Hi, I’m Quinn Askeland. In 2016, I started Transumo after experiencing expensive, slow, and frustrating international transfers and payments through banks. My mission is simple: to help others simplify and reduce the cost of transfers and payments. Fortunately, today, there are excellent alternatives for international money transfers and payments. See My Full Bio.
Yes, you can say goodbye to massive fees banks, PayPal and companies like Western Union can charge.
Also, you can get:
- Instant Transfers
- Great experiences online and with apps
- Super cheap transfers, even free trial transfers
There is no single best service for international money transfers.
The best choice depends on factors such as the amount you wish to send and whether you prefer cash or online transfers.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and savings on transfers if you use some of the links! For more information, see my disclosures here.
1. Quick Comparison
|Money Transfer Company||Best for Service||Online/Offline Focus||Trustpilot Rating||Our Rating (1-5)|
|Bank||Keeping your money not moving it||Both||1 - 2 / 5||1 / 5|
|Wise||Bank-to-bank transfers below $7000 USD/£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD/AUD||Online||4.5/5||4.9 / 5 |
Wise - Full Review
|Remitly||Cash transfers or mobile wallet transfers to friends and family in developing countries for amounts below $7000 USD/£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD/AUD||Online||4.1/5||4.25 / 5|
Remitly - Full Review
|WorldRemit||Cash transfers and mobile wallet transfers worldwide for amounts below $7000 USD/£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD/AUD||Online||4.0/5||4.5 / 5 |
WorldRemit - Full Review
|CurrencyFair||Very affordable fees for bank transfers below $7000 USD/£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD/AUD||Online||4.3/5||4.6 / 5 |
Currencyfair - Full Review
|OFX||Most affordable for bank transfers above $7000 USD/£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD/AUD||Online and offices in Australia, USA, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Singapore. 24/7 phone support.||4.2/5||4.9 / 5 |
OFX - Full Review
|XE||Large number of currencies supported and great rates for transfers above $7000 USD/£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD/AUD||Online and offices in US, UK, Canada, Europe (Netherlands), and NewZealand||4.2/5||4.5 / 5 |
XE - Full Review
|TorFX||Best phone support for transfers over $7000 USD/£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD/AUD||Online and offices in UK and Australia.||4.9/5||4.5 / 5 |
TorFX Full Review
|CurrenciesDirect (Owned by TorFx)||Best phone support for transfers over $7000 USD/£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD/AUD||Online and offices in the UK, US, Canada, Spain, Portugal, South Africa, and India||4.9/5||4.5 / 5 |
Currencies Direct Full Review
2. How to Get the Best
To choose the best international money transfer service it is made much easier simply by simply choosing a service which is designed for what you want to do.
3 Types of Services
- Cash Transfer Companies (or Remittance)
- Best Services for Smaller Amounts
- Best for Larger Amounts.
Smaller amounts = less than $7000 USD/£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD/AUD
Larger amounts = more than $7000 USD/£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD/AUD
3. Best for Cash Transfers or Remittance
These are the services you should choose if your recipient doesn’t have a bank account and needs to receive money in cash.
And there is one big benefit using these guys. You can send cash and they have a wide network of receiving countries and the large number of currencies.
But here’s the problem:
They have expensive with complex fees and some have poor customer service.
But there are some great alternatives:
A downside might be that you can’t set up your end of the transfer in cash.
Here is how it works: These services pass on the savings to you by receiving money through banks or cards and then sending it to their networks like post offices, pawnshops, and even banks in some countries. This way, your receiver will receive more money in cash.
They also have a great network of receiving countries, support fast (near-instant transfers), and have confidence-inspiring reviews on Trustpilot.
4. Best Services for Sending Small Amounts
For small bank-to-bank or card-to-bank transfers (amounts less than $7000 USD/£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD/AUD), we recommend services like Wise (review) – formerly TransferWise and CurrencyFair (review).
