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Best Money Transfer and International Money Transfer Services

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A variety of transfer services let customers send money directly to another person without using banks or credit cards. Use our guide to research the best money transfer service for you. Different companies cater to specific types of customers’ needs, so consumers should be familiar with all their choices before using a transfer service. For instance, international money transfer services let people send money to loved ones living or traveling abroad, while app-based services allow friends to pay one another for shared expenses quickly. 

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What to consider when selecting a money transfer company or app?


Most money transfer services charge fees for different services. These are added to the amount you want to transfer, so make sure you’re aware of the fees before making a transfer.

  • Transfer fee: Transfer fees are charged when sending money from one person to another. These fees will vary between companies and may change based on how much money you plan to send, the way you give the company the money to send—dropping cash off at a local office, approving an online bank draft or charging it to a credit card—and the way the recipient receives the money—having funds directly deposited into a bank account, withdrawing them from an ATM, picking up cash from an agent or having it couriered to a residence.
  • Exchange rate: If you’re sending or receiving money from one currency to another, the company will provide you with an exchange rate. The higher the rate, the more money you or the recipient will receive after the transfer. Companies should offer a binding quote so you can compare rates before you make a transfer. Those interested in international money transfer services should pay special attention to the exchange rate.
  • Free transfer: Some services allow you to make transfers for free if the transfer meets certain requirements. Requirements may stipulate that the transfer is over or under a certain dollar amount or have a specific origin, like a U.S. bank account.

App features

Most companies have a mobile app that allows you to complete transactions on the go.

  • Send money: Some apps let you send money within the app. These apps make it easy to complete a transaction from anywhere.
  • Track transfers: Most apps allow you to track transfers you’ve made. This feature lets you see when their transaction is approved and when the recipient has access to the money.


When you transfer money, you may be far away from the recipient. Make sure you use a service that operates in their area.

  • International: Many companies cater to those who need to send money from one country to another. Determine whether the company limits the types of transfer you can make and whether it offers a competitive exchange rate.
  • Domestic: If you’re not sending money internationally, you can use a service that only operates in your country. These services may be more beneficial if you simply need to split housing expenses with a roommate, pay for your portion of a meal out or make another casual financial exchange.
  • Mixed: Some companies offer only a few of their services internationally or only allow you to send money from a single country or in a single currency.


When you need to send money to someone, time is frequently an important factor. Make sure you understand how long it will take before the recipient has access to their funds. Several factors affect how long a transfer will take.

  • Method of transfer: How you send money will often be a key element in the period your recipient must wait. Different payment methods will take different amounts of time, and you should check with the company to learn about their specific schedule. Usually, a cash payment at a walk-in transfer center will make the money available the fastest.
  • Pick up: The way the recipient plans to get their money will also influence the timeline. Picking up cash from a walk-in transfer center will usually be the quickest choice.
  • Location: Transfers across international borders often take longer to process than domestic transactions. International transfers may be completed more quickly if no currency change is required.
  • Business hours: Although sending and receiving money at a walk-in location is typically the fastest option, sending money online or from a mobile app might be quicker if you need to start the transaction over the weekend or after the agent’s office is closed.

Bill pay

Many money transfer services allow you to pay bills or make purchases using their app or your account with them.

  • Retail purchases: Some companies offer online or mobile apps that allow you to set up an account with them and then make online purchases using that account. This feature may make online payments easier and more secure.
  • Bills: Many utilities, credit card companies and other financial services accept payments from money transfer services.
  • International bills: Companies that offer services in multiple countries may allow consumers in one country to pay bills to a foreign business. This feature might be especially appealing to those whose loved-ones live abroad.

Additional features

Different companies offer extra services to help them stand out and make it simple for customers to use their services for multiple kinds of business.

  • Mobile phone reloads: Several companies allow you to add money to a prepaid phone account, refilling the user’s minutes.
  • Gift card reloads: Some companies offer gift card reload services so you can add funds to a recipient’s prepaid gift card.
  • Credit accounts: A few companies offer credit services, which allow you to make payments using your account with them and pay off the balance over time. These options are subject to credit approval.
  • Rewards program: Many companies have rewards and/or referral programs that let you earn points that can be redeemed for free transactions, gift cards or cash rewards.
  • Alerts: If you regularly make international transfers, choose a service that will send you alerts if exchange rates meet your set criteria.

