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 (sometimes even free).
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.
XE Money Transfer: Best for cheap fees
Regardless of how much money you send, there’s no processing fee with XE. Of course, you may still have to pay an exchange-rate markup, but the rate will still be lower than what banks offer. The service allows you to send money to 127 countries, and transfer speeds vary between one and two days.
You can only do bank account-to-bank account transfers, though — no cash pickups. If you need an international transfer and you want it cheap, XE is the way to go.
WorldRemit may not be the cheapest company but it combines low fees, fast transfers, and multiple transfer methods. You can send money to your loved one’s bank account, send it to a cash pickup location, or transfer it directly to their smartphone using mobile money.
WorldRemit operates in over 150 countries and more than 90 currencies. Regular money transfers are typically approved in a matter of minutes, and mobile transfers usually take less than three minutes to process.
Transaction fees and exchange rate margins are competitive, and you can now send your first three money transfer fee-free to test them out.
TransferWise: Best for no exchange-rate markup
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?
CurrencyFair: Best for speed
CurrencyFair is an online peer-to-peer currency exchange service. The company enables customers to send money abroad while converting currencies for a small fee. Based on your preferences, you can either send money instantly or you can deposit money in your CurrencyFair account while selecting your own exchange rate and waiting for that rate to be met before your money transfer takes place.
Customers pay both an international transfer fee and an exchange rate margin.
Process times can vary depending on the currencies involved and your bank.
When transferring money into your CurrencyFair account, often the funds appear instantly but there may be a longer wait time. For example, GBPs have an estimated arrival time of zero to one business day while AEDs have an estimated arrival time of four to five business days.
When transferring money out of your account, the processing speed can vary depending on what currency you want to transfer.
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.
Read our in-depth review on Walmart’s money transfer service to find out more.
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.
MoneyGram: Best for international cash transfers
MoneyGram is the second largest money transfer company in the world. It also has one of the largest networks of agents and storefronts with 350,000 locations in more than 200 countries. Customers also like the flexible delivery options. You can send money by bank transfer and phone as well as cash to a physical storefront.
The only downside is that it is more expensive than many of its competitors. However, if you want to send cash from a physical location and need flexible delivery options, MoneyGram is your best choice.
Xoom: Best for foreign exchange rates
Xoom Money Transfer is a digital money transfer service that enables U.S. citizens to send money, reload their phones, and pay bills in a growing number of countries. If you’re sending money to a person, you have the option to send it to the recipient’s bank or one of the 14,000 participating locations for cash pickup.
It offers money transfer services to 30 countries worldwide. Xoom charges a transaction fee and also makes money when it converts U.S. dollars to the currency of the destination country.
A drawback to Xoom is that it is not for sending money within the United States. If you are looking to send money within the country, Xoom Money Transfer may not be the right fit for your needs.
To learn more, check out our in-depth review on Xoom.
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.
To learn more, check out our in-depth review on Remitly.
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.
Ben Luthi is a personal finance writer and a credit cards expert who loves helping consumers and business owners make better financial decisions. His work has been featured in Time, MarketWatch, Yahoo! Finance, U.S. News & World Report, CNBC, Success Magazine, USA Today, The Huffington Post and many more.