In this article, we'll make a comparison between Wise vs. TorFX. Which one is better for US customers? Which one is cheaper? Find out more here.
International money transfer services from traditional banks can be costly:
|US Bank||International wire fee|
|Bank of America||30 USD - 45 USD + exchange rate markup¹|
|Citibank||Up to 35 USD²|
|Chase||5 USD + exchange rate markup for transfers under 5,000 USD No transfer fee for higher amounts. Exchange rate markup still applies³|
|US Bank||50 USD + exchange rate markup⁴|
Money transfer organizations may specialize in sending money overseas, or offer both international payment services and domestic transfers. Often the transfer fees available are lower than those offered by traditional banks - and if you’re sending the money overseas, you might get a better rate for your foreign exchange, too.
This guide runs through the best money transfer services available in 2022 - including some which specialize in large transfers or business transfers, others which have cash pickup services, and some which are experts at sending payments by bank transfer.
We’ll also introduce Wise as a great all-rounder with personal and business accounts which both offer international money transfers using no mark-ups, just the mid-market exchange rate and low, transparent fees.
|📝 Table of contents|
Choosing the best international money transfer provider will require a bit of research. Different international money transfer organizations use different transfer processes, and may offer a broad range of features and fees.
Things to look out for include:
- Coverage - is the service you need available in your destination country?
- How you arrange payment - online or via mobile app, by phone or in person
- How you fund your payment - cash, card or from your bank account
- How the recipient can receive money - cash collection or delivery, mobile money or bank account for example
- Fees - which may vary by funding and payout method
- What exchange rate is available - is there a markup on the mid-market rate?
- Delivery speed - this can be from instant to 5 or more working days
- Minimum and maximum transfer amounts
- Security and trustworthiness
The exact way you make an international money transfer will depend on the provider you select. Often you can send money online or in a mobile app - but in some cases you’ll also have the option to visit a branch or agent location and pay in cash.
Whichever provider you select, the basic steps will be:
- Create an account or give your personal details - you may need to complete a verification step at this stage
- Confirm how much you want to pay, the destination country and currency
- Give your recipient’s details - bank or mobile money account number, or full name for cash collection payments
- Fund your payment by cash, card or a bank transfer
- Your money will be sent once it’s cleared by the provider - you can track your transfer once it’s on the move
Banks are typically expensive for international payments. But different money transfer organizations also offer a broad range of features, fees and exchange rates. To find the best deal for your specific payment, you’ll need to compare a few.
Here are some of the best money transfer services and currency exchange companies to help you find the right way to transfer money internationally in your specific circumstance.
Wise international payments use the mid-market exchange rate with no markup and no hidden fees. That can mean they’re 6x cheaper than a regular bank. Send money to 80+ countries in 50+ currencies, with fast, secure and convenient payments made online or via the Wise mobile app. Money is sent directly to your recipient’s bank account for convenience and speed. Right now, 45% of our transfers are instant money transfers.
Wise international payments are available for both personal and business transfers, and often offer a market beating overall price thanks to the exchange rates available. You can also open a free online Wise account to hold 50+ currencies, get paid fee-free from 30 countries, and get a linked debit card to spend in 200 countries with the lowest possible fees.
See how much you can save with Wise:
OFX is a currency specialist which offers personal and business payments, and a range of currency risk management solutions. Arrange transactions online, in-app, in person in one of their global offices, or by phone. Because you can always talk to an OFX broker, you’ll also be able to discuss your transfer or the specialist risk management products you’re considering before you sign up.
International payments with OFX do not have an upfront fee, but there will be a markup added to the exchange rate used⁶, which may push up the overall cost.
Xoom is part of the PayPal family, and lets users send money around the world to bank accounts, for cash collection or delivery, to top up phone airtime, and to pay bills. You can pay for your Xoom transfer with a linked card or bank account, or use your PayPal balance. It’s extra convenient because any payment method you’ve already used with PayPal can be used automatically - you won’t need to enter your bank details again to get started. Learn more in this full Xoom review.
A downside can be Xoom’s international transfer fees. Costs vary widely based on where you’re sending money to, how you want your recipient to get the payment, how you fund the transfer and the payment value. However, the total price you pay tends to be on the high side versus the market.
Not sure if Xoom is for you? Check out alternatives to Xoom here.
Send money with Instarem⁷ to 55 countries, for same day or even instant delivery. You’ll be able to arrange your payment online or in the Instarem mobile app, and can instantly see how much you’ll pay and the exchange rate available for you.
As well as offering international transfers, Instarem also gives customers loyalty points for transactions and when they refer friends to the service. These points can then be used in future to get discounts on payments with Instarem. Get a full Instarem review here.
MoneyGram money transfers are available within the US and to pretty much every other country on earth. You can send money to bank accounts or have your recipients get their cash from a local MoneyGram agent. You can also pay bills online.
Not all services are available in all locations, but MoneyGram’s huge agent network around the world can make it a convenient way to get cash quickly into the hands of someone who may not have access to a bank account. Fees vary by destination, funding method, transfer value and pay out preferences, and exchange rates can include a markup⁸.
