Whether you have family in another country or you’ve received a panicked phone call from your child studying overseas needing money, rest easy. It’s possible to send money abroad cost-effectively.
The best way to send money abroad depends on several factors, including:
- How fast you need the money
- The availability of banks/money providers
- How much you’re willing to spend on fees
I have experience sending money internationally from my U.S. bank account to Latin America. Most of the time, the recipient was another person. But there was a period when ATMs abroad weren’t accepting my debit card, so I sent money to myself while overseas.
I’ll talk more about this money-sending trick soon. But first, let’s explore your options for the best way to transfer money abroad.
An Overview of Your Options
Below is a run-down of the international money transfer services I’ll cover.
|Wise||Overall top pick|
|Remitly||Sending money in uncommon currencies|
|Ria||Competitive exchange rates|
|WorldRemit||Mobile wallet transfers|
|Wire transfer||Sending money traditionally|
|Western Union||Remote areas|
|MoneyGram||Western Union backup|
|PaySend||Debit and credit card transfers|
|Apple Cash||iOS users|
|Xoom||Receiving cash from home|
Although all these companies have the same bottom line—getting money to your recipient abroad—their fees, speed, ease of use, and practicality vary.
Please keep in mind that information in the money transfer world changes quickly. Often, this is for your benefit, with companies adding more countries they work with.
But fees and exchange rates can also change, for better or for worse. So, I’ve included a link to each company I’m covering so that you can quickly check their website for their most up-to-date information.
Best Ways to Send Money Abroad
Ready to learn the best way to transfer money overseas according to your situation? Read on.
1. Wise: Best Overall
Wise is among the safest ways to send money overseas. Over 15 million people use them for their international money transfers, taking advantage of Wise’s lower fees than most other options on this list.
Depending on how you pay, your recipient can receive the money you send them in one day, on the same day, or instantly, making Wise one of the quickest ways to send money overseas.
Wise lets you send money internationally via direct debit, bank transfer, debit card, and credit card. Of these, a bank transfer is the cheapest, and credit card transfers are usually the fastest.
- No exchange rate markups
- Fast, low-cost transfers
- Available to citizens of nearly every country
- No option to transfer money via cash or checks
- The countries where you can transfer vary according to where you’re from
2. Zelle: Best for Americans
Zelle is the cheapest way to send money abroad—you’ll pay $0 in fees when transferring money internationally between Zelle-approved bank accounts. But there’s a caveat: Both the sender and receiver must have a U.S. bank account, and those bank accounts must have a partnership with Zelle.
Therefore, Zelle is ideal for sending money internationally when you’re an American wanting to send money to an American abroad.
I’ve used Zelle several times while abroad and appreciated that the money arrived directly in my bank account. I then use my travel-friendly Schwab debit card to withdraw the money from one of the thousands of fee-free ATMs that Schwab works with.
- Instant money transfer
- Doesn’t store your personal information
- No fees
- Banks put their own cap on how much money you can transfer each day
- Only for U.S. bank accounts
3. Remitly: Best for Sending Money in Uncommon Currencies
Remitly offers the opportunity for customers to transfer money in over 75 currencies to nearly 170 countries. Some of the most popular countries to send money internationally using Remitly are Mexico, the Philippines, India, and Brazil.
What makes Remitly stand out from many options on this list is that it offers receivers the choice to make a cash pickup in addition to bank deposits and sending money to a mobile bank app. They’ll even deliver money to your recipient’s home.
Needless to say, Remitly is the best way to send money abroad if you’re sending money to someone who’s sick or has limited mobility. You can’t fund your Remitly account with cash to send, but you can do so via a bank transfer, debit card, or credit card. Just prepare to pay additional fees if you transfer by card.
