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The 5 Best Ways to Send Money Internationally in 2021 (Safe & Low Cost)

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WRITTEN BY
UPDATED
November 25, 2021

 

send money internationally

Sending money internationally? Thankfully, we no longer need to rely on expensive bank transfers. These days, there are some fantastic money transfer services out there that are cheaper and much more convenient.

 

After much research, we’re nominating Wise and OFX as the best ways to send money internationally. They both offer excellent rates, top-notch security, and reduce the unnecessary red tape required by traditional banks!

 

Who are we to write on this? Well, Bitcatcha has worked with remote teams around the globe for many years. The need to pay remote staff has led us to a long and intimate road with online money transfer services.

 

Here, we share our experience after having tried multiple brands over the years.
 

Best Ways to Send Money Internationally

 

  1. Wise – The best way to send money internationally
  2. OFX – Best service for cheap large volume money transfers
  3. Payoneer – Great for businesses with international customers
  4. Skrill – Great for consumer payments
  5. MoneyGram – Great for in-person and fast transfers

 

Note

All fees shown are according to the brand’s standard transfer rate for each time and it varies according to the country or currency.

 

Our list of the best services to send money internationally starts with Wise and OFX. However, your needs may vary, and there are excellent alternative options in the market.

 

Currency Support

50+

Overall Rating

Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5

Transfer Fee (USD)

$4.67

Key Features

  • 80+ countries
  • Spend abroad
  • Batch processing
  • Anti-fraud team
  • 2-factor auth.

“Wise is excellent for sending smaller amounts of money anywhere, ideal for freelancers.”

 

Founded by the Estonian duo Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus, Wise (formerly known as Transferwise) started relatively late; in 2011. By 2021 the company consolidated under the Wise brand.

 

transferring money with Wise

 

How Wise works

 

Wise has a network of international bank accounts via its local subsidiaries in around 90 countries. The money transfer occurs via a series of money swapping between these local accounts, which lets them cut exchange rates and impose lower transaction fees.

 

Wise essentially uses the mid-market rate at the time of your transfer, which is lower than what banks use. Another thumbs up!

 

Wise doesn’t charge any hidden fees such as exchange mark-up fees. However, they charge a minimal percentage fee based on the two currencies you’re converting, which is fair.

 

Why choose Wise money transfer

 

Wise shines in its transparent fee structure and excellent exchange rates. Each transaction will provide detailed information, including a complete cost breakdown. You even get to see the minimal fees that Wise levies, along with current mid-market exchange rates.

 

  • Guaranteed Rates and Easy Cancellations
    Also, any transfer rates are guaranteed once you finish setting up a transfer. This feature protects you against any fluctuation in rates, and you have the flexibility to cancel transfers that it hasn’t converted yet.
  • Good Range of Payments Supported
    Whether you’re a freelancer needing to get paid or a business that handles payments for your many employees across the globe, Wise supports everything. While bank transfers can take days, Wise makes it possible for same-day delivery. Wise also has both personal and business plans catering to a variety of needs.
  • Highly Regulated
    If you’re the type to shy away from money transfer services due to trust issues, then Wise is your guy! Not only is it a publicly listed company on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), it’s also tightly regulated in many jurisdictions.
  • Easy to Use
    Last but not least, Wise excels in its ease of use. Signing up for a free account was a breeze, and the whole process made it much more convenient than processing the same through a bank.

 

Who should use Wise money transfer

 

Great versatility, low fees, and a strong reputation make Wise a perfect fit for almost anyone. Employees, especially freelancers who have international clients, can essentially get paid with no problems at all. For businesses, there are no actual limits except in specific circumstances.

 

For more information – check out our detailed Wise review.

 

 

Currency Support

50+

Overall Rating

Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5

Transfer Fee (USD)

$11

Key Features

  • 16+ countries
  • Flexible funding
  • 24/7 OFXpert support
  • Customised rates
  • 2-factor auth.

“OFX excels in facilitating large fund transfers, offering low rates and no upper limit.”

 

OFX was established in 1998 by two foreign exchange professionals from Sydney, Matt Gilmore, and Gary Lord. In 2013, the company became a public listed entity in Australia. Similar to Wise, it consolidated various arms to operate under the OFX brand in 2015.

 

ofx homepage

 

How OFX works

 

You’ll need to sign up for a free OFX account to access live exchange rate data and initiate transfers. The process is relatively straightforward, except that there’s a phone verification step necessary before you can begin using your account.

 

All transfers must come from your bank account, either in the form of a direct debit or a wire transfer, and unfortunately, there’s no option to fund a transfer using cash, a check, or a credit/debit card.

 

For those of you who may encounter frequent internet disruption, you can perform telephone transfers on a 24/7 basis.

