The Best Way to Transfer Money

Nadav Shemer

The big banks are known for charging outrageous fees, and nowhere is this more evident than in money transfers. But then again, why would you use a bank to move money abroad when you could use a money transfer service? Money transfer services are the cheapest way to transfer money internationally—and they are also quicker and more transparent than the banks.

On this page, we present our list of the best money transfer services for 2020. We selected a diverse range of service providers, from companies offering the cheapest rates to ones with the most currencies or payment types. Whether you care about cost, speed, or convenience, online money transfer services are hands-down the best way to send money overseas.

Note that the fees shown here are a rough guide. Your exact fees will depend on the transfer amount, method of transfer, and recipient’s country/currency. As a general rule, major currency pairs (e.g. USD/EUR, USD/GBP, USD/CAD) are cheaper, while transfers involving minor and exotic currencies are more expensive. In virtually all cases, online money transfer services end up costing significantly less than the banks.

$2-99-$4.99 + 1-4%
$0 + 0.6-1.5%
$0 + 0.6-1.5%
$0 + 0.8-2%
$0 + 0.5-2%
$0 + 0.4-1.8%
$0 + 1-2%
$0 + 0.5-4%
1 hour – 3 days
1-5 days
1-5 days
15 minutes – 4 days
1-5 days
1-5 days
1-5 days
1-5 days
Bank, cash (pickup or delivery), mobile wallet
Bank
Bank
Bank, cash pickup, home delivery
Bank
Bank
Bank
Bank
$5,000
$500,000 limit online, no limit on phone
$500,000 limit online, no limit on phone
$2,999 limit online, higher limits in stores
No limits
$1 million
~$1.25 million
~$375,000
Yes
No
No
No
Yes
No
No
No

The Best Money Transfer Services - An In-Depth Look

  • 1

    WorldRemit

    Best way to send money to ‘unbanked’ recipients
    WorldRemit
    • Transfer fee$2-99-$4.99 + 1-4%
    • Transfer time1 hour – 3 days
    • Daily transfer limit$5,000

    Around 1.7 billion adults around the world don’t have a bank account, according to the World Bank. Enter WorldRemit, a money transfer platform offering creating solutions for the ‘unbanked’. WorldRemit lets you send money using a credit/debit card, bank transfer, Apple Pay, or a range of other payment types. And it lets your recipient collect the money via cash pickup, cash delivery, mobile wallet delivery, or Airtime top-up (i.e. call minutes).

    A regular money transfer can take up to a week to arrive in the recipient’s account, whereas WorldRemit can get the money to the recipient almost instantly. When you use the cash or mobile delivery options, your recipient receives it on the same day—and sometimes as quickly as one hour.

    Pros
    • More transfer methods than any other service
    • No fee on first 3 deliveries (but markup still applies)
    • Transfers to more than 150 countries
    Cons
    • Mobile/cash options don’t exist for major currencies
    • Markups can get pretty expensive
  • 2
    The biggest name in currency
    XE
    • Transfer fee$0 + 0.6-1.5%
    • Transfer time1-5 days
    • Daily transfer limit$500,000 limit online, no limit on phone

    XE is best known for its online currency converter platform, used by around 300 million people each year to check the latest exchange rates. In 2019 XE joined forces with HiFX, a leading money transfer service. These 2 companies now jointly operate a money transfer company branded under the XE name and managed by HiFX.

    The XE/HiFX money transfer platform is about as smooth and secure as you could want. It offers transfers to around 60 currencies, covering all the major currencies and many minor ones. It usually carries out your money transfer on the same day on which you place it. All transfers are supported by enterprise-grade security. Finally, because it’s XE, you can access all their awesome currency conversion tools without ever leaving their website.

    Pros
    • Market-beating rates for large transfers
    • Best currency conversion tool on the market
    • Enterprise-grade security
    Cons
    • No credit/debit card payment for transfers
    • Fewer minor currencies than other services
  • 3
    Operating under the XE brand name
    HiFX
    • Transfer fee$0 + 0.6-1.5%
    • Transfer time1-5 days
    • Daily transfer limit$500,000 limit online, no limit on phone

    HiFX operated as its own money transfer service until 2019, when it joined forces with XE. Today the 2 companies are one: HiFX still manages the service, but under the XE brand name.

