Find the Cheapest Way To Send Money Internationally
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 six years.
A writer at Monito, Byron possesses a keen interest in the intersection of personal finance and technology. A former journalist, he strives to bring complex information to life in a way that can be widely understood and appreciated.
It’s the sad reality that, when sending money abroad, you’re likely losing a lot to banks and other hungry corporations charging exorbitant and obscure fees. At Monito, we know this feeling all too well. That’s why we’ve spent years independently comparing and reviewing transfer services across the globe. Using our savvy real-time comparison engine, you can take back control and escape hidden fees by finding the cheapest way to transfer money internationally.
In this guide, we explore the six services that offer the cheapest way to send money internationally for different types of transfers according to millions of search results on Monito. Then, we go over some crucial tips to find the best way to transfer money internationally.
The cheapest way to send money internationally varies from transfer to transfer. Fortunately, we’ve done all of the heavy lifting for you. Run a search on Monito's real-time comparison engine below to find the best way to transfer money internationally for your individual needs:
6 Cheapest Ways To Send Money Internationally
- 01. Wise — best for bank transfers
- 02. Remitly — best for cash transfers
- 03. Paysend — best for card transfers
- 04. WorldRemit — best for mobile money
- 05. Western Union — best for coverage
- 06. OFX — best for large transfers
- 07. How to find the best way to send money internationally
- 08. Other questions about the cheapest international money transfers
1 — Wise
London-based fintech Wise is a world-class option for sending money internationally and frequently ranks as the cheapest way to transfer money internationally on Monito. According to the Monito Score, Wise is also ranked as the best money transfer service of all, and its mobile app is ranked the best money transfer app.
Cost: Wise charges a mix of fixed fees and commissions for different corridors, which usually constitute between 0.25% and 1.00% of the total transfer value. Wise was the cheapest service on 21% of global comparisons on Monito between July 2020 and 2021.
Coverage: Available in the EEA, UK, US, Singapore, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, Wise supports transfers to around 57 foreign currencies across the globe.
Speed: In 2020, around 34% of Wise transfers arrived within 20 seconds, 53% within an hour, and 81% within a 24-hour period. Overall, Wise ranked as the fourth-fastest money transfer service on Monito's comparison engine between July 2020 and 2021.
Transfer limits: Precise limits vary depending on currency and country, but in general, the minimum transfer is US$1.00, and the maximum transfer is US$1 million, or currency equivalent.
Recommendation: We recommend Wise especially for small- to medium-sized bank transfers (up to US$10,000.00) destined for international bank accounts, as the platform is particularly well-priced for these transfers.
More info: See our full Wise review.
2 — Remitly
Remitly is a US-based digital remittance service that's frequently the fastest and cheapest way to send money internationally on Monito. The platform offers various pay-in and pay-out options (including card payments, bank transfers, and cash services) and supports money transfers to over 85 countries worldwide.
Cost: Remitly's fees are built into the exchange rate and typically range between 0.50% and 2.00% of the international money transfer value, depending on the currencies in question. Remitly was the cheapest service on 20% of global comparisons on Monito between July 2020 and 2021.
Coverage: Available in Europe, North America, Singapore, and Australia, Remitly supports transfers to around 47 currencies on every continent.
Speed: Remitly 'Economy' bank transfers take between three and five business days to arrive, while 'Express' card transfers arrive within minutes. Overall, Remitly ranked as the second-fastest money transfer service on Monito's comparison engine between July 2020 and 2021.
Transfer limits: Exact limits vary depending on currency and country, but in general, the minimum transfer is US$1.00, and the maximum transfer is US$20,000.00, or currency equivalent.
More info: See our full Remitly review.
3 — Paysend
A true specialist in international card payments, Paysend is a flexible and fast-growing money transfer platform that supports credit and debit card payments to an impressive network of nearly 100 receiving countries through various pay-out options.
Cost: Paysend charges a fixed fee for most card-to-card and card-to-Paysend-wallet transfers and an exchange rate margin of between 0.50% and 2.00% of the international money transfer value. Paysend was the cheapest service on roughly 25% of global comparisons on Monito in May 2021.
