For those based in the United States, using your bank to transfer money overseas can often seem like the easiest option. However, due to the growing number of reputable international money transfer specialists, it is worth considering all your options. Here, we will take a look at the most popular providers for US customers.
An international money transfer refers to the process of sending funds to an individual or company overseas. It is up to the customer to decide whether this transfer is received electronically or in cash. Traditionally, this transfer would be processed by your bank, but there are numerous specialist companies who make international money transfers their full-time business. These companies are working hard to maintain a competitive edge by guaranteeing the best exchange rates possible. Learn more about the process of transferring money to a foreign bank by reading our guide: How do International Money Transfers Work?
Fees vary greatly depending on the country you are sending money to, the required transfer speed and how the recipient will receive the funds (cash, credit card, mobile wallet etc.) Generally, service fees should be relative to the monetary value of your transfer. A reported 58% of international money transfers are customers sending money to friends or family abroad. In these cases, where smaller sums of money are being transferred, it is important you do not jeopardise the monetary value of your transfer by incurring large fees. If you are moving vast sums of money it is worth researching larger business providers and International Money Transfer Limits.
When it comes to benefitting from the best exchange rates, you must compare, compare and then compare again! In terms of transferring USD overseas, ensure you have attained the most up to date market rate to avoid inflated prices.
In the USA, FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) are the governing body responsible for safeguarding international money transfers, in an effort to detect and investigate domestic and international financial crimes. Reading through reviews of companies on TrustPilot is also recommended for anyone considering an international money transfer.
XE, “The World’s Trusted Currency Authority”, is a highly reputable international money transfer provider and is popular with a global audience. A leader in the field, XE is a multi-faceted platform which allows customers to transfer funds to 170+ countries in more than 65 currencies. This international money transfer provider is a great choice for digital nomads and frequent travellers. The XE website displays live currency rates, a feature favoured by customers who are interested in browsing live market rates and money transfer rates.
XE doesn’t accept card payments, only ACH bank payments and wire transfers. If you want to find out which option is best suited to your needs, check out our informative guide: ACH vs Wire Transfer. It is worth noting that XE doesn’t accommodate cash transfers or mobile payments. When it comes to the fees for these bank transfers, irrespective of the amount you transfer, XE does not charge a transfer fee. Fees for every bank differs so although XE does not charge fees, there may be a cost on the recipients end. If you’re interested in wire transfers, make sure to read our guide on the best way to wire money.
Launched in 2010 ahead of many of its online competitors, Wise has become one of the best-known names in the industry. Wise’s simple user interface and transparent fee structure has made it an established go-to provider for international customers transferring funds overseas. Wise’s “Money Without Borders” service utilises the SWIFT network to send USD to bank accounts outside of America. The complete list of countries Wise send USD to can be found on their website.
Out of 110,935 TrustPilot reviews, Wise has a rating of 4.7 out of 5 and despite being UK based, the company is very popular with customers in the United States. Wise guarantees customers quick and easy worldwide money transfers, with mid-market rates and zero exchange rate mark-ups. These rates can also be guaranteed for 24 – 48 hours.
While there is no minimum transfer size with Wise, if you are hoping to transfer via cash or cheque, they do not offer this service. Another of their downfalls is transfer speed, with some currency conversions reportedly taking up to two working days.
This US based money transfer provider prides itself on being a customer-centric platform, supporting those sending money home to developing countries. If you are working overseas in the US, this service could fit your needs. Remitly facilitates money transfers from people in the US to over 80 countries worldwide.
Remitly users can send and receive money via bank deposit, mobile money account, cash pick up or doorstep delivery. Customers are asked to choose from Express or Economy plans: exchange rates for the Express service are substantially higher due to the immediacy of the transfer.
According to TrustPilot, Remitly users have noted a fast service (hours rather than days), inexpensive rates (depending on chosen service) and a transparent tracking feature.
However, there are certain scenarios where Remitly might not be suited to all US customers. These include:
Founded in 2001, Xoom was acquired by PayPal in 2015. The company is regulated by US authorities, making it a verified safe option for international money transfers. Xoom offer instant money transfers to those who require it, but these speedier services involve higher fees. For Xoom users, transfer fees are dependent on the method of payment, with lower fees for those paying with a US bank account. Although this is a way of cutting costs, it is important to bear in mind it can take up to four working days for Xoom to receive funds from domestic banks. As Xoom is integrated with PayPal, you can easily send funds using your PayPal account.
One notably contentious aspect of this service provider is their lack of transparency when it comes to exchange rates. Users are required to sign up before they receive a guaranteed quote. In spite of this, users rated Xoom at 4.4 on Trustpilot, with reviews noting how “easy” and “convenient” the service is.
As one of the world’s largest financial organisations, and with over 200 branches in the US, it’s no surprise that millions of Americans choose to move money overseas with HSBC. The company has been around since 1865 and has established a renowned global presence over that time. For this reason, there are many international payment options available for a multitude of needs: from studying abroad to investing overseas.
As a renowned banking institution, HSBC offers competitive exchange rates for their international customers, displaying live market rates that update “every 90 seconds” throughout the day.
US customers can take advantage of the Global Transfer service which offers international wire transfers in up to 14 currencies. If you are regularly dealing with foreign exchange there is the option of opening a multi-currency bank account and benefiting from instant, no-fee transfers between other HSBC customers.
The safety of customers’ funds are paramount, with secure transactions backed by a global network and FDIC insured bank. In addition to this, two-factor authentication methods are in place for customers, these include use of the HSBC Security Device to verify transactions. Although not always as cheap as the aforementioned international money transfer specialists, when it comes to long-standing and reliable banking, HSBC can offer customers competitive rates and no-fee transactions.
Payoneer is an online payment provider predominately marketed at business owners. The service is a great option for anyone who needs to send money to employees overseas. Mass payments can be easily managed through the Payoneer platform which is widely used in over 200 countries.
The company’s primary function focuses on sending and receiving payments, but navigating the Global Payment Service can be time consuming due to the security measurements in place. This means Payoneer is not the easiest or quickest way to transfer money internationally, however it is safe and secure. The company is regulated by the US Money Service Business (MSB) and each transaction is safeguarded by complex anti-hacking protocols. Trustpilot rates this international money transfer provider 4.4 out of 5, with the majority of praise coming from service providers and online business owners who use Payoneer to send payments to suppliers or contractors.
Funds sent and received between Payoneer customers incur zero fees and the balance will be transferred within minutes. However, recipients must be signed up to the Payoneer service to avoid fees and other charges. The Payoneer fee structure can be confusing, depending on the payment type.
We hope this guide has provide a few options which meet the requirements of your international money transfer. Globally speaking, the United States is unrivalled in the amount of money sent overseas each year. India, China and Mexico top the list of countries receiving USD remittance so if you are sending to one of these countries it is worth looking for the most popular delivery service for these territories. If in doubt, the MoneyTransfers compare rates tool is a great resource for finding the most up to date market rates.
April is a journalist and Content Editor for MoneyTransfers.com. Over the last decade she has written for a range of online and print publications. Having lived overseas in Canada and Vietnam, April hopes to see more of the world as soon as possible, with Japan at the top of her travel list. She enjoys writing about forex trends and the future of banking.