Whether you’re trying to transfer money to your friend sitting next to you or a loved one who lives overseas, several money transfer services can make the process quick and inexpensive.
In fact, it’s gotten to the point that it no longer makes sense in most cases to do a wire transfer through your bank or credit union.
“Antiquated remittance companies have spent years pocketing billions of dollars in service fees from hard-working immigrants sending money to loved ones,” says Matt Oppenheimer, CEO and co-founder of money transfer service Remitly.
He adds, “The majority of banks and financial institutions offer wire transfers to help you send money abroad, but these services can often be expensive as well.”
So, to help you find the right money transfer service for your needs, we’ve put together a list of the top six companies so that you can narrow down your choices.
The best money transfer services
None of these services offer all the best features. “Before choosing an online platform, take the time to compare the various platforms’ features and fees,” says Oppenheimer. “The best service for you will depend on your preferences and needs.”
Antiquated remittance companies have spent years pocketing billions of dollars in service fees from hard-working immigrants sending money to loved ones”
And depending on your transfer needs, you may want to use more than one of these services to make sure you have everything covered.
1) Xoom: Best for speed
Owned by online payment giant PayPal, Xoom offers same-day transfers in many countries. And in a day and age where speed and convenience are crucial, that’s a must-have feature for many.
You can send money using Xoom to 63 countries from the U.S. Depending on the country. The recipient can either get the cash deposited directly into their bank account or pick it up at a physical location.
Depending on which level you belong to with Xoom, you’ll have different sending limits. For example:
- Level one: Up to $2,999 per transaction and $6,000 per 30 days.
- Level two: Up to $10,000 per transaction and $15,000 per 30 days.
- Level three: Up to $10,000 per transaction and $25,000 per 30 days.
You can qualify for higher levels as you share more information about yourself, including your Social Security number and a copy of your passport and financial information.
The main drawback to Xoom is that it’s costly compared with the competition. The service charges up to $4.99 if you fund your transfer with a bank account, and even more, if you choose a debit or credit card.
For some folks, however, the convenience might be worth the cost.
2) TransferWise: Best for no exchange-rate markup
Unlike Xoom, TransferWise isn’t going to give you same-day delivery, or even next-day delivery for that matter. But if you’re sending money overseas and don’t want to pay an arm and a leg, this service is your best bet.
What makes it so cheap is that TransferWise doesn’t charge an exchange-rate markup. You can send money from the U.S. to up to 58 different countries with TransferWise, and it only offers bank account-to-bank account transfers (no cash pickup).
Actual fees can vary, depending on how much money you’re sending. For example, sending up to $10,000 could result in fees between $3 and $99. India and the Philippines are exceptions, charging fees starting at $2.70 and $5, respectively.
You get what you pay for, however. International transfers can take longer than a week, depending on the circumstances. But if there’s no hurry, why spend more to rush things?
3) Ria Money Transfer: Best for a wide reach
If you need to send money to a country that some of the other companies listed here don’t offer, you might have luck with Ria. The service has 314,000 locations in 144 countries, and also administers the money transfer service that allows you to transfer money between U.S.-based Walmart locations.
The majority of banks and financial institutions offer wire transfers to help you send money abroad, but these services can often be expensive as well.”
Ria offers same-day delivery in most countries (cash pickup only) and allows the recipient to get the money via a bank account deposit or a cash pickup at a nearby location (Canada and China don’t allow bank account delivery).
Fees for cash pickups are fairly cheap, and fees using bank account delivery are about average. You’ll typically pay between 0.2% and 4% per $1,000 you send using a debit card or bank account. There’s also an exchange-rate markup of 1% to 3% for most countries.
4) HiFX: Best for cheap fees
Regardless of how much money you send, there’s no processing fee with HiFX. Of course, you may still have to pay an exchange-rate markup. The service allows you to send money to 170 countries, and transfer speeds can vary between one and four days.
You can only do bank account-to-bank account transfers, though — no cash pickups. You can’t send money domestically, though. So, if you only need an international transfer and you want it cheap, HiFX can do that for you.
5) Remitly: Best for large transfer limits
As an individual, it can be hard to make large transfers unless you go to a bank. With Remitly, however, you can send up to $10,000 per day and $30,000 per month.
It offers same-day delivery with express transfers and also reasonable fees. You’ll pay nothing for an economy transfer, which can take a few days and a flat $3.99 for express transfer (based on a $250 cash pickup transfer).
“Remitly shows current exchange rates among our competitors on our site,” says Oppenheimer, “so you can always double check that you’re getting the best rate for your transfer.”
The main drawback to Remitly is that it’s still fairly small compared with the competition. You can only send money to 10 countries.
6) Square Cash: Best for quick domestic transfers
If you’re just interested in sending money to pay a friend back for dinner, most of the money transfer services on this list won’t offer you much help. But with Square Cash, you can send that money for free, and the recipient can get the cash in their bank account the next day. They can even choose to get it faster for a 1% fee.
The initial transfer limit is $250 per week, but you can get that up to $2,500 in most states when you verify some of your personal information. If you need to send more than that, however, you’re out of luck.
Also, Square Cash doesn’t allow you to send money abroad.
How to choose the right money transfer service
As we mentioned before, there’s no one best money transfer service out there for everyone. Each has different fees and features that differentiate themselves from the others.
“The main things to consider when looking for an online money transfer platform are where and to whom you’re sending the money,” says Oppenheimer.
He adds, “The biggest pitfalls for money transfers tend to be in the fees and lack of customer service. So keep in mind that the lower the fees, the more money your recipient will get. And double check transfer fees and exchange rates.”
The important thing is that you consider what your needs are — for example, speed, cost, delivery options, transfer limits, and country availability — and pick the right service, or even multiple services, that fit those needs.
You can check out these and other top money transfer services using SuperMoney’s review page. There, you can learn the ins and outs of each one to give you a better idea of which options fit you best.