- Excellent selection of currencies
- Exchange rate between 0.5% – 2%
- Money arrives in minutes via debit and credit card transfers
- Low limit on how much you can send
- Expensive surcharge for using debit and credit cards
4. Ria: Best for Competitive Exchange Rates
Ria is one of the largest international money transfer companies in the world. They offer fair exchange rates and low transfer fees for money transfers in more than 165 countries.
On the off chance you have an issue with your Ria transfer, they’ll refund the fees you paid. Ria also has a user-friendly app that allows you to save people to whom you frequently transfer money. The receiver can also use Ria’s app to identify the closest payout locations to where they’re staying.
Ria is the best way to transfer money abroad for people of all tech-savvy levels. You can initiate an international money transfer on their website, via their app, or in person.
- Competitive currency exchanges
- Instant cash transfers
- Several transfer methods
- Daily and monthly transfer limits
- Costs are higher in certain countries
5. WorldRemit: Best for Mobile Wallet Transfers
If you’re wondering where to send money abroad that won’t charge you excessive fees, check out WorldRemit. You don’t need to be a tech whizz to use WorldRemit’s online system, which allows you to create a fast and secure account on their website or via their mobile app.
WorldRemit offers the option for customers to pay for international money transfers via a bank deposit, debit card, or credit card. They won’t leave you guessing about fees, which they’ll show you upfront based on the country and currency where you’re sending the money.
Like most international money transfer services, the cheapest way to initiate a transfer with WorldRemit is usually by a bank deposit. Debit and credit card money deposits incur fees, but they’ll arrive to your recipient faster.
- Easy online system
- Lower fees than brick-and-mortar businesses
- Ideal for mobile wallet transfers
- Works in limited countries
- Transfer limits vary according to the country
6. Wire Transfer: Best for Sending Money Traditionally
Initiating a wire transfer via your bank is one of the most traditional ways to send money abroad. Some people prefer making an international wire transfer because of their trust in their bank managing the transfer.
The advantage of a wire transfer is that most banks around the world accept them, making it easy for you to get your money overseas. You can also initiate the transfer online without having to visit your local bank branch.
Once your bank approves the wire transfer, the recipient can usually access the money within a few days. That differs from domestic wire transfers, where the money is usually available on the same day.
- Safe way to transfer money
- You don’t have to share your bank details with a third party
- Accessible in most parts of the world
- No option for immediate money arrival
- Typically has high fees
7. Western Union: Best for Remote Areas
Back in the day, Western Union was my go-to option for international money transfers (that was before I knew about the best banks for expats). It certainly wasn’t the cheapest way to transfer money overseas, and it continues to be an expensive option.
But given that Western Union works in over 200 countries and territories, with services in over half a million locations, including in many remote parts of the world, they’re a viable option for people in situations where the other methods on this list aren’t viable.
Unlike most money transfer services here, you can fund your Western Union transfer with cash. Because of this, combating fraud is at the forefront of Western Union’s mind. So, you can expect a rigorous process to identify the sender’s and receiver’s identities.
- Accessible in most parts of the world
- Instant withdrawal options available
- Cash deposits accepted
- Expensive with confusing price tiers
- Can be slow, depending on your payment method
8. MoneyGram: Best for Western Union Backup
MoneyGram and Western Union offer similar services. But of the two, the best way to send money abroad is with Western Union, given that they cover more area and accept a greater diversity of currencies.
MoneyGram offers an app, making it easy for you to initiate your money transfer and for your receiver to track it. They’re also great about fast confirmations, so you’ll know when your money arrives.
But if your receiver lives closer to a MoneyGram, they’re a great choice to consider if the other lower-cost options on this list aren’t available to you.
- Covers over 200 countries and territories
- Can send money in person or via an app
- Great communication
- High fees
- Fewer locations than Western Union
9. PaySend: Best for Debit and Credit Card Transfers
PaySend’s tagline is appealing to people who frequently send money abroad—you can send money to over 120 countries for the low fee of $2.
