Cheapest Ways to Send Money Abroad

The best money transfer services available to transfer funds overseas.

Updated: May 22, 2024
Matt Crabtree

Written By

Matt Crabtree

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If you have relatives or friends living abroad, you may find yourself in a situation where you must send them money.

Although traditional banks have dominated the world of international money transfer, it may be music to your ears to hear that many cheaper ways exist to complete the process.

Whether you want to make a one-off transfer or send money overseas frequently, cheap options are available. These days, there’s no need to stick to the bank transfer method.

In this article we'll reveal the three cheapest ways to send money abroad.

We will also discuss and describe the cheapest providers you can use.

ProviderScoreDetails
1. XE★★★★★Click Here
2. WorldRemit★★★★★Click Here
3. Remitly★★★★★Click Here
4. Atlantic Money★★★★★Click Here
5. TorFX★★★★Click Here
6. Wise★★★★Click Here
7. Starling Bank★★★★Click Here

Which Are the Cheapest International Money Transfer Providers?

Experts expect the digital remittance market to increase at a rate of 5.29% by 2027, showing that transfers abroad will also increase over time.

If you are an individual hoping to make one of these transfers and the above methods do not suit your requirements, alternative providers and cheaper ways to send money abroad exist.

Check the following providers for more information.

1. XE

Xe allows you to make international money transfers to 200 eligible countries. You can transfer money in 100 currencies via the XE app, making it easy to view the transfer cost.

This platform uses a live exchange rate, meaning your transfer costs may change when you are mid-way through the process. XE will inform you if this change in costs occurs.

Limits apply to the amount of money you can send abroad with XE. For example, if you transfer money from the UK, the maximum amount you can transfer is £350,000 in just one transfer.

XE will charge a small fee for making your transfer, but this competitive price helps you save money, even if you make multiple transfers.

2. WorldRemit

Instant money transfers are possible with WorldRemit. It requests a fee of £1.99 to complete the transfer. For example, if you want to send £1,000 to the United States, the recipient will receive $1,253.

The recipient’s amount will depend on the exchange rate, which you can view on the WorldRemit converter.

You will pay £1.99 in fees to use this service. These low-cost, fixed fees make it one of the cheapest ways to send money abroad. This provider also states that it is 46% cheaper than banks, making it an excellent alternative.

The amount you can send abroad will depend on the specific country and regulations. However, one advantage of WorldRemit is that the transfer will happen within three minutes. Another is that you can track the transfer through the WorldRemit app and receive notifications about the transfer’s progress.

3. Remitly

Remitly permits you to transfer funds internationally to more than 100 currencies using a few transfer options. You can choose from bank transfers and mobile wallets to cash pick-up methods to send your funds abroad.

If Remitly does not transfer these funds on time, it will refund them to you. You have the option of sending funds to 170 eligible countries.

Remitly places a limit on the amount you can transfer within 24 hours. However, you are free to increase this limit, which you can do through the Remitly app or online a day after you sign up. Remitly will review your request, and you will have a decision within 48 hours.

As an example of how this platform works, if you transfer £1,000 to a European country like Spain with Remitly, your recipient will get €1.1633. This deal applies to new customers, another perk you will receive with this provider.

For your first transfer, you won’t have to pay any fees. You may have to pay transfer fees for future transfers depending on how much you send and the destination you sent it to.

4. Atlantic Money

For mobile money transfers, Atlantic Money is one of the cheapest ways to transfer money overseas. It asks for a flat fee of £3 to make transfers of up to £1m. You can make transfers between 10 different currencies with Atlantic Money, which includes British pounds and euros.

For example, if you need to send £1,000 abroad to a European country like Spain in euros, the recipient will pay €1,163.58, and you will pay £3 — however, this will depend on the fluctuating live rate. 

Yet Atlantic Money always extends the most competitive exchange rate, ensuring you and your recipient can make the most of the transfer and your money.

5. TorFX

To make business money transfers, TorFX is a broker that offers award-winning transfers. It provides fee-free international transfers of up to £100,000 at any time.

It also allows you to make personal money transfers, such as buying property abroad or sending funds to family members abroad.

With a business online account, you can check the exchange rates, set an alert for rates and add recipients. When you set up a personal account, you can make transfers anytime and receive a dedicated account manager.

This provider’s exchange rates will vary, but they are competitively positioned against other money transfer services, helping you save when you transfer money internationally.

6. Wise

Wise facilitates international money transfers. This is one of the money transfer services that ask for transfer fees when sending money abroad, but fees vary depending on the currency you select.

You have the option to select different fee options for your transfer. If you select the fast and easy transfer fees, this may be approximately double the low-cost fee.

Creating a personal account with Wise is free, and you can start sending money abroad to 160 countries in over 40 currencies.

For example, if you send £1,000 to a European country like Spain in euros, the recipient will receive €1,161.96. Remember that value will depend on the exchange rate, so check for a favourable one beforehand.

7. Starling Bank

While this provider offers business bank accounts, you can make fast international transfers to 36 eligible countries with Starling Bank. It’s also possible to transfer money across to 20 eligible currencies. While this option does expect fees, such as transfer and delivery fees, they are fairly competitive.

With Starling Bank, you will always pay a 0.4% transfer fee for the currency conversion. For example, if you transfer £1,000 to euros, your recipient will receive €1,155.23 — but this can change depending on the exchange rate.

