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Best money transfer apps

Most of us need to transfer money to another person at some point. You may have to send money to your child who is studying abroad or pay your share of the party bill. Unfortunately, international money transfers can be expensive, especially if you are making a transfer via your bank. Money transfer apps have sprung up to solve this problem, giving a cheaper and often more convenient alternative to international bank transfers.

Updated: 25/09/2020
Read time: 12 minutes
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Online banking via an app on your phone may be the norm nowadays, but when it comes to sending money between two people across borders, third party money transfer apps really excel.

Whether you’re looking to send money back home as an expat, or transferring money for an international payment, money transfer apps have the ability to send your money across the world for a low fee and often in a matter of minutes, making the once expensive and stressful process of international payments now as painless as possible. 

The money transfer app space is growing constantly, and it can be hard to find the right service for your needs – which is why in this guide, we’re pointing you in the direction of some of the best money transfer apps on the market in 2020.

What are money transfer apps?

A money transfer app is a downloadable application that allows individuals to transfer funds to other people and businesses all over the world. These apps tend to be free, and designed for use on smartphones and apps can be downloaded for both iOS and Android.

Money transfer apps make sending money convenient and easy, often with 24/7 access so you can make a transfer and track the transaction anytime, anywhere. Most of these apps have multiple layers of security to keep your money safe and are quickly becoming the go-to option for quick and efficient transfers on the go.

What should I consider when choosing a money transfer app?

Money transfer apps have grown extremely popular over the years, and there are many options to choose from depending on which country you’re in and what currencies you want to send. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to money transfer apps or services. You should choose an app based on your specific needs including what you are using the app for, where you are sending money and the amount you are transferring. Some points to keep in mind include:

  • Location: Not all money transfer apps are available in all countries. It is important that the app you choose is available in your country and has a wide geographic coverage – including the country to which you wish to send funds. Make sure an app supports the currencies you wish to transfer and enables transfers to your intended destinations before downloading it.
  • Transfer cost: If you have ever made an international transfer, you might have already experienced  the recipient  getting less than you may have expected. This happens because the transfer fees and other costs eat into the amount originally sent. You can keep these costs to a minimum by comparing the total transfer costs and choosing the one that offers the lowest fees and best exchange rates.
  • Transfer speed: Not all money transfer apps offer the same transfer speeds. Some companies have sophisticated systems and local bank accounts that enable instant or same-day transfers. It’s important to find out how fast you can expect transfers to be, especially if having money arrive quickly is important to you.

The 6 best money transfer apps

Here is the roundup of the six best money transfer apps available today.

TransferWise

TransferWise is one of the biggest and most well-known names in the money transfer space, and for good reason. Their platform lets you send money abroad quickly and easily, and places an emphasis on transparent rates with no hidden fees.

The service lets you hold and send money in 50 currencies and all transfers occur at interbank rates-there is no mark-up on the exchange rate. With thousands of reviews and a reported 8 million customers, the Transferwise app enjoys a rating of 4.4 on the Google play store and 4.7 on the Apple app store. Read our full Transferwise review.

Pros
Very transparent fee structure with no hidden costs
Lets you set up local business accounts in over 40 countries even if you don’t have a local address
Instant transfers available
Provides the option of a rate lock-in for a period of 24-48 hours
Supports a variety of payment methods
Very user-friendly and registration process is very straightforward
Offers transfers at the mid-market rate
Cons
The app not facilitate cash pickup – bank transfers are possible
Large transfers are more limited
Big online focus can make quick troubleshooting difficult
Some users complain that the verification process leads to longer transfer times

What you can do through the TransferWise app

The TransferWise app gives you access to almost every feature on the web platform, including allowing you to:

  • Send money to anyone abroad
  • Pay bills or mortgage in another country
  • Hold and manage money in over 50 currencies
  • Get paid in AUD, GBP, USD and EUR without fees
  • Invite friends to Transferwise
  • Setup money transfers with previously used recipients and details
  • Pay via Google Pay and Apple Pay

WorldRemit

WorldRemit is an extremely popular money transfer service and well-known for being a reliable brand with prudent security measures. World Remit enables senders in 56 countries to send money in 90 currencies to over 150 countries across the world. It supports a wide variety of payment and delivery methods, and these can all be accessed through its mobile app.

You can send money to bank accounts, arrange cash pickups/home delivery, deliver to mobile wallets, or even carry out mobile top-ups. To fund your transfer, you can use bank transfer, credit/debit card, Google Pay, Apple Pay, and many other e-wallets. The WorldRemit app has a rating of 4.2 on Google play store and 4.8 on Apple app store. Read our full WorldRemit review.

