It can be overwhelming to research your options of transferring money to or from another country. Many companies support moving money between countries and it’s important to understand the differences between the services those companies provide.
Use our 7-point checklist below to determine which international money transfer service is right for you.
1. Frequency & Purpose
Some money transfer companies work well if you need to make a one-off large transfer, e.g. paying tuition or buying property. Other services were designed for small businesses to make frequent, small(er) transfers.
So, when looking at the various options, the first thing you should do is determine how often you need to transfer money.
2. Sending & receiving options
When you’re sending money internationally, you can choose from a variety of different options. Some firms will let you drop off cash at a teller window.
Most money transfer companies provide various options, like sending money off a credit or debit card, or making direct transfers from your bank account or stored value account. If you’re an online seller, you may benefit from a direct integration with eCommerce marketplaces that some transfer firms offer.
It’s important to keep in mind that sending money is just half of the equation. You (or the recipient) will also have to find out how to release the money on the other end. Similar options exist on the receiving side, but they can sometimes be more restrictive. Be smart and find out upfront how it all works.
3. Transfer fees
To determine how expensive a certain service is, you must know the applicable fees. One way that international money transfer firms make money is by charging a transfer fee.
The transfer fee is generally a flat fee, between £5 or £10. Some firms waive this fee entirely. Certain providers offer services and tools to help detect optimal timing for the transfer. Depending on the transfer amount and service quality, savings might outweigh fees.
4. Exchange rate
If you’ve ever been inside a bank or store that offers currency exchange, you’re probably familiar with the exchange rate concept. Exchange rate is the general way to express how much currency you’ll get when you exchange it for another currency.
Exchange rates are set by banks, but the exchange rate you’ll receive from a money transfer service will almost certainly be more favorable to you.
5. Transfer speed
Every international service transfers money at a different speed. To make things more complicated, the speed of a transaction can also depend on the currencies involved in the transfer. Make sure to check if a transfer service takes 0-1 days to deliver your money, or 2-3 days.
6. Customer support
Finding an international money transfer firm with good customer support is a lot like buying insurance: you hope you’ll never need it, but when you do, you’re glad you have it. The best firms offer 24/7 service, along with a variety of ways to contact them, including by phone, email and chat.
7. Transfer features
As of today, many money transfer services provide a variety of transfer features, to ensure that their customers receive the best service and transfer experiences they can get. Among them you can find features such as rate alerts, transfer tracking, multi-currency accounts, live exchange rate, and more.
Another feature which you might find yourself needing the most is ‘recurring transfers’.
There are many reasons for making recurring international money transfers. Maybe you work overseas and need to send money back home. Or maybe you need to make a mortgage or rent payment in one currency when you hold another.
It can be a pain to have to enter the same exact information every month to move money. So, some international money transfer firms make it easy to set up a recurring payment. Check and see if a particular service offers “repeat” or “recurring” transfers.
Choosing the best international money transfer service for your needs doesn’t have to be a confusing affair.
Once you know your options, you can determine which company is right for you.