Top 5 international money transfer services

Gabriela Peratello

Need to send money overseas? You’ll be looking for the best international money transfer services out there to make sure you don’t pay more than you need to.

Join us as we take a look at 5 popular online international money transfer services available in the US, to see who they’re best for, what services are available, and which payments you can make.

We’ll compare international money transfer services including Wise, Western Union, WorldRemit and more, to help you decide which is the best fit for your payment.

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What are some of the best international money transfer services available?

In truth, there is no single best money transfer service. Which works best for you depends a lot on the payment you need to make, where you’re sending to, the value of the transfer, and more.

Sending money with a specialist provider can often help you save compared with using your normal bank. But finding the perfect service for your needs will take a bit of research. To help you pick the right provider for you, check out our summary of 5 top international money transfer services in the US.

#1 Wise

🏆 Best for: Low cost transfers to 80+ countries with the mid-market exchange rate

Wise is a specialist in international transfers and currency conversion, which offers multi-currency accounts to individual and business customers in the US.

You can send payments to 80+ countries easily, and with a Wise Account you’ll be able to hold, send, receive and exchange 50+ currencies, and spend in 170+ countries with your linked Wise international debit card.

Wise stands out as it uses the mid-market exchange rate — the one you find on Google — with all costs split out for transparency. That makes it easier to see exactly what you’re paying when you send money overseas.

Not sure? You can also compare Wise against other leading providers easily to see which works best for you.

✅ Pros:

  • Mid-market exchange rate for all currency conversion
  • Fast transfer times
  • High payment limits, with volume discounts for regular transfers¹

❌ Cons:

  • No cash pay in or pay out options
  • No branch network for face to face service
Coverage from the USSend to 80+ countries
FeesFrom 0.41%
Exchange rateMid-market exchange rate
Processing time50% of payments arrive instantly, 90% arrive in 24 hours²
Limits and payment options

Pay using ACH, wire, credit or debit card, or a Wise Account balance

Send up to 1 million USD for personal and business accounts, 15,000 USD per 24 hours with ACH, or 2,000 USD per 24 hours by card in most US locations³

Note: Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information

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#2 Western Union

🏆 Best for: Payments for cash collection at agent locations around the world

Western Union⁴ is one of the largest and most familiar money transfer brands globally. There are over 500,000 Western Union locations around the world, which makes this a great service if you want to pay in cash, or have your transfer delivered in cash to someone overseas.

Transfer to pretty much any country or territory in the world, online, via the Western Union app, or by calling into a US agent location, with a great range of pay out services on offer.

Western Union fees and exchange rates vary based on the transaction type you’re making. Exchange rates include a markup.

✅ Pros:

  • Huge global reach
  • Great range of pay in and pay out options
  • Some payments can be received very quickly

❌ Cons:

  • Exchange rates include a variable markup
  • Fees can be high, particularly for cash services
ProviderWestern Union
Coverage from the USSend to almost any country in the world
FeesVariable fees, based on payment type
Exchange rateExchange rates include a markup
Processing time

Cash payments can arrive very quickly

Bank deposits may take 2 - 5 days⁵

Limits and payment options

Pay by card, cash or bank transfer

Send up to 50,000 USD with a verified Western Union account⁶

#3 WorldRemit

🏆 Best for: Range of payout options with good global cover

WorldRemit⁷ lets you set up payments online and in-app, to pay by card, Apple Pay or bank transfer for convenience.

You’ll be able to arrange for your money to be deposited to a bank or mobile money account, collected as cash or used for airtime top up, in any of the 140+ supported countries — although it’s worth remembering not all services are available in all destinations.

WorldRemit transfers have variable fees which depend on how you’re paying and how you want the recipient to collect their funds. Exchange rates are likely to include a markup on the Google rate.

✅ Pros:

  • Great coverage of 140+ countries from the US
  • Send to bank and mobile money accounts, for cash pickup, or as airtime top up
  • Arrange payments online and in app for convenience

❌ Cons:

  • Exchange rates include a markup
  • Not all services are available in all destination countries
Coverage from the US140+ destinations
FeesVariable fees based on destination, pay in and pay out methods
Exchange rateExchange rates include a markup.
Processing timeMost payments can be received in minutes.
Limits and payment options

Pay by bank transfer, Apple Pay or card.