 

Why choose OFX money transfer

 

OFX shines in its low fees without sacrificing the quality of service. Their lack of an exchange transfer fee appeals especially to customers who make frequent transfers. They also offer various types of accounts for personal and business.

 

  • You Can Lock in Exchange Rates
    OFX allows users to build forward contracts for future transfers. This feature is impressive for those who need regular transfers and are somewhat familiar with money market rates. Essentially, you’re locking in rates to leverage low seasons, helping save money on future transfers.
  • Anytime Service and Support
    Another note to highlight is that OFX accepts transfers and provides customer service around the clock. You can also facilitate 24/7 trading facilities over the phone.
  • Great Pricing and No Transfer Limits
    If you send any amount above A$10,000 ($7,226), OFX forgoes its fees. While that isn’t great for freelancers, perhaps, it’s a solid business proposition. There’s also no maximum transfer amount – the sky is the limit.
  • It’s A Regulated Service
    Sending large amounts may make you nervous, but it’s safe with OFX. The necessary authorities tightly regulate the company in the multiple jurisdictions it operates. Security on the platform is also excellent, thanks to strong encryption.

 

Who should use OFX money transfer

 

OFX’s low costs and no maximum cap amount make it an excellent option for businesses. Even smaller businesses will likely send more than A$10,000, thereby skipping OFX fees. It’s a perfect way to send money to employees around the world.

 

To learn more – read our in-depth OFX review.

 

 

Currency Support

150+

Overall Rating

Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5

Transfer Fee (USD)

$3

Key Features

  • PCI compliant
  • Multilingual support
  • Cash advance
  • 3D secure
  • Partner network

“Payoneer is similar to PayPal Business but offers better rates, albeit with smaller payment batches.”

 

Approaching two decades in the financial service industry, Payoneer is an American company with a global presence in 24 countries. In 2021, Payoneer became a US publicly listed entity, having entered into a merger agreement with FTAC Olympus Acquisition Corp (NASDAQ: FTOCU).

 

payoneer homepage

 

How Payoneer works

 

Payoneer is neither a merchant account provider nor a payment service provider. Its core service facilitates the transfer of funds worldwide via bank transfer, and it doesn’t provide much else like those of the traditional merchant services.

 

After signing up for a free account, you can make and receive payments directly to your Payoneer account. Both sender and recipient need to have Payoneer accounts. Once the customer pays, money goes into your Payoneer account, and you can move it into a personal bank account locally.

 

Payoneer uses the third-party processor Global Payments to facilitate this. Your account also comes with ACH transfer functionality, but for an additional fee. As of current writing, Payoneer can convert over 150 different types of currencies.

 

Why choose Payoneer

 

Getting started with Payoneer is simple, and you also get a debit card along with your online account to withdraw funds from your bank or ATMs worldwide. Payoneer supports multiple currencies and offers speedy payment processing.

 

  • Strong Global Network
    Payoneer has a vast partner network and the capability to integrate with many popular platforms easily. This strength allows it to facilitate payments and transfers at much lower overall costs. Naturally, localized bank transfers also help out, so you’ll save quite a bit on exchange rates.

  • Support for Diverse Industries
    No matter the nature of your business, Payoneer can support you as it specializes in diverse markets and industries. There’s even a free Invoice Generator software that allows you to generate professional-looking invoices to send to customers.

  • Regulated for Compliance
    Payoneer guarantees that all payee disbursements are made via a fully compliant, secure, and tightly audited payment platform that’s recognized and valued by financial regulators worldwide. This tight system makes it a boon for business needs!

  • Rave Reviews!
    Many positive testimonials for Payoneer came from freelancers and international businesses; they raved about Payoneer’s ability to handle currency conversions and issue funds to local bank accounts worldwide.

 

Who should use Payoneer

 

If you don’t require credit card payments, Payoneer is an excellent option for your business. This fantastic service is best suited for freelancers, international companies with B2B payments, and those in the eCommerce space.

 

To find out more, head over to Payoneer official website.

 

 

Currency Support

40+

Overall Rating

Rated 4 out of 5Rated 4 out of 5Rated 4 out of 5Rated 4 out of 5

Transfer Fee (USD)

Free

Key Features

  • Simple intergration
  • Multilingual support
  • Email transaction
  • Account levels
  • Buy cryptocurrency

“Skrill works best if you need more than plain money transfers and even supports cryptocurrency.”

 

Founded in 2001, Skrill was formerly known as Moneybookers, and its initial focus was on the online gaming sector. The brand changed to Skrill In 2013, after which it got sold to the Paysafe Group. In 2015, Skrill again changed hands, this time to former competitor Neteller. Skrill has since expanded its services to allow you to send money internationally called Skrill Money Transfer.

 

skrill home page

 

How Skrill works

 

Signing up with Skrill is free, be it for a personal or business account. You’ll be asked to fund your account with a deposit (for account verification purposes) and can then start receiving funds and making payments.