Our top pick for smaller amounts is Wise who work directly off the mid market exchange rate. We use Wise ourselves personally, partly because they tell you exactly what you will pay in fees up front (before you even sign up) and this always seems to work out very competitively. You can create an account with them online in minutes (subject to some ID checks) and fund payments via bank transfer or even using a debit card. Sign up or just see what you will pay now with Wise
But that may not be the best bit:
Wise have a super user-friendly online experience backed up by top-ranked online customer service.
There are also no hidden fees to transfer with them since they offer the mid-market rate and rule out “surprise” fees by having local bank accounts in the areas they service.
While Wise are inexpensive they may not be the absolute cheapest:
The next best service for small transfers is CurrencyFair, which are able to offer excellent exchange rates (potentially lower than the mid-market rate) if you transfer via their P2P marketplace. With the marketplace, they match your transfer amount with someone else transferring in the other direction for your chosen currency pair.
Check out how their marketplace works here. (opens a new tab so you can compare options with the next link)
You can also see the fees and exchange rate with their online calculator.
Choosing the marketplace route can take longer while your rate is matched – but you can also get the best rates.
While in such cases you’ll pay a tiny bit more, your transfer is still likely to be the cheapest and make banks, PayPal, or other services like Western Union look insanely expensive.
5. Best Services for Large Amounts
For larger transfers (above $7000 USD/£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD/AUD), we recommend services who:
- Offer excellent phone support
- Are able to offer better rates as amounts increase
- Get the paperwork out of the way (for large transfers) early so you have a smooth transfer experience
Here is the deal:
We recommend a few companies in this category for different reasons but year after year OFX (review) gets our top vote because of its mix of online and offline service, low fees, and dedicated customer service teams – available 24/7.
Also OFX may charge a fixed fee of $15, however if you click here you can avoid these fees all together.
Here why phone support and paperwork matter so much:
In a nutshell, when you start moving larger amounts of money all three (3) of the recommendations can make a huge difference.
Don’t miss the next section, “One service – great at everything?” ⬇.
Fortunately, OFX is not alone:
They’re all known for offering great phone support (especially TorFX/Currencies Direct who ranks the highest in the industry).
In the case of the last two, they can carefully walk you through all the details of registering your account to setting up a transfer over the phone.
AUS/NZ and Asia – Get a quote online or by phone
UK and Europe – Get a quote online or by phone
USA / Canada – Check the Currencies Direct exchange rate from desktop or mobile here.
The key for larger amounts is that you can have peace of mind knowing if there is a hiccup (like with your bank’s transfer limits) it can be explained and resolved easily.
The best part?
Their business model allows them to reduce the fees in percentage terms as the transfer amounts go up, which benefits their users (for both individuals and business accounts).
These companies also have physical offices in many countries which means if you ever need to talk to someone, it is usually someone who can really help.
6. Finding the Best Service for Your Needs
It’s tempting to look for a one-size-fits-all solution for everything we need, including money transfers.
However, when it come to money transfers the reality is there are many different types of services available and each service is designed to meet specific needs and requirements.
For example, some people may need to transfer smaller amounts quickly and easily, while others may need to transfer larger amounts with great exchange rates where it does not matter if it takes a few days to arrive.
Cash transfer companies have been charging exorbitant fees, primarily due to the presence of middlemen such as agents, intermediary banks, and the companies themselves. For decades, exorbitant fees have been the norm for cash transfers. The reason is there are a lot of middle men like agents (or kiosks), intermediary banks not to mention the company itself.
However, companies like WorldRemit (review) and Remitly (review) are successfully reducing costs by removing lots of inefficiencies.
With these services, you can set up your transfer online, while your receiver still receives cash.
For small transfers, below $7000 USD/£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD/AUD, Wise and CurrencyFair keep costs low by offering great exchange rates and low fees — without compromising on good customer service.
For example, Wise lets you transfer at the mid-market rate (with a small fee) while CurrencyFair’s P2P transfer process means you can choose a favorable exchange rate in their Peer-2-Peer (P2P) market.
