We live in an increasingly globalized world with people moving countries and continents for traveling, jobs, education, better standard of living and economic opportunities, or to start a completely new life. This is contributing to the rising need for instant money transfers overseas.
There are several reasons why people send money internationally. Here are some of the reasons why people transfer money overseas:
- Paying overseas tuition & school fees
- Paying for accommodation
- Buying overseas property
- Sending money to friends and family overseas
- Mortgage payments for a home abroad
- Medical treatment
- Buying something from a foreign vendor
- Booking a vacation abroad
- Paying for bills overseas
- Overseas investments
- Business payments
- Transferring overseas inheritance
According to World Bank data, remittances to developing countries are expected to reach $630 billion in 2022, a 4.2% increase over 2021. But there is a problem- the average transaction cost of sending $200 is around 6%, double the UN target of 3%.
It is the cheapest to send money to South Asia (4.3%) and the most expensive to send to Sub-Saharan Africa (7.8%). This means billions of dollars go towards paying transaction costs which come in the form of transfer fees and unfavorable exchange rates.
Independent research by Capital Economics in August 2021 showed that Indians spent over Rs 263 billion on foreign exchange fees in 2020, of which Rs 97 billion were hidden exchange rate markups. The remaining Rs 166 billion were spent on transaction fees.
Customers risk paying hidden fees in the form of a marked-up exchange rate which shows a lack of transparency in remittance fee structures.
Fortunately, we now live in a time where we have access to a plethora of companies and online platforms and money transfer apps to choose from. These services are, however, not one size fits all.
The best way to send money internationally really depends on what you need. Your preferred method will depend on several factors. For example, if you want a fast transfer, you will have to look for services with a fast transfer speed but expect a higher fee. If cost is important to you, you'll have to search for cheaper or slower options.
You might also have to think about how your recipient would like to receive the money-direct transfer to their bank account or a card or cash-pick at an agent location.
Below, we discuss below top money transfer companies to help you choose the best way to transfer money internationally for your situation:
Best Ways to Transfer Money Internationally
XE Money Transfer
XE money transfer is a Canada-based online international foreign exchange business offering fast and cost-effective international money transfers to over 130 countries in more than 60 currencies.
- XE offers easy international wire transfers to an overseas bank account on the XE website or XE mobile app. XE also provides tools to check live exchange rates in the XE Currency Converter and set alerts for any currency pair. You can also make forward contracts, spot contracts, market orders, international business transactions, and currency data APIs.
- They charge markup rates ranging between 0.5%-2%. The margins decrease with an increase in transfers. XE is ideal for large bank-to-bank transfers. No fees for transfers above $500.
- You can send up to $500,00 or the currency equivalent. And pay for the transfer using a bank account, credit, or debit card. Credit card payment carries additional charges.
- You may also have to pay for third-party charges since XE uses the SWIFT money transfer system.
- Depending on the currencies, most of the transfers are completed in a few minutes or may take up to 4 working days.
- Cash-pickup delivery option is available on the Xe app. Your recipients can pick up the cash at a specific store, XE branch, and selected partners.
- XE is regulated by multiple authorities in several countries, so your money is protected.
Skrill is a London-based online wallet platform that offers zero-fee transfers for sending money to a bank account overseas. This may be your cheapest and a convenient option to send money to an overseas bank account.
- Skrill allows you to send money internationally in 40 different currencies to over 180 countries directly to a bank account, Skrill mobile wallet, email address, and phone number (all options may not be available in all countries). They also let you buy and sell cryptocurrencies.
- Skrill makes money from mark-up exchange rates which can go up to 4.99% of the total value of your transfer. The fee for Skrill to Skrill transfer is 2.99%. Transfer fees can differ depending on the payment method. Payment with a debit card, Paysafecash, and bank transfer via Sofort/Klarna is up to 1%, while it is up to 2.99% for credit card payment.
- The fastest delivery is up to 2 hours or less for manual bank transfer. Most transfers arrive on the same business day but may take between 3-5 business days based on the payment method and how the money is delivered.
- Skrill is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK and the FinCEN in the U.S., so it is a reliable money transfer company.
- Refer a friend and win cashback rewards.
Sign up on the Skrill website or the Skrill App to start sending money.
Wise is a London-based online and mobile payment service provider offering money transfers overseas from 59 countries to over 80 countries with transparent fees and real exchange rates. It now has 12 million users worldwide and counting. FCA regulates them in the UK and other regulators around the world.
- Wise never markup the exchange rates. You get the real exchange rate or the mid-market rate (the ones you see on Google). This way, your recipient gets more money. So you send money internationally at the real exchange rates with transparent and low conversion fees.
- The transfer fees are charged based on the percentage of your transfer amount. So higher the transfer amount, the higher the fees. The percentage also varies from currency to currency which is available on their pricing page.
- Overall costs will also be determined by how you pay for your transfers. Wise offers payments via bank account, debit/credit card, SWIFT, and PISP.
- You will be able to see the costs of each payment method when you are setting up your transfer. Payment with bank transfer is the cheapest but slower than other methods.
