Best Options When Sending Money Internationally

Sending money across borders can either be quick and easy, or quite the opposite depending on where and how you decide to send money.

While you obviously can’t change where you need to send your money to, you can definitely change how you’re sending it. That might be the difference between a pain-free experience and one that leads to quite a bit of anxiety and quite a lot of fees.

Before breaking down the most common avenues to send money internationally, here are some of the most commonly used terms when it comes to sending money internationally that you will want to familiarize yourself with.


Unless you’re sending money via check or cash, you’re probably going to incur some transfer fees. If you’re sending internationally, those fees can get pretty steep. Because of that, it’s important to keep an eye on how the following options manage their fees. There are two kinds of fees typically connected to international transfers.

  • Transfer fees are typically a percentage of the total amount being sent. They can also be a flat fee, particularly if you are sending a small amount of money.
  • Exchange rate markups is the other common way for money transfer companies to make money. The fee connected to this is based on the currencies being used, and their exchange rate.

Time it Takes to Transfer:

Another question you’ll have to be able to answer is can the way you want to transfer your money get your money to where it needs to go by the time you need it to arrive.

The answer to this question varies depending on how much you need to send and on what company you are using to send it. It is best to get to answer to this question before you need to actually start sending money.

Countries Money Can Be Sent To:

Finally, you need to make sure that the company you want to use to transfer money can actually send your money to the country you need it to go. Not every service operates in every country, so you’ll want to get this information before beginning the process.

Now that we’ve covered those main questions and terms, let’s go over the different ways you can send money internationally.

Using Your Bank

To start, let’s break down what is certainly the oldest way to transfer money internationally. Most U.S. banks offer money wire services, but they may be on their way to getting cornered out of the market. There are pretty good reasons why.

While banks are reliable and can typically transfer large sums of money, they are also quite slow and can demand hefty transfer fees and exchange rate markups. Beyond that, banks can usually only transfer money from a bank account held with them to another bank account. So, if your recipient does not have an account in the country he or she is in, it could be rather difficult for them to actually get their money.

It’s definitely one route to consider, but it’s quite likely that there are better options at your fingertips.


Trasnferwise is considered to be one of the better money sending companies around. The U.K. company is known for being as simple as can be. First off, they use actual exchange rates, so there are no markups on sending money to different countries. All you do is pay a fee for the transfer and then wait a couple days before the money appears in your recipient’s account. The pricing in straightforward, easy to use, and offers both online and mobile platforms.

The one downside of TransferWise comes if you are looking to transfer huge sums of money. For personal funds, the daily limit is $50,000, with a maximum of $250,000 per year. For a business fund, the limits increase to $250,000 with $1 million per year. Just something to keep in mind.

Western Union

If you want a name you can trust while also enjoying some of the benefits of 21st century technology, Western Union could very well be the place to go to transfer your money. Western Union may be one of the oldest ways to quickly send money internationally, but it has definitely succeeded in keeping up with the times.

Now, you can send money through their website, their app, or by going to a brick and mortar store. If you need to send a large sum of cash (over $5,000), you can do so at their OnlineFX site. To make it even more attractive to users, you can use either your debit card, credit card, or cash to send money. Once you send, money can be deposited directly into the recipient’s bank account or picked up at a Western Union location.

Beyond these two established forms of sending money internationally, there are a multitude of new companies that can be your ticket to sending money across borders.


Another online-based company, OFX started in Sydney, Australia, but has since become available to users all over the globe. Unlike TransferWise, which charges a fee but does not take anything from the exchange rate, OFX takes a small margin on the exchange rate but charges no additional fees. This makes it a good option for large sums of money. On top of that, OFX also bases the rate they charge on how regularly you use the service. If you plan on making regular international transfers, OFX could definitely be the way to go.

OFX offers easy-to-use online and mobile platforms, no maximum transfer limit, and same-day service for many countries. Additionally, they offer 24-hour customer support.


Another company that has established itself as a trusted and easy way to share money internationally is PayPal. Perhaps the greatest benefit of this company is that PayPal makes it especially easy to use money sent using the service because users can link credit cards or bank accounts directly to their account.

PayPal is incredibly quick and easy, especially for smaller amounts of money. The only potential downsides of PayPal are that both the sender and the recipient have to have an account, and the amount that you are allowed to send may be restricted. Finally, PayPal fees can fluctuate depending on which country you want to send money to.

Now that you have the basic facts, get to work at finding which option best works for you and your international recipient.

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