Skrill⁹ mobile wallets have been on the market since 2001, and come with a linked card for withdrawals and in person payments. You can send a Skrill money transfer to other Skrill accounts, or to bank accounts directly. Both local and international payments are available.
Skrill is easy to use and offers convenient services but the fees on some key money transfer products are on the high side. Sending any payment requiring currency conversion will mean a fee of up to 4.99%, and there’s an extra 2.99% charge if you fund your transfer by credit card. It’s also good to know there’s a 5 USD inactivity fee if you don’t use your account at least once a year¹⁰.
Use Remitly to send payments to bank and mobile money accounts, for cash collection or even home delivery in some locations. From the US you can send money to 90+ countries in a broad range of currencies¹¹. Not all services are available in all countries, but you can see immediately which options are available in the country you’re sending to when you start your transfer.
Remitly transfers are available in minutes if you choose an Express service and pay with card, or can be sent by bank transfer using the Economy service. Economy transfers tend to take longer - 3 to 5 business days - but can often be cheaper than the Express option.
Remitly has a focus on helping immigrants send money home, and so primarily serves popular remittance routes. That means that it’s not possible to send payments to some large economies like the UK or France. Learn more about Remitly money transfers here.
WorldRemit payments can be sent to bank and mobile money accounts, for cash delivery or collection, or in some cases to top up mobile airtime. 95% of WorldRemit payments which are sent for cash collection arrive in 3 minutes, while 90% of transfers to a bank account arrive on the same day. This speed and convenience of service makes WorldRemit a popular choice for people remitting payments home from the US.
The fees you pay will vary based on the amount you send, the payout method you prefer and the destination country. You may also find that exchange rates vary based on the details of the transfer you’re arranging, and will include a markup - an extra fee¹². Get more WorldRemit reviews in this guide.
Chances are you’ve probably heard of Western Union¹³ - one of the biggest, oldest and best established money transfer services out there. Customers can send payments to 200 countries and territories, to bank accounts and for cash collection at hundreds of thousands of agents globally.
One big bonus with Western Union is that you can send payments in cash from the US by visiting one of their 57,000 US based agents. It can then be collected minutes later by your receipt at a convenient location for them. Western Unionfees vary by payment type, and the exchange rates on offer tend not to be market beating, though.
If you’re not sure about Western Union, learn about Western Union alternatives here.
If you regularly track exchange rates, you may already be familiar with XE.com. It’s a great place to get information about the mid-market exchange rates between different currency pairs, and keep track of trends in the forex markets. You can also arrange international transfers for personal and business customers through XE money transfers.
With XE you can send payments to 130+ currencies, to over 220 countries and territories. It’s a big business - processing over 115 billion USD a year.
XE money transfers are arranged online or in the XE app, and delivered to bank accounts directly. It’s important to note that the exchange rates you see on XE.com won’t be the same as the ones you receive when you arrange an XE money transfer¹⁴. Instead, a markup will be added to calculate the money transfer rate. Read our XE money transfer review here.
There are many different money transfer organizations available if you want to send a payment from the US. Often they’re cheaper, faster and more convenient than using your bank. They may also provide a broader range of services such as sending money for cash collection or to top up a mobile phone.
The best way to find the perfect money transfer organization for your needs is to compare a few alternatives. This is pretty easy to do as services like Wise let you model your payment with no obligations, meaning you can immediately see the fees and exchange rates which would apply. Take a look at a selection of money transfer services which offer the specific type of payment you need, in the destination country you’re sending to, to be sure you get the best available deal for your transfer.
The best money transfer organization for you will depend on your specific needs and where you’re sending a payment to.
Many organizations specialize in certain payment types, like transfers for cash collection or payments on popular remittance routes. Payment features and fees also vary. Some companies offer low transfer fees but add an extra charge into the exchange rates available, while others like Wise use the real exchange rate and low, transparent fees. Comparing a few different services is the best way to find the right one for you.
Major money transfer organizations are generally safe as long as you use them within their guidelines. Some companies are only recommended for personal payments for example, and shouldn’t be used to transfer money to a business.
Take a look at the terms and conditions of your preferred money transfer service and check they’re fully authorized and regulated in the US and your destination country before you get started.
Sending large value payments with a specialist provider can often be cheaper and faster then using your normal bank. You can also find the cheapest way to send money on our website.
Before you get started make sure your preferred provider offers high value transfers, and complete all the verification steps required to make sure your payment can be processed without delay. Verification usually involves showing or uploading copies of your ID and address documents. You’ll also sometimes need to provide the source of the funds you’re sending to comply with legislation in the US and the recipient’s own country.
1]Bank of America wire transfer
2]Citibank wire transfer
3]Chase wire transfer
4]US Bank wire transfer
6]OFX customer rate
8]MoneyGram terms and conditions
10]Skrill fees & charges
11]Remitly US money transfer guide
12]WorldRemit terms & conditions
13]Western Union homepage
14]XE terms and conditions - page 8-9
All sources checked on 31 January 2022
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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