Find the best money transfer services for sending money abroad

With over 500 providers in the marketplace, the money transfer industry is extremely competitive. But where can you find the best deal?

In this article, I’ll share my insights with you based on extensive real-world testing of sending money abroad to a variety of locations. I’ll cover factors like fees, exchange rates, transfer speed, convenience, and security. I’ll also recommend my top picks for money transfer services.

Whether you’re sending money to a friend or family member in another country or you’re making a business payment, I’ll help you find the best way to get your money where it needs to go.

Best Money Transfer Services

Our Pick of the Top 10 Money Transfer Companies

ProviderRates/FeesSpeedGood ForLink
Currencies DirectFlat fee + percentage feeVery FastSending over 20kVisit Currencies Direct
WiseExcellentFastSending smaller amountsVisit Wise
RemitlyCheapestVery FastCheap ratesVisit Remitly
TransferGoGoodVery FastValue for moneyVisit TransferGo
XEGoodFastIts mobile app Visit XE
RevolutFairVery FastLow ratesVisit Revolut
InstareMAverageFastIts Amaze cardVisit Instarem
WorldRemitAverageModerateWell established Visit WorldRemit
TorfxFlat fee + percentage feeVariableSending larger amountsVisit Torfx
Key CurrencyFlat feeModerate Personal guidanceVisit Key Currency

Unsurprisingly, there’s no clear ‘best’ money transfer service since there are a number of top players vying continually to offer the most competitive rates and customer service.

The best for you will depend on how much you want to send, where you want to send it to, and what kind of customer service works for your situation.

That said, certain brands do stand out for their ease of use, speed of transfer and competitive rates. These are certainly adequate for a large part of the money transfer market if cost and efficiency are a chief concern.

For smaller amounts Wise, Revolut, TransferGo and Xe are some of my favourites. I’ll explain further down which of these excel in which particular situation.

Above a certain threshold, other brands, such as Currencies Direct and Torfx, come into their own. They are more price competitive at figures of 20k and above, and their offering of a dedicated account manager, whom you can email directly at any time, is crucial to their value. Their Trustpilot scores are the best in the industry, which speaks volumes about how their customers feel about them.

What is a Money Transfer Service?

currency exchange

A money transfer company is a business that facilitates the transfer of funds from one person or entity to another, often across international borders.

The process typically involves the sender depositing funds with the transfer service, which then relays a corresponding amount to the recipient in the desired location, often in a different currency. This service is valuable for remittances, business transactions, and personal transfers, offering a convenient alternative to traditional banking methods.

Money transfer services come in various forms, each catering to specific needs and preferences.

  • Money Transfer Apps – A money transfer app is a digital platform (like Wise or Xe) that allows users to send money electronically, both domestically and internationally. These apps are typically user-friendly, offering convenience and speed. I recommend these if you’re sending £5-500.
  • Remittance Companies – Offering physical locations in areas where banking infrastructure is limited, remittance companies often charge higher fees. They are specifically focussed on international payments, commonly facilitating transactions from migrant workers or expatriates to their home countries. Useful if you need a cash deposit or pickup.
  • Currency Broker – A currency broker, on the other hand (Currencies Direct, TofFX), is more suited for large, international transactions, often used by businesses. They specialise in exchanging currencies at favourable rates. Currency brokers provide personalised services, often offering advice on the best time to make a transfer based on market conditions.

Why You Should Use a Money Transfer Service over Your High Street Bank

Opting for a money transfer company over a traditional high street bank is almost always a more strategic choice for international transactions. These companies have evolved to offer superior efficiency and cost savings, primarily due to their focused approach to international remittances.

The average cost of sending money internationally through banks can be noticeably higher. Banks generally add a markup to the interbank exchange rate, which can range from 1% to 3%, whereas money transfer companies tend to offer rates closer to the mid-market rate, leading to significant savings on large transfers.

In terms of speed, a study by the World Bank highlights that digital money transfer services can complete transactions within 24 hours and, in some cases, instantly. In contrast, traditional banks might take 2-5 business days, as their processes are often entangled with more extensive regulatory and operational frameworks.