Pros
Global presence allowing your to send money to over 150 countries
A variety of payment and delivery options, including cash pick up
Quick transfer times available
Competitive exchange rates and fees on commonly used routes
Large number of currencies supported
Cons
Complex fee structure which can be more expensive than other providers at times
Limits on large transfers on some routes

What you can do through the WorldRemit app?

The WorldRemit app gives you access to a wide range of features on the go, such as:

  • Send money to over 150 countries in 90 currencies
  • Track your transfers
  • Check real-time exchange rates
  • Send mobile top-up
  • Add payee information
  • See you transfer history

Azimo

Azimo is a fantastic money transfer app well known for its sleek interface and excellent user reviews. Azimo currently has the capacity to provide transfers from 24 European countries to over 195 countries around the world.

Using their excellently-regarded mobile app, you can send money to any bank account, to more than 300,000 cash pick-up locations, and to mobile wallets. With a rating of 4.5 on Google play store and 4.7 on Apple app store, Azimo is a popular choice with migrants and expats looking to send money to family back home. Read our full Azimo review.

Pros
Supports a variety of payment and delivery methods
Provides real-time updates on your money transfer
No credit/debit card fees
Touch ID and Face ID security to keep your personal data secure
In-app customer support in 10 languages
No minimum send amount
Cons
Available only in 25 European countries
No telephone support – email only

What you can do through the Azimo app

The Azimo app provides instant, easy access to money transfer services so you can manage your accounts any time of the day when you need to initiate a transfer. The multi-lingual support makes this a popular choice if you are frequently sending money to family members who may want to familiarise themselves with the app too. On the app you can:

  • Send money to your family and friends
  • Pay bills abroad
  • Top-up phones worldwide
  • Send and request money using a mobile number
  • Get rate alerts
  • Track a transfer

 XE

XE enables money transfers from Europe to over 120 countries in 60 currencies. The service does not charge any transfer fee, only a margin on the exchange rate, making XE one of the most reasonable money transfer services around.

Even with no fees, the exchange rate margins you can access through the XE app are much lower than the rates offered by banks and some other financial institutions, making it a great choice for users who want to save money on their transfers. The XE app has solid ratings of 4.5 on the Google play store and 4.6 on Apple app store. Read our full XE review.

Pros
No transfer fees on international transfers
Wide coverage. Lets you send money in 60 currencies to over 160 countries
Competitive exchange rates, making it one of the most cost effective money transfer providers out there
User friendly, feature-rich app
Very well-regarded company in the money transfers industry
Fast transfer times (typically same day)
Cons
Available only in Europe
No option of cash pickup

What you can do through the XE app?

The XE app provides access to a wide range of features, as you would expect from a company as trusted as XE. Through the app, users can:

  • Transfer money in 60 currencies to over 160 countries worldwide
  • Check historical charts for any currency pair in the world
  • Track up to 10 currencies at any time
  • Set rate alerts and receive notifications
  • Access live rates
  •  Compare prices using the currency converter

Western Union

Western Union is among the best-known names in the world of international money transfers and has been operating for over 145(!) years, so it’s fair to assume they know what they’re doing.

The Western Union app allows you to transfer money on the go via a variety of payment methods: using a debit/credit card, directly from your bank account, or via Apple Pay. In case you wish to pay cash, you can visit one of the thousands of agent locations spread worldwide. Western Union has one of the widest disbursing networks of any provider, allowing users to send money to more than 500,000 agent locations in over 200 countries. The company’s app has a rating of 4.8 on the Apple app store and 4.5 on Google play store. Read our full Western Union review.

Pros
One of the most established names in the industry
Have a huge network of over 500,000 agent locations across the world
Quick transfers, with many being instant
Supports a variety of payment and delivery methods
Covers over 200 countries
Large range of currencies to choose from
Cons
High fees compared with other providers
High exchange rate margins (around 5%) make Western Union's rates more inline with traditional banks than more affordable transfer providers
Maximum limit of $2,999 on transfers made with the app and online

What can you do through Western Union app?

Western Union’s app gives you access to a range of Western Union’s services easily through your phone. If you want to transact in cash, you’ll still have to visit an agent location, but with the app, you can:

  • Transfer money to over 200 countries
  • Check currency exchange rates
  • Initiate a money transfer on the Western Union app and pay in cash at one of the agent locations
  • Send cash to more than 500,000 international agent locations
  • Scan your debit/credit cards for quick and error-free setup 
  • Track your transfers
  • Setup repeat transfers
  • Look up agent locations around you

PayPal

PayPal is an extremely popular company for sending money and purchasing items online – but it also offers international transfers as a service. With the Paypal app, you can send money online, request money or even collect money from people around the world. With a wide geographic presence across the world and a huge user-base, it is among the most popular and best-known money transfer providers.

