How to transfer money internationally

Step 1
Send money online comparison
Choose a provider that supports your destination country from over 20 of the best money transfer companies reviewed on this site.
Step 2
Create an account
Sign up to provider as a personal or business customer
Provide Proof of ID may be required for KYC (Know Your Customer) and money laundering compliance.
Step 3
Monitor exchange rates
Create rate alerts
Check the exchange rate and if it is a good time to transfer funds to the destination country.
Enter how much is being transferred.
Enter which currency you are sending to.
Enter the recipient banking details.
Step 4
Start money transfer
Send the funds to the chosen money transfer company.
Funds are sent to the foreign recipient.
Receive progress update notifications.

Ways to Send Money Internationally

Depending on where you and the recipient live, you may get to choose from different methods when sending money overseas. However, not all service providers offer the same methods. The three main transfer methods include:

  • Cash
  • Bill payments
  • International bank transfers

Cash

You may choose to transfer money overseas so the recipient may collect cash from a physical location, which can be your service provider's branch or an agent. You may also pay for your transfer using cash, by visiting your service provider's branch or an agent. The top companies that offer cash transfer services include WorldRemit, Azimo, Ria, Western Union, and Moneygram.

Bill payments

Some service providers give their customers the ability to pay international bills, which could be phone bills, electricity bills, gas bills, credit card bills, loan repayments, and even property taxes. Companies that let you pay bills from overseas include WorldRemit, TransferWise, and Currencies Direct. Setting up regular transfers takes away the need to go through the process each month.

International Bank Transfers

This is the most common way to send money overseas. Depending on the service provider you select, you may pay via a bank account transfer, or by using a credit or debit card. You need to provide the recipient's bank account details, and the money reaches the designated account within a predetermined time period.

 

Receiving International Payments

You may receive international payments directly into your bank account, you may collect the money by visiting a cash pickup center, or you may get in in a digital wallet. In some countries, recipient's can also get the transferred money delivered to their homes. However, not all companies offer this service. Online sellers and businesses get other options too.

Online Seller Solutions

If you are an online seller with an international audience and sell your products or services through marketplaces such as Amazon, Shopify, eBay, Walmart, Groupon, or Ratuken, you may benefit by opening an online seller account with a specialist money transfer company. This gives you more control over your money, and can prove to be rather cost-effective. 

Online seller solution providers

Prominent money transfer companies that provide solutions for online sellers include WorldFirst, TransferWise, Currencies Direct, OFX.

Online seller solution benefits

One of the main benefits of getting an online seller account is lower costs when receiving international payments.This is because you end up paying lower fees and get better currency exchange rates.

Another benefit is that you get to hold funds in different currencies, and can use the same to make international payments. Besides, when you choose to withdraw the funds from your online wallet to your local bank account is typically up to you.

Multi-currency receiving accounts

Depending on the service provider you select, multi-currency accounts can provide local banking details from Canada, USA, Europe, UK, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong. You and your business have a local presence and you enjoy the benefits of low cost banking capabilities. You get to receive funds from your clients and pay your suppliers locally. You may repatriate your funds in your multi-currency digital wallet at very low cost, through competitive fees and  exchange rates.

 Multi-Currency Account SolutionLocal Currency Support
OFXGlobal Currency AccountEUR, GBP, AUD, HKD, SGD, CAD, and USD
WorldFirstWorld AccountGBP, EUR, USD, CAD, CNH, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, and AUD
TransferWiseBorderless AccountUSD, GBP, EUR, AUD, and NZD
CurrenciesDirectMulti-Currency AccountGBP, EUR, USD, CAD, and JPY

Tip: How to Avoid Scams

Deal with a trusted money transfer company that is regulated by your country's financial authorities. Go through online reviews of previous customers on websites such as Trustpilot. iCompareFX partners only with reputable and trusted companies that are regulated and authorized by local governing bodies.

FAQs

How long do international bank transfers take?

These refer to international bank wire transfers, carried out between banks. Therefore, they use the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) network. Since international wire transfers require settlement times, they usually take two to five business days to process. In some instances, the turnaround time can be even longer.

How long does a SWIFT payment take?

A SWIFT payment may take two to five business days to process. 

What is the best way to send money internationally?

The best way to send money internationally is through specialist money transfers companies. You may transfer money to the recipient's bank account, carry out a cash transfer, or even pay an international bill.