How to Compare International Money Transfer Services

While cost is the primary factor in most people’s minds, I suggest you look a little further when judging which to use. While many of the top providers are close on fees, the level of customer service varies considerably, as does the transfer times based on location.

My chief areas of focus are:

  • Fees: Compare flat fees, percentage fees, and any other charges across providers.
  • Exchange Rates: The exchange rate determines how much money the recipient gets.
  • Availability – Not all providers can send money to the same locations or handle things like cash deposits.
  • Transfer Speed: Some offer same-day or next-day service.
  • Security: Only use FCA-regulated providers with solid security like fraud protection, encryption, and segregated customer funds.
  • Reputation: Opt for an established provider with a solid track record of good customer service.
  • Customer Support: Compare availability and responsiveness.
  • Features: Consider special features like multi-recipient transfers or recurring payments.

How Does a Money Transfer Work?

A money transfer involves the process of moving funds from one party to another, either domestically or internationally. Here’s an overview:

  1. Starting the Transfer: First, you decide to send money, maybe to a friend abroad or a family member in another city. You can do this online, at a bank, or at a money transfer agency.
  2. Giving Details: You need to provide some key information, like how much money you want to send, who you’re sending it to, and where they’ll receive it. If you’re sending money overseas, you’ll need details like their bank account number or a special code for their bank.
  3. Paying for the Transfer: Next, you pay the amount you want to send and any fees for the service. You can do this from your bank account, with a card, or in cash if you’re at a physical location.
  4. Processing the Transfer: The money transfer service then takes over. They’ll move your money to the recipient. This can be quick or might take a few days, depending on where you’re sending the money and how you’re sending it.
  5. Recipient Gets the Money: The person you’re sending money to then receives it. They might get it in their bank account or pick up cash at a local spot if you’ve arranged for that.
  6. Confirmation: You’ll usually get a confirmation, like an email or text, to let you know the money has arrived safely.
best exchange rate

The Best Money Transfer Companies: Detailed Reviews

Currencies Direct: Best Overall (for 20k+)

Currencies Direct

Currencies Direct is one of the largest specialist currency brokers in the world, with a foot in every corner of the globe and a massive range of currency options. They were founded in 1996, during the early years of the internet, when people began to look beyond their banks for sending money. Years later, they remain our favourite broker for their stellar customer service (everyone gets a dedicated account manager), smooth transfer process, high levels of security and competitive exchange rates.

If you’re sending a few hundred pounds, they won’t be the cheapest – those rates are best served by big APP platforms like Wise. But if you’re sending more (20k+) and need a currency partner you can use for many years to come, they’re genuinely excellent. They don’t charge any transfer fees, costs or commissions, and, according to my analysis, their customer service is unmatched in the FX industry: they have a 4.9/5 Trustpilot score.

Pros & Cons of Currencies Direct


  • Stellar customer service
  • Dedicated account manager
  • Competitive rates, especially at larger amounts
  • 20+ global offices
  • The best Trustpilot score in the industry


  • May not be the fastest with some currency combinations
  • Less competitive under 20k

Is Currencies Direct Safe?

Yes, Currencies Direct is considered secure. They are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK and adhere to strict regulatory standards. This includes safeguarding client funds and maintaining high levels of operational and financial integrity.

Wise: Best Money Transfer APP for smaller amounts

wise money transfer

Wise (formerly TransferWise) is a superb online money transfer service that offers low fees, transparency, and mid-market exchange rates. If you’re sending a smaller amount, it’s a good choice.

Overall, I highly recommend Wise: it is a pioneer in making transfers affordable, but it has kept evolving since then, with a fast and very efficient service in 2023.

It can be slower than some competitors for particular locations (2-3 days), and you may also find others cheaper if you look hard enough, but for a huge company, it does a lot very well.