Alongside this, PayPal is integrated as a payment method with many shops and service providers, enabling you to keep all your financial activity in one place. The Paypal money transfer app has impressive ratings of 4.8 on Apple app store and 4.4 on Google play store. 

Pros
Wide presence across the world and enjoys great credibility
User-friendly app with a range of features
Supports variety of payment and delivery methods
Most transfers happen instantly
Used by many people and therefore often a seamless process when transferring funds
Cons
High fees for international money transfers
Lack of transparency about exchange rates
Poor exchange rates compared to other transfer providers

What you can do through the Paypal app?

PayPal’s app has been helping people to manage their accounts and make payments on the go for years. Here are some of the things users can do through the app:

  • Send or receive payments globally
  • Track all your account activity at a glance
  • Deposit to a bank account or another Paypal account
  • Send cash for pickup or home delivery
  • Pay for goods and services
  • Send money to family and friends within the US for free

How much do money transfer apps cost?

Money transfer apps themselves are always free to download (if you discover one that isn’t, you can definitely find a free app that is just as good!). The real answer to this question is found in the kinds of fees charged by the money transfer services they allow you to use. These are the costs usually involved when using a money transfer service:

  • Transfer fee: Many money transfer apps charge a fixed fee for transferring your money to someone overseas. Some companies charge a lower fee for larger transactions and vice versa. This fee could range from $2-$30 or upwards depending on factors such as the countries and currencies involved in the transaction, the amount being transferred, and the payment and delivery method used. 
  • Exchange rate margin: You will often pay a mark-up on the exchange rate when using a money transfer service. This means that the exchange rate that you see on Google before you initiate the transaction may not be the rate you get because companies typically charge between an extra margin of 1%-5% on this.
  • Other costs: There could be other costs involved depending on the service or payment method you are using. If you are using your credit card to fund your transfer, you may have to pay an additional 2%-3% in cash advance fees. In case you choose cash pickup as the delivery method, it will often come at an added cost. The recipient may also have to pay a receiving and withdrawal fee to their bank. Always check what fees you will be charged for a transfer before confirming it.

Are money transfer apps available on all operating systems?

Yes, money transfer apps are available on all major operating systems such as iOS and Android. 

Is it essential that a money transfer provider has an app?

While all major international money transfer companies have an app, it is not necessary that every provider has one. Providers that don’t have apps will usually at least have a mobile-optimised web platform you can use on the go. However, many people like the convenience of having an app on their phone to handle their money transfer need.

Money transfer app pros:

✔ 24/7 access to your account and transfers
✔ You can initiate a transfer even on the go
✔ Makes transfers quick, easy, and convenient
✔ Secure verification processes to keep your money safe

How do I get started with a money transfer app?

Once you have chosen the right money transfer app for your needs, you can download the app from the Google Play store or the Apple app store depending on the device you are using. 

You will be asked to register and set up an account by providing your personal and payment details (you may have already done this step online, in which case you can just log into your account on the app). You will also need to verify your details by providing a Government approved ID such as a driver’s license or passport. These requirements may vary depending on the regulations in your country and on the app you’re using.

After this has been approved, you can link one of the payment methods accepted by the provider and start using the app to transfer funds and manage your account.

Summary: Best Money Transfer App

Money transfer apps provide a convenient and efficient way to transfer money around the world, giving you instant access to some of the best-known names in the money transfer industry directly through your phone. There are many IOS and Android apps money transfer apps available and choosing the right one for your needs can be difficult to navigate. That’s why we always strongly recommend doing your research and comparing providers before downloading to ensure you’re going to get the best deal for your transfers. 

Before choosing an app, check the fees and exchange rate margins applied to the transfer you want to make, whether it supports your country/currencies, and how fast the transfer speeds it offers are. Reading some overall reviews to ensure the app you are looking at is highly rated and secure is also a good idea.

Each provider listed in this review has a great reputation for providing industry-leading services to their users, but there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to money transfers. Every provider has its own features and pros and cons and you can choose the one that best meets your money transfer needs.

Just because one app works best in one situation, doesn’t mean it’ll be the best option in another. By comparing your options, you can ensure that ultimately, you make the right choice for your transfer needs every time.