Compare Money Transfer Methods


How to compare money transfer providers

There are almost as many ways to transfer money abroad as there are reasons for doing it. Options such as online money transfer providers, prepaid cards, SMS payments and peer-to-peer lending provide safe and cost-effective ways to send your money overseas without the high fees and strict sending limits of a bank.

But with all the different options available, it can be difficult to know which international money transfer (sometimes abbreviated to IMT) method is the right one for you. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you compare money transfer providers so that you can get the best deal on your transfer. 


How to choose the right money transfer provider

There are a number of points of comparison between money transfer companies, including exchange rates, fees, speed of transfer, convenience, payment methods (e.g. can you send money using debit/credit cards) and transfer methods (e.g via a website or an app). Think about what’s most important for your money transfer. 

Below are the main questions you should be asking yourself when arranging an international money transfer and choosing the right provider. 

Where are you sending the money? 

Not every money transfer provider will be able to send money to every country/currency, so it’s important to pick the provider who can facilitate your transfer. 

How much money are you sending? 

Depending on the amount of money you send, and how regularly you plan to send it, it may be more economical to go with a money transfer provider that charges a flat fee but has no markup on the exchange rate (we explain this point in more detail in our in-depth money transfer guide here).

When does the money need to arrive? 

Some transfer companies offer faster transfers but at higher prices – if you aren’t as concerned about when your money arrives, you could save by opting for a longer transfer.

Once you’ve established what you want to achieve with your international money transfer, that’s when you will be in the best position to compare international money transfer companies and find the best deal for you. 

How can I compare money transfer companies? 

A number of companies today offer consumers an easy way to compare methods for sending money overseas. Often, this is the best way to compare your options and find a money transfer service that meets your needs. 

FXcompared offers businesses and individuals a range of choices for the best and most efficient way to transfer money internationally, by researching lower-cost and higher-service alternatives to the typical bank. We do this by comparing a selection of the best providers from around the world and then vetting them to ensure that they offer the best products and rates, provide security of funds, and adhere to all regulations and relevant money transfer laws.

Comparing international money transfer providers is really easy with our comparison tool. Simply follow the steps below. 

  • Enter where you are sending money from (Currency or Country).
  • Enter where you are sending money to.
  • Enter the amount you wish to send or receive.
  • Click the “Compare Now” button.

You’ll be presented with a table comparing the best offers for your exchange from our verified selection of money transfer vendors. From there, select your preferred option, click through to the website and make the transfer.

What are the different ways to send money abroad? 

To help you compare all the options available, the following list summarises the different ways to send money overseas that are available today, along with a brief description of how each works.

Using a traditional bank to transfer money overseas

Most banks offer money transfer services, but it’s standard at most banks that you must either already have an account with the bank, or apply for an account before you can use the bank’s transfer services. 

Banks typically have strict restrictions on the amounts you can send overseas, tend to charge higher fees, offer less competitive exchange rates, and take longer to transfer your money. We measure the cost of using banks to send money abroad through our International Money Transfer Index.

Foreign exchange providers (FX brokers or money transfer providers)

FX brokers offer individualised, tailored services for sending money abroad. If you need to transfer large amounts of money for starting a business or buying property or if you need to make regular overseas payments, FX brokers can often offer you the best FX rates, often along with lower fees than what you’d pay at a bank. 

Typically, you will need to open an account with the FX broker first, then fund this account using your bank account. For smaller amounts you can often use a credit card. FX brokers have numerous benefits, including the ability to lock in a favorable fixed exchange rate to use over a period of time, low fees, and specialised experience in the international currency markets.

Money transfer operators (MTOs)

Money transfer operators provide money transfer services, typically using transfer agents. Examples of MTOs are Western Union and MoneyGram. These companies typically do not require you to open an account to use their services, and often have offices in popular areas, including shopping malls and post offices. 

Many MTOs today offer mobile phone transfers and online money transfers. To send money using an MTO, you will need to complete a company form and provide some form of identification.

Online money transfer companies

These money transfer companies offer the ability to send money overseas online through a digital platform. 

You’ll need access to a secure online service, a bank account or credit card, and a valid e-mail address. You’ll first need to register and establish an account with the online transfer service provider, and it’s possible that you will also need to provide the bank account and email address of the person or entity that will receive the money.