- The transfer speed will vary depending on the currency pair and the payment method. The fast transfer takes only minutes. Slower ones may take about 2 days for the funds to be deposited in the bank. Advanced transfer using the SWIFT network may take 2-5 business days.
- Wise also provides a multicurrency account that allows you to hold 50+ currencies, and you can convert between the currencies at a low fee.
Remitly is a Seattle-based online money transfer company offering international money transfers from 21 sending countries to more than 100 countries. It especially targets immigrants looking for affordable, convenient, and fast money transfer services. You can send money either on their website or app.
- They offer several options to receive money: bank deposit, cash pickup, mobile money, and home delivery. Available delivery methods and the delivery speed will depend on the country you are sending money to.
Remitly offers two different speeds:
- Express: Money is delivered immediately. It comes with higher fees, and payment has to be done with a debit or credit card. Credit card payments have additional fees. (Prepaid debit cards are allowed for the US, Canada, and Australia or Maestro for the EU and UK)
- Economy: Money arrives in 3 to 5 business days. It comes with lower fees and can be funded from your bank account.
The overall transfer fees are determined by the transfer amount, the delivery speed, how you are funding the transfer, the destination country, and how the money is received.
- You can check for the pricing for the country you are sending the money.
- The exchange rate margins offered are between 0.5%-1.5%. You can check the rates by signing up with them.
- Remitly offers attractive promotional rates for first-time users. You also get referral rewards if you refer your friends to sign up for Remitly.
ICICI Bank Money2India
Money2India is an online money transfer service provided by ICICI Bank, India's largest private sector bank, and regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
- Money2India currently allows money transfers from the U.S., Singapore, and UAE to any bank accounts across 75,000 bank branches in India. Either you or your recipients don't have to open an ICICI bank account to avail the service.
- You can send in total 9 currencies with their product called Power Transfer: USD, CAD, GBP, SEK, CHF, SGD, HKD, and AED. If you are a Non-Resident Indian, you can remit money to your NRE account in India.
- Most of the transfers are completed within hours, but it can vary by country, how you pay for the transfer and what delivery method you choose. If you are sending from the U.S. using the Money2India's Express e-transfer, the money can be received in just 4 hours if the date of initiation and date of processing are working days in both the countries. If sent to non-ICICI bank accounts, the transfer speed will depend on the bank's processing hours and NEFT clearing cycle.
- You can lock in your desired exchange rate once you decide to initiate a transfer. Since rates fluctuate, check the exchange rates before you make your transfer.
- For sending money from the U.S. to India, if you send above $1000, there is no transfer fee. The fee for transfers below $1000 is $4. There is no service charge for money sent from Singapore, whereas they charge 12 AED for transfers from UAE.
Sign up online or on the Money2India app to send money to India today.
State Bank of India-California (SBIC)
State Bank of India-California (SBIC) is a full-service bank with headquarters in Downtown Los Angeles. It is a subsidiary of the State Bank of India, the largest public sector bank in India.
- With SBIC's remittance service, you can transfer directly to any bank in India online at zero costs within a few hours. You can send money anywhere in the U.S. via three convenient ways: Online, SBIC mobile app, and in-branch.
- They offer competitive USD to INR exchange rates. The exchange rates are subject to change and can vary based on the transfer amount and transfer method. For example, tiered exchange rates for in-branch transfers mean the higher the transfer amount, the higher the exchange rate.
- There is no fee for online transfer. But the remittance fee for in-branch is $15 for transfers below $50,000. There is no fee for transfers above $50,000.
- The transfer limit per day for accounts opened online is $25,000 per day and $50,000 per month. The limit is $50,000 per day for accounts opened in branches, but there is no monthly limit. The mobile transfer limit is $25,000 per day and $50,000 monthly.
- Online remittances for transfers above $35,000 can take 1-2 additional business days.
That said, SBIC is one of the fastest ways to send money to India from the U.S.
Instarem is a Singapore-based online remittance service provider offering money transfers overseas to over 55 countries via its network of more than 8000 banks worldwide. It has licenses in Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, India, the USA, Canada, the UK, the US, and the EU.
- Instarem also offers real exchange rates. There is no markup on the exchange rates. And there are no hidden charges. The transfer fees are shown upfront before you send the money. The fees will vary depending on the sending countries and the remittance corridor. It can vary between 0.25%-1% per transaction.
- You can view the rates and fees at any time on their currency converter. You simply enter the transfer amount and select the send and receive countries to see the exchange rates and fees for the chosen currency pair.
- Instarem supports multiple payment methods, including bank transfers, wire transfers, debit, or credit cards. It may also support other payment methods depending on the country from which you are sending the money.
- Sign up online or on the Instarem app. Once your account gets verified, choose your options and start sending money without a hassle.
- Most of the transfers are instant. However, it can take more than 2 business days to reach the recipient's bank account depending on the receiving countries, corridors, and payment method.
Instarem is especially popular for small transfers as they are cheaper. You can earn InstaPoints with every transfer that you can redeem in your next transfer.
Panda Remit is a Hong Kong-based online money transfer service provider founded by Wo Transfer Limited. Sequoia Capital and Light Speed, popular investment firms, have invested in Panda Remit. The company was also selected for the Mastercard Start Path Program in 2020.