The reality looks slightly different: PaySend operates on a fixed fee pay scale, but the fee varies depending on the amount of money you send and the location you send it from. PaySend will let you know all fee costs upfront, so you won’t have to worry about sudden last-minute charges.
PaySend is the best overseas money transfer for people who like mobile banking. They even allow customers to set up international money transfers via mobile numbers.
- 24/7 support
- Bank-level security
- Fast card money transfers
- Bank transfers can take up to three business days
- Low transfer limits
10. Apple Cash: Best for iOS Users
Apple Cash is one of the best apps to send money abroad as long as the receiver has an iOS device and access to WiFi. All Apple Cash transactions are free between Apple devices.
That said, while the receiver will see the Apple Cash on the Apple Pay app immediately upon you sending them the money, they’ll likely need to wait several business days to use it if they transfer the money to their bank account. Of course, if they’re in a modern area abroad, they might be able to pay for their items with Apple Cash at checkout counters.
Apple Cash is a great solution for people wanting to know how to send money abroad from India and other parts of the globe. It’s fast, safe, and convenient for iOS users.
- 100% online transfers
- Apple Cash arrives immediately
- Both parties must have an iOS device
- You must have a debit card
11. OFX: Best for Large Transfers
OFX is arguably the best way to send money abroad if you plan on transferring money abroad in many different currencies. They offer international money transfers in more than 50 currencies and over 190 countries. You can also transfer larger sums of money with them compared to many other online bank transfer companies.
If you’re concerned about legitimacy, OFX showcases its reliability by being a company listed on the Australian stock exchange and having more than 50 regulators that monitor them.
Unlike most options on this list, OFX allows its customers to fund their money transfers abroad using BPAY, an Australian payment company. Alternatively, you can set up an electronic bank transfer.
- Most transfers arrive to the recipient in 24 hours
- Ability to make large single-transaction transfers
- Tracking via OFX’s mobile app
- Fees can be high, depending on the amount you send
- Transferring “exotic” currencies can take up to five business days
12. Gcash: Best for Filipinos
Gcash is a micropayment service for people from the Philippines. You’ll need to be a Filipino national and have an address in the Philippines when signing up for a Gcash account.
Once you register for an account, using Gcash is one of the cheapest ways to send money to your Filipino family and friends traveling abroad. It often takes only a few minutes for Gcash transfers to arrive.
Best of all, there aren’t any fees to transfer money between Gcash accounts. You can also indirectly fund a Gcash account by sending money via Wise, where the receiver can then transfer the money to Gcash.
- Free transfers
- Fast transactions
- Bill payment from the app
- Only available to Filipinos
- Poor customer service
13. Xoom: Best for Receiving Cash From Home
Xoom isn’t the cheapest way to transfer money abroad, but it’s usually more economical than PayPal, which operates its service. What makes Xoom stand out from PayPal is that it’s designed for sending money abroad.
Furthermore, unlike PayPal, the person you’re sending money abroad to can pick up the cash in person, often at participating supermarkets. Certain destinations also offer the option to deliver cash to your recipient’s doorstep.
Typically, Xoom transfers are cheapest if you use PayPal or a bank account to fund the international transfer. But even if you transfer via debit or credit card, Xoom will show you the costs you’ll have to pay and the amount of money the recipient will receive.
- Operates in 160+ countries
- Minimum transfer amounts are low
- Recipient doesn’t need a Xoom account
- High fees for an online money transfer company
- Mediocre exchange rates
14. PayPal: Best for Emergency Situations
PayPal is a household name and a money transfer service that I’ve used at times. Anyone with a PayPal account can initiate a money transfer to another PayPal account holder, making it one of the easiest ways to send money overseas.
That said, it’s not the cheapest, which is why it didn’t make the cut higher up on this list. The transfer fee is exorbitantly high for international PayPal transfers, starting at several percentages per transfer plus a flat fee.
That said, if you live in a country where money transfers are few and far between, PayPal might be your best choice if you’re in a bind. They offer international money transfers for over 200 countries.