Benefits of online money transfer service providers are that they are generally reliable, and typically charge lower fees than a bank.

Peer-to-peer money transfer providers

A peer-to-peer company provides a platform to allow senders and receivers of different foreign currencies to trade directly with one another. 

In this type of transaction, buyers and sellers are able to set their own rates. Because they are trading directly with each other, they can cut out the banks’ fees and exchange rate margins, potentially saving both parties money in the process. Examples of peer-to-peer money transfer providers include CurrencyFair and Transferwise

Typically, you will be required to register with the peer-to-peer money transfer provider before you can participate in transactions.

Prepaid money cards

Prepaid money cards are a convenient alternative for obtaining small amounts of foreign currency and are widely accepted in many countries. They can be used to send money overseas, for making online purchases, or for travel in a foreign country. They’re also accepted at ATMs globally for withdrawing cash (wherever Visa or MasterCard is accepted).

Prepaid money cards work the same way as a credit card or debit card, and typically have many of the same benefits. Before you can use the card, you must first load funds onto it, and can only spend up to the amount put on the card. Prepaid cards are easy to order online and are also available in selected shops. See the best prepaid debit card for kids here.

Which money transfer company gives the best rates?

Whether you are using a traditional bank or international money transfer company, you will almost certainly face charges for that transaction. Some companies require a flat free to make a transaction, while others will include a fee as a markup on the exchange rate.  

However, going to each money transfer company directly can be very time-consuming, and as money transfer rates change often you might end up missing out on a good deal. 

That’s why FXcompared’s money transfer comparison tool is so useful. All you have to do is put in the amount of money you want to transfer and where you are transferring it to, and FXcompared can give you a table showing the different rates each company will offer to send that amount abroad. 

How long will an international money transfer take?

Some international money transfers could take place instantly. Others could take up to five days. It depends on the app you are using or the company you are transferring the money with. Some money transfer companies may allow you to transfer your money faster than they usually would for an additional charge. 

FXcompared’s comparison tool shows you how long the transfer would take with each provider. 

What's the best way to transfer a large sum of money abroad?

If you are sending a large amount of money, the exchange rate becomes even more important. A money transfer provider with no fees can mean a large chunk of your money being taken off the top. If you are sending a large amount of money, it might actually be cheaper to pay a flat fee for a better exchange rate. 

Let’s pretend you want to send £1,000, one of which is offering to do it without a fee but with an exchange rate of 1%, while another is offering a 0.5% rate with a £2 charge for the transaction. In the first case, you would pay £10, made up of £5 for the exchange rate, plus £5 the money transfer company is charging on top of that. In the second case, you would pay £7.

Comparing international money transfers: In summary

The key things that you need to consider when you are comparing and choosing money transfer providers are:

  • How much money are you sending? for large amounts, think about whether it will be more economical to pay a fee to get a better exchange rate
  • Transfer speeds vary: Depending on the operator, some money transfers will take longer than others. 
  • Sending money for business reasons? This may affect your priorities when sending payments (e.g. currency forwards and stop limits). To learn more about making international money transfers for business, click here
  • Comparing money transfer providers is important – outside of just exchange rates and fees, there are a number of reasons you might want to choose one money transfer provider over another.
  • Comparing money transfer providers is easy – With FXcompared’s price comparison tool, you can easily compare money transfer providers across a wide variety of metrics. Our experts have also reviewed the biggest transfer companies to help you choose the right one for your needs. 

Want more information about international money transfers? Read our other step-by-step guides below. 


Money Transfer Comparison

Results are ranked in order of the best overall deal, taking into account transfer times, rates, fees, and customer service.

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Money Transfer Comparison Tool is an fx money comparison site for international money transfer and to compare rates from currency brokers for sending money abroad. The website and the information provided is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer, solicitation or advice on any financial service or transaction. None of the information presented is intended to form the basis for any investment decision, and no specific recommendations are intended.  FXC Group Ltd and FX Compared Ltd does not provide any guarantees of any data from third parties listed on this website. FX compared Ltd expressly disclaims any and all responsibility for any direct or consequential loss or damage of any kind whatsoever arising directly or indirectly from (i) any error, omission or inaccuracy in any such information or (ii) any action resulting therefrom.