In addition to its low fees and transparent pricing, Wise also offers several other features that make it a valuable tool for international money transfers. These features include:

  • A multi-currency account: This allows users to hold, manage, and transfer money in multiple currencies, which can be helpful for travellers and businesses.
  • A debit card: This is linked to a multi-currency account, making it easy to spend money internationally.
  • A focus on security: Wise is committed to security and regulatory compliance. This means its users can be confident that their money is safe with Wise.
  • A track record of fast, reliable transfers: Wise has a track record of fast, reliable transfers. Therefore, its users can be confident that their money will arrive when needed.
  • Plenty of available pay-in options.

Pros & Cons of Wise


  • Extremely competitive fees and exchange rates
  • Full transparency
  • Fast transfer times
  • Wide network
  • Secure
  • Smooth transfers
  • Good reviews


  • No cash pickup
  • Extensive identity verification is required
  • Upper limits on transfer amounts
  • Weekend/holiday markup
  • Possible inbound fees charged by recipient banks
  • Not always the cheapest

Is Wise Safe?

Yes, Wise (formerly known as TransferWise) is safe for international money transfers. It is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK and complies with strict rules and regulations to ensure customer protection and financial security.

Remitly: Cheapest Overall Money Transfer Service


Remitly is a fantastic money transfer service that is known for its speed, convenience, and customer-centric approach.

It’s trusted, credible, well-rated and certainly one of the cheapest. In my testing, it often came out as the best-priced provider out of any on the market. My only small caveat is that it could use slightly more transparency about hiding some of the fees in the exchange-rate margin. Nevertheless, this is a common industry practice, so I don’t mark it down too much for that.

One of Remitly’s defining strengths is its flexibility. Users can choose from various delivery options, including direct bank deposits, cash pickups, mobile money, and home delivery. This makes Remitly a versatile choice for users with diverse needs.

Remitly also offers express and economy transfer options, allowing users to choose between faster delivery or lower fees. This gives users more control over their money transfer experience.

Remitly’s user interface is intuitive and straightforward, and the mobile app offers real-time updates for tracking transactions. This makes it easy for users to keep track of their money transfers and know when their recipients will receive the funds.

On top of that, Remitly ensures robust security measures, including 24/7 transaction monitoring and secure encryption technology. This guarantees a secure and reliable money transfer experience for users.

Pros and Cons of Remitly


  • Excellent fees and exchange rates – Often the cheapest provider available.
  • Numerous cash pickup locations
  • Fast transfers
  • Send to over 90 countries from major origin countries.
  • Responsive support – Quick to resolve any issues mentioned in reviews.


  • Over a third of fees are buried non-transparently in exchange rates.
  • Can only send money from certain countries like the US, Canada, UK.
  • In most cases, recipients must have a bank account.
  • Additional credit card processing fees may apply.
  • Daily and monthly limits on transfer amounts.
  • Extensive identity verification is required.

Is Remitly Safe?

Yes, Remitly is safe for sending money internationally. It is regulated by various financial authorities in the countries it operates, including the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK.

Remitly employs strong security measures to protect its customers’ funds and personal information. These measures include secure encryption technology, fraud prevention protocols, and compliance with local and international regulations.



TransferGo is a relatively new money transfer company that has quickly gained popularity due to its low fees and fast transfer times. The company’s platform is user-friendly, and its transfer process is straightforward. Transfers are typically completed within 1-2 business days, much faster than many banks. The exchange rates are also competitive compared to other providers.

However, there are some downsides to using TransferGo. The company does not offer as many currency pairs as other providers, so you may be unable to find the currency you need to transfer. Additionally, customer service response times can be slow, which can be frustrating if you need help with a transfer.

Overall, TransferGo is a good option for international money transfers where speed and low fees are important. However, you may want to consider a different provider for transfers to less common currencies.

Revolut also has robust security protocols in place, including strong customer authentication and device insurance.

Last but not least, its customer service is genuinely good, reflected in its very high Trustpilot rating.

Pros and Cons of TransferGo


  • TransferGo is known for offering some of the most competitive rates in the market.
  • The service provides standard transfers that are completed in just one day, and their fast transfer option can complete transactions in as little as 30 minutes.
  • TransferGo is a fully regulated entity, which enhances its trustworthiness and reliability.
  • The company is reputed for its excellent customer support, which can be a significant advantage for users needing assistance.