Types of money transfer services


Some companies cater to individuals who live outside their country of origin, international travelers, those who own businesses that operate in multiple countries, individuals with loved one’s living abroad, those planning to purchase real estate in a foreign country and other consumers with international financial responsibilities. International money transfers may offer consumers significant savings over using a bank.


Smaller and newer companies may only operate in one country. These services will be best for those who do not anticipate transferring money overseas.

Walk-in transfer centers

Many companies focus on those who need to send money to someone far away. These companies usually have an extensive network of agents and brick-and-mortar transfer centers where individuals can walk in drop off or pick up cash. These types of businesses may offer services domestically or internationally.

Online focused

The Internet allows individuals to send money from anywhere, without needing to see an agent face-to-face. Most companies allow users to make some transactions online, but some companies cater to this group with easy-to-use websites and a large number of online service options. Online money transfer companies may offer services to both domestic and international customers.


Although most companies have an app, newer companies and those that focus on small transfers between friends have robust apps that let customers handle every stage of their transaction from their mobile devices. These types of services may or may not allow customers to send money internationally.


Banks often offer a wire transfer service for customers. They typically charge a flat fee, regardless of how much money customers send.

Who uses money transfer services?


Individuals may need to transfer money to loved ones far away or to roommates, friends and acquaintances for shared expenses. Individual consumers may also use the extra features some companies offer to make online payments.

Travelers and their loved ones

Anyone who has traveled knows the worry of losing their wallet while far from home. They can use international money transfer services to have a friend or family member send them money in an emergency.

Online sellers

People that have online businesses, especially those who use Internet marketplaces like Etsy, Amazon Marketplace, Big Cartel and other sites, can use money transfer services to accept online payment or to transfer payments from one currency to another.

Business owners

Business owners whose companies operate in multiple countries can use transfer services to convert money from one currency to another.

Charitable groups

Non-profits and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can use money transfer services to get money to individuals in areas that don’t have traditional banks or to areas affected by disasters that may be limiting other financial transactions.

Money transfer FAQ

How can I send money instantly?

There are many instant money transfer options:

  • Apps that allow for instant transfers, like Cash App and Google Pay, are the fastest option for domestic transfers. Other apps, like Venmo, claim to offer instant deposits, but these may take up to 30 minutes to arrive in the recipient’s bank account.
  • Apps like PayPal’s Xoom (an Authorized Partner ) or MoneyGram can be used to instantly transfer money internationally. MoneyGram also has 350,000 locations in more than 200 countries if you need a physical location.
How do I transfer large amounts of money?

A bank wire transfer is a good way to transfer amounts more than $10,000 within the United States. Many companies and apps have caps on how much you can transfer, so make sure to research maximum transfers and fees.

What is a money transfer service?

A money transfer service is a dedicated company that allows you to move money remotely. These services usually transfer money faster and with lower fees than banks. Some are only available online or by using an app, while others have physical locations. Each service offers different amenities, such as international transfers or instant deposits, so it’s good to research options before you choose.

How much does it cost to wire money?

Wire transfer fees generally range from free up to $50 per transaction. Multiple factors determine the cost of a wire transfer, including:

  • The bank’s pricing structure
  • The amount of money you’re transferring
  • Whether you’re wiring money domestically or internationally
What is the fastest way to send money?

Many apps and services, including Cash App and Google Pay, advertise instant money transfers. However, if you need to send money as fast as possible, it pays to spend a few minutes researching your options.

  • Check to see if the service offers instant deposits as well. Many services let you transfer money instantly between accounts but slow down when you want to withdraw the funds.
  • Read reviews to make sure the company handling your money is legitimate.
  • Make sure the service operates in your area, especially if you’re sending money internationally.
Can wire transfers be reversed?