    This money transfer platform is one of the best in the business. It offers transfers to around 60 currencies, covering all the major currencies as well as many exotics. It is quick, secure, and gives you access to all XE’s awesome currency exchange tools without ever having to leave the website.

    Pros
    • Market-beating rates for large transfers
    • Best currency conversion tool on the market
    • Enterprise-grade security
    Cons
    • No credit/debit card payment for transfers
    • Fewer minor currencies than other services
  • 4
    Cheapest for cash deliveries
    Ria
    • Transfer fee$0 + 0.8-2%
    • Transfer time15 minutes – 4 days
    • Daily transfer limit$2,999 limit online, higher limits in stores

    Ria is the main rival to WorldRemit in the ‘unbanked’ transfer space. Although Ria’s transfer limits are restrictive, its fees are generally lower—making it the cheapest way to send money internationally in cash.

    Thanks to its partnership with PayWithMe, Ria offers the option of paying in cash from any 7-Eleven store. Simply log into the Ria mobile app, choose your closest 7-Eleven, book in your money transfer, and bring the cash to the nominated store within 24 hours.

    Pros
    • Fastest transfers of any provider
    • Recipients can pick up cash or have it delivered
    • Rewards for referring new customers
    Cons
    • Low limits ($2,999 per day, $7,999 per month)
    • Some currencies cost considerably more than others
  • 5
    Cheapest way to send money to exotic currencies
    OFX
    • Transfer fee$0 + 0.5-2%
    • Transfer time1-5 days
    • Daily transfer limitNo limits

    Founded in 1998, OFX is a veteran money transfer service that lets you send to most places in the world. In fact, OFX offers to convert your money and send it to recipients in 55 currencies. Who else can claim to serve the Brunei Dollar, Malagasy Ariary (Madascar), and Samoan Talar?!

    With OFX, you can make a single transfer of any amount. Alternatively, you can set up recurring transfers for purposes such as paying a monthly mortgage or quarterly school fees. And that’s not all. OFX can also help you manage your foreign-exchange risk with a variety of transfer options, including forward exchange contracts and target rates.

    Pros
    • Transfers to 190+ countries in 55 currencies
    • User-friendly website and mobile app
    • Loads of great tools, including forward contracts
    Cons
    • No rates without registering
    • Lack of info about rates and fees
  • 6

    TransferWise

    Transparent, secure transfer service
    TransferWise
    • Transfer fee$0 + 0.4-1.8%
    • Transfer time1-5 days
    • Daily transfer limit$1 million

    TransferWise is a highly secure money transfer service that lets you send money from US dollars to 50+ currencies. While other services make you sign up to see the rate for your currency pair, TransferWise reveals everything upfront. Just go to the TransferWise home page, select the amount in USD and the currency you’d like to send to, and TransferWise will show you exactly how much the recipient will receive.

    The TransferWise website is very transparent, providing a full list of regulatory licenses as well as extensive FAQs. Another thing this service is good for is the payment options: while most large money transfer services only let you wire the money, TransferWise lets you use a debit/credit/prepaid card or Apple Pay (from the TransferWise mobile app).

    Pros
    • Shows you how much you’ll pay upfront
    • Pay by bank transfer, debit/credit card, or Apple Pay
    • Track your transfer status on website or mobile app
    Cons
    • No cash-deposit option
    • Some currency pairs are expensive
  • 7

    CurrenyTransfer

    Marketplace for money transfer services
    CurrenyTransfer
    • Transfer fee$0 + 1-2%
    • Transfer time1-5 days
    • Daily transfer limit~$1.25 million

    CurrencyTransfer is an online marketplace that connects you with the best live rates from its network of vetted money transfer providers. Unlike the other companies on this list, CurrencyTransfer is not a direct money transfer service. This is barely noticeable, though, because CurrencyTransfer manages the entire process – saving you from having to deal directly with any third parties.

