Today’s global economy makes money transfers part of daily life, but the logistics of sending money remain complex. International checks can take weeks to clear, and banks often do little to help with the hurdles associated with money transfers. Banks also tend to charge high foreign exchange rates and fees. Transfers between banks are cumbersome, so alternative modes of payment are necessary.
Specialized money transfer services reduce costs while simplifying the process of sending money anywhere in the world. The best money transfer services offer perks like same-day delivery and give you flexibility when choosing a preferred payment method. If you’re looking for an easier way to conduct money transfers, you need to know the leading money transfer services – they can help you to save money and transfer funds in less time.
Here are the top 5 money transfer services offering the best of the bunch.
One of the easiest ways to transfer money online is PayPal. Millions of individuals and businesses use PayPal every day for transactions because the platform offers inexpensive fees and instantaneous clearing. Few people know, however, that PayPal can also be used for money transfers to and from almost any country in the world.
PayPal has been around since 1998, and it makes sending money simple. You need only a couple of minutes to open a new account, and the platform lets you transfer money from your bank account free of charge.1 PayPal charges no fees when sending money to friends and family. For international money transfers, you can set Xoom, PayPal’s international transfer service, either to keep separate balances for different currencies or to automatically convert all funds into your preferred currency2.
- Transfer money to and from your bank account with ease.
- Funds are available instantly in most cases.
- Foreign currencies can be automatically converted.
- PayPal’s foreign exchange rates are expensive.
- Both parties in a transaction must have a PayPal and/or Xoom account.
- PayPal has a reputation for freezing accounts over trivial offenses.
XE is one of the most inexpensive money transfer services available. No fees or commissions are charged for ordinary transfers. Instead, the company makes money by exchanging currencies at a profit on behalf of its customers.
There are a broad range of foreign currency solutions that XE offers its customers. The basic service can deposit money into a bank account using ACH or wire transfer. XE also offers services with reduced foreign exchange spreads designed for customers looking to transfer large amounts of money.3 Overall, XE is ideal if your primary need is to minimize the cost of a money transfer.
- No fees are charged for transactions, and foreign exchange spreads are reduced as the size of your transaction increases.
- There is no transfer limit for any currency or transaction type.
- XE competes on the basis of price, so the service gives you easy access to inexpensive money transfers.
- You can only convert from 24 different currencies.
- XE does not allow customers to use credit cards for transactions.
- No cash options are available, so both parties have to use their bank accounts.
Venmo is a payment app that adds smart features on top of the services offered by its parent company, PayPal. You can use Venmo like a social network to add friends, share transactions, and message other users.4
Venmo is ideal for exchanging money with friends, colleagues, and clients. You can use the app for a broad range of functions, including recurring payments or splitting a bill. The service does not have any fees for transferring money to friends, but it does charge a 3 percent fee when you fund purchases with a credit card5.
- No fees for one-time payments.
- Seamless integration with PayPal.
- Send money with any device, including an iPhone, Android, or desktop.
- Does not support international transactions.
- Weekly spending limits are just $3,000 for verified users.
- Facebook integration creates the potential for privacy concerns.
MoneyGram makes it easy to send money using either cash or your bank account. You can use MoneyGram to transfer money in stores by visiting one of the more than 350,000 locations around the world.
Online money transfer services make sending money simple, but they don’t let you pay in cash. MoneyGram has partnerships with stores to let you transfer money without having to visit an online portal. You don’t need a bank account to use MoneyGram, but you’ll still need to provide the company with private financial information in some cases.6 Fees start at no cost and new customers receive a $5 Amazon gift card on their first transfer.
- Send money internationally using cash.
- Use your bank account to transfer money online.
- MoneyGram has an app to simply managing your money transfers.
- MoneyGram has a bad rating in online reviews, including a 1-star rating on Yelp.
- Although MoneyGram claims to support international transfers, customers often report difficulties when sending money to foreign countries.
- MoneyGram’s fees are expensive relative to many other online options.
5. Western Union
Western Union has been around since 1851, and it remains one of the leading money transfer services. You can use Western Union to transfer money in stores using cash, but you can also visit the company’s online portal to transfer money electronically.
Although Western Union is an established company, its innovation continues to keep pace with leading services. Western Union has partnerships with WeChat, Viber, and other social media apps to let users send money to over 200 countries. You can also use the provider’s “Money in Minutes” service to send and receive funds internationally in less than an hour.7
While this deal is not exclusive to Western Union’s money transfer services, the company is offering a rather generous referral deal.8 Right now, Western Union customers will receive a $20 Amazon e-gift card for every friend, up to 25, you refer.
- Send and receive money using a broad range of transfer modes.
- The service offers simple international transfers with inexpensive fees.
- Western Union has good reviews.
- Transfers can take more than a week to arrive.
- Fees can be expensive for small transfers.
- Western Union is still the preferred mode of payment for scammers, so senders have to be careful when using the service.
Choosing the Right Money Transfer Service
There are thousands of money transfer services available and choosing the right service for your situation can be challenging. The capabilities of available services vary widely – but the key to choosing the right service is to conduct enough research to make sure you’re using the service best for your needs.
Like anything, it’s always a good idea to be aware of the latest research. We recommend comparing at least three or four options before making a final decision. Doing a search online is typically the quickest, most thorough way to discover all the pros and cons you need to keep in mind.
Also, be sure to look into ways to receive free money transfers. You may be able to find promo codes by searching online or find services, such as OFX and WorldRemit, that don’t charge fees to begin with.9 And much like Western Union, some services may offer deals when making your first transfer. So, be sure to do your research.