Wise and Currencyfair typically avoid unexpected fees that banks may impose by maintaining local bank accounts in the regions they operate. In fact, for amounts below $7000 USD, the wire transfer fees that banks levy at both ends can often exceed the fees charged by money transfer companies!
For large transfers above $7000 USD/£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD/AUD, it’s essential to use services that offer proper customer support and are designed for larger transfers.
With these services, you can conveniently set up transfers online or over the phone – your choice. And fees tend to decrease as the transfer amounts increase.
However, the most crucial aspect to consider is this: using services specifically designed for larger amounts is like buying insurance for a worry-free money transfer experience.
The primary reason for this is the option for easily accessible phone support. As the transfer amount increases, the likelihood of delays (usually caused by banks at either end) also grows due to regulation.
And being able to jump on the phone and resolve these issues can make a world of difference to smooth money transfers.
7. How Fees Work and How to Reduce Them
Fees are one of the most important aspects of your international money transfer experience.
And, with all the talk around “no fees,” “fee-free” or “no hidden fees” you may have actually wondered whether international money transfers can really be feeless.
If it all sounds confusing, don’t worry.
We’re going to give you a straight talk about fees charged by international money transfer companies so there will be no surprises for you.
Typically, there are 4 fees you need to look out for:
- Sending Fee
- Transfer Fee
- Exchange Rate Offered (How to get the best rate)
- Receiving Fee
A. Sending Fee
This fee is based on your funding method. If you’re choosing to fund your transfer with a bank transfer, this is usually free.
However, if you’re choosing to pay for your transfer with a credit card or debit card, you’ll usually pay a 3% convenience fee charged by your card issuer.
A sending fee can also be applicable if you’re funding your transfer with cash with a third-party agent.
B. Transfer Fee
This is the fee charged by your chosen money transfer company.
Sometimes, this is a fixed fee that depends on the transfer amount (like Wise does) or a fixed fee up to a certain amount (like OFX’s $15 USD flat fee – use the link above to have this fee removed).
The transfer fee typically varies on the amount and your currency pair.
C. Exchange Rate
Some transfer companies like Wise offer transfers at the mid-market rate and show a fee based on a percentage that depends on the amount you send.
While others (like WorldRemit, Remitly, OFX, TorFX, etc.) build fees into the exchange rate and sometimes a small fixed fee.
How to get the best exchange rate
It’s hard to figure out how much currency conversion fees you’re paying when there is a margin on the current exchange rate (wiki). And if you’re not careful, this may end up making your transfer way more expensive than you intended.
However, here are a few ways you can make sure you’re getting the best exchange rate:
- Shop around before you commit (Services like Wise make this easy with the fees calculator and a handy comparison table)
- Set up rate alerts. Most transfer companies these days allow you to set up rate alerts once you register with them. If you’re not in a hurry, it’s worth waiting to transfer till your currency pair hits the desired rate.
- For getting the most out of your exchange rate for larger transfers, take advantage of features like Forward Contracts (wiki) and Market Orders offered by XE, OFX, and TorFX to secure favorable rates for your transfers (for current and future transfers). This way, your transfer will only take place at the agreed rate.
- For smaller transfers, you can choose a conversion rate in CurrencyFair’s P2P marketplace. They will only approve your transfer when your rate is matched by another user looking to convert in the opposite currency pair from you.
D. Receiving Fee
This is the fee charged by the receiving bank or an agent if your recipient has opted to receive cash.
For bank-to-bank transfers, this fee can be avoided by choosing services that have local bank accounts in all the areas they service.
For cash transfers, this fee can be minimized by choosing a service that absorbs this fee or a receiving agent that charges low receiving fees (this will largely depend on your currency pair and area).
8. Comparing and Finding the Best Transfer Speeds
These days many transfers are practically instant.
And in the past fast transfer speeds meant higher costs. But it’s a bit more complicated than that.
For example, international wire transfers (just using your bank) are both expensive and slow.