  • TransferGo mainly targets European operations, which may limit its usefulness for customers in other regions.
  • The service imposes a limit of £10,000 per transfer when using a card, which might be restrictive for users needing to transfer larger sums.
  • While offering competitive rates, 100% of TransferGo’s fees are incorporated into the exchange rate margin, which might not be transparent to all users.
  • TransferGo supports a relatively limited number of countries as origins for money transfer, which could be a drawback for global users.
  • TransferGo consistently offers the cheapest rates for transfers to Europe, making it less ideal for transfers to other regions.

Is TransferGo Safe?

TransferGo is safe as it is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK and implements stringent security measures, including data encryption and fraud prevention protocols.

XE Money Transfer


XE Money Transfer is one of the top FX companies in the world for a reason; they offer a speedy, convenient, and transparent way to send money to over 170 countries in over 60 currencies. Their exchange rates are not quite as transparent as I would like, but nevertheless, they remain broadly competitive.

I have found XE to be professional, reliable and reasonable, but they are not the cheapest provider you’ll find.

XE’s key strengths include:

  • Speed: XE transfers are mostly completed within one business day, making them one of the quickest
  • Convenience: Send through the XE app or by phone.
  • Customer support: 24/7 customer service helps with any questions or problems.
  • Cash pickup – With 500,000 locations at its disposal, the huge XE network is one of its biggest strengths.

Pros and Cons of XE


  • The XE website and mobile app are designed to be intuitive and easy to use.
  • XE supports transfers in 60 different currencies to over 170 countries.
  • Accessible in 22 countries.
  • XE allows for sending money to mobile wallets and offers cash pick-up options at over 500,000 locations worldwide


  • While XE does not charge direct transfer fees, additional costs may apply for specific payment methods, such as credit card payments, due to processing charges.
  • Despite its broad coverage, XE is not available in all countries.
  • Some users have reported experiencing delays in customer support responses, particularly during busy periods.
  • XE does not use the mid-market exchange rate but applies its own rates, which may not always be the most advantageous for the user.
  • XE relies on banks to process payments, which can sometimes result in delays of a few days for the transfers to complete.
  • XE focuses exclusively on transfers and does not offer a card for holiday spending or personal use.

Is XE Safe?

XE is safe for money transfers. It is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK and uses advanced encryption and security protocols to protect user data and transactions.



Revolut is a digital banking platform as opposed to simply a currency exchange company, but FX is at the heart of its offering. Here at Business Expert, we’ve written a lot about Revolut, recommending both personal and business accounts in addition to their competitive money transfer functionality.

One of Revolut’s key strengths is its global reach. Revolut users can send and receive money in 200+ currencies at far cheaper rates than traditional high-street banks offer. This makes Revolut a great option for travellers and businesses that need to make international payments.

According to my testing, Revolut’s app is one of the best on the market. It’s a doddle to use and provides a clear view of fees and exchange rates. Users can also track their spending, set spending limits, and freeze or unfreeze their cards with just a few taps.

In addition to its core money transfer services, Revolut also offers a number of other features:

  • Cryptocurrency exchange: Buy, sell, and hold Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies.
  • Budgeting tools: Revolut does a good job with its budgeting tools, such as spending categories, spending alerts, and savings goals.
  • Disposable virtual cards: RCreate disposable virtual cards that can be used for online purchases and help with fraud protection

Pros and Cons of Revolut Money Transfer


  • Revolut offers transparency in exchange rates, with the option to convert balances between currencies without exchange fees.
  • Automatic currency conversion is available when withdrawing money.
  • There are no fees or commissions on payment transactions for purchases or national and international transfers in different currencies.
  • ATM withdrawals abroad are cost-free with Revolut.
  • The app allows users to instantly lock and unlock their card in case of loss or theft.
  • In case of loss or theft during travel, users can request a duplicate card to be sent to their current location.
  • Revolut offers immediate transfers between its own accounts.


  • Loading the Revolut account via bank transfer can take up to three days, and there may be associated costs depending on the bank.
  • International bank transfers can take two to three business days to complete.
  • There are withdrawal limits in place: 200 EUR for the free account, 400 EUR for the Premium, and 600 EUR for the Metal account, with a 2% fee charged on amounts over these limits.
  • Customer support is primarily in English, which may be a barrier for non-English speakers in case of issues.