 

Opening an account with Skrill allows you access to Skrill Money Transfer and Skrill Mobile Wallet, the former of which provides a fast, simple, and inexpensive way to send money internationally. Its popularity is due to attractive pricing, reasonable exchange rates, and low fees.

 

Your recipient will have the choice to receive funds directly into the bank account or into the Skrill mobile wallet. Skrill presents you with a final summary of the transfer so you can check before authorizing it.

 

Why choose Skrill

 

Skrill typically addresses consumer payment needs for local transfers at no cost. While opening a Skrill account is free, take note that you need to know other charges (aside from currency transfer and currency exchange fees).

 

  • Regulated and Secure
    Skrill is safe and secure; Regulation falls under the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The company has abided by strict rules and regulations, ensuring its users and their money is safe and secure. That said, a service is only as safe as its users. As such, use it responsibly (this applies to all services).
  • Fast Money Transfers
    Skrill has commendable transfer speeds. Money transfers for domestic payments are almost instant, although this can vary by country and time of payment initiation. International transfers usually take two to three business days.
  • Supports Interesting Sectors
    Last but not least, Skrill can work with forex and online gambling accounts and facilitate buying and selling in cryptocurrency. Support for gambling accounts is unusual since most payments systems shy away from less desirable business sectors.

 

Who Should Use Skrill

 

In the money transfer space, Skrill is unique. Its diverse capabilities make it a jack of all trades, yet master of none in particular. Those who need to facilitate international payments or have some niche needs can consider Skrill.

 

Visit Skrill official website to find out more.

 

 

Currency Support

40+

Overall Rating

Rated 4 out of 5Rated 4 out of 5Rated 4 out of 5Rated 4 out of 5

Transfer Fee (USD)

$2.99

Key Features

  • 200+ countries
  • Multilingual support
  • Cash pickup
  • Recurring payment
  • Mobile top up

“For those used to in-person transfers, Moneygram will make you feel at home.”

 

MoneyGram is an American money transfer company based in Dallas, Texas. It’s been around for a long time now and has a presence in many regional and local offices worldwide. Today, it is one of the largest payment transfer providers globally, second only to Western Union.

 

MoneyGram sends money to more than 200 countries

 

How MoneyGram works

 

MoneyGram’s core business is facilitating cash transfers in person. However, the company has since diversified into other areas such as sending money online, directly to bank accounts, a mobile wallet, and inmates. MoneyGram typically acts as a third-party intermediary between senders and receivers.

 

The sender goes in person to the nearest MoneyGram store and makes the payment in cash, after which MoneyGram will authorize the transfer via its network. The receiver’s nearest MoneyGram kiosk will then release the funds to the receiver, who needs to walk in person to collect the said payment.

 

Alternatively, if you choose to do so online, you’ll need to sign up for an account and use either a debit or credit card, with MoneyGram accepting Visa and MasterCard only.

 

Why choose MoneyGram

 

MoneyGram has an impressive network, including 350,000 agent locations and kiosks in more than 200 countries. Equipped with a full range of funding and receiving options, including cash deliveries and phone reloads in some markets, this is a great option when you need to do in-person transfers.

 

  • Transfers are fast
    Not only are the transfers quick – available within minutes (bank transfers can take as fast as a few hours to complete, although sometimes may stretch to as long as a day or so, especially when sending to the more popular destinations).
  • In-person transfers are an option!
    Most online money transfer services tend to shy away from in-person transfers. It adds to overheads, and cost savings are the main priority. Yet not everyone is comfortable making money transfers online – which is where Moneygram steps in firmly.

 

Who should use MoneyGram

 

If you need to send money to third-world countries frequently, then MoneyGram could be your choice. MoneyGram is also suited for emerging economies too. Unfortunately, it loses out slightly in rates – its vital advantage is boots on the ground in many places.

 

Hop over to MoneyGram official website for more information.

 

 

Understanding Fees When Transferring Money Abroad

 

Before you get all excited to get into some action, you’ll first need to understand the typical fees associated with international money transfers.

 

Transfer fee

 

This is the fee your money transfer service provider will charge you for sending your money. After all, you’re engaging them; as such, it is only fair you pay for their service to help you get the money across.

 

This fee can be a fixed rate or can depend on the destination you’re sending the money to, the amount of money you’re sending, how fast you need the transfer to take place, among others. Transfer fees are sometimes also called ‘Sending Fees’.

 

Receiving Fee

 

Some service providers charge both a transfer fee and a receiving fee. The receiving fee is the amount that the receiver has to pay for the said service. In short, the company is making a profit off both the sender and receiver.

 

How To Choose The Best Money Transfer Service

 

There are many money transfer service providers in the market, so how do we choose the best one that suits our needs?