Your transfer speed with a service is dependant on the following variables:
- What features the service has
Some services make it easy for you to fund your transfers (with a card or with location-specific services like Klarna, Poli, etc.), which speeds up the transfer.
- The destination country
If it’s a major currency, the transfer will go through quicker. Also, if the receiving country has certain regulations and limits in place (like amounts received via remittance), this can affect the transfer speed. And the receiver may have to wait longer before receiving the transfer.
- Transfer amount
Typically, amounts between a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars are usually completed in minutes or even a matter of hours (depending on the currency pair).
Larger transfers can take longer based on the regulations of the sending and receiving countries that the transfer company needs to adhere to.
- When you set up your transfer
In most cases, transfers set up on banking hours on a weekday are processed faster than those set up on a bank holiday or weekend.
- The funding method
If you fund your transfer with a bank transfer, it usually takes 1-2 days for the money to reach your transfer provider’s account. Next, they may take from a few hours to a day to convert your money, and then send it to your recipient. The whole process can take 2-5 days (to up to a week for exotic currencies).
However, card-to-bank and cash transfers are quicker (but more expensive) and can be completed from a few minutes to a few hours.
9. Top 8 International Money Transfer Companies
- #1 Wise — Affordable and transparent
- #2 CurrencyFair — Lowest rates for bank transfers (except the US)
- #3 WorldRemit — Best for small amounts in cash
- #4 Remitly – Best for express cash transfers
- #5 OFX – Most affordable for large transfers
- #6 TorFX – Best phone support for large transfers
- #7 XE – Supports wide range of currencies for large transfers
- #8 Currencies Direct – Best TorFX alternative (large amounts)
#1 Wise — Best for Affordable Bank-To-Bank Transfers Worldwide
An easy favourite, you can’t really go wrong with Wise (review) for bank-to-bank or card-to-bank transfers under $7000 USD.
We like them for their excellent exchange rates, low (and transparent) fees, and how they support 70+ countries.
You might be wondering, what fees will I pay?
They also offer a multi-currency account that lets users hold, manage and exchange 50+ currencies.
This makes Wise a great option for digital nomads and growing global businesses.
Fees: Wise generally charges between 0.35%-1.65% of the transfer amount, which is extremely competitive. Also, transfers are processed at the mid-market rate with no markups, which makes their fees among the lowest in the industry.
Wise also keeps their fees low by having local bank accounts in all the areas they service, which rules out unexpected bank fees.
Transfer speed: This depends on the amount, funding method, and currency pair. But typically, bank transfers in major currencies take 1-3 days, while card-to-bank transfers are completed in 1-2 days.
Another huge plus in our view is the local banking network that they’ve built across the world which enables them to cut costs and speed up their transfers.
They say 24% of their transfers actually arrive instantly.
#2 CurrencyFair — Best for Lowest Rates for Bank Transfers Worldwide
In most cases, you’ll find that CurrencyFair (review) is the cheapest option for transferring money worldwide.
They’re able to keep their rates low by offering two transfer options — via their P2P marketplace (where they match you with individuals exchanging the opposite currency pair to yours) OR using CurrencyFair’s best rate (usually around mid-market).
But here’s the best part:
You can also get your first 10 transfers fee free (opens a new tab). These are the transfer fees (B) described above.
It is even possible, the P2P route can get you a rate that’s even better than the mid-market. But it can take longer. And if CurrencyFair steps in to complete the transfer, you can still expect to see a great deal of savings compared to transferring through banks.
CurrencyFair supports 20 currencies from the following 62 countries.
Fortunately: You can now also register for a CurrencyFair account if you’re based in the US.
Fees: For matching currency pairs on their P2P marketplace, you’ll pay a percentage fee of 0.25%-0.3% + a fixed €3 EUR transfer fee (or equivalent) + a margin on the exchange rate.
If CurrencyFair steps in to complete the transfer, you can expect to pay 0.4%-0.6% of the amount + a fixed €3 EUR transfer fee (or equivalent) + a margin on the exchange rate.