Is Revolut Safe?

While not yet a full bank in the UK, Revolut is safe. It is under regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK and uses strong security measures like encryption and customer verification to protect accounts and transactions.



Instarem is a global money transfer company that offers a fast, secure, and convenient way to send money overseas. The company’s platform is user-friendly and its transfer process is straightforward. Transfers are typically completed within minutes or hours, which is much faster than many banks. The exchange rates are also competitive compared to other providers.

However, there are some downsides to using Instarem. The company does not offer as many payment options as other providers, so you may be unable to use your preferred method to pay for your transfer. Additionally, customer service response times can be slow, which can be frustrating if you need help with a transfer.

Overall, Instarem is a good option for international money transfers where speed and convenience are important. However, you may want to consider a different provider for transfers to less common currencies or using less common payment methods.

Pros and Cons of Instarem


  • The service allows users to send money to over 55 countries.
  • Transfers can be made online or in-app, 24 hours a day.
  • Users can earn points on transfers, which can be used to reduce the costs of future payments.
  • InstaReM is a safe and fully regulated provider, ensuring security and compliance.
  • The service is well-rated by customers overall, indicating a high level of satisfaction.
  • Account opening and transfer initiation are smooth and user-friendly, both online and via the mobile app.
  • Transfers are relatively fast, typically completed within 1-3 business days.
  • InstaReM offers competitive rates and higher transfer limits, especially for transfers to India and Southeast Asia.
  • The service is available on popular corridors like US-India and UK-India, catering to a significant customer base.


  • Exchange rate markups apply to transactions, increasing the cost.
  • Transfers may take up to two working days.
  • There are no options for credit or debit card payments from the US, limiting payment flexibility.
  • InstaReM’s costs are often higher than top competitors for most routes due to wider exchange rate margins.
  • Pricing lacks transparency, with all fees incorporated into the exchange rate markup.
  • Payout options are limited, primarily to bank deposits, and lack cash pickup options.
  • Customer service is sparse, with only live chat available and limited information in the FAQ or help center.
  • Country coverage is less extensive than some leading players in the market.
  • Some customers have reported slow refund times, with delays stretching into weeks.
  • Account verification can take 1-2 days, resulting in a longer account setup process.

Is Instarem Safe?

Instarem is safe for money transfers, adhering to rigorous security protocols. They use AWS Cloud infrastructure, enhanced by firewalls, intrusion detection, and threat management tools. Data is protected through in-transit and at-rest encryption, and regular security assessments and external audits further bolster their systems.



MoneyCorp, the second-largest broker in the UK, has been around since 1962.

The company’s platform is reasonably though not excessively user-friendly and its transfer process is straightforward. Transfers are typically completed within 1-2 business days, which is good.

Overall, the exchange rates are competitive compared to banks but they’re not the industry’s cheapest. What I like about them is the ability to work with a personal account manager, which really works for a certain type of customer.

However, there are some downsides to using MoneyCorp. The transfer fees can be high, especially for smaller amounts. The company also does not offer a wide range of currency pairs, so you may not be able to find the currency you need to transfer. Additionally, customer service response times can be slow, which can be frustrating if you need help with a transfer.

Overall, MoneyCorp is a good option for larger transfers where the exchange rates help justify the fees. However, for smaller amounts, you may want to consider a different provider that offers lower fees and a wider range of currencies.

Pros and Cons of Moneycorp


  • The company has a strong customer service record, evidenced by a 5-star rating with Feefo.
  • Moneycorp’s service is available online 24 hours a day
  • There is no maximum limit on the amount you can transfer.
  • Express transfers are available in some locations, possibly allowing same-day transfers at an added cost.
  • Multiple payment methods are supported, including bank transfers, debit cards, and Moneycorp account balances.
  • Phone transfers are straightforward to set up.
  • Moneycorp has been operating since 1979, showing a long history in the industry..
  • The company holds a banking licence in Gibraltar and has the highest D&B rating in the industry, showcasing its reliability and credibility.
  • Moneycorp offers sophisticated payment solutions like mass payments and delayed payments.
  • The company is attentive and responsive to client complaints and is very transparent, sharing its annual report despite being a private company.


