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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.

Updated: 25/10/2022
Read time: 17 minutes
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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 internationally?

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:

  • The amount of money you want to send
  • The country you want to send it to
  • How you want to pay for the transfer
  • How you want the recipient to receive the money

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. 

Top 7 Cheapest ways to send money internationally

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

Why are money transfer providers the cheapest way to send money abroad?

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.

Save Money with Money Transfer Providers

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!

How do I send money internationally with a money transfer provider?

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. 

How can I 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 and debit cards: You may have to pay an extra fee to process credit and debit card payments 
  • Avoid big banks: Banks almost always charge higher fees than money transfer providers
  • 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 moneytransfer.com

What is the cheapest provider to send money internationally?

One off amounts

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.

Regular 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.

Instant transfers

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.

Large amounts

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.

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
The Hidden Fees of Money Transfers

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!

Comparing international money transfers

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.

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Article Factchecked by Elliot Laybourne on 20th July 2022

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 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.

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