Transferring money internationally outside of the U.S. can prove expensive, depending on which bank you use. Did you know that you don’t necessarily have to use your bank for this type of transaction? You can send money to another person overseas using an international money transfer app – and doing so may result in lower costs for you. Find out more in this article.
Banks tend to charge hefty fees for international money transfers. As an example, Chase’s Total Checking Account has a $40 fee attached to it for mobile or online wire transfers outside of the U.S, in both dollars or foreign currency.
Another example is Bank of America which charges $35 for an international wire transfer sent in foreign currency and $45 for a foreign wire transfer sent in U.S. dollars.
As you can see, it’s well worth checking out a few money transfer apps to see if you could save money (we’ve detailed a few below to help you get started).
TransferWise claims to be eight times cheaper when it comes to international money transfers compared to regular banks. To give you an idea of fees, if you want to send $1,000 to Europe, the fee would be 0.6% of the amount converted to Euros plus $1 ($6.96). There is a tool on their website where you can easily calculate how much it will cost you to make a transfer.
The TransferWise app scores 4.8 / 5 in the App Store, where it receives some glowing reviews, with one user saying that TransferWise is the “best money transfer service and app available”. On Google Play, this app scores 4.6 / 5, again with many great reviews. Some recent negative reviews from a few users report a delay in money being transferred.
WorldRemit allows you to transfer money quickly from the U.S. to 140+ destinations worldwide. You can choose to send cash abroad as a bank deposit, cash pickup, mobile money or airtime top-up. Expect to pay around $3.99 for a money transfer to most countries. You can send your first transfer free of charge.
This app scores 4.8 / 5 in the App Store and 4.5 / 5 on Google Play. On the whole, users are pleased with their experience of using WorldRemit, although like every app, there are some negative reviews – recent ones relate to slow customer support.
Using MoneyGram, you can make an international transfer online direct to the recipient’s bank account, or to a MoneyGram location where they can pick up the cash. This app comes with low fees, starting from $4.99 – the fees vary depending on which country you’re sending to, how much you want to transfer and how you’ll be paying.
For example, to send $100 to someone’s bank account in China using your U.S. checking account, the fee is $9. It’s $12 if you use your credit or debit card.
MoneyGram scores 3.6 / 5 on Google Play and 1.6 / 5 in the App Store. Looking at the reviews, it seems that MoneyGram has gone downhill recently with several users reporting technical errors and problems with sending and receiving money. With that said, the most recent review on Google Play is from April 2018 and is rated 5 / 5.
There are ways to send money abroad without paying any costs. You can use a foreign exchange company like XE Money Transfer; no transfer fees apply whatsoever, although you may occasionally face a charge by your bank (or the recipient’s bank) during the transaction.
With XE, it’s free to open a personal account, there’s no stipulation on the minimum amount needed for a transfer, and there are no monthly charges.
More on Banks with no fees
If you need to make regular or occasional payments internationally to family or friends, then using your existing bank may not be the most cost-effective way. Read the small print related to your bank account to find out exactly what fees you’ll be charged.
It may be worth using an international money transfer app that offers low, transparent fees instead. A mobile app will give you the added benefit of convenience, as you’ll be able to transfer money at your fingertips when you need to.
*The above information is correct at the time of publishing. This article shouldn’t be taken as professional financial advice.