  • Users transferring funds from America face double currency conversion costs, as funds need to be converted to pounds first.
  • Moneycorp doesn’t support transfers to all countries, with destinations like Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines excluded.
  • The setup process can be complicated and time-consuming due to the need for ID and phone verification.
  • The rates shown on Moneycorp’s online calculator are mid-market rates and may not accurately reflect the rate you’ll ultimately get.
  • Double conversions (first into Great Britain pounds and then to the target currency) can increase the overall cost of transfers.
  • Sign up and verification processes can be tedious.
  • While transfers are claimed to be processed in 2-3 business days, they may take longer in some cases.
  • The Moneycorp app, available for Android and Apple, has received negative reviews and highlighted issues in functionality.

Is Moneycorp Safe?

Moneycorp is safe for foreign exchange and money transfers. As an Authorised Payment Institution, they adhere to the Payment Services Regulations 2017 and are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They use safeguarding methods like segregation and insurance to protect client funds. In the event of insolvency, funds in safeguarded client accounts are secure and returned to clients, with daily reconciliations ensuring accuracy. Moneycorp’s long-standing reputation and compliance with regulations underscore their reliability and trustworthiness in handling financial transactions.



WorldRemit is a major money transfer service which does a good job without being one of my top choices. I would like to see greater fee transparency and slightly cheaper rates for it to be ranked more highly.

That said, WorldRemit enables users to send money to over 150 countries in more than 90 currencies. The platform offers a decent variety of delivery options, including bank deposits, cash pickups, mobile money, and even airtime top-ups. This makes WorldRemit a good choice for many, and their customer support is usually very good.

WorldRemit’s user-friendly interface on both its website and mobile app makes initiating and tracking transactions easy and efficient. The service also stands out for its low minimum transfer amounts, making it an excellent choice for small transfers.

WorldRemit prioritizes security, using trusted encryption technologies to ensure the safety of its users’ transactions. This makes WorldRemit a trusted and reliable option for sending money internationally.

Pros and Cons of WorldRemit


  • Offers a broad range of delivery options, including cash collection for almost instant service.
  • The app is well-rated and WorldRemit has a global network of agents, facilitating payments worldwide.
  • Users can model payment costs online, checking options, fees, and exchange rates in advance.
  • Provides a strong range of payout options, including cash collections and airtime top-up.
  • Payments can be set up online or via the WorldRemit app for convenience.
  • Allows sending money to recipients in over 130 countries globally.
  • WorldRemit is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK, ensuring safety and reliability.


  • Costs include transfer fees and a markup on the exchange rate, which can vary based on the delivery method, potentially making it a more expensive option.
  • Not all delivery methods are available in every location.
  • Service availability varies by destination country.
  • Fees and exchange rates are dependent on the destination, payment method, and recipient’s receiving method.
  • Payments cannot be made to some major European countries, such as France, Germany, or Spain.
  • Exchange rates include a markup on the mid-market rate, which may affect the overall cost of the transfer.

Is WorldRemit Safe?

WorldRemit is safe for international money transfers. It’s regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK and complies with regulations set by various global bodies. WorldRemit focuses on customer privacy and account security, employing strict verification processes, dedicated monitoring teams for unusual activity, and designing their website and app to protect against unauthorised access.

The Best International Money Transfer Services for Sending More than 20k

Here are the top choices for money transfer companies offering a more bespoke service, dedicated account managers, easy contact by phone or email, and specialist solutions like spot trade and forward contracts.

If you’re sending a larger amount abroad, perhaps to buy a property or another sizeable transaction, these services are set up to support you. They are respected, regulated and professional.

