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How To Send Money To A Debit Card Abroad in 2023

Byron Mühlberg, writer at
Jun 27, 2023
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Alongside credit cards, cash, and mobile payment apps like Google and Apple Pay, debit cards are one of the main ways people transact in the modern world. Their popularity comes from the fact that they're linked to your bank account, making spending convenient and accessible.

However, while sending money abroad from a debit card is easy (just compare your options and look for debit card under 'Pay by'), sending money to a debit card abroad isn't yet a common pay-out method among money transfer providers. To get the job done quickly and cheaply, we recommend Remitly, which offers excellent exchange rates, low fees, and an easy-to-use app. Sign up now using our exclusive link!

How to Send Money to a Debit Card Abroad

When sending money to a debit card abroad, your options will be somewhat more limited than sending money from a debit card. This is because debit cards are usually already linked to a bank account, making the bank account (and thus a bank transfer) the primary destination and means of transfer.

Here is a list of the top money transfer providers and whether each can send money from and to a debit card:

Debit Card Transfers

Debit Card Deposits

Luckily, in some cases, you can send money directly to a debit card abroad. Let's look at two quick online ways to get the job done: Remitly and MoneyGram's debit card deposit feature.

Option 1: Remitly

A specialist in international card payments, Remitly is a flexible and fast-growing money transfer platform that supports payments to VISA debit cards in an impressive network of nearly 100 receiving countries through various pay-out options, including Mastercard debit and credit cards worldwide.

Remitly works simply. When you transfer money to somebody overseas, its peer-to-peer payments network delivers it locally in your recipient's currency — often in only minutes.

Remitly is unique because it's one of the only money transfer providers specialising in card-to-card transfers. With Remitly, you can sign up for free online and enter your recipient's debit card details to transfer directly to their card. This transfer, in turn, will credit to their bank account within three business days.

Unfortunately, you can only transfer money to VISA debit cards with Remitly, so if your recipient has a Mastercard, Amex, or Maestro card, you won't be able to make the transfer.

Option 2: MoneyGram

True to its impressive scope of service, currency exchange giant MoneyGram offers the ability to make an international transfer to somebody else's debit card in another country. This scheme, known as Debit Card Deposit, is available only for transfers to Visa debit cards and only for transfers to a limited number of foreign countries.

To use the feature, you must set up a transfer as usual in your MoneyGram account. If eligible for your transfer, you'll see 'Debit Card Deposit' as a payment option, which you'll be able to select to send money to your beneficiary's Visa debit card. MoneyGram offers this feature to send money to around 33 countries worldwide, so there's a chance your recipient's country might not be on the list. Be sure to check if your recipient's country is eligible on the footer of MoneyGram's website, where at the time of writing it states:

This receive method is available for money transfers to the following countries: Albania, Argentina, Bangladesh, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Georgia, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Romania, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Vietnam.

There are no transaction fees for this service, meaning that neither a fixed fee nor a commission will be charged to send a debit card deposit with MoneyGram. However, you will be charged a hidden exchange rate margin (i.e. the difference between the "real" mid-market exchange rate and the rate that MoneyGram charges) on every transfer. These fees vary dramatically from currency to currency and range between 0.05% and 5% of the total transfer amount for the countries listed above.

Advantages & Disadvantages

Having several distinct advantages, MoneyGram's debit deposit feature can be handy for certain people. Some of the most significant benefits of using this feature include the following:

  • Transfers take only minutes to arrive (if sent by debit/credit card);
  • Transfers are simple, with no action needed by the beneficiary.

On the other hand, debit card deposit transfers can also have certain drawbacks, including:

  • They can have a high exchange rate margin;
  • Only a limited number of countries are eligible;
  • Non-Visa debit cards are ineligible to receive transfers;
  • The total fees are not made transparent;
  • The maximum transfer limit is low (usually around US$1,000).

Is MoneyGram's 'Debit Card Deposit' Any Good?

Because the main advantage of using MoneyGram's debit deposit feature is its speed and convenience, we only recommend you consider this service if you don't mind paying the higher exchange rate fees and if your beneficiary (who should live in one of the eligible countries and own a Visa debit card) would like to receive their money very quickly. In these cases, MoneyGram's Debit Deposit scheme will prove an easy and convenient option that will likely give you everything you're looking for.

On the other hand, if you'd like to save money on every transfer abroad and your recipient can receive money via cash or a deposit into their bank account, then we recommend you compare your options on the market instead. To get the job done, run a search on Monito's comparison engine and take a look at your smartest alternatives below.

Alternatives To Debit Deposits

In most cases, sending money to a bank account abroad will have the same outcome as sending money to a debit card. That is to say, both will end up ultimately in the same place: your beneficiary's bank account.

The main difference between the two methods is speed, with debit card transfers and deposits usually faster than bank transfers and deposits. However — unless you're in a major rush to send your funds — this shouldn't be too much of a concern, as international bank transfers are also becoming increasingly quick. Find out more about how to make speedy international money transfers in our guide here.

To send high-speed, low-cost international bank transfers, look at the following services. According to our analysis of hundreds of thousands of searches on our comparison engine, these services ranked as the cheapest across all transfers to bank accounts over the past six months.

  • Wise (cheapest on 9% of global searches);
  • Remitly (cheapest on 9% of global searches);
  • WorldRemit (cheapest on 8% of global searches).

To discover which service is cheapest for your specific transfer in real-time, run a search on the comparison engine below:

Compare international money transfers and save:

FAQ About Sending Money to a Debit Card Abroad

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