The solution? International money transfer apps.
I use money transfer apps because it makes it incredibly easy to get paid from customers who live all over the world (this made it a great benefit for them to pay in their local currency) and then also get paid from affiliates as well.
It was a game changer in sending money online.
The introduction of online banking has come a long way with how we use currency. The banking apps are good but they’re not that good. This is where the third-party money transfer app came in.
Most banks have ridiculously high fees if you want to transfer money internationally.
So most people are now turning to money transfer apps, also known as peer-to-peer payment (P2P) apps, to send money to friends and family overseas.
Because there are so many options out there, in this post we will look at the money transfer apps that are hassle-free, have low fees, and have great security from my personal experience with trying the many different apps.
Ready? Let’s fly!
Disclaimer: This article includes affiliate links that may provide a small commission to me at no cost to you (it will buy me a cup of coffee though 😉). However, these are the best apps that I fully recommend and tested, when it comes to transferring money internationally. You can read more about my affiliate disclosure in my affiliate policy.
What is the Best Money Transfer App?
To find that out we need to dig deep into what these popular apps can even offer us when transferring money from a linked bank account, over the low-risk option of just going with a bank.
Best mobile phone app overall.
Wise makes it incredibly easy to send and receive money. One thing that makes this app great is the transparency of the fees you’ll pay before you hit the send button.
When you convert with Wise you transfer money at the ‘inter-bank rate’. This is the real rate and is even better than banks claiming to have ‘zero commission’ on transfers.
You can compare this rate to other leading money transfer and remit services so you know you’re actually getting the best deal.
- Choose your method of transfer – Bank Transfer, Debit Card, Credit Card, PISP, Swift.
- Get a physical debit card sent to you with 2 free ATM withdrawals up to $100USD/month.
- Use your Wise card with the Apple Pay digital wallet.
- Combine personal and business banking within the one mobile app.
- Supported in over 80 countries (with more to come!).
- Instant transfer funds available – be prepared to pay a little more for this though.
Having a physical card has been a really great addition. It allows me to use it even while I’m traveling with any EFTPOS machine where the merchant accepts Mastercard and even cash-out money from ATMs if you need to.
Being based in the United Kingdom, Wise is bound by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). What this means is that by law they are required to store the funds in a low-risk financial institution to ensure your money is safe.
In the UK, that means it’s staying with Barclays and in the US it’s with Wells Fargo.
When you log in via a desktop computer a popup will occur telling you to open up the app on your phone and approve the login. This tells me Wise takes security very seriously and even requires you to provide a photo id when you set up your account.
Wise has recently introduced a fee of 0.4% annually if you hold more than €15,000 in your EUR (Euro) balance.
There are fixed fees and these vary for every currency but as an example:
If you wanted to send $100USD to a friend you need to pay $100.93USD. The fixed fee is $0.93 with no variable fee in this case because it’s going from USD to USD.
Wise is a very versatile way to conduct business or even use it if you’re a frequent traveler. You can withdraw money from any one of 2.3 million ATMs worldwide and use Google Pay or Apple Pay (where supported in those countries).
Security is fairly tight with supported 2-factor authentication and round the clock dedicated fraud team watching over your money.
Wise is an excellent choice as a money transfer provider and is for those who already use international money transfer but love transparency and great online service.
Best for business owners.
Airwallex is a great option if you’ve got a business that has employees and you need to make international money transfers. They currently don’t have an option for personal use, but I’ll make sure to update this when it becomes available.
Airwallex allows you to create global accounts. These are accounts with different currencies and are based in different countries. This will allow you to transfer money like a local.
For example, in their Hong Kong location, you can open up an account in 10 major currencies including AUD, USD, EUR, GBP, SGD, HKD, CNY, JPY, CHF, CAD, and NZD.
One of the best things that Airwallex has done for Australians is you can now receive a physical debit card! In the United States, you can issue virtual cards to each of your staff members ready for use in minutes.
You can change access or even get rid of it easily all from within the app. This really helped me, by giving my employees access to their own cards, I could watch their spending, but it also allowed them the freedom to make decisions and buy stock when they needed to.
- Zero international transaction fees.
- Make payments into 130+ countries in 31 different currencies.
- Connect your business account to online platforms such as Shopify, PayPal, or eBay.
- Enrolled in the PSP (Payment Service Provider) program with Amazon.
- Highest international security standards including PCI Level 1 compliance.
- Integrate Airwallex with Xero for easier account keeping.
Amazon recently changed their accepted PSPs and Airwallex is a recognized partner of the program. This means you can continue to get paid fortnightly.
If you choose a PSP outside of their current program then be prepared to wait for a longer period of time (up to 21 days) to receive your funds. This could seriously impact your cash flow.
Any account owner or admin has access to enable 2FA (2 Factor Authentication). You enter your username and password and then in the second step you’ll be required to provide a code that automatically gets generated on the device you’re on.
To receive the code you can opt-in for an SMS or my preference is to get the Google Authenticator app and get it that way.
For extra security all transactions are encrypted with an RSA key and SSL.
Airwallex is highly regulated and is appropriately licensed in Australia, Canada, the United States of America, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.