ServiceFeesExchange RatesTransfer SpeedVisit Site
Currencies DirectFlat fee + percentage feeClose to mid-market1-3 business daysVisit Currencies Direct
TorfxFlat fee + percentage feeVariableSame-day or next-dayVisit Torfx
Key CurrencyFlat feeClose to mid-market1-3 business daysVisit Key Currency

International Money Transfer Fees & Charges

When you transfer money internationally, you may be charged a number of fees, including:

Transfer fees

This is the fee charged by the money transfer provider to process the transaction. This can vary depending on the provider, the amount of money being transferred, and the destination country.

Sample Fee: With a provider like Western Union, you might incur a fee of £3.99 for a £100 transfer to a country like India, while using a digital-first platform like TransferWise may charge around £0.80 for the same transaction.

Exchange rate margin

This is the difference between the mid-market exchange rate (the rate at which banks and other financial institutions exchange currencies between themselves) and the rate that the money transfer provider offers to customers. This is how the money transfer provider makes a profit.

Sample Fee: For example, if the mid-market rate for USD/GBP is 1.35, a service provider might offer a rate of 1.33. The difference of 0.02 per dollar transferred is their margin. On a £1,000 transfer, that would equate to a £20 charge.

Recipient fees

The recipient’s bank may also charge a fee to receive the money. This fee can vary depending on the recipient’s bank and the destination country.

Sample Fee: For instance, a bank in the United States may charge around $15 to $25 for incoming international wire transfers.

Choosing a Money Transfer Recipient Options

When you send money abroad, you will need to choose a recipient option. There are a few different options available, including:

  • Bank account: This is the most common recipient option. The money will be deposited directly into the recipient’s bank account.
  • Cash pickup: The recipient can pick up the money in cash at a local agent location. This can be a convenient option, but it can be more expensive than other methods.
  • Mobile wallet: The recipient can receive the money in their mobile wallet. This can be a convenient option, but it may not be available in all countries.
  • Gift card: The recipient can receive a gift card that they can use to purchase goods or services. This can be a convenient option, but it may not be the most cost-effective.

The best recipient option for you will depend on the needs of the recipient and the money transfer provider you are using.

Here are some factors to consider when choosing a recipient option:

  • The recipient’s needs: The recipient may have a preference for a particular recipient option. For example, if the recipient does not have a bank account, they may need to choose cash pickup.
  • The money transfer provider’s fees: Different money transfer providers may charge different fees for different recipient options. It is important to compare the fees of different providers before making a transfer.
  • The speed of delivery: Some recipient options are faster than others. If you need the money to arrive quickly, you may need to choose a different recipient option.
  • The security of the transfer: Some recipient options are more secure than others. It is important to choose a recipient option that is secure and protects the recipient’s privacy.

What’s the cheapest way to transfer money abroad?

The cheapest way to transfer money abroad depends on a few factors, including the amount of money being transferred, the destination country, and the speed of transfer.

However, some of the cheapest ways to transfer money abroad include:

  • Online money transfer services: Online money transfer services like Wise and XE typically offer low fees and good exchange rates. They form the real focus of this article.
  • Peer-to-peer money transfer services: Peer-to-peer money transfer services like ike Venmo, CashApp, and PayPal focus on consumer transactions between friends, family, and acquaintances. This can be a cheaper option than using a traditional money transfer provider but less cost-effective for businesses. They also require both parties to be members of the platform.
  • Bank transfer: While bank-to-bank transfers may seem straightforward, they often entail hidden charges and less favourable exchange rates, unless you are a Revolut customer. Revolut’s model minimises fees, offering a distinct advantage over conventional banks.
  • Cash pickup: Cash pickup services allow you to send money to a recipient who can pick it up in cash at a local agent location. This can be a convenient option, but it can be more expensive than other methods.

Safety and Security of Money Transfers

Money transfers can be a safe and secure way to send money internationally. However, there are some risks involved, such as fraud and scams. Here are some tips to help you stay safe when making a money transfer:

  • Choose a reputable money transfer provider: Do your research and choose a money transfer provider that has a good reputation and security measures in place.
  • Be wary of unsolicited emails and text messages: Never click on links or open attachments in unsolicited emails or text messages. These messages may be from scammers trying to steal your personal information.
  • Only use secure websites: When making a money transfer online, make sure you are using a secure website. Look for the https:// at the beginning of the website address and a padlock icon in the address bar.
  • Check the recipient’s details carefully: Before making a money transfer, make sure you check the recipient’s details carefully. This includes their name, address, and bank account number.
  • Keep a record of your transfer: Keep a record of your money transfer, including the date, amount, and recipient’s details. This will help you if you need to track your transfer or dispute a transaction.