- Encrypts your bank account and card information
- Upfront about currency exchange rate costs
- Instant fund access available for an additional 1% fee
- High fees that vary according to your country
- Slow bank transfers
Sending Money Internationally: What to Watch Out For
By now, you hopefully know the best way to send money abroad for your situation. But before you send your hard-earned money off to a friend or loved one, below are some items to keep in mind.
Credit card Fees
Credit card companies sometimes charge fees for using a credit card as your money transfer method. The fees are on top of whatever fees the transfer company has. If you have questions about how much you’ll owe, you should contact your credit card company before initiating your international money transfer.
Shop Around for Exchange Rates
If you’ll be sending your recipient money in one currency and they’ll receive it in a different currency, an exchange fee will apply. However, there isn’t a standardized exchange rate among money transfer companies.
Therefore, check with several competitors to see which offers the best exchange rate in addition to low transfer fees.
Look at the Bottom Line
It’s easy to read about low fees and assume that a certain company is best for sending money abroad. But since some companies add on fees at the end, including the cost of exchanging money to a different currency, you must weigh the total price tag to have an apples-to-apples understanding of which option is truly the most economical.
Overcompensate for How Much You Send
If your college student needs a certain amount of money to buy a semester’s worth of books or your parent overseas has rent due, keep in mind that the amount of money you send might not be the amount they receive. Some providers deduct the fees from the total amount a customer sends instead of adding the fees to the base transfer.
How to Send Money to Yourself Abroad
The first time I needed to send money to myself was when I had gotten robbed halfway through a multi-month trip. The other (thankfully few) times were when I couldn’t get ATMs to accept my debit card.
I’ve gotten myself into financial pickles more than once when traveling abroad. Luckily, it wasn’t from a lack of money but from a lack of access to the money.
These situations happened years ago when sending myself money via Western Union made the most sense.
That’s right—you can send yourself money via Western Union. I simply logged into my Western Union account, set up my bank information, and then sent money to the closest Western Union to where I was staying. The sender and receiver were me, and I simply had to show up at Western Union with my ID in hand.
Western Union is an expensive way to send yourself money. But if you need cash abroad immediately, it’s an option.
You can also get creative and send yourself money through some of the other options on this list if something happens to your debit card while traveling. Just be sure to choose a company that allows you to withdraw cash, should you need it.
FAQs About the Best Way to Send Money Abroad
Do you still have questions about the best way to send money overseas? I’ve answered several questions below. But if you have a question I haven’t addressed, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to help.
What is the cheapest way to send money internationally?
The cheapest way to send money internationally depends on the sender and receiver’s countries, whether you need to convert the money to a different currency, and the amount of money you send. Wise has a good reputation for being one of the cheapest companies for international money transfers.
What is the best way to send someone money internationally?
The best way to send someone money internationally is to research what money transfer companies operate in your country and the country where you want to send your money. Then, check the companies’ fees and exchange rates to determine which is the most economical option.
What is the best way to receive money from overseas?
The best money to receive money from overseas follows the same process as sending money overseas. You’ll need to check that the money transfer provider operates in both countries, works with the currency or currencies you want to transfer, and can send the money in a timeframe that works well for the receiver.
What’s the fastest way to send money overseas?
The fastest way to send money overseas is by using a credit card. However, most companies charge a premium for such services, and credit card companies often charge a fee too.
Is it legal to send money abroad?
It’s legal to send money abroad as long as you do so via a licensed and regulated company. The reason why many companies don’t operate services between certain countries is so that they remain in good legal standing.
What does it cost to send money abroad?
The cost to send money abroad varies depending on where you’re sending the money, the transfer method, whether you need to pay exchange fees, the amount of money, and a company’s personal fees. Some companies have a flat fee for sending money internationally, while others have percentage-based fees.
How do you send money abroad without fees?
