How To Find the Fastest 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.
Sometimes it's the reality that you need to send money abroad quickly. Whether something urgent came up or a predictable expense crept up on you, when you're pressed for time, the last thing you want to see is a five-day wait until your transfer arrives!
There's no getting around the fact that speed is one of the most important factors people look at these days when evaluating a money transfer service's strength — whether they're sending through their bank or a specialist money transfer service.
In general, banks tend to be the slowest means of transferring money internationally, while specialist money transfer services tend to be the quickest.
In this guide, you'll learn the best tips for speeding up your money transfer, which money transfer services are on average the fastest, and discover how to weigh up the above factors when it comes to choosing the perfect service to suit your needs. Finally, we'll show you how to find the fastest way to send money internationally no matter what your needs!
On average, Remitly offers the fastest transfers on Monito's comparison engine for bank transfers and cash pick-up. A top-notch money transfer service, Remitly offers transfers to bank accounts and over 170 thousand cash pick-up locations across the world, including Mexico, Philippines, Morocco, Pakistan, Thailand, Indonesia, and many others.
What You'll Find in This Guide
Factors Affecting Money Transfer Speeds
In the world of international money transfers, many factors converge to impact how fast your money arrives with your beneficiary. By far and away, the most notable of these factors include the following:
- The sending and receiving countries. It’s faster to send money between countries where financial exchange is commonplace. For example, it'd be much quicker to send money from the UK to the US than from Vanuatu to Bahrain.
- The service you use. Choosing to use your bank, a currency exchange service such as Western Union or MoneyGram, or an online service can drastically impact your transfer speed.
- Your payment method. The method you choose will affect how quickly the money transfer provider gets your funds, and the total time to provide those funds to your beneficiary.
- Your beneficiary's receiving method. Your beneficiary has several ways to receive their funds (i.e. bank deposit, cash pickup, cash delivery, etc.), each impacting the transfer time differently.
- Whether or not you're already signed up. If you don’t already have an account with a money transfer service, it will take time to gather the information you need, apply for an account and provide supporting documents.
Tips for Making the Fastest Money Transfer Possible
When you're looking for the quickest way to send money internationally, there are some other useful tips and tricks that you can consider to ensure that the process goes as speedily as possible:
Tip 1 — Compare The Fastest Services
First things first, make sure you know what options you have. This one's simple, all you need to do is run a search on Monito's real-time comparison engine below to find the fastest way to send money internationally.
Tip 2 — Register in Advance
To give yourself a clear window of time to get verified before you send money abroad, we advise you to register for an account at least a week before you need it. It's also a good idea to set up two or three accounts with different providers to give yourself more adaptability in this regard.
Tip 3 — Choose the Right Payment Method
Using your debit or credit card is generally the fastest way to pay for an international money transfer, with bank transfers coming in a close second. As a rule of thumb, using cash to pay for your transfer is the slowest method of the three.
Tip 4 — Choose the Right Receipt Method
In general, cash pickup is normally the fastest receipt method and is usually nearly instant. On the other hand, bank deposit speeds can vary significantly, with the funds taking anywhere between a few hours and a few days to arrive. While expensive, exchanging banknotes at a physical location is instant, while delivery can take up to several working days.
Tip 5 — Make Sure You Have the Funds Available
This one may sound obvious — but it's a mistake that's all too easy to make! Be sure to double-check your bank balance to see how much you have, and what you can afford to send (taking into account the fees that your chosen money transfer service will charge you.)
Tip 6 — Confirm the Sender and Beneficiary Details
Getting these details wrong can mean your transfer service will need to follow up with you to confirm them, which can lead to the transfer taking much longer to arrive. Make sure you have these details ready in advance, and that you enter them correctly.
Tip 7 — Look Out for Services With Fast Customer Service
We recommend you choose a transfer service that gives you easy options to get in touch. If your chosen service has a local telephone number or a live chat feature, you can be assured of quick communication if you need it.
Tip 8 — Use a Mobile App
Most money transfer services have their own dedicated mobile apps that you can download onto your smartphone or tablet. This can make it much easier to start a transfer, fund the currency exchange, and track its progress.