Best Money Transfer Providers by Country

The table below shows our recommendations for the best providers for popular country pairs based on factors like exchange rates, fees, transfer speed, and recipient options. Selecting the best provider for your specific transfer corridor can save you time and money.

RegionCountry CorridorBest ProviderWebsite
AmericasUS to
AmericasUS to
AmericasUS to
AmericasCanada to
AmericasNorth America to
AmericasSouth America to North
AmericasNorth America to South
EuropeUK to
EuropeEurope to North
AsiaAsia to
AsiaAsia to North
AsiaFrom BrazilRemessa

Are there any money transfer restrictions for UK business owners?

Yes, there are a number of restrictions and regulatory considerations that UK business owners should be aware of when making international money transfers. These include:

  • Anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing (CTF) compliance: UK financial institutions are required to monitor transactions and report suspicious activities. Transfers exceeding a certain amount, typically £10,000, may trigger additional scrutiny and require further documentation to justify the transfer.
  • Sanctions: The UK abides by international sanctions set by organisations like the United Nations and the European Union, as well as its own national sanctions. Transfers to entities in countries under sanctions, such as North Korea or Iran, are generally prohibited.
  • Local regulations: The receiving country may also have restrictions on incoming transfers, such as maximum allowable amounts or requirements for declaring the source of the funds.
  • Service provider restrictions: Different service providers have their own limitations, such as:
    • Transaction limits: Minimum and maximum amounts that can be transferred.
    • Currency restrictions: Not all currencies are supported by every service provider.
    • Payment methods: Limitations on the types of payment methods that can be used to fund a transfer.
    • Type of recipient: Some platforms impose different restrictions based on whether the recipient is an individual or a business.
    • Time constraints: Transfers may be restricted to business hours or may take longer to process in certain cases.
    • Documentation requirements: KYC (Know Your Customer) procedures often require comprehensive documentation for both the sender and recipient, especially for large transactions or new accounts.

What other ways than a money transfer service can I send money abroad?

Sending funds abroad is a critical function for many businesses that operate on an international scale. There are a number of methods available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages in terms of cost, speed, and security.

Bank wire transfers are a common choice for large sums. They are typically secure and reliable, but can be slow and expensive.

Foreign currency accounts allow businesses to hold different currencies, which can help to mitigate currency exchange risks. However, these accounts can be expensive to set up and maintain.

Digital wallets like PayPal, Skrill, and Neteller offer a quick and convenient way to send money internationally. However, they may have limits on the amount that can be transferred and can charge fees.

Cryptocurrency transfers can be a fast and low-cost way to send money overseas. However, the recipient must be able to convert the cryptocurrency into their local currency, and there is always the risk of volatility.

Foreign exchange brokers can provide businesses with competitive exchange rates and hedging options to protect against currency fluctuations. However, they may not be suitable for all businesses, as they typically require large minimum transactions.

Postal money orders are a secure way to send money internationally, but they can be slow and expensive.

Prepaid debit cards can be a convenient way to send money to someone who does not have a bank account. However, they may have high fees and can be difficult to use in some countries.

Peer-to-peer platforms connect individuals who want to exchange currencies directly. This can be a cost-effective way to send money internationally, but it is important to do your research to ensure that the platform is reputable.

The best method for sending funds abroad will vary depending on the specific needs of the business. It is important to consider factors such as the amount of money being sent, the speed of transfer, the security of the method, and the fees involved.

Here are some additional tips for choosing the best method for sending funds abroad:

  • Get quotes from multiple providers to compare fees and exchange rates.
  • Consider the speed of transfer required. Some methods are faster than others.
  • Make sure the method is secure. You should only use reputable providers.
  • Be aware of any fees that may be charged by the recipient’s bank.