 

There are several considerations that we need to look into when we evaluate them:

 

1. Exchange rate used

 

international exchange rate

Exchange rates constantly fluctuate and affect the amount of money received in international transfers.
(Source: XE)

 

A crucial aspect of sending money overseas is the exchange rate, since it dictates how much money eventually gets across. This matters even more when you’re transferring large amounts of money. A slightly lower rate can result in a significant amount of money saved!

 

It’s always good practice to double-check that you are getting the most accurate and best rate when transferring money abroad. You can do so by checking online or calling up several banks to confirm further. Then, go for the one that has the exchange rate that benefits you most.

 

2. Amount of money to be sent

 

If you’re dealing with only small amounts of money, you need to look for those specializing in such and charge you less when you do the transfer. However, if you’re regularly transferring large sums of money at once, you have to go for one specializing in larger business transfers and lower costs.

 

Also, keep in mind that certain service providers place a minimum and maximum cap on your sending amount. As such, you also need to consider this as well. You may want to avoid using banks if at all possible, as they often tack on hefty fees on top of charging you the retail rate instead of the fairer mid-market rate.

 

3. Transfer fees charged

 

You need to shop around and explore which providers will give you the best rates on transfer fees. This fee can be a percentage based on your transfer amount or a cost dependent on the transfer methodology you’re using.

 

Bear in mind that if you’re using a credit card to make the transfer, this fee can be higher. You’d be glad to know that some services offer transfers without any fees.

 

4. Safety and security

 

When it comes to transferring money online, trust and security are essential. You’d want assurance that your money is in safe hands and will reach the recipient within due time. There’s also the safety aspect when using individual platforms to consider. There’s also the safety aspect to consider when using individual services.

 

5. Transfer speed

 

Not all money transfer services move at the same speed in the same places. While in some areas, it can be near-instantaneous, others may take much longer. If you have specific needs, check their transfer times carefully.

 

6. User experience and customer support

 

Nobody wants to use a service that is too complicated – the banks do that sufficiently. You’d like to go for a safe service that’s simple enough for everyone to use. It’s also nice to know that there’s help on hand if you need it.

 

How To Avoid Catastrophe When Sending Money Internationally

 

There are some common international money transfer mistakes to avoid when sending any funds overseas:

 

1. Ensure your recipient details are accurate

 

One of the worst things you can do when sending money is providing the wrong recipient account details. You may be surprised to learn that 83% of transaction mistakes are from people entering incorrect bank account details.

 

To avoid this, please make sure the following are correct and accurately updated whenever you wish to initiate a transfer:

 

  1. The recipient’s full name, account name, and address
  2. The currency you want to exchange to
  3. The recipient’s bank account details

 

Always double and, if possible, triple-check the details before you authorize a transfer. It is complicated for your money transfer provider to trace and reclaim the funds if sent to the wrong person.

 

2. Confirm the exchange rate at the time of transfer

 

Exchange rates fluctuate rapidly, depending on the current economic and market conditions. For some companies, this can also impact the transfer fees. Compare various money transfer service providers to identify the relevant competitive rates for your budget.

 

Remember to read any associated fine print, and last but not least, look for the best time to transfer your money to obtain the best rate possible. The amount of money converted is determined by the strength of the exchange rate on the day you transfer.

 

3. Look out for hidden fees

 

When completing an international money transfer, check if other fees may apply later on, such as third-party fees (charged by interim banks) and receiving fees (charged by recipient’s banks). If you don’t, you may be caught off guard at the hefty amount you’ll need to pay at the end of the day.

 

Bear in mind that not all money transfer providers charge such hidden fees. Simply put, you need to be aware of the final figure you’ll need to pay and its breakdown before you authorize anything.

 

4. Check the estimated delivery time

 

It’s a good practice to find out how long your money will take to send before you authorize the transfer. Doing so lets you plan accordingly and set the right expectations for your recipient.

 

Bear in mind that the actual delivery time can change, depending on several factors, including the payment method, currency, and differences in the time zone.

 

Verdict: Which is The Best Money Transfer Service?

 

Sending money internationally can sometimes be challenging to navigate. However, there are many money transfer service providers in the market now that enable the task of doing so, easy as pie and at very cheap rates.

 

The above is a list of carefully curated money transfer service providers we’ve tested and found to be excellent in their distinct areas. We’re fans of Wise for regular smaller payments, but feel free to go through them and choose the one that suits your needs best.

 

As a recap, here’s our top 3 platforms to send money internationally in 2021:

 

Currency
Support

Overall
Rating

Transfer Fee
(USD/MO)

Wise

50+

Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5

$4.67

OFX

50+

Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5

$11

Payoneer

150+

Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5

$3

 

Bear in mind that some companies are slower than others; as such, the cheapest may not always be the best.