Not usually. Once the receiving bank accepts the transfer, the sender cannot reverse it. However, banks sometimes reverse wire transfers in rare cases, such as duplicate orders, fraudulent transfers and when the sending bank makes a mistake.

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    Author reviews for money transfer services

    Wise (formerly TransferWise)

    TransferWise is a web-based money transferring company founded out of frustration due to the lack of a global currency. With a TransferWise personal or business account, you can send money around the world, paying real exchange rates and small fees.

    Read more about Wise (formerly TransferWise)
    Western Union

    Western Union (WU) was founded in 1851 as an American telegraph company, and it began offering money transfer services in 1871. Now, Western Union is one of the world’s largest and most well-known money transfer companies. In 2015, it facilitated the transfer of more than $150 billion. It offers consumers and businesses options for sending and receiving money both domestically and internationally.

    Read more about Western Union
    Xoom Money Transfer

    Xoom is a money transfer service that allows customers to send money from the United States to other parts of the world, including Central and South America, Asia, the Philippines and more.

    Read 1315 Reviews

    MoneyGram was established in 1988 and took its current form in 1998, but it has a history going back to 1940 with the Travelers Express Company. It became a publically-traded company in 2004 and is headquartered in Dallas. MoneyGram offers money transfers, bill pay services, money orders and other financial services.

    Read 1263 Reviews

    PayPal was founded in 1998, and eBay acquired it in 2002. The company now has nearly 200 million active customers, and in 2015 the company hosted approximately 4.9 billion transactions. Customers in more than 200 countries can use the company’s services and hold money in their accounts in 25 different currencies. Consumers can use the service to transfer money to other individuals, pay bills, make online purchases, make donations and obtain financing.

    Read more about PayPal

    WorldFirst is a currency exchange service. It was established in 2004 and is headquartered in London with other offices the Netherlands, the United States, Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore. 

    • Flat fee: WorldFirst is a currency exchange service. It was established in 2004 and is headquartered in London with other offices the Netherlands, the United States, Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore.
    • Free receiving: WorldFirst offers small businesses located in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Japan and Europe that sell their products through online marketplaces, like Amazon or Etsy, a free international receiving account.
    • Price promise: WorldFirst guarantees that it will offer customers the best exchange rate. If someone gets a better quote from another company, WorldFirst will offer customers a better rate.
    • Blog: Interested consumers can follow WorldFirst’s blog to read economic news stories, advice on managing money, selling products online and more. New posts appear regularly.
    • Forward contracts: Individuals and businesses can schedule a transaction up to three years in advance. This feature lets consumers lock in a specific rate and complete the transaction later.
    Ria Financial Services

    Ria was established in 1987 in New York. The company is now one of the world’s largest money transfer firms, operating in nearly 150 countries. Their services include money transfer, mobile phone refill, currency exchange, bill payment and check cashing. Ria Financial is owned by Euronet Worldwide, an electronic financial transfer provider.

    Read more about Ria Financial Services

    TRANSFAST was founded in 1988 and specializes in online money transfer services. The company’s headquarters are located in New York, and it operates in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe. Consumers can use TRANSFAST for both in-person and online money transfers as well as domestic and international payments.

    • Customer service: When consumers visit the TRANSFAST website, a pop-up at the bottom of the screen either offers them the chance to live chat with a representative or, if all agents are busy, lists the telephone number where representatives can be reached.
    • App: The TRANSFAST app allows customers in the United States and Canada to send money to anyone around the world directly from their mobile device. The app is available for iPhone and Android users.
    • Fee and currency tool: Interested consumers can visit TRANSFAST’s website to see the transfer fee associated with any transaction and the current exchange rate for transferring money to an account in another currency.
    • Special promotions: The TRANSFAST website lists all current promotions. Visitors can see if any of their transactions qualify for special discounts.
    • Transfer tracker: Customers can quickly check the status of their transfers online or on the TRANSFAST app. They only need to have the transaction number to see if their transfer has been approved and whether funds are available to the recipient.

    Venmo, owned by PayPal, was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in New York. The service lets individuals easily pay one another for their part of a restaurant check, group-purchased gift, utility bill and more. It is popular among younger customers and college students.

    Read more about Venmo

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