
- Money transfer services are authorized and regulated, meaning your money will be safe and secure,
- Setting up an account to send money to Europe is quick and easy,
- There are usually a variety of options to pay for your transfer to Europe, including bank transfer, debit card, or credit card,
- Depending on the services and the amount you're sending, the beneficiary can get their money in several ways, including direct bank deposit, card deposit, cash pickup, mobile phone airtime top-up, or deposit into a mobile wallet.
How to Transfer Money From the US to Europe
To find the cheapest specialist money transfer service to send money from the US to Europe, you'll need to do the following four things:
Step 1: Compare Services
There are dozens of money transfer services that will help you send money to Europe, all with slightly different fees and exchange rates. Monito's real-time comparison engine aggregates the best deals on the market and gives you an idea of how much the transfer will cost, how long it will take to arrive, as well as your pay-in and pay-out options:
Find the cheapest money transfer from the US to Europe:
Step 2: Create an Account
Once you've chosen a service, you must create an account with them. You should provide your personal details and some form of identification. Once your account has been verified, you can start using it immediately.
Step 3: Set Up Your Transfer
For most money transfer services, you must provide details about the beneficiary. These might include:
- Their full name and residential address,
- The name and address of their European bank,
- Their banking details, including routing number/sort code and account number,
- In some cases, you'll need to provide a SWIFT code for their bank (you can typically get this from the bank's website),
- You may also need to provide an IBAN, depending on where the beneficiary's bank is located.
You can also decide how you'd like your recipient to receive their money, as some services offer cash pickup, home delivery, mobile wallet, or airtime top-up services.
Step 4: Review and Pay
Once you've entered all the details, the final step will be to pay for your transfer. With most money transfer services, you'll be able to follow the status of your transfer on a dedicated user dashboard.
Cheapest Providers For US-Europe Transfers
When it comes to sending your money to Europe, it’s important to choose the money transfer specialist that best suits your needs. Any of the services below will save you a considerable amount of cash compared to the average US bank or PayPal:
A specialist in large money transfers, OFX is a foreign exchange broker rather than a money transfer platform, meaning that its services are more personalized toward the needs of individual customers. It offers by far the best pricing for transfers from the US to most countries in Europe, especially larger transfers.
- Approx. fees: 0.46% /transfer
- Best for: Large transfers (above $10,000)
- More info: Read our OFX review or visit the website.
CurrencyFair is an easy-to-use service with high customer satisfaction specialising in bank deposits and mobile money. For the first three months of 2023, CurrencyFair ranked highly for transfers from the US to Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland, Ireland, and other European countries.
- Approx. fees: $3.30 + 0.51% /transfer
- Best for: Transfers to Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland, Ireland, Sweden, Austria, the Netherlands
- More info: Read our CurrencyFair review or go to the website.
Wise (formerly TransferWise) is a modern, trusted, innovative cross-border payments service that is much-loved by its customers. It offers some of the most competitive exchange rates of any service on Monito and comprehensive, low, and transparent fees. Wise ranked as the best overall service for the first three months of 2023 for transfers from the US to Ukraine, Romania, and Israel. They’re best used for transfers of under $10,000 in value and provide a superb customer experience.
- Fees: $4.17 + 0.49% /transfer
- Best for: Medium-sized bank transfers (under $10,000) or transfers to Ukraine, Romania, or Israel.
- More info: Read our Wise review or go to the website.
To compare the most up-to-date exchange rates and fees, be sure to run a search on Monito's real-time comparison engine below:
Find the cheapest way to send money to Europe:
Factors to Consider When Sending Money From the US to Europe
In the end, the best way for you to send money between the US and Europe will depend on several factors, including:
- The specific country you’re sending money to, e.g. Germany versus Norway,
- The currency you’re exchanging into, e.g. Euros or Swedish krona,
- How you’re paying for the transfer, e.g. credit card or bank transfer,
- How the beneficiary is receiving their money, e.g. bank deposit or cash pickup.
To get a better picture of how this works, take a look at the tables below to see how international currency transfer compare between the US and major receiving countries in Europe comparing the pricing of major US banks Wells Fargo and Bank of America to that of the most competitive service on Monito:
Always Get the Best Deal When You Send Money to Europe from the USA
In addition to the differentiating factors we explored above, specialist currency exchange services frequently tweak their fees and exchange rates to attract new customers. Using Monito's real-time comparison engine below, you can get take advantage of an up-to-the-minute comparison of how much it will cost you to send money from the US, so you can be certain of getting the best deal:
Find the cheapest dollar to euro transfer to Europe:
FAQ About US-to-Europe Transfers
💸 How do I transfer money from the US to Europe?
There is a wide range of options when it comes to money transfers from the US to Europe. The best way to send money to Europe depends on various factors:
- Transfer payment method: credit card, bank transfer, cash payment, etc.,
- The country in Europe you want to send money to,
- The amount in USD transferred to Europe: the cheapest operator will not necessarily be the same for a transfer of $100 or $1,000,
- The transfer speed: does the money have to be available immediately, or can a beneficiary wait a few days?
- How the beneficiary will receive the funds: in cash or via a bank deposit.
Using Monito's real-time comparison engine, you can compare all the providers for your money transfer from the US to Europe. You will check real-time exchange rates, all the fees, hidden conversion costs, and percentage fees that money transfer services charge for your money transfers.
💰 What is the cheapest way to send money from the US to Europe?
Transferring money from the US to Europe can be costly if you’re unaware of hidden conversion costs. As a rule, we recommend avoiding using banks, Paypal, or cash-based money transfer services while transferring the money from the US to Europe. They are really expensive when calculating all the fees (transaction fees, intermediary bank fees, hidden poor exchange rate margin). Plus, it takes ages to send money from the US to Europe by wire transfer — sometimes up to 5 days! Instead, we recommend you run a search on Monito's real-time comparison engine to make sure you get the best deal for money transfers to Europe.
⏱ What is the fastest way to send money from the US to Europe?
The transfer speed from the US to Europe depends on the amount you send and the type of transfer you choose. Using Monito's real-time comparison engine, you'll be able to find a fast and reliable way to send money to Europe. In our comprehensive guide, you will find out how to choose the fastest money transfer services for your next transfer from the US to Europe. We also share some tips and tricks on how to make your money transfer even faster.
🏦 How to send money from the US to a European bank account at the best rate?
Your bank in the US might not offer you the best rate to send money to Europe. But there are plenty of dedicated money transfer services that will allow you to send money to a European bank account at the best rate. You can compare these services using Monito's live comparison engine. To send money to a bank account in Europe with a money transfer specialist, you'll need to do the following:
- Compare and find the cheapest service on Monito.com,
- Open a free account online with them,
- Set up your transfer with the beneficiary's bank details in Europe,
- Fund your transfer by wire transfer, debit card, or credit card.
Why You Can Trust Monito
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Why Trust Monito?
You’re probably all too familiar with the often outrageous cost of sending money abroad. After facing this frustration themselves back in 2013, co-founders François, Laurent, and Pascal launched a real-time comparison engine to compare the best money transfer services across the globe. Today, Monito’s award-winning comparisons, reviews, and guides are trusted by around 8 million people each year and our recommendations are backed by millions of pricing data points and dozens of expert tests — all allowing you to make the savviest decisions with confidence.
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