- Panda Remit provides low-cost money transfers overseas to over 30 countries. They operate in Hong Kong, Sydney, Tokyo, Hangzhou, Denver, and Singapore.
- You can pay with a bank account, bank, or credit card. Transfers funded by bank transfers carry no fees, while payments with credit cards carry additional card processing fees.
- Panda Remit markup exchange rates lie between 0.02% to 0.62%. There are no hidden charges. You can select the sending and receiving countries or the currency pair and then enter the transfer amount on their website calculator to check the rates and fees.
- Apply referral bonuses, promotional rates, and free transfers for first-time users to save money.
- The recipient has multiple options to receive the money you sent: direct deposit to a digital wallet, bank cards, or cash pickup. Money can be transferred as fast as in 2 minutes. They also have a 100% satisfaction guarantee or get your money bank offer.
You can send online or download the Panda Remit app to sign up and start sending.
Pangea is a Chicago-based remittance service provider. It operates as an independent subsidiary under Enova International. Enova is a financial technology company that offers accessible credit to millions.
- With Pangea, you have access to fast, secure, easy, and affordable international money transfers from the U.S. to 40 countries worldwide. There are U.S. states where Pangea is not available. Check if it operates in the states you are a resident of.
- You can pay with a debit card, bank transfer, and cash. Cash payment is allowed if you live in Illinois (you can pay with cash at 7-Elevens).
- You can transfer money to a recipient's bank account, debit card, mobile wallet, or cash pickup. Bank-to-bank transfers are available to recipients in Mexico only. Direct deposits to debit cards or mobile wallets are available in select countries. There are 12,000 Pangea's cash pickup locations.
- The transfer fees will depend on the country you are sending to and your payment method. They charged a flat transfer fee and a transparent exchange rate which has a lower markup rate as compared to other options. You can earn $15 on your next transfer when you refer a friend.
- Most funds are transferred within 24 hours. If you pay with any US debit card, the transfer is completed in less than 30 seconds.
- Pangea has a daily limit of $2,999. The minimum transfer amount is $20. Pangea is a great option for sending money to Latin America and Asia.
Use their website or the Pangea mobile app to send money internationally.
Paysend is a UK-based money transfer with 6 million users worldwide. Paysend lets you transfer money online to over 150 countries around the world.
- Paysend is the first Fintech company to introduce global cards to card transfers connecting 12 billion cards issued by Mastercard, Visa, China Union Pay, and local card schemes. They provide over 40 payment methods for online SMEs and serve 17,000 SMEs worldwide.
- Sending to your recipient's bank account has zero transfer fees and directly to a recipient's Mastercard using their name and card number for only Euro 1.5, GBP 1, or $2 depending on the country you are sending from.
- The fee is fixed regardless of the transfer amount. So fees are always low, flat, and transparent, unlike others that charge a percentage of the transfer amount. The exchange rates are competitive, and it is shown upfront. Before you make any transfer, you can see the rate, the transfer fee, and the receivable amount.
- 90% of the transfers via Paysend completes in 15 seconds or less or can take up to 3 days. Paysend can be considered one of the fastest money transfer companies.
Send money online or download the Paysend money transfer app to start sending money today.
Revolut is a digital-only bank based in London, offering a range of banking services in a mobile app, including international money transfers. Revolut now has more than 18 million customers around the world.
- You can send money in more than 30 currencies to more than 100 countries. Revolut lets you hold 30 different currencies for free in your Revolut account, which is convenient for international transfers.
- Revolut uses real exchange rates for foreign currency exchange, and for most currencies, there is no markup on the real rates. However, there might be a small markup only on the weekends. So it is better to time your transfer for the weekdays if you don't want the markup.
- Revolut doesn't charge fees for sending money to other Revolut customers around the world or non-Revolut accounts in the SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) region in Europe.
- For payments outside the SEPA region, there are fees for international transfers to non-Revolut recipients. These fees can be viewed in real-time and vary depending on the currency you are sending and where you are sending the money to.
- You can send up to GBP 1,000 each month without the exchange fees. Exceeding the limit may incur a 0.5% fee if you are using a Standard account. You can upgrade to Premium or Metal to enjoy unlimited transfer, with no foreign exchange rate fees.
- Transfers to cards carry charges which can be calculated in real-time online or on the Revolut app before you make the payment. The fee depends on how much you are sending and where you are sending it.
- Transfer can take up to a few seconds or up to 2 working days based on the currency being sent and the destination country.
The global remittance market was valued at $701.93 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach $1,227.22 billion by 2030, at a CAGR of 5.7% from 2021 to 2030.
The growth of digital remittance services, including mobile-based payments, which provide customers with enhanced user experiences, transparent pricing, higher security, lower costs, and a quicker process of transferring money internationally, contributes to the market expansion. Further technological advancements in the digital remittance market are expected to create lucrative opportunities for market growth.
In this competitive marketplace, you may be able to find more transfer options with attractive exchange rates, lower fees, and higher speed depending on your needs. The best way to send money abroad is by comparing your options before you make a final decision. Try now using our app available on both Apple and Google Play Store.