In either case, they’re extremely inexpensive compared to banks and at the lower end compared to their peers!
Transfer Speed: While the P2P method saves a lot on fees, the process can be time-consuming. Even without the P2P exchange, the process of sending money to CurrencyFair, then converting the currency, and then sending it to your recipient can take anywhere between 3-5 days (and that’s for major currencies. Exotic currencies can take up to a week).
#3 WorldRemit — Best for Sending Small Amounts in Cash Worldwide
WorldRemit (review) is a great choice for those that need to deal in physical cash.
They have an extensive physical network of cash collection centers (such as banks, pawnshops, and other third-party agents) in all the areas they service (150 countries).
And they have a great deal:
When you sign up you will get your first three transfers fee free (using the code ‘3FREE‘*). * Offer available in US, UK, Australia, Belgium, Netherlands, South Africa, Sweden, New Zealand, and Norway.
You can also conveniently set up your transfer online, which can help you avoid sending fees to third-party agents and kiosks. This makes WorldRemit the best at sending small amounts in cash worldwide.
We also like their simple and straightforward fee structure, which takes the complication out of cash transfers (see more below).
Fees: WorldRemit’s fees depend on a number of factors such as transfer amount, currency pair, and payout method.
Recently, WorldRemit has introduced a flat fee for payout methods and a tiered exchange rate system (3 tiers).
With the flat fee for payouts, your fees remain fixed for each method (cash, bank transfer, or mobile wallet transfer), no matter how much you spend.
For example, whether you send £100 GBP or £1000 GBP in cash from the UK to the Philippines, you will pay the same £2.49 GBP fee.
Next, the tiered exchange rate makes sure you get a better exchange rate if you send more money.
Other fees to watch out for include credit card fees and commissions charged by third-party agents at collection points.
Transfer speed: WorldRemit offers near-instant cash transfers (completed in a few minutes to a few hours) to a number of locations around the world.
For example, they can complete same-day cash transfers to a number of Indian banks from the UK, Canada, or Australia.
Mobile wallet transfers are also completed instantly. However, bank transfers in small amounts can take 2-4 days (depending on the amount, funding method, and currency pair).
#4 Remitly – Best for Express Cash Transfers from Developed Countries
Remitly is available in 17 developed countries (including the UK, US, Canada, Australia, etc) and supports cash and bank transfers to 100+ countries worldwide.
The best thing about transferring with Remitly is their Express service, which lets you send cash in minutes to your friends and family.
You can see what you will pay.
Fees: Remitly’s fees vary based on the amount, currency, and chosen service. They charge a flat fee and a margin on the exchange rate.
For some currency pairs (for example USD to INR), Remitly even waives the flat fees if you send above a certain limit (but you’ll still pay the currency conversion fees and the margin on the exchange rate).
Transfer Speed: With Remitly’s Express service, you can expect the cash to arrive for collection within a matter of minutes or hours.
With the Economy service, you can expect the money to reach your recipient’s bank account in 2-4 days.
#5 OFX – Most Affordable for Large Transfers
We have voted OFX the best service (voted it the winner for fours years in a row – including 2021) if you want to send more than $7000 USD/£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD/AUD.
OFX supports transfers to over 190 countries in 50+ currencies.
OFX is right for your large transfers if you’re from the US, Canada, the UK, Europe, Singapore, Hongkong, Australia, or New Zealand.
Fees: For amounts below $7000 USD, OFX may charge a flat $15 USD fee. Above that amount, the fee is waived and you only pay a margin on the exchange rate (which goes down as the amount increases).
OFX does sometimes charge a small fee of $15. However, if you click here you can avoid the fees all together.
This makes them extremely affordable for large transfers.
Transfer Speed: Expect your money to arrive in 2-4 days for major currencies and 3-5 days for exotic currencies. Since they get ID checks out of the way, they’re able to help you transfer large amounts in a reasonable time frame.
