It can be overwhelming researching your options to transfer money to or from another country. There are lots of kinds of services and companies who support moving money between countries and it’s important to understand the differences.
So, how do you compare international money transfer services?
We’ve created a 10 point checklist that you can use to determine which international money transfer service is right for you.
- Frequency & Purpose: Some money transfer companies work well if you need to make a one time large transfer, like paying tuition or buying a property. Other services were designed for small businesses to make frequent, small transfers. So, when looking at your various options, the first thing you should do is determine how often you’re going need to transfer money.
- Transfer fees: To determine how expensive a certain service is, you should inquire about their fees. One way 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 service and tools to help detect optimal timing for the transfer. Depending on transfer amount and service quality – savings might outweigh fees.
- Exchange rate: If you’ve ever been inside a bank or store that offers currency exchange, you’re probably familiar with the concept of exchange rate. Exchange rate is how much currency you’ll get when you exchange it with another currency. These rates are set by banks but the exchange rate you’ll receive from a money transfer service will almost certainly be less favorable to you. That’s another way, in addition to transfer fees, international money transfer services make money.
- Recurring transfers: There are lots of reasons you may need to make a recurring international money transfer. 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 key in 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.
- Sending and receiving options: When you’re sending money internationally, you have a variety of different options to choose from. Some firms will let you drop off cash at a teller window. Most money transfer companies provide various options, like the ability to send money off a credit or debit card, or to make direct transfers from your bank account or stored value account. If you’re an online seller, some firms even integrate directly with eCommerce marketplaces. Sending money is just half the equation, though. You (or the person you’re sending money to) will also have to figure out how to get the money out on the other end. Similar options exist on the receiving side, but are sometimes more restrictive, so it’s smart to understand how it all works.
- Transfer speed: Every international service transfers money at different speeds. To make things more complicated, the speed of a transaction can also be dependent the currencies involved in the transfer. Check to see whether a money transfer service takes 0-1 days to deliver your money or if it takes 2-3 days.
- Transfer limits: Firms have different policies when it comes to how much money you can transfer using their services. Other international money transfer firms don’t limit how much money you can transfer. Identify a service provider that works with customers like you.
- Special features: Because there are a lot of choices of services to use to send money abroad, some of these businesses have special features that help them stand out from the competition. Some firms offer better exchange rates, waive transfer fees, offer cash pickup, hedging tools, and fixed exchange rates to compete for your business. In our comparison of top 10 money transfer services, we highlight these special features to help you choose which service is right for you.
- Special offers: The international money transfer industry is getting really competitive as new companies are sprouting up that want your business. Some offer cash incentives to get you to sign up. Others provide cash incentives to get you to refer your friends. To take advantage of these offers, do a quick online search to see if a particular money transfer service offers some freebies.
- Customer support: Finding an international money transfer firm with good customer support is a lot like buying insurance — you hope to never need it but when you do need it, you’re glad you have it. There are times when moving money internationally that you’ll need to speak to someone. The best firms offer 24/7 service and have various ways, including phone, email and chat, to contact them.
Watch TransferWise explaining how international money transfer works:
Choosing the best international money transfer service for you doesn’t have to be confusing. Once you know your options, you can determine which company is right for your needs.