Monito's Tips & Tricks to save on international money transfer fees

May 3, 2019

It's a jungle of hidden fees & misleading financial jargon designed to make money on your back! Let Monito, the comparison website for international money transfers, guide you for your next international transfer, currency exchange or payment in foreign currency. Read our tips and tricks below and use our comparison widget to find the cheapest way to send money abroad.

3 Steps to cheaper international money transfers

This guide complements our comparison tool and aims at throwing light upon the international money transfer market. Learn the various attributes of money transfer services and how to choose one without wasting your money. 

1. Check all the fees (including the hidden ones!)

Here's a typical breakdown of the total cost of an international money transfer fees:

Transfer Fee

Is charged by the payment service provider to transfer the money. It can either be a fixed fee, or a percentage of the amount transferred

Conversion fee or Currency Exchange Rate Margin

International transfers are often made between countries with different currencies. Money transfer companies often make money from slight differences between the mid-market exchange rates (the one you find on Google) and the rates that they apply to your transaction. In short, they’re selling you something (= a currency) more expensive than what they pay for, and the difference goes in their pocket.

Other fees

Depending on the service, you might pay extra fees for funding your transfer with a credit card versus using a debit card or a bank transfer.


With international bank transfer, you might be charged with intermediary bank fees where the banks that are tasked with making the connection between your local bank at the origin of the transfer and the foreign bank at the other end take a cut on the transactions.

Your bank on the receiving end might charge a incoming international transfer fees as well.

2. Decide what matters for you

Many parameters have to be taken in account when choosing the right money transfer service. By knowing clearly what you need, you'll avoid paying for unnecessary features. Keep the following points in mind:

Price

The transfer amount, speed of transfer, and payment and delivery methods chosen impact the price.

Availability

Look up the availability of the service at your destination.

Speed of transfer

Only pay for a fast transfer if you actually need it. Find out our tips for sending speedy international transfers in our guide here.

Convenience

Online transfers are often more convenient than waiting in line at a store. One digital service might be easier to use and understand than another.

3. Learn about the different pay-in and pay-out methods

There are many ways to send money abroad, and these are constantly evolving thanks to advancements in technology. In a money transfer, you have to consider how the money flows in and out. We call a pay-in method, the way to fund your transfer and a pay-out method, how it is distributed. Note that some of these might not be available in the destination country of your choice.

Pay-in methods

You can usually fund a transfer in cash at an agent location, with a domestic bank transfer, paying by debit or credit card or with your balance in a e-wallet like Paypal or Skrill.

Pay-out methods

There are several ways for your money transfer to reach its beneficiary:

  • Cash pick-up: the beneficiary receive cash that can be picked-up in a network of agent locations. It can be a branch of a local bank or a money transfer agent like Western Union, MoneyGram or Ria or one of its affiliates (like a Kiosk). An other option is to have the money delivered door-to-door by a courier.
  • Bank transfer: the money is deposited directly in the bank account of the beneficiary, in the local currency or the currency of your choice (if available).
  • Mobile wallets: in this case, money is directly deposited in a mobile wallet, which acts like a bank account linked to and managed from a phone number or mobile app.
  • Pay to cards: is a way to fund a prepaid card belonging to someone else, that then will be able to pay for goods online or a merchant or withdraw money at an ATM.
  • Airtime top-up: this is not a money transfer in its strict definition, but you can also send money that is received in the form of a

4. Additional tips to save money on international money transfers

  • Compare all costs in real-time using Monito's comparison service below.
  • Generally, avoid expensive services like Paypal or Banks
  • Hunt for special deals: money transfer companies often distribute coupons or offer special promotions for a limited time. Be sure to take advantage of these opportunities. Monito highlights special deals negotiated for Monito's users on our comparison results.
  • Pay only for what your need: It's always a good idea to have a look at a few offers before choosing one. The cheapest payment service might differ depending on the transfer amount, the payment and delivery methods or even the time of the year. Sending money fast is usually more expensive than waiting a few days.
  • Evaluate a change in your habits: By being flexible and willing to change your habits, you could save big. For example, transferring online instead of at an agency, opening a bank account in the payment beneficiary's country, sending to mobile, etc.
  • Check the exchange rates to send money at a good time. You can subscribe to our smart currency exchange alerts.

Read all our money transfer tips

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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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