#6 TorFX – Best Phone Support for Large Transfers
When you’re sending larger amounts, you might want more personal service to make sure that your money is safe every step of the way. There’s nothing worse than not being able to get through easily to a customer service representative.
TorFX is great for this as it offers exceptional phone support. And their staff are able to help you with a wide range of issues — from setting up your account, verifying your identity over the phone, securing the best rates, to setting up your transfer.
Want to know the best part?
You get a quote for your rate online or by phone:
TorFX also offers a lot of flexibility for your large transfers with service features such as Market Orders, Forward Contracts, etc.
It has offices in the UK, Singapore, and Australia and is ideal for you if you live in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, UK, and Europe. (Heads up – they’re not available in the US.)
Fees: TorFX doesn’t charge any fixed fees, but they do add a margin on the exchange rate (which goes down as the amount goes up).
However, watch out for hidden fees such as sending or receiving fees charged by banks at either end.
Transfer Speed: Typically, it takes about 1-3 days for the transfer to be completed. Transfers in exotic currencies can take up to 4 days.
Card payments are processed faster than bank payments. However, your card issuer may charge a convenience fee, which can potentially drive up the cost of the transfer.
And, when you initiate your transfer can also affect the transfer speed. TorFX can only handle your money during normal banking hours.
#7 XE – Supports Wide Range of Currencies for Large Transfers and Multilingual Phone Support
If you’re dealing with a wide range of currencies frequently, XE is a good choice to look into — you can send up to $500,000 to 130 countries in 98 currencies.
They also offer phone support in English, Spanish, and French if you need help with your transfer.
They’re a good choice for large transfers if you live in the US, Canada, the UK, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.
Fees: XE doesn’t have a minimum transfer limit (unlike OFX, TorFX, and Currencies Direct) and charges fixed fees and a margin on the exchange rate for amounts below $7000 USD.
You can see what you pay here – XE charges a small fee on low value transfers (opens tab, so you can keep reading).
Typically, they don’t charge a fixed fee for large transfers ($7000 USD/£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD/AUD) and keeps these transfers affordable by reducing the margin as the amount goes up.
Transfer Speed: XE usually completes large transfers in major currencies in 2-4 days.
#8 Currencies Direct – Best TorFX Alternative (Larger Amounts)
Currencies Direct is owned by TorFX and serves as a great alternative to TorFX in Canada, the US, Spain, Portugal, South Africa, and India. (They have offices in all these areas).
The main difference between TorFX and Currencies Direct is basically the regions they service.
Like TorFX, they’ve got great customer service and are suited for those transferring larger amounts (more than $7000 USD).
But before you pull the trigger:
We recommend checking the Currencies Direct exchange rate from desktop or mobile here.
Fees: In most cases, Currencies Direct only charges a margin on the exchange rate and no fees. If a fee is applicable, they let you know upfront.
However, intermediary banks or receiving banks may charge fees.
Transfer Speed: Currencies Direct can process same-day transfers to countries in Europe. For all other locations, it can take 2-3 days. The transfer speed also depends on when you set up your transfer with them.
Sending money internationally isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.
To choose the best service for your needs, you should consider several factors especially the amount you want to send and whether you prefer to send cash or use a bank transfer.
Not only does this approach help you save the most on fees, but more importantly, it can greatly enhance your overall experience (like less chance of frozen accounts or having to wait weeks for the money to arrive).
Here are our top picks:
- For cash transfers, WorldRemit (first 3 fee free) is our top pick for low fees while still providing cash pickup, mobile top-ups and other options.
- For small amount bank-to-bank transfers, Wise is our top recommendation because it allows you to see both the fees and the exact amount your recipient will receive. CurrencyFair is also a good choice, especially if you consider their Peer-2-Peer network which provides unrivalled control over the exchange rate.
- For larger transfers, OFX ($15 off if applicable) is our top pick. TorFX and Currencies Direct are also excellent options if you’re looking for more personalized support, while XE is a good choice for those dealing in a wide variety of currencies.