Payment limits vary depending on the country you’re sending to, the receive method you select, and local legislation in the destination.

With a card you can usually send up to 9,000 USD per 24 hours, with a 5,000 USD transaction limit.⁸

#4 OFX

🏆 Best for: Personal service by phone, plus currency risk management options

OFX⁹ is an established provider of international money transfers as well as more complex currency risk management products, for individuals and businesses. Where OFX stands out is in the option to get 24/7 personal service on the phone.

That can be really helpful if you want to talk through your options before you arrange your payment — and can offer peace of mind if you’re making a high value transfer.

There’s no OFX transfer fee when you send a payment, but a small markup will apply on the exchange rate used to convert your dollars to the currency you need.

✅ Pros:

  • Well known for offering great customer service 24/7 by phone
  • Broad range of currency risk management products in addition to transfers
  • No transfer fees

❌ Cons:

  • Exchange rates will include a small markup
  • No cash services, and you can’t pay by card or check
Coverage from the US190+ countries
FeesNo transfer fee¹⁰
Exchange rateExchange rates include a small markup
Processing timeMost payments arrive in 24 hours
Limits and payment options

Pay from the US by bank transfer.

There’s usually no OFX limit to the amount you can send, but local laws in the destination may mean a maximum payment amount has to be imposed.

#5 Remitly

🏆 Best for: Sending money home to loved ones on popular remittance routes.

Remitly¹¹ offers payments from 20+ designated send countries, including the US, on popular remittance routes to over 100 countries around the world. You can’t transfer between send countries, but there’s a great range of payout options including cash collection or delivery and bank transfer, for the countries where payments are supported.

Fees vary by destination, but you’ll often be able to pick either an Economy payment which comes with lower fees but may take a few days to arrive, or an Express payment which is more expensive but which may arrive in just minutes.

Fees are variable, and exchange rates include a markup on the Google rate.

✅ Pros:

  • Great range of payout options
  • 100+ popular remittance routes are supported
  • Pick the fee and delivery schedule which suits your needs best

❌ Cons:

  • Payments to some major developed economies are not supported
  • Personal payments only
Coverage from the US100+ countries
FeesFees vary but often you can choose a cheaper Economy transfer or a faster Express payment
Exchange rateExchange rates include a markup
Processing time

Economy payments take 3 - 5 days

Express payments can be received within minutes¹²

Limits and payment options

Pay by card or bank transfer.

Limits apply to the amount you can send, which vary according to your account tier.

How can you choose the best way to send money abroad?

There’s no single best money transfer company — so comparing a few is the best way to find the one which most closely meets your needs. Use this guide as a starting point and invest a little time in research, covering the following questions:

  • Does the provider support your destination country/currency?
  • What is the transfer fee?
  • What exchange rate will you get — is there a markup added to the Google rate?
  • Are there any third party fees to worry about?
  • How long will the transfer take?
  • Is the provider reputable, regulated and trusted by previous customers?
Still not sure of which provider is the best for you? Check out our comparison below

How to send money internationally: step by step

The exact process to send money internationally will depend on the provider you select. However, specialist money transfer services usually offer an easy online and in-app experience which can beat standing in line at your bank.

Here’s what you’ll normally need to do:
  1. Register an account with your preferred provider — you may need to complete a verification step here

  2. Log into your account and navigate to the payment area

  3. Enter the amount you want to send or how much your recipient must receive

  4. Confirm how you’ll pay and how you want the money to be received

  5. Check over the fees and exchange rates available

  6. Enter your recipient’s personal and banking details

  7. Follow the prompts to pay for your transfer

  8. Your money will be on the way — you can usually track your payment in the provider’s app

Use this guide to help you compare international money transfer providers, including Wise, and select the one that offers the best balance of cost and convenience for your needs.

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  1. Wise - Large transfers
  2. Wise - Guide to USD transfers
  3. The speed of transaction claim depends on funds availability, approval by Wise's proprietary verification system and systems availability of our partners' banking system, and may not be available for all transactions
  4. Western Union US
  5. Western Union - When will my receiver get their money?
  6. Western Union - How much can I send?
  7. WorldRemit
  8. WorldRemit - Guide to USD transfers
  9. OFX US
  10. OFX - Transfer fees
  11. Remitly US
  12. Remitly - Guide to USD transfers

Sources checked on 01.10.2023

*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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