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Cheapest Way to Send Money

When looking to send money abroad, there are a wide range of options available. Banks have historically dominated the money transfer market, but in recent years there has been a flurry of new online money transfer providers keen to undercut the competition. These services often offer better exchange rates, lower fees, and shorter transfer delivery times, so it’s a good idea to shop around for the cheapest way to send money abroad.

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If you’ve ever transferred money internationally before, you’ll know the frustration at having to navigate expensive fees and unfair exchange rates just to send your own money to someone else – this can be apparent even when looking for the cheapest way to send money through a mobile app or PayPal account.

In this guide, we’ll cover your cheapest options when sending money abroad, different ways to send money and why comparing providers should be the first thing on your to-do list, and our top recommendations for the cheapest international money transfer from particular countries.

What is the cheapest way to send money?

Cheapest forProviderAverage FeeSend Money
👪 Regular payments homeWise0.4%Visit Wise
🏡 Property purchasesKey Currency0.2 - 0.7%Visit Key Currency
🏦 Bank transfersXE£0Visit Xe
💵 Cash pickupsWorld Remit$1.99Visit WorldRemit
🚀 Instant money transfersWorld Remit$1.99Visit WorldRemit
📱 Mobile paymentsAtlantic Money$3Visit Atlantic Money
👔 Business PaymentsTorFX1 - 2%Visit TorFX
What is the cheapest way to send money internationally?
What does it cost to send money abroad?
Why are money transfer providers the cheapest way to send money internationally?

Cheapest ways to send money by region

🌍 Europe

AmountCheapest providerFeeRateTotal ReceivedCost
$20,000.00Currencies Direct$00.93348€18,624.58€92.22

These are based on transfers from the USA to Spain - different countries may have slightly different rates.

Europe is home to 44 countries, but not all of them use the Euro. This makes sending money to the continent less straightforward than you may have originally anticipated. Those looking for cheaper alternatives when sending an international money transfer, must always consider the destination country, currency and costs involved.

The European Union
The Eurozone

Europe is a continent covering approximately 10.18 million km2. With 44 recognised countries, it is the continent with the second largest number of countries, after Africa. Of these 44 countries, 27 are members of the European Union, with the UK famously opting to pull out of the union in 2016.

🌎 Americas

AmountCheapest providerFeeRateTotal ReceivedCost

These are based on transfers from the USA to Mexico - different countries may have slightly different rates.

The Americas are made up of multiple different regions and countries, including North America, South America, Central America and the Caribbean. Remittance to countries in Latin and Central America as well as the Caribbean have been rising steadily since the Covid-19 pandemic, thanks to the growth of online money transfers as well as the increase in wages in the US.

Organization of American States

The Americas and its regions makes up an area of 42.55 million km2, and is made up of 35 sovereign countries as well as a number of dependent territories. Canada is the largest by area at around 10 million km2, while the USA is the most populous with an estimated population of almost 340 million in 2023.

🌍 Africa

AmountCheapest providerFeeRateTotal ReceivedCost
$100.00XE$018.011800.59 ZAR$0.70
$1,000.00XE$01818002.32 ZAR$6.86
$2,000.00TorFX$01836008 ZAR$13.53
$10,000.00Currencies Direct$018.04180421.28 ZAR$46.63
$20,000.00TorFX$018.04360842.57 ZAR$93.25
$100,000.00TorFX$018.061805841.37 ZAR$376.41

These are based on transfers from the USA to South Africa - different countries may have slightly different rates.

While much of Africa is still developing, many nations on the continent receive a significant proportion of their GDP from remittance flows. Nigeria alone received almost $20 billion in remittance in 2021, over quadruple that of the next highest, Ghana.

The African Union

The second largest continent on the planet, Africa is home to 54 sovereign nations (and a further two disputed areas). 48 of these countries make up Africa’s mainland, over 30 million square kilometres - the biggest of which is Algeria, while the most populous of which is Nigeria.

The second largest continent on the planet, Africa is home to 54 sovereign nations (and a further two disputed areas). 48 of these countries make up Africa’s mainland, over 30 million square kilometres - the biggest of which is Algeria, while the most populous of which is Nigeria.

🌏 Asia-Pacific

AmountCheapest providerFeeRateTotal ReceivedCost
$100.00XE$082.04₹8204.06 INR₹69.80
$1,000.00Currencyfair120 INR82.23₹82,110 INR₹639.35
$2,000.00Currencyfair121 INR82.23₹164286 INR₹1213.10

These are based on transfers from the USA to India - different countries may have slightly different rates.

The Asia-Pacific region encompasses multiple countries, but the exact ones will depend on your definition. Remittance flows are a significant source of income for many countries in Asia, owing to many from the continent migrating to more developed countries in search of high wages and a better standard of living.

The Asia Cooperation Dialogue

The Asia-Pacific region is a loosely defined geographical area that comprises multiple countries across Asia and Oceania. While there is no strict definition of which countries make up this region - it usually depends on the context of the discussion - it generally includes significant parts of Asia (excluding central and western parts), and all of Oceania.

