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.
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.
The cheapest way to send money internationally is almost always by using a money transfer provider. These are companies that specialise in helping users send their money abroad in other currencies.
However there are a range of money transfer providers to choose from, each offering different benefits and drawbacks; and their overall cost will depend on things like:
It’s always a good idea to compare money transfer providers before sending money abroad, as you’ll be able to see which provider offers the best value for your money.
|🥇||Online money transfer providers||Some providers are free||Compare Rates|
|🥈||Apps to send money||Free (it needs to add funds previously)||Compare Apps|
|🥉||Bank transfers||Foreign bank transfer fees, exchange rates||Compare Banks|
|#4||Debit card||Transfer fees, exchange rates, taxes||Compare Rates|
|#5||Credit card||Cash advance fees, interest, conversion fee||Compare Rates|
|#6||International wire transfers||Exchange rate mark-ups, fixed transfer fees||Compare rates|
|#7||International money orders||The sender will pay for the desired value||Compare Rates|
Money transfer providers are specialists in sending money abroad, which means their focus is on providing the best service in the industry, compared to institutions like banks who operate on various fronts. The majority of them operate digitally, giving them lower overheads than brick-and-mortar banks and postal services.
They also often rely on P2P money pools in the countries they operate, which enable peer-to-peer selling and buying of different currencies. It’s an extremely inexpensive way of sending money abroad, which enables money transfer providers to offer lower fees than banks.
P2P transfer services and lower overheads mean money transfer providers can offer international transfer at far lower rates than traditional banks, so it’s always worth comparing providers to see how much you could save before initiating your transfer!
To get the best and cheapest deal when sending money internationally with a money transfer provider, you should always compare your options first. Using our comparison table you’ll be able to compare providers by the fees they charge, the speed of the transfer, and any features or deals they offer.
Once you find the best deal, register with the chosen provider with a few of your details, and when you’ve signed up you’ll be ready to start sending money abroad.
Here are some of our best tips for getting the cheapest deal when sending money internationally:
For one-off transfers, you’ll be better off using a money transfer provider as these are dedicated to quick and cheap international money transfers.
Formerly known as TransferWise, Wise charge fixed fees and commissions for the various money transfer corridors they facilitate, and regularly offer the cheapest deals for international money transfers.
If you’re making regular transfers abroad to a single place, you may want to think about opening a bank account in this location. This would ideally be with a bank that offers services in both the origin and destination of the transfer, as these are likely to allow international money transfers without any fees.
For instant transfers where the recipient needs the cash immediately, for example during an emergency, you are likely to have to pay more. While cost might not be the number one priority for these transfers, it’s still important to look for the best deal to make sure you get value for your money.
TorFX and XE both offer transfers in hours, with amongst the lowest international transfer fees and exchange rate markups. If you and the recipient have PayPal accounts this can facilitate a transfer in minutes, but this typically costs a little more.
Larger transfers can be quite expensive when you take into account the fees and charges involved, so it may pay off to look for a money transfer provider that specializes in bigger amounts. Even the smallest rate change can be significant for these sums, so it’s always good to compare your options to make sure you find the best deal.
OFX regularly rate amongst our highest providers and they specialize in high-value international money transfers, with an upper limit of two billion USD. We recommend using OFX for transfer of over 50,000 USD.
When sending money abroad, it’s important to bare the following in mind to ensure you get the cheapest deal for your transfer:
A reliable money transfer provider will always provide you with an upfront view of the exact fees you should expect to pay for your transfer – if it doesn’t, that’s a big red flag!
The easiest way to find the cheapest deal on your international money transfer is by comparing providers with moneytransfers.com. You’ll be able to see which providers offer the lowest fees, the quickest transfers and any deals or promotions that could knock the price down even further.
Just tell us how much you want to send, and the origin and destination of the transfer, and we’ll show you the top providers who can set your transfer up. Once you’ve picked the one you want, you can sign up in minutes and start sending money.
Elliott is a former investment banker with a 20 year career in the city of London.
During this time he held senior roles at ABN Amro, Societe Generale, Marex Financial and Natixis bank, specialising in commodity derivatives and options market-making.
During this time, Elliott’s client list included Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, Schroders Asset Management, and the Pennsylvania State Public School Employees Retirement System, amongst others.
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.