    Rest assured: this service is highly secure. There is a bit more paperwork involved in the initial registration process, but once CurrencyTransfer approves you then you can get transferring right away. Best of all, you’ll get concierge service from your assigned customer service rep—whether you’re a high-roller making big transfers or a regular Joe making the minimum (around $10,000) transfer.

    Pros
    • Finds you the best deal from its network
    • Handles the entire transaction itself
    • Hands-on customer support
    Cons
    • Fewer currencies than other services
    • Not suited to small transfers
  • 8

    Currencies Direct

    Transfers to virtually every country on Earth
    Currencies Direct
    • Transfer fee$0 + 0.5-4%
    • Transfer time1-5 days
    • Daily transfer limit~$375,000

    Founded in 1996, Currencies Direct is one of the biggest and longest-established money transfer services in the world. It offers transfers to more countries than virtually any other currency service. It can be used for a range of purposes, including regularly sending money to relatives overseas or making one-off payments to recipients stationed abroad.

    You must register to see the rates and fees for your chosen currency pair(s), but once you’re in you’ll find a range of great features. For example, you can create rate alerts, buy currency in advance, and choose to receive a newsletter with daily currency updates. Currencies Direct has a user-friendly website as well as a highly rated iOS/Android-compatible mobile app.

    Pros
    • Transfers to 200+ countries in 40+ currencies
    • Excellent (4.8/5) Trustpilot rating
    • Solutions for individuals and businesses
    Cons
    • No rates without creating an account
    • Lack of transparency about rates and fees

What is The Best Way to Transfer Money?

Unlike the big banks, money transfer services offer multiple ways of sending and receiving money. Money transfer services are the best way to transfer money between banks, charging less than the banks themselves. Another benefit to money transfer companies is that they offer multiple ways of sending and receiving money.

Here are some of the ways money transfer companies let you pay for transfers:

  • Bank transfer
  • Debit/credit card
  • Apple Pay
  • Cash (in participating third-party stores)

And here are some of the methods for receiving money transfers:

  • Direct to bank account
  • Cash pickup
  • Cash delivery
  • Mobile wallet
  • Mobile recharge

How to Find the Best Money Transfer Company

Finding the best international money transfer company means doing a little bit of online research.

Reading unbiased reviews is the first step—doing so can help you weed out the scams from the legitimate services.

If you’ve read reviews and are debating between a few well-reviewed companies, you can then focus in on what’s important to you:

Rates and fees? If this is the deciding factor, you can use fee estimating tools to see which service will offer you the best rates for your transfer needs.

Security? Choose a company that is known for its security features and one that will allow you to sleep well at night.

Fast transfers? If time is of the essence to you, choose the company that offers the fastest transfers.

If one company offers better rates and another offers faster transfers, you can use each one to suit your needs for each particular money transfer. Just because you start out using one company doesn’t mean you can’t switch to a different company or use 2 simultaneously.

Remember, you’re paying for the service, so you deserve to get the most out of it.

Money Transfer Fees and Rates (What is the Cheapest Way to Send Money?)

Money transfers comprise 2 types of fees: a flat fee, usually around $1 to $5, and a markup (also known as margin or spread) of 0.3% to 5% of the total transfer amount. Some companies have stopped charging the flat fee and now make their money entirely from the markup. The exact markup is determined by the transfer amount, method of transfer and recipient’s country/currency. When sending from USD to major currencies like euros, pounds sterling, or Canadian dollars, you can expect to pay a markup of less than 1%. When sending to exotic and hard-to-find currencies, you can expect to pay significantly more.

Because of the variation in markups, it’s worth comparing a few providers before going ahead and making a transfer. First, decide which currency pair to transfer, how regularly you plan to transfer the currency pair, and how much you plan to transfer each time. Then, request a quote for your chosen pair/amount from a few of the providers above.

Conclusion

There’s no doubting that money transfer services are the best way to transfer money internationally. With that said, the best way to send money online differs from person to person. We wrote this guide to help inform you about the best money transfer services overall. All that’s left for you to do is request quotes from several providers and find out which is best for moving money to your preferred currency.

Nadav Shemer
Nadav Shemer specializes in business, tech, and energy, with a background in financial journalism, hi-tech and startups. He enjoys writing about the latest innovations in financial services and products.