Other considerations to get the cheapest money transfer deal

What’s the cheapest way to send large amounts of money abroad?

When sending large amounts of money abroad, for things like property purchases and investments, you’ll find the best exchange rates and lowest fees at providers that specialise in these amounts. These providers are known as currency brokers or foreign exchange brokers.

Currency brokers are able to offer better rates on large amounts as the companies themselves buy and sell in huge quantities. You’ll often find currency and foreign exchange brokers charging around a one percent markup on the mid-market or interbank rate, while banks usually charge up to four or five percent.

Examples of companies that specialise in large money transfers include TorFX and Currencies Direct. However many money transfer providers like Wise and Xe offer transfers with no limits, so it’s worth comparing all deals with before deciding.

What is the cheapest way to make regular money transfers abroad?

If you are looking to make cheap, regular money transfers overseas, it makes sense to look for a service that allows free money transfers so you don’t have to pay a transfer fee every time. The best way to do this, as explained above, is with the sender and receiver both using the same bank.

For example, HSBC operates in multiple countries and allows free bank transfers for current account holders to any other HSBC account - with over 150 destinations covered. It can be better for regular payments as there are no transfer fees to pay, but watch out for exchange rates and potentially long waiting times.

Cheapest ways to send money overall

Pos.MethodCostGet Started
🥇Online money transfer providersSome providers are freeCompare Rates
🥈Apps to send moneyFree (it needs to add funds previously)Compare Apps
🥉Bank transfersForeign bank transfer fees, exchange ratesCompare Banks
#4Debit cardTransfer fees, exchange rates, taxesCompare Rates
#5Credit cardCash advance fees, interest, conversion feeCompare Rates
#6International wire transfersExchange rate mark-ups, fixed transfer feesCompare rates
#7International money ordersThe sender will pay for the desired valueCompare Rates

What is the cheapest way to make an international bank or wire transfer?

If you need to send money abroad via a bank or wire transfer, then it’s likely the cheapest way to do this will be to go through a money transfer provider like Wise, WorldRemit or Xe. They allow you to make international money transfers to the recipient’s bank account, and it often works out cheaper than going directly through your bank.

You can also send money from bank account to bank account, without using a money transfer provider - however banks often charge high fees while often giving you poorer exchange rates. As a result this tends to be more expensive.

Sending $2,000 from the USA to Germany

ProviderFeesRateTransfer speedAmount received
XE$00.920931-2 hours€1,841.85
Currencies Direct$00.917021-2 hours€1,834.04
Barclays$100.900023-5 days€1,791.03
HSBC$100.899093-5 days€1,789.18

Another option you might consider is opening an account with a bank that operates in both the origin and destination countries. This can be a good way to reduce costs like branch fees, and may even be the best option if you need to make regular payments.

What is the cheapest app for sending money abroad?

The cheapest app for sending money abroad is again likely to be a money transfer provider app, such as Wise or Xe. As these companies mostly specialise in money transfers, their apps are dedicated to providing a simple and streamlined experience that lets you send money abroad.

Money transfer providers usually offer the best exchange rates and lowest fees, making them the cheapest option in general. Compared to other money transfer apps like PayPal or Cash App, which don’t necessarily specialise in international transfers, they’re also often the cheapest option going. With PayPal both the sender and receiver will need an account, and transfer fees can be quite high - learn more about using PayPal for international transfers.

Other apps, like mobile wallets such as Google Pay and Apple Pay, may offer money transfer services. However Apple is designed for domestic use only, while Google Pay only offers international payments from the US to India or Singapore - and even so, this is done through Wise.

AppInternational transfersFees
Currencies DirectYesNone
PayPalYes5% of transaction amount (upper and lower limits apply based on region)
Cash AppBetween UK and USA onlyNone
ZelleNoNo international transfers
Google PayOnly from the USA to India and SingaporeTransfers go through Wise, so fees are based on theirs
Apple PayNoNo international transfers

Is sending money cheaper by credit or debit card?

Many money transfer providers also allow you to make international money transfers using your credit or debit card. Paying with your debit card can be cheaper than making bank transfers, as there are fewer fees involved. Card payments can also be quicker to complete too.

You may even want to receive money from abroad on your debit card. The money will still be sent to the bank account your card is linked to - the difference is that the sender will only need your card details to send money, rather than your bank account details. Providers like Paysend will allow you to receive money to your debit card.

Sending money using a credit card may also be more cost effective if your money transfer provider offers lower fees for card payments. However, with a credit card there are certain extra charges to be aware of - including cash advance fees and interest payments.

Cash advance fees are typically 3% of the transaction amount, which could end up cancelling out the benefits of using a money transfer provided. So if you were to send $2,000 from the USA to the UK, your cash advance fee could amount to $60 - and that’s not including interest.

Unfortunately, interest charges on cash advances often end up higher than normal too - this makes them overall a more expensive option.

Are international money orders cheap?

