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.
Venmo is great for local transfers in the US.
But there’s one massive drawback – you can’t use Venmo for international transfers.
So what are the options?
Thankfully there are several workarounds that don’t involve painfully expensive and sometimes hidden bank fees.
Here are 5 great services you can turn to, depending on where you want to send money, the amount, and your preferred payout methods.
Wise (formerly, TransferWise) for example enables you to do many of the same things Venmo does, but also makes international transfers cheap, fast and even fun. We will cover the details but if Wise doesn’t meet your needs, there are four others including WorldRemit, Remitly, OFX, and XE that should be perfect.
More on that in a bit.
First, let’s get clear on what you can and can’t do.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and potential savings on transfers if you use some of the links! For more information, see my disclosures here.
- What is Venmo?
- Venmo Costs & Fees
- Does Venmo Work Internationally?
- Can You Use Venmo While Overseas?
- Venmo Alternatives
- Venmo Alternatives Snapshot
Venmo has many happy users on the Google Play Store (4.2/5 stars with more than 700,000 reviews) and the App Store (4.9/5 stars with over 15 million reviews). But it has a poor rating on Trustpilot (1.2/5 stars with over 500 reviews).
With Venmo you can:
- Send money to friends and family in the US using their phone number or email. They’ll get instant access to the funds if they have a Venmo account. If they don’t have an account, they can just create one in a few minutes. You can also sync your Facebook or phone contacts to find your payee. It’s that easy.
- Pay for goods and services on apps that have approved Venmo as a payment merchant (there are plenty of those)
- Easily split and settle up expenses with friends and family in the app
- Track all your payments in the app
- Make payments with your bank account, credit card, or debit card.
- Apply for a Venmo MasterCard, which is widely accepted in stores in the US
You might like Venmo Vs PayPal because you might already have a PayPal account and PayPal can do some of the things Venmo does.
How much does Venmo really cost?
The good news is Venmo doesn’t charge you for most of its services.
- You won’t pay any fees for registering and holding an account
- No monthly or annual fees
- There are no charges for receiving payments in your Venmo account
- No charges for online payments
- Sending money from a linked bank account, debit card or Venmo balance is free
- In-network ATM withdrawals with your Venmo MasterCard are free
But there are some fees:
- Out-of-network ATM withdrawals will cost you $2.50 per withdrawal
- Funding a transfer with your credit card will cost you 3% of the transfer amount
- Venmo Exchange Rate? Unfortunately there isn’t even an expensive option, because you can’t do it.
- However you might be able to use Venmo while overseas…
Officially Venmo says that its service is “only available in the United States and only compatible with US based bank accounts and phone numbers. You must also be able to send and receive SMS/text messages from short codes.”
So the official line is clear, Venmo is “only available in the US”. However of course your US phone and US bank account can all be accessed while overseas.
This means in theory Venmo can be used while overseas and there are numerous posts online (like on reddit for Europe, Canada and the UK) that verify this is the case, but some suggest you might need to use a VPN.
Despite there being potential workarounds, Venmo is not a recommended option for international transfers. There are lots of fantastic service options available that more than fill the gap and could be cheaper and more convenient.
All the ones we suggest work well in the US as well!
If only Venmo had a foreign transaction fee. Since Venmo only works with US bank accounts and phone numbers if you need to send money to a family member to Canada or a friend who’s in Europe long term, Venmo is not the way to go as they will likely have bank accounts and cell phones in those countries.
What are the alternatives then?
Let’s dive in.
Don’t miss the Alternatives Snapshot table below.
Wise is a great Venmo alternative because in addition to international transfers some of their other services are pretty awesome too.
The important bit;
Wise makes bank-to-bank and card-to-bank transfers easy and affordable at interbank rates and they show you upfront exactly what you will pay in fees and you can even see how they compare with others. They specialise particularly in sending, receiving or spending money abroad and are on a mission to make it as cheap, convenient and fair as possible.
Availability: They are available from 59 countries (including US, UK, and Canada) and support transfers to 60+ countries in 40+ currencies.
Strengths: Low and transparent fees, easy online interface, great customer service, specialised in international money transfers
Fees: We love Wise for their transparent fee structure. Typically, Wise’s fees depend on how you fund your transfer (bank transfer or credit or debit card), the amount you’re sending, and the target currency.
Usually, their fees are between 0.4-1% of the transfer amount, which is extremely competitive compared to banks (who charge 3-5% of a transfer). Another great thing about Wise is that you’ll always be getting the best exchange rate with them. They never add a markup to the exchange rate which other providers typically do and believe in radical transparency.
Wise has created an alternative to the network that banks use to send money internationally, which allows it to minimise fees when sending money all aver the world.
Wise also offers a multi-currency account and a prepaid MasterCard (accepted pretty much anywhere globally and great for online purchases) You also get international bank details in major currencies like USD, CAD, GBP, EUR, AUD, SGD, and NZD which makes getting paid or accepting money in those currencies as if you had bank accounts in those countries. This means you can receive payments in those currencies for free and you avoid bad exchange rates.
If this all sounds pretty great check out our full review of Wise.
Remitly makes currency transfers fast and affordable for immigrants based in developed countries to their families in developing nations.
With Remitly you can send cash as well as transfer funds to your recipient’s mobile wallet or bank account.
Availability: Remitly is available in 16 developed countries: UK, US, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore and Sweden and supports transfers to family members in 50 countries worldwide (personal transfers only).
Strengths: Instant international transfers, focused on personal transfers, many payout methods.
If speed is your focus you might also like to discover the fastest ways to send money internationally.
Fees: Remitly’s fees vary based on your sending country, the transfer amount, selected service (Express or Economy – which determines transfer speed), and the target currency.
You can send money instantly to your family members with Remitly’s Express service.
These transfers can only be funded with a credit card and are typically more expensive. But it can be really handy in an emergency.
Their Economy service is more affordable but also slower (3-5 days). You can fund these transfers with a bank transfer or a debit card.
For some receiving countries, Remitly waives their transfer fees if you send more than USD 1,000 via the Economy service. This can turn out to be a great deal if you want to cover personal expenses for your family but don’t really need to funds money urgently.
Remitly limits transfers between the 16 sender countries, so Venmo is still a great option for local transfers in the US. But if you’re looking for international fund transfers in minutes to your family members who are based outside the US, Remitly is a great alternative.
Want more details on how Remitly works? Check out our full Remitly review.
|Venmo Alternative||Best for||Limitations|
|Wise – Check out their full review||One of the best and most affordable services for international bank-to-bank or card-to-bank transfers for low amounts ($7000 USD and below). Our top pick.||No instant transfers, no cash pick ups|
|Remitly – Check out their full review||Instant international transfers from 16 sender countries to 50+ countries worldwide. Cash pick up and mobile wallet transfers supported.||Personal transfers only|
Venmo is a no-brainer for transferring funds to friends and family if you’re in the US.
If you are travelling and have a Venmo account, it is probably not a good way to do as we discovered above.
But if you need to send money home, pay for things or even transfer funds to yourself internationally, you can’t go wrong with Wise especially amounts below $7000 USD. And if you’re a digital nomad, expat or frequent traveller, you’ll love the optional extras that come with Wise Multi Currency Account (review).