Money transfer apps: Which one is the best?


Sending money abroad used to be seriously hard work, often requiring a special trip to your bank or a specialist shop. It would often take ages for the money to reach its destination, and fees tended to be on the high side too. It was a system calling out for reform.

New technology has totally changed the game, and many innovative new companies have emerged offering easier solutions to the problem of how to get your money overseas. Not surprisingly, mobile apps are at the forefront of the revolution: what could be easier than sending money abroad with just a few taps of your phone?

Money exchange apps and money transfer apps are now widespread. In fact, the main problem is how many options you have to choose from. Here’s a comparison of a few of the leading ones: not a definitive list by any means, but a great place to start in your search for the best money transfer app in Australia.

Money Transfer Apps: What’s the big deal?

Before we get going, here’s an overview of why international money transfer apps are worth knowing about. These are also the things to bear in mind when you’re choosing between the competing services: how well do they score for each?

  • Convenience. Once you’re set up on an app, you should be able to send money via app wherever you are. You don’t have to visit your bank – or even your computer. Just your phone will do.
  • Cost. Traditionally, you might have had to pay a lot for this service, either via fixed fees or bad exchange rates – or both. New apps could help you save – but do check how the exchange rate compares to the mid-market rate.
  • Speed. Some apps where you can send money focus on making the transfer as quickly as they can: they could knock days off the transfer time, compared to a traditional method.
  • Clarity. International bank transfers are sometimes seriously opaque: you might not know how much money will make it to the other end of the transfer. Apps may provide greater clarity here, giving you a full, clear quote upfront.

You’ll have your own view of which of those factors are the most important, but never forget about cost. With international transfers, there are two types of cost you need to be aware of: firstly the fee you pay for the service, which should be clearly stated, and secondly the exchange rate.

It’s common for transfer providers to “mark up” the exchange rate so that it isn’t the mid-market rate you see on currency converters, but a version that allows them to keep more of your money for themselves. That’s why it’s worth reading the small print. Find out what exchange rate they charge: only then will you know what your transfer is really going to cost.

Here’s a selection of a few different apps for you to take a look at.


WorldFirst was founded in 2004 and boasts more than 400,000 customers and 150,000 businesses.¹

With an account you can transfer money online, or via their app – you can even use it on a smartwatch.²

FeatureWorldFirst information
App features²
  • Pay existing payees quickly
  • Track payments
  • In-app currency converter
  • See live rates and get market updates
Current Play Store / App Store rating³
  • Play store: 3.5
  • App store: 4.7
  • App: free
  • Transfers: no fixed fees
Exchange rate⁴
  • Interbank rate, marked up “at a lower margin than the big banks”

WorldFirst’s key USP is low fees. But, as it admits, it doesn’t offer the interbank rate, but rather a markup of that rate that’s lower than what the banks offer. So, while there are no “fees” as such, it doesn’t mean you’re getting the transfer on the house. Still, WorldFirst is a competitive option and worth checking out.


Founded by two Estonians tired of costly international transfers, Wise offers an easier solution to sending money abroad than the traditional methods. It has over 4 million customers and moves more than USD 4 billion each month.

Among its features, the borderless account lets you not just send but also hold money in a variety of currencies. Most importantly, it always uses the real mid-market rate, with no markup.⁵

FeatureWise information
App features⁶
  • Free borderless multi-currency account
  • See all your recipients and repeat transfers with ease
  • Integrated with Apple Pay
  • Keep updated with push notifications, log in with Touch or Face ID
Current Play Store / App Store rating⁷
  • Play store: 4.6
  • App store: 4.8
  • App: free
  • Transfers: low transfer fee based on transfer amount, stated upfront
Exchange rate⁸
  • The real mid-market rate with no markup

The borderless account is a particularly useful bonus with Wise because it gives you virtual bank details in several international currencies: you can receive payments in AUD, NZD, USD, GBP and EUR for no cost at all. Coupled with the fact that Wise always uses the mid-market rate, that means that Wise should always be a competitive option on price too.


OFX was set up in 1998 but has keenly kept up with the times. It says it makes 3,250 transfers daily and in total has processed AUD 125bn in transfers.⁹

Originally Australian, OFX is a global operation with a range of offerings for businesses as well as for individuals.

FeatureOFX information
App features¹⁰
  • Simple registration and fast transfer
  • Transfer tracking
  • Keep up with live rates and info on currency trends
Current Play Store / App Store rating¹⁰
  • Play store: 4.0
  • App store: 3.2
  • App: free
  • Transfers: AUD 15 for transfers up to AUD 10,000; free for higher-value transfers
Exchange rate¹¹
  • “Competitive” exchange rate compared to banks

As you can see, OFX has a different sort of fee structure: with a set fee of AUD 15 for transfers up to AUD 10,000, you could be forgiven for thinking that their emphasis was on the higher end of international transfers. But if that sounds like you, you should check out OFX for sure.


WorldRemit was founded in 2010 with the aim of cutting back on the particularly high fees that founder Ismail Ahmed had encountered when sending money from the UK to East Africa.¹²

Unlike some of its competitors, WorldRemit doesn’t just offer transfers into bank accounts: it also allows for cash pickup, mobile money (an electronic wallet service) or airtime top-up.¹³

FeatureWorldRemit information
App features¹⁴
  • Hold money in “Mobile money” wallet
  • Track transactions
  • Send money for cash pickup or airtime top-up too
Current Play Store / App Store rating¹⁵
  • Play store: 4.5
  • App store: 4.8
  • App: free
  • Transfers: variable fee stated upfront
Exchange rate¹⁶
  • Mid-market rate plus likely markup

With its greater range of options for how the money is received, WorldRemit is a great option for users looking for cash pickup or airtime top-up. The mobile money wallet feature is useful too. If you just want a standard transfer into a bank account, it’ll all come down to the fees.

Western Union

Western Union is no startup: it’s been in the money transfer business since the 19th century. These days it operates in over 200 countries with over half a million physical locations to its name.¹⁷

It’s no surprise that they have their own app, then, with all the features you’d expect.

FeatureWestern Union information
App features¹⁸
  • Easy resend
  • Sync with your phone contacts
  • Transfer tracking
  • Scan your card to pay easily
Current Play Store / App Store rating¹⁹
  • Play store: 4.5
  • App store: 4.5
  • App: free
  • Transfers: variable based on transfer amount and destination
Exchange rate²⁰
  • Marked up: “Western Union also makes money from currency exchange”

Western Union is a familiar brand and certainly knows its stuff when it comes to international transfers. It offers a useful app that could be perfect for you, if the fees work in your favour.

To transfer money, apps are a godsend. But as you can see from all of the different options, there’s actually a lot of variation. Apps that send money internationally can vary in terms of the service they offer, and often vary in terms of their fees. The right option for you will depend on a range of factors, including where you’re sending the money to and how much you want to send.

One way to reduce the uncertainty regarding fees is to compare any offer you get against the mid-market exchange rate. That will show you how much your transfer is really going to cost you. If you’re not happy with the difference between the offered exchange rate and the mid-market rate, don’t be afraid to shop around.

It’s exciting to be able to send money across the world with nothing more than a few taps of a screen. Good luck in working out which taps are the best for you.





















All sources accurate as of June 26 2019

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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