The best way to send money abroad without fees is by the sender and receiver being account holders with companies that offer fee-free services. Zelle, Apple Cash, and Gcash are companies that don’t charge fees to send money abroad.
Can Gcash send money abroad?
Yes, you can send money abroad with Gcash as long as the receiver has a good-standing Gcash account. That means they must be Filipino and have an address in the Philippines.
Can I send money abroad with Google Pay?
You can send money abroad with Google Pay as long as you’re in the United States, India, or Singapore. You can read more about Google’s international pay policies here.
Can I send money abroad from my bank account?
It’s possible to send money abroad from your bank account by using it to initiate a transfer via Wise, Zelle, Western Union, and more. In some cases, you can even send yourself money from abroad via these methods if you lose your debit card.
As much as I’d love for you to read every word I write, time is as limited as the questions below are wonky. So, feel free to skip this section.
But if you’re curious about trending questions on Google about international money transfers or you’re still trying to grasp what the best transfer method is for your situation, read on.
What’s the easiest way to send money to Canada from the USA?
The easiest way to send money to Canada from the USA is Wise. Zelle only works with U.S. bank accounts, so you can’t use them as a fee-free method for transferring money between Canada and the United States.
What’s the cheapest way to send money to the USA from the UK?
The cheapest way to send money to the USA from the UK is by initiating a bank transfer with Wise. It’s worth checking the exchange rates with Ria, for they could be cheaper than Wise. Just be sure to compare the final fee cost of the transfer with both companies, for added fees at checkout could skew your results.
What’s the best way to send money from Australia to the UK?
The best way to send money from Australia to the UK is through Wise. You can expect low fees and competitive exchange rates if you make a bank transfer. Should you initiate a transfer via credit card, the recipient will receive the money instantly, but it’ll cost you more money in fees.
What’s the cheapest way to send money to Australia?
The cheapest way to send money to Australia is by initiating a bank transfer with Wise. That said, if your friend or family member is Australian and traveling abroad, the cheapest way is often to use BPAY via OFX.
What’s the best way to send money to Thailand from the USA?
The best way to send money to Thailand from the USA is by using Wise because you’ll receive excellent exchange rates and low fees. Remitly is another great option, as they offer competitive exchange rates.
What’s the best way to send money to Mexico from the USA?
The best way to send money to Mexico from the USA is by Wise. However, if the Mexican recipient has a U.S. bank account or knows someone in Mexico with a U.S. bank account, Zelle is the best transfer method since it’s free.
What’s the cheapest way to send money to Spain?
The cheapest way to send money to Spain is by Wise, Remitly, or Ria, depending on the exchange rate and the amount of money you want to send. Comparing the fees at these three companies will yield the cheapest transfer.
What’s the cheapest way to send money to Cameroon?
The cheapest way to send money to Cameroon is by Wise or Remitly. Both companies offer economical currency exchanges to the CFA franc from many other currencies.
What’s the cheapest way to send money to Kenya?
The cheapest way to send money to Kenya is by Wise or Remitly. You can convert the currency you’d like to send to Kenyan Shilling, allowing the receiver to get their money without paying additional fees to what you already paid when initiating the transfer.
What’s the best way to send money to Vietnam?
The best way to send money to Vietnam is via Wise or Remitly. These companies provide low fees and fair exchange rates to convert dozens of currencies to the Vietnamese dong.
Ready to Send Money Abroad?
Sending money to your friend or loved one abroad doesn’t have to be as costly as in the past. Thanks to app companies competing with traditional brick-and-mortar banks, the best way to send money abroad is often with online companies.
If you have questions about how to send money abroad, leave a question and I’ll do my best to help based on my experience with international money transfers.
I also recommend reading my guide on the best banks for digital nomads if your family member or friend plans on traveling abroad for the long term.
And if they’re in the market for a new debit card, the fee-free Charles Schwab debit card is what I personally use for my travels.