However, this provider also offers a more cost-effective option. You can choose a low-cost payment arrangement to reduce the delivery fees and increase the amount your recipient receives from the transfer.

For example, if you transfer £1,000 to a family member living in Spain with the low-cost payment option, delivery fees cost £0.30, and your recipient will receive €1,161.29.

What Is the Cheapest Way to Send Money Abroad?

The answer to this question — sending money abroad cheaply — will depend on several factors.

You must consider the amount of money you wish to transfer, the destination you are sending it to and how quickly you need to complete the transfer. Consider the different situations and money transfer solutions below.

Frequent Transfers to One Country

Money transfers outside of the UK were 10 times higher than the money coming in in 2021, proving that transfers to other countries happen frequently. If you need to make frequent transfers to a single country, one of the cheapest ways to send money abroad is to make a free transfer via a bank.

To do this, choose a bank matching the recipient’s overseas bank account. These linked banks are typically the same with a branch overseas, so check if the person you want to send money to has one of these accounts.

This option is ideal if you need to send money abroad regularly to family members who live abroad.

Infrequent Low-Value Transfers

Using a UK firm specialising in international money transfers is ideal for making infrequent low-value transfers, such as amounts lower than £5,000. These firms are cheaper options for sending one-off sums. For example, if you want to send money abroad for a family member’s birthday, you can choose a UK firm that will transfer over the Internet. 

It takes two to four days to make the transfer, but you must first create an account and allow the firm to verify your address.

High-Value Transfers

You may need to make high-value transfers overseas to purchase property or land. In that case, a foreign exchange broker specialising in high-value transfers is an excellent option. These brokers will charge different exchange rates, so checking for the most competitive exchange rate is crucial to avoid losing money during the transfer. 

For example, if you make large money transfers of £200,000, a rate improvement of 1% can mean a £2,000 difference in the amount your recipient gains.

3 Cheapest Ways to Send Money Abroad

Sending money abroad is essential for many British households that sent $554bn to low-income countries in 2019. To make and cover the costs of these transfers, many people capitalised on multiple cheap ways to send money abroad and could keep money in their banks during the transfer.

Read on for the three cheapest ways to send money to international destinations and save money when you do so.

1. Peer-to-Peer Payment Method

Using peer-to-peer payment methods is one of the cheapest types of money transfer service. With these platforms, you do not need to involve a traditional bank. Instead, you link your credit card or bank account to the peer-to-peer payment platform. You can then use the recipient’s email address or username to send money to friends and family.

Offering favourable exchange rate options and removing banks from the process, these platforms are cost-effective. However, they may expect you to pay transfer fees. A couple of examples of these platforms include Venmo and PayPal.

2. Digital Wallets

Digital wallets enable you to manage and store payment details. You can use them to send money internationally — no matter if you need to pay for a family member’s birthday or send them funds for Christmas. With a digital wallet, you can count on lower fees than bank or wire transfers.

You can also look forward to favourable exchange rates and fees with digital wallets such as Revolut and Payoneer — the latter asks for a 0.5% fee depending on the amount you want to transfer. 

3. International Money Transfer Apps

Using international money transfer apps adds convenience and money-saving advantages if you aim to send money abroad. You need to create an account via the app and connect your credit or debit card or bank account to it. You can then add the recipient’s details to send the money to friends or family.

Each app will show different exchange rates and fees, typically depending on many factors, so comparing a few options is worth it. For example, Xoom’s rates and fees depend on the country you send the money to, the amount you want to transfer, the currency you intend the recipient to receive and your payment method.

Which Fees Do I Have to Pay When Sending Money Abroad?

You will have to pay a few fees when sending money overseas. Our financial experts have gathered the two main fees you should consider if you need to transfer money abroad.

Exchange Rates

Exchange rate markups are a common fee when transferring money internationally. This rate refers to the rate at which you can exchange your currency for another. It considers the value of the currencies but also looks at more factors like geopolitical events and interest rates.

When you want to make an international transfer and look at the exchange rate, you will see a base and quote currency. For instance, if you are transferring pounds to euros, stay on the lookout for how many euros your recipient will get for one pound. You will see a quote such as 1 GBP = 1.17 EUR.

As we have mentioned, each provider will have unique exchange rates, so comparing these rates can put you in a better financial situation when making a transfer.

Transfer Fees

You will also encounter money transfer fees — charges that payment providers request for processing your international transfer. Now, many factors can impact the transfer fee amount you must pay. Some examples include how much you intend to transfer and your selected provider.

It pays off if you compare multiple provider fees because you may make significant savings during the transfer with lower fees. Since a few providers also offer promotions on transfer fees, you may be able to take advantage of these and save even more.

As mentioned, many international money transfer companies offer flat fees or fixed transfer fees.

Cheapest Ways to Send Money Abroad — The Verdict

The process of sending money abroad has moved away from the traditional bank transfers that were once incredibly popular. Some cheaper ways to complete your transfer include using transfer apps, digital wallets or peer-to-peer payment methods. 

Remember, the two significant factors that can affect the cost of your transfer include transfer fees and exchange rates. Make sure you compare each money transfer company and check the exchange rate they offer to capitalise on cheaper ways to send money abroad.

Related Guides:

FAQs

Which UK Banks Have Free International Transfers?

Is it Possible to Use PayPal to Send Money to International Destinations?

What Is the Fastest Way to Calculate the Exchange Rate?

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