Coverage: Paysend is available to residents of 49 countries and supports transfers to 90 countries across the globe.
Speed: For Paysend transfers to cards or for cash pickup, funds normally arrive within a matter of seconds or minutes. Transfers to bank accounts take longer, usually between one and three business days.
Transfer limits: Default transfer limits at Paysend are US$10.00 and US$1,000.00, which can be raised to US$10,000.00 after ID verification.
Recommendation: We recommend Paysend for international card payments to credit cards, debit cards, or bank accounts due to its excellent fees and exchange rates for these types of transfers.
More info: See our full Paysend review.
4 — WorldRemit
WorldRemit is a UK-based online remittance provider that offers best way to transfer money internationally to diverse regions globally, including Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America — often offering the cheapest way to send money internationally to these countries.
Cost: WorldRemit's fees vary significantly from transfer to transfer and generally constitute anywhere between 1.00% and 2.50% of the international money transfer value. WorldRemit was the cheapest service on 9% of global comparisons on Monito between July 2020 and 2021.
Coverage: Available in 56 countries around the globe, WorldRemit supports money transfers to as many as 150 foreign currencies.
Speed: Depending on the pay-in methods, pay-out methods, and countries involved, WorldRemit transfers take anywhere between a few seconds and a few working days to arrive. Overall, WorldRemit ranked as the fifth-fastest money transfer service on Monito's comparison engine between July 2020 and 2021.
Transfer limits: Transfer limits at WorldRemit vary from country to country and reset on a daily basis. They range between US$1.00 and US$9,000.00 in the US and £1.00 and £50,000.00 in the UK.
Recommendation: We recommend WorldRemit for mobile money transfers due to its industry-leading coverage among mobile wallets. These include Vodafone M-PESA, MTN Mobile Money, Airtel, Globe Cash, Tigo, and many others.
More info: See our full WorldRemit review.
5 — Western Union
The world's largest (and oldest) money transfer company, Western Union is a giant in the world of currency exchange, often offering the best way to transfer money internationally in terms of coverage and number of pay-in and pay-out options.
Cost: Western Union charges a mix of fixed fees and exchange rate margins on international money transfers, typically costing between 1.50% and 3.00% of the international money transfer value but sometimes going higher still. Western Union was the cheapest service on roughly 5% of global comparisons on Monito between July 2020 and 2021.
Coverage: Western Union is available to customers in most countries and supports transfers to 150 foreign currencies worldwide.
Speed: Transfer speeds at Western Union vary depending on many factors. In general, money takes one to three business days to arrive.
Transfer limits: Transfer limits vary depending on several regulatory factors. In general, the minimum transfer at Western Union is US$1.00 and the maximum is US$10,000.00, or currency equivalent.
Recommendation: While not always the cheapest way to send money internationally, Western Union is nonetheless a reasonably-priced option that sometimes offers the best way to transfer money internationally to far-flung countries. As a result, we recommend Western Union to users who're looking for a wide variety of pay-in and pay-out options and destination countries.
More info: See our full Western Union review.
We used pricing data from the UK sending market to inform Western Union's recommendation. The service may not be as well priced for all sending markets. Recommendations may change as new data comes in.
6 — OFX
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.
Cost: OFX charges a mix of transfer fees and exchange rate margins for sending money internationally which tend to fall between 0.40% to 1.00% of the international money transfer value. OFX was the cheapest service on 23% of global comparisons above US$50,000.00 on Monito between July 2020 and 2021.
Coverage: OFX is available in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, UK, US, EU, Singapore, and Hong Kong. It supports transfers to an impressive 190 countries in over 50 foreign currencies.
Speed: OFX transfers typically arrive within one to two working days, although transfer times can take as long as five working days for less commonly-traded foreign currencies.
Transfer limits: OFX has a broad limits ranging from a minimum transfer of US$2,000.00 to a maximum of US$2 billion.
Recommendation: We recommend OFX for transfers of above US$50,000.00, as the service quickly becomes the cheapest way to transfer money internationally at these amounts.
More info: See our full OFX review.