International money orders are a safe and easy way to send money abroad, however they are quite outdated and also fairly expensive compared to other methods. For example:

  • In the UK, sending a money order or postal order through the Post Office costs 50p for amounts between £0.50 and £4.99; £1 for amounts between £5 and £9.99; 12.50% of the face value of amounts between £10 and £99.99; and capped at £12.50 for amounts between £100 and the maximum of £250.

  • In the USA, money orders with the USPS cost an issuing fee of $49.65.

  • Money orders in Canada usually cost between $5 and $15 CAD.

They also come with low limits for how much you can send, which means they’re often not the best option. Compare this to money transfer providers and the winner is clear. Providers like OFX and WorldRemit have no upper limits on how much you can send, while others like Wise and Currencies Direct have limits of £1 million and £300,000 (or equivalent) respectively.

You’ll also avoid high fees with most money transfer providers, with many like TorFX, XE and Currencies Direct charging no up-front fees at all.

What is the cheapest way to send a one-off money transfer?

Sending a one-off money transfer means looking for the deal that offers the best exchange rate and the lowest transfer fees, and the cheapest way is usually through a money transfer provider.

Case studies: Sending different amounts of money to the UK

To help you find the cheapest way to send money to the UK, we’ve looked at some case studies to determine the best options for:

Sending money to the UK from the USA

Here’s the cheapest way to send various amounts of money from the USA to the UK.

Amount sentCheapest providerFeeSpeedAmount received
$1,000XE01-2 hours£800.45
$2,000XE01-2 hours£1,600.90
$10,000TorFX01-2 hours£8,048.29

Sending money to the UK from Australia

Here’s the cheapest way to send various amounts of money from Australia to the UK.

Amount sentCheapest providerFeeSpeedAmount received
$1,000XE01-2 hours£562.70
$2,000XE01-2 hours£1,122.80
$10,000TorFX01-2 hours£5,718.00

Sending money to the UK from Canada

Here’s the cheapest way to send various amounts of money from Canada to the UK.

Amount sentCheapest providerFeeSpeedAmount received
$1,000XE01-2 hours£601.48
$2,000XE01-2 hours£1,202.96
$10,000TorFX01-2 hours£6,014.82

Using a comparison service like means you’ll be able to compare providers by any fees you pay, the exchange rate you get, and the overall amount received - as well as the payment methods available and the time your transfer will take.

How to get the cheapest deal when sending money abroad?

Here are some of our best tips for getting the cheapest deal when sending money internationally:

  • Avoid using credit cards: You may have to pay extra fees to process credit card payments

  • Avoid big banks: Banks almost always charge higher fees than money transfer providers, unless they operate in both the origin and destination countries

  • Send larger, more infrequent amounts: To avoid paying fees so often, try to make larger money transfers more infrequently

  • Open a bank account that doesn’t charge additional fees: If you want to send money via bank transfers and you know it’s going to be a regular occurrence, look for a bank that charges minimal or no fees for international transfers

  • Compare your options: The best and easiest way to find the cheapest international money transfer is by comparing your options with

What should I keep in mind when sending money abroad?

When sending money abroad, it’s important to bare the following in mind to ensure you get the cheapest deal for your transfer:

  • Transfer limits: If you need to send a large amount of money, be sure to check transfer limits so you know you’ll be able to send the total amount you need to while paying the least in fees and exchange rate markups

  • Guaranteed rates: Some providers offer guaranteed rates to protect the amount of money you are sending from changes in international currency markets – which ensures your transfer cost stays fixed

Can you get a faster transfer speed by paying more?

As is always the case, you’ll be able to get a faster money transfer transfer if you’re willing to pay more. One example is PayPal - if you’re happy to pay a 5% transaction fee for sending money abroad to another PayPal user, you can normally get the money to their wallet instantly. However the recipient will then need to pay an extra 1.75% fee to withdraw the money from their PayPal wallet to their bank account.

Let’s compare that to a provider like PassTo, who offers rapid international money transfers but also charge a fee higher than many other providers. You’ll be able to send £2,000 from the UK to Spain and the money will arrive in minutes, but you’ll be charged a flat fee of £2.50.

Can you get a better deal on an amount if you’re sending money regularly?

Money transfer providers are unlikely to offer any specific discounts for making regular money transfers. If you need to send money abroad regularly, finding the best deal may mean sacrificing transfer speeds.

If you know exactly when you’ll be sending the money - for example, the same day every month - it’s worth looking into providers that charge the lowest fees. While your transfers may not be as fast, being able to schedule them and set them up regularly means you know the money is getting where it needs to be every single time.

Wise, MoneyGram, and Moneycorp all let you schedule international money transfers, each with their own benefits. When you send with MoneyGram you won’t need to pay a transfer fee, while Wise will always charge the mid-market rate for currency exchanges.

Mehdi Punjwani
Mehdi Punjwani
Mehdi is a writer and editor with over five years of experience in personal finance, writing for brands including MoneySuperMarket, Equifax and The AA. He graduated from Brunel University with a BA and MA, and likes to spend his free time hiking, travelling, and reading.