But, where do you start?
Most people start by looking for a way to move their money.
However with many great options it can be confusing just to choose an inexpensive, safe, secure and fast way to move your money.
More Than That
The finance industry industry is full of hidden fees and hype. Therefore it may come as no surprise that money transfer companies are not immune. Just read The Fees Myth (below).
But first I want to highlight 3 simple rules:
3 Rules – Jump Links (to info below)
But first, it is helpful to understand what we are working with!
The Fees Myth
If you think fees are the most important part of choosing a service – that’s perfectly understandable because that is what banks and other financial services will lead you to believe.
When you hit that calculate button, you could be forgiven for focusing on the fees charged and not the total cost.
The reality is that the total cost can easily be over 5% of the amount sent overseas in addition to fees. Sometimes 8, 9 or even 10%.
Maybe 5% does not sound like much but take a look at this. Especially the last column which is the amount the service makes.
Comparison of sending money overseas
“Amount Made by Service Offered” = Your Total Cost!
In other words, you could get charged $374, $273 or $70 to move $5000 overseas – Its your choice.
On to the rules!
Now you can see how you can save a lot simply by using an alternative to your bank.
And saving money should be expected, but there is so much more to consider. The truth is, when it comes to actually using many services in real life they differ considerably.
Although important, these differences are hard to find.
After personally using loads of services ourselves over many years, and analyzing thousands of reviews we have created a shortlist of the best 7 money transfers you will find on the planet.
Cutting to the chase:
- 1.1 The Amount
- 1.2 Security and Service
- 1.3 How to Pay or Receive Money
1.1 The Amount
Focus on services based on amounts you plan to send. Basically some services tend to be cheaper for smaller amounts (less than $7000 USD, £4000, $9500 AUD / CAD) while other companies become less expensive as the amounts increase.
Through years of experience and from looking deeply (check out our reviews) into how each company worked we discovered that peer-to-peer (P2P) companies tend to shine when the amounts are smaller.
Meanwhile more traditional services (non-P2P) tend to do better as the amounts increase.
The reason is that P2P companies are very efficient with smaller amounts but the traditional money transfer services (non-P2P) are more efficient with larger amounts.
Update: Wise (review) started life as a P2P service but has evolved to be much more.
This is not all.
More government regulations kick in as the amounts increase, which means in general the services that focus on smaller amounts (like the P2P services) make it really easy to sign up and start transacting, but tend to ask for more documentation (usually ID) as the amounts increase.
When we compared the Best Money Transfers we discuss which services are best in what situations in greater detail.
Also the services they offer and fee structures tend to revolve around the amounts you intend to send. Each service is different but at a very basic level, for smaller amounts doing everything online tends work best. Meanwhile, even though most people would prefer to transact larger amounts online, the reality is that human support by knowledgeable people familiar with banks and regulations in different countries can go a LONG way to making things work well.
1.2 Security and Service
There are some clear advantages to using services that registered with financial regulators (wiki) in countries like UK, Australia, Canada or USA.
Ideally the service you choose will also have physical offices in your country or at a minimum telephone support in your time zone.
Regulators ensure security by holding services to strict criteria like capital requirements, a physical presence and identification verification procedures.
These measures give your money a fair amount of protection if things get weird again like in the last economic downturn.
For larger amounts especially, but even smaller amounts sometimes strange things can happen when international banks and SWIFT (wiki) get involved in different countries.
When you quite literally have you money on the line, nothing could be better then a human voice who cares about ensuring things run smoothly.
This is why we tend to focus on services that are excellent at service. Just another reason you will never use a bank again for international money transfers.
1.3 How to Pay or Receive Money
Not to be overlooked is the simple but important matter of how you will fund the transaction and how the the money will be received.
Generally most services allow and encourage bank to bank transfers, but if you plan to use a debit or credit card then the number of services that enable that is limited.
Cash pick up for small amounts to family and friends overseas may also be a consideration and for this you should consider a remitter.
After identifying four basic fees, we wrote a PDF on costs and how to minimize them.
It is 10 minutes of reading that could pay off extremely handsomely.
There are 4 fees you need to be aware of. For smaller transactions each of the 4 fees is important. For larger amounts, generally the 3rd one is the one you need to concern yourself (although the others can be annoying present they tend to be small in percentage terms).
- Sending Bank Fee
- Fixed Fee
- Exchange Rate Offered
- Receiving Bank Fee
In addition to these fees there are also other hidden costs which we point out in our PDF. Like the guaranteeing rates for a period of time and exchange rate traps.
If you really can be bothered downloading the PDF – OK I get it – but please at least have a look at our international money transfers comparison page which goes into a bit more detail about fees.
For many people timing the market is simply not something you are interested in or worried about. For others it can be easy way to make an extra 1% or more.
It is no secret that charts can help forex traders, international companies and individuals to save and even make significant amounts of money.
For most people, some simple charts seem too complex.
This does not have to be the case. We shared a simple case study where I saved 10% on just one transaction using some simple charts.
I also showed with another case study how with 5 minutes work I saved 1.3% or $262 on another transaction using currency exchange alerts.
Disclaimer: We are not speculators nor are we registered financial professionals. Seek a registered financial professional before making any decisions.