How To Find the Cheapest Way To Send Money Internationally
Overall, depending on individual needs and preferences, any one of the money transfer services we explored above will be the best way to send money internationally for most people.
However, there are other rules of thumb to keep in mind to ensure that you save every extra dollar when sending money internationally for everyday use. These include:
- Open bank accounts that don’t charge additional fees for international money transfers. Take a look at our list of the best banks for international travel to find out more.
- Avoid using a credit or debit card to fund your money transfer.
- Make sure you choose a safe and fully licensed money transfer service. All services on Monito adhere to the highest security standards and are among the safest ways to send money internationally.
- Avoid using high-street banks and PayPal, which are practically never the cheapest way to send (or receive) money internationally.
- Where possible, send money to a bank account or a mobile wallet rather than to a cash pick-up location.
- If you're looking for the cheapest way to exchange money with cash, avoid doing so at bureaux de change or airports.
- Where possible, send one large transfer instead of multiple smaller ones. Larger transfers almost always incur lower percentage fees than smaller transfers. Learn more about making large international money transfers here, and about how much you can send internationally here.
- Choose a longer transfer speed if it reduces your fees.
It's important to remember that it's impossible to send money internationally for free and that every currency exchange comes with a cost. However, not all money transfer services are created equal, and some fees are considerably lower than others. To simplify your research, Monito has reviewed and compared hundreds of money transfer services. You can compare them in real-time using our award-winning comparison engine below:
Find the Cheapest Way to Transfer Money Internationally
What if I'm looking for the cheapest way to get cash abroad?
Check-out our guide to find the cheapest way to get cash abroad while you travel. Here are Monito's top tips:
- Buying Foreign Banknotes in your home country, at the airport or at the destination is generally really expensive as you'll be charged exchange rate markup between 2.15% to a whopping 16.60%.
- Don't withdraw money abroad with your traditional bank card to avoid sneaky hidden exchange rate mark-ups
- Be aware of Dynamic Currency Conversion and always pay in the local currency
- Compare the best travel money cards to avoid high fees and travel with peace of mind
Frequently Asked Questions About the Cheapest Way To Send Money Internationally
What’s the cheapest way to send money abroad?
The cheapest way to send money abroad depends on the country you're sending money from and to, the amount, payment method and pick-up option. Here at Monito, we’re dedicated to helping you search for the fastest, cheapest and best way to send money or transfer currency internationally. We know that the world of global payments, currency providers, banks, and other services can be confusing. Fear not! We’re here to give you simple, straightforward, and honest answers to help you get the most value out of your international transfers.
What’s are the cheapest way to send money overseas generally?
In almost every case, the cheapest way to transfer money internationally is to use a specialist money transfer service. They provide much more competitive rates, fees, and commissions than banks or PayPal, meaning your recipient will end up with more money. But finding out which money transfer service is the cheapest for a given transfer is a complicated task and will differ a lot depending on your needs. Hopefully, you’ll learn below great tips on how to find the cheapest way to send money abroad. or you can directly use Monito's live comparison tool to find the cheapest money transfer service for your transfer.
How much can I save by finding a cheap way to send money?
According to the World Bank, some people are paying as much as 6% to 8% of the total value of an international money transfer in fees. That could be as much as £60 to £80 on a £1,000 transfer! Across the board, sending money through your bank is the most expensive option because bank fees are bonkers--according to the World Bank, the average cost to send money via traditional banks costs 10.5% per transfer. We carried out an independent review to see how much we could save people when making international money transfers. The findings were startling — using the cheapest money transfer service compared on Monito.com would only cost 1.2%, on average. That means a £1,000 transfer could cost as little as £11 in fees, a saving of over £50!
Why should I use a specialized currency provider?
We recommend using a specialist currency provider to send money for several reasons:
- You will get a much better exchange rate than from your bank.
- You will generally pay fewer, lower fees.
- Transfers are normally completed very quickly and you will have a lot of options when it comes to funding your transfer and/or receiving money on the other side.
- Their only do international money transfers, in comparison to banks that do a million things. This means that they value you as a customer and will focus their energy on solving your problems.
- You will get personal customer service.
How can I pay for money transfers?