  • Sending cash. The best way is through companies such as WorldRemit and Azimo, as they support cash pickup and delivery.
  • Paying internationally bills. Paying international bills and topping up mobile airtime is possible online. WorldRemit offers the most competitive pricing and the widest range of bill payment options.
  • Bank account transfer. This is the best way to transfer money internationally to another bank account. Use companies such as OFX, XE, or TransferWise for low fees and competitive exchange rates.

What is the safest way to send money overseas?

The safest way to send money overseas is through a reputable money transfer company. All international remittance providers compared on iCompareFX are registered with their local financial regulators. This means that their client funds are segregated and are protected from business activities.

What is the cheapest way to transfer money internationally?

The cheapest way to transfer money internationally is through low cost and high quality money transfer companies. Remittance companies such as TransferWise, WorldFirst, OFX, and Currencies Direct rate well across different parameters. With large fund transfers, ensure that you can talk with a personal account manager to negotiate costs. Currencies Direct and OFX provide personal and business account managers to discuss currency markets and offer personalized cost estimates.

What is the fastest way to send money internationally?

he fastest way to send money internationally is not through international bank wire transfers. Choose companies that support country-specific solutions, letting you send your funds to them faster. TransferWise supports solutions such as debit cards and POLi (Australia) for instant upload of money. With funds reaching your service provider instantly, you can save between a day or two when transferring money internationally.

Can Google Pay be used to transfer money internationally?

While Google Pay lets its users carry out domestic money transfers in various countries, it does not facilitate international money transfers yet. However, some money transfer companies let you use Google Pay to pay for your transfer. Examples include TransferWise, Revolut, Monese, Monzo, and PayPal.

Can I make international payments in online banking?

Yes, you can make international payments using online banking. Payments toward international invoices, holiday rentals, and long-term leases can be made bank to bank. However, your bank might not support international bill payments through its online banking system. In that case, you may need to turn to an international payments provider such as WorldRemit or Xoom.

Can you transfer money from one bank to another internationally?

Yes, you can transfer money from one bank to another internationally. Depending on the bank, this may come at a rather high cost. Use iCompareFX to choose from the top international money transfer companies that can help reduce the cost of overseas fund transfers.

How much do banks charge for international money transfers?

The average cost of international money transfers when you use the big banks is around 5% of the real/interbank exchange rate. You may also pay $20 or more as fees. Consider these examples:

 

From the U.S. to the UK

  • Bank: JPMorgan Chase Bank, United States
  • Real Exchange Rate: $1 = £0.79
  • Rate Offered by Bank: $1 = £0.75 
  • Wire Transfer Fees: $45

 

From the UK to the U.S.

  • Bank: HSBC UK
  • Real Exchange Rate: £1 = $1.27
  • Rate Offered by Bank: £1 = $1.219
  • Wire Transfer Fees: £4

 

From Australia to the U.S.

  • Bank: ANZ Australia
  • Real Exchange Rate: AU $1 = US $0.71
  • Rate Offered by Bank: AU $1 = US. $0.678
  • Wire Transfer Fees:  AU $24 (online) - AU $32 (branch, phone banking)

How much money can you send internationally?

How much money you can send internationally depends on the countries in which you and the recipient live. This is because several countries have regulations surrounding maximum transfer limits. In the U.S., all incoming and outgoing international transfers that exceed $10,000 need to be reported to the Internal Revenue Services (IRS). In India, resident individuals can transfer up to USD 2,50,000 each financial year.

Minimum and maximum limits may also apply depending on the service provider you select. These can come in the form of transaction-based, daily, weekly, monthly, or annual limits.

Does Zelle work internationally?

No. Zelle does not work internationally. As of now, its services are available only in the United States. In addition, the sender and the recipient need to have American bank accounts.

What is an international money transfer?

An international money transfer involves sending money from one country to another. You might initiate your transfer online, over the phone, or in person. The recipient may receive the transferred funds in a bank account, by visiting a cash pickup center, or in a digital wallet.

What is TT bank transfer?

In the past, a telegraphic transfer (TT) involved one bank sending a cable message to another bank to facilitate transfer of funds. Before electronic payment networks came into being, banks typically relied on telex messages. Now, the term is used interchangeably with wire transfers and electronic transfers. For example, while the use of the term telegraphic transfer remains common in the UK and Australia, use of the term wire transfers is more prevalent in the U.S.

While much of the modern day international telegraphic transfer technology is based on the SWIFT network, various central banks have their own real-time gross settlement (RTGS) systems in place. These include Fedwire (the U.S.), CHAPS (the UK), and TARGET2 (Europe).