Tip 9 — Avoid Banks and PayPal
Beware that both traditional banks and PayPal are slow options for sending international transfers. Because of high fees and slower transfer speeds, we generally don't recommend Paypal for these types of transfers. Banks tend to take longer and be even more expensive. Take a look at our in-depth guide on how banks differ from specialist money transfer services to learn more.
Tip 10: See What Others Are Saying
It's a good idea to cast an eye over existing service reviews and customer feedback before you transfer money with a provider you've never used before. We recommend looking at TrustPilot to get a good overview of what people are saying about a particular service. For more in-depth reviews, you can explore Monito's Review Hub.
The Three Fastest Services To Consider To Transfer Money Internationally
As we saw above, the fastest way to send money internationally may differ depending on various factors, including your sending and receiving countries, among others. However, there are still some providers that, on average, stand out above the rest when it comes to fast money transfers across the globe.
According to our analysis of hundreds of thousands of searches on Monito's comparison engine over the past year, the following services consistently performed well in terms of speed, making them particularly worthy mentions:
1 — Remitly
Remitly is a high-speed money transfer service for sending funds internationally. For example, for bank transfers from the US to India, users can expect money to arrive in their recipient's bank account in just a matter of minutes.
Speed: Remitly 'Economy' bank transfers take between three and five business days to arrive, while 'Express' card transfers arrive within minutes. Overall, Remitly was the fastest service on 22% of all comparisons on Monito's engine in July 2021.
More info: See our full Remitly review.
2 — Wise
An all-around fast and efficient transfer service, Wise has made leaps and bounds in reducing its transfer speeds to some of the shortest in the industry. According to their Q2 2021 Mission Update, 38% of transfers with Wise arrived within 20 just seconds. In 2020, Wise also announced that 53% of transfers arrived within one hour, and 81% within a day.
Fastest: Wise was the fastest service on 7% of all comparisons on Monito's engine in July 2021.
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.
3 — WorldRemit
Another speedy money transfer option, especially for certain major remittance corridors such as the US to Mexico, WorldRemit offers money transfers that can take anywhere from a matter of minutes to be available for cash pickup, to a matter of hours to arrive in your beneficiary's bank account, depending on which method you choose.
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 was the fastest service on 6% of all comparisons on Monito's engine in July 2021.
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.
How To Find the Fastest Way To Send Money Internationally
The above services are by no means the only ones that offer fast online money transfers. To get a full overview of just how fast each service might be for your individual transfer, run a search on Monito's real-time comparison engine below, and keep an eye out for the little grey icon next to each provider's name that tells you how long you can expect your transfer to take:
Find the Fastest Way To Send Money Internationally
Frequently Asked Questions About the Fastest International Money Transfer
Is Wise fast? ⏱
Yes, it's one of the fastest out there. In fact, the London-based service is one of the pioneers of fast money international transfers using its savvy network of global bank accounts and peer-to-peer transfer technology. According to Wise Mission Update at the end of 2020, more than one third (34%) of its customers' total transfers arrive within 20 seconds, more than half (53%) within an hour, and four-fifths (81%) within a 24-hour period.
Are wire transfers fast? 🔌
Sometimes, but not always. Wire transfers (also called "bank wires") made with banks go through the SWIFT network, meaning that they have extra steps to follow before they arrive in a beneficiary's bank account. As a result, wire transfers take anywhere between one and five business days to arrive, on average.
Are international money transfers immediate? 🚀
No, strictly speaking, they're not immediate. But they can come pretty close! Many money transfer services, payment systems, and mobile wallets allow for the transfer of funds in a matter of seconds or minutes, making them nearly immediate. Take a look at our in-depth guide on the subject to learn more.
How fast are international money transfers with Paypal? 💸
International money transfers from one PayPal balance to another take just seconds to arrive. However, if you include the time it takes to move funds from your bank account to your PayPal account or vice versa, the process takes a lot longer — usually three to five business days.
Other Money Transfer Guides
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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