There are a few ways to fund your money transfer:
- Via a bank draft or bank transfer.
- By using a debit or credit card (paying by credit card often attracts an additional fee).
- Paying money to a brick-and-mortar agency face-to-face.
How can others receive money from me?
Recipients have several options for receiving money once you’ve sent it to them. They can:
- Have it deposited directly into a bank account.
- Collect cash from a local agent.
- You can top-up a mobile wallet or buy airtime.
- In some cases, have the money delivered to your recipient’s home.
What are the main fees I have to pay if I am sending money internationally?
There are several fees you need to be aware of if you’re sending money overseas:
- Fixed transfer fees — some providers (especially banks) charge a fixed fee for sending money.
- Exchange rates — the most common type of fee is where the exchange rate you get from a provider isn’t as good as the baseline, mid-market rate. This is how most specialist currency providers work.
- Commission — some providers also charge a commission fee based on the total value of the international money transfer.
- Credit card fees — sometimes you will also need to pay additional fees if you are funding an international money transfer with a credit card.
- Receiving bank fees — in some cases, the receiving bank will charge a fee to accept the money into the account.
Here at Monito, we show you what your money transfer fees will be upfront. In some specific cases, we will inform you that your bank may charge additional fees for international transactions that are impossible to estimate for all cases.
Can you tell me more about currency exchange fees?
Yes. Every time you transfer money from one country or currency to another, the difference between the mid-market exchange rate (also known as the interbank or baseline rate) and the rate a provider offers you is the currency exchange fee.
- For example, the mid-market rate to transfer dollars to euros is 0.9176.
- If you are sending 10,000 dollars, the recipient would get 9,176 euros at the mid-market rate.
- A currency provider gives you a rate of 0.9038 to transfer dollars to euros.
- The recipient would get 9,038 euros, a difference of 138 euros or 150 dollars (1.5%).
- That difference is the exchange rate fee.
The exchange rate fee is how most money transfer services make their money.
Is it easy to use a specialized money transfer service?
Yes. Setting up an account takes just a few minutes and you can complete the process entirely online. Once that’s done, you can choose and fund your transfer very quickly. The process normally works as follows:
- Set up an account with the provider — they will need your name, address, contact details, bank details, and proof of identification.
- Decide the currencies that you want to exchange money between.
- Review the applied exchange rate and fees.
- Provide details of the sender and receiver of the funds.
- Send money to the currency provider via bank transfer, debit card, or credit card.
- The money transfer service converts the money and transfers it to the recipient.
Why shouldn’t I use my bank to send money overseas?
Although a bank may be a convenient option, their fees are among the highest, and exchange rates are among the poorest. For example, fees to send money can range between US$20.00 to US$50.00, and exchange rates are typically 2.00% to 3.00% worse than baseline, mid-market rates. You will end up paying much more in exchange rates and fees if you use a bank for currency transfers. In addition, banks a not transparent. In many cases, they won’t tell you the exchange rate that will be applied to exchange your money. Not convenient at all!
Why shouldn’t I use PayPal to send money overseas?
Many people do use PayPal to transfer money internationally to family and friends. Unfortunately, of all the options we looked at, PayPal is by far the most expensive way to transfer money internationally. A combination of very poor exchange rates, add-on commissions, and other fees means you could spend as much as 7% - 10% of what you’re sending in their fees. It just doesn’t make sense.
How long does it take to send money to a recipient overseas?
If you’re using a specialist currency provider, transfers normally take between one and three business days. They may occasionally take longer, but this is rare.
What does it mean to send money internationally?
Simply put, it means transferring money from one country and currency to another. For example, if you’re living and working in the US and want to send money to India, you’d use a money transfer service to convert money from US dollars to Indian rupees and transfer the money to India in cash or as a deposit to a bank account for example.
Why might I want to send money overseas?
People have lots of reasons for transferring money internationally. You might have moved to another country and want to send money back home. You might be a business sourcing goods from another region. Perhaps you’re making investments or buying property overseas. The reasons for transferring money are almost as numerous as the people making transfers!
See Monito's In-Depth Guides For Sending Money Internationally
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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