When you’re looking for the best way to wire money, an understandable concern for many people is getting your money to your recipient for the lowest fees possible. If you’re wiring money abroad, there are a wide number of options to choose from, and the cheapest way to send money will differ depending on where you are sending to and from and the sum you are sending.
A wire transfer can be a fast and efficient way to send money around the world, but what’s the cheapest way to organise transferring your funds? In this article, we’ll look at the cheapest way to wire money plus potential alternative ways of sending money for even lower fees or free.
Before we dive into the cheapest way to wire money, let’s breakdown what a wire transfer actually is.
A wire transfer is a way of electronically moving money from one bank account to another. The term can be applied to any means of sending money from one location to another electronically, and is commonly used for international transfers and sending money to someone urgently. Follow our guide on making international wire transfer to get more information.
Wire money transfers can be used to send money domestically in emergency circumstances, such as where you need to get funds to your recipient within minutes as opposed to potential delays from other bank transfer methods such as direct deposits.
Your main options for wiring money domestically are to either use your bank, your virtual bank account or to use a third-party provider such as PayPal or Venmo. Our article on whether it’s possible to wire money for free goes into these two options in more detail.
Wiring money internationally is a popular way to get money abroad quickly, securely, and with minimum delays. Your two main options for wiring money abroad is to either use your bank or to use a money transfer provider – but what’s the cheapest?
In almost every circumstance, a money transfer provider will not only have lower fees and a better exchange rate than your bank, but these companies also have the added benefit of:
That being said, the cheapest way to wire money with a money transfer provider will differ depending on where you are based (not all operators support all countries), where you are looking to send your money to and the currency that your funds need to be converted into, as well as a number of other mitigating factors.
For this case study, we’ve taken some of the most popular countries for sending money from the UK and looked at the cheapest way to send £1,000 to each. The rates were correct at the time of writing.
From the UK to India: The cheapest way to wire money from the UK to India based on this case study is CurrencyFair, with a total of ₹96,711.40 received by the recipient.
From the UK to Nigeria: The cheapest way to wire money to Nigeria from the UK is Azimo, with the total received by your recipient being 550,809.59 NGN and zero fees for your first transfer.
From the UK to France: The cheapest way to wire money to France from the UK is Azimo, with the total received by your recipient being €1,111.79.
From the UK to Pakistan: Once again, Azimo leads as the cheapest way to send money to Pakistan from the UK. The total received by your recipient would be 207,078 PKR.
From the UK to the US: According to our case study, the cheapest way to send money from the UK to the US is Azimo, with the total received by your recipient being $1,304.29.
From this case study, we can see that Azimo is one of the most popular providers for cheap wire transfers from the UK. However, this can change depending on where you are sending your money to, so it’s worth comparing providers for your specific transfer needs before settling on any one provider. When making international transfer, you might need to provide SWIFT code details when making a transfer. We’ve created this UK Swift codes page to help you find the right SWIFT/BIC code.
Again, we’ve used the same model of some of the most popular countries for sending money from the US in this case study, sending a sum of $1,000 to find the cheapest way to send money to each country. The rates were correct at the time of writing.
From the US to India: You’ll get the cheapest deal sending $1,000 to India from the US with CurrencyFair, with a total of ₹74,101.50 received by your recipient. It’s worth noting that currency fair can have high fees associated with their transfers, but often have a competitive exchange rate to combat that.
From the US to Nigeria: The cheapest way to wire money from the US is WorldRemit, with your recipient receiving a total of 380,090.00 NGN. You can expect fees of around $6.99 for this transfer.
From the US to Mexico: Again, WorldRemit was the cheapest provider according to our comparison tool here, with the total received being 47,692.09PHP with fees of $1.99.
From the US to the Philippines: The cheapest way to wire money to the Philippines from the US is WorldRemit according to our case study, with 47,692.09 PHP received by your recipient when sending $1,000 and fees of $1.99.
From the US to the UK: If you were sending $1,000 to the UK from the US, our comparison tool shows that XE Money Transfer would be the cheapest way to wire money, with £766.40 received by your recipient and no upfront fees (although there would be a markup on the mid-market exchange rate).
Overall, WorldRemit provides some of the best transfer options when sending money from the US, but this does depend on where you are sending your money to. Make sure you’ve compared providers for your specific transfer needs to get a result tailored to you. When making international transfer, you might need to provide SWIFT code details when making a transfer. We’ve created this USA Swift codes page to help you find the right SWIFT/BIC code.
If you are not looking for the cheapest way to wire money to someone else, but rather need an inexpensive way to move money between your own accounts, the cheapest option may be different.
If you are moving money between accounts under the same bank, then you may find that there are no or very low fees attached to this type of transaction. Alternatively, you might want to consider a multi-currency account to hold multiple currencies.
To wire money to someone, you’ll need the following information:
Wire transfers cannot usually be reversed once they have been processed, so take the time to double-check that you have the correct information and you are sending to someone that you trust.
Yes, there may be different rules depending on the country you are transferring to and from. Most importantly, make sure you have all the correct details for your recipient and that you are sending to a person or organisation that you trust. Make sure these are correct, if you believe you’ve made a mistake, take a look at our guide about reversing the wire transfer.
You should also make sure you have the relevant ID you may need to verify your account with your bank or money transfer provider.
Wiring money will normally involve some fees because of the convenience this method of sending money offers. While you may not be able to avoid a wire transfer fees altogether, you can certainly take steps to make sure you are getting the best deal for your transfer needs. Our comparison tool will help you find the cheapest provider based on your needs. You can also learn more about the international bank transfer fees in our guide.
Wire transfers are not always the cheapest way to send money abroad, so if you are not set on using this transfer method it may be worth considering alternatives. Cheap alternatives to wire transfers can include:
The key thing to remember is that the cheapest way to wire money will depend on where you are sending money from, what currency you are converting to, and how much you are sending.
To find the cheapest provider for your specific transfer needs, use our comparison tool to input your transfer details and find the best service for you.
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.
Yasmin Purnell is a Content Writer and Editor for MoneyTransfers.com. Having over 5 years’ experience writing across a range of industries including finance, insurance, and travel, Yasmin joined the team with a mission to make international money transfers and everything they encompass accessible to all.