While there are minimum and maximum amounts that you can convert, you’ll need to speak with your assigned account manager as they may be able to increase or decrease it depending on your situation.
On the debit card, they have a limit of $10,000USD (or equivalent) put on them with the added protection of a daily and transaction limit if you wanted to set that up as well.
Airwallex fees are between 0.3% or 0.6% above the interbank rates (the real rate). This is really low given some of the bigger banks are charging an FX fee of up to 6%!
As a business owner, using Airwallex has been a great choice, especially the perks of being in the Amazon PSP program, the integration of Xero, and the fact that I can give leverage to all of my employees with transparent access into their transactions.
Best for friends and family.
PayPal is one of the most established money transfer apps on the market. Because of that, there’s a sense of instant trust between business owners and consumers.
A lot of people who get paid online for tasks, or who are freelancers will be familiar with plenty of merchants asking for a PayPal account.
In fact, as an e-commerce seller, I would always pay for my samples from suppliers via PayPal. The reason I did this was that the transfer speed was almost instant and I knew if I had any issues with the samples being sent then I could put in a dispute and have the matter looked into.
Once I was happy with the samples I could send up to $60,000 for my stock in one transaction provided I had a verified account.
- Multiple accounts allowed – One personal and one business account.
- Use it to pay bills, sell products online, send/receive to friends and family members.
- Create your own PayPal.me link to get paid faster and easier from people.
- Create an online money pool with friends and family.
- Set up recurring billing and reminders to customers to pay invoices.
For business owners, a great little feature I loved was the fact I could create my own invoices through PayPal. You can add your own logo, company information, and your customers can even pay from their PayPal accounts to make the transaction even smoother.
According to 2019 PayPal user data, 76% of invoices are paid within one day of sending the invoice.
As you’d expect from a leading money transfer service, PayPal comes with constant fraud protection and advanced encryption behind every single transaction.
Probably one of the biggest advantages of using PayPal is the ability to have purchase protection. This is used when you’ve paid for something and the item doesn’t arrive or is completely different from what you were expecting, PayPal can reimburse you for the item (up to $20,000).
This goes for businesses too. If you get a dispute from a customer, then PayPal’s seller protection will help you if you get a chargeback, reversal, or claim from a customer then you can get PayPal to look into it.
This is probably one of the biggest drawbacks of PayPal. Their fees are expensive and just plain confusing! You get charged for every transaction from a card, even if it’s from a debit card and even in the same currency.
Domestic Transactions (Personal)
|PayPal Balance or Bank Account||No Fee|
|Card||2.60% + Fixed Fee|
|Receiving Money||No Fee|
International Transactions (Personal)
|PayPal Balance or Bank Account||5.00%|
|Card||5.00% + 2.60% + Fixed Fee|
But here comes the kicker, if you’re going to receive currency other than your local currency then you’ll be up for a 4.00% currency conversion fee above the base exchange rate.
The fees just go on and on and on. So I’ve included the link here.
Despite the hefty fees, PayPal remains a money transfer giant with a huge customer base. The fact that you can also combine PayPal with many online shops and service providers means you can keep all of your financials in one place and most transfers happen instantly.
Best for transferring larger amounts and a more personalized service.
OFX (previously known as OzForex) is one of the more established money transfer companies out there, having been in business since 1998. When I first started receiving money online I used OFX.
Being a complete newbie to receiving money from overseas, I had a lot of questions. Luckily I got assigned to my own account manager who I was able to talk to about any transfer and even lock in special rates.
If you’re an online seller then you can now pay suppliers directly from your account. This also makes it easy if you have any SaaS subscriptions that you pay monthly or annually, it can now be taken out of your international bank account.
- Participating member of the Amazon Payment Services Program.
- Transfer money to over 190 countries in 50+ different currencies.
- Save time by having your OFX transactions automatically posted to Xero.
- Most transfers take 1-2 business days to arrive.
- Ability to pay up to 500 employees with one click.
OFX has come a long way since I started using them and they are constantly changing and remain competitive in the marketplace. Their app used to be incredibly simple and you could really only see your balance.
These days you get live exchange rates with the currency converter, transfer money, and track your transfers on the go.
OFX has tight identity protection with passwords, security questions, and automatic timeouts to keep your account safe, especially on your smartphone.
As part of their fraud protection and prevention, OFX’s technology looks at your login and transactions to determine any suspicious activity going on.
SSL encryption is used site-wide as well to protect your information.
As a quick tip during the set-up process, having a driver’s license and your address on it doesn’t count as two forms of id, so you’ll need to get another form of id to complete the process. However, they do take passports and utility bills as identification documents.
I must say that it’s quite hard to find all of OFX’s fees and charges. Plus it also depends on where you live with what fees you’ll be charged.
In Australia, generally, anything less than $10,000 AUD and you’ll incur a flat fee of $15 AUD. Above that and it’s free.
In the United States, there’s no OFX transfer free at all. But be aware of bank fees. These can be paid when sending and receiving and can range anywhere from $15 – $30 USD.
In general, the more money you transfer, the better the exchange rate and the lower the fees become. You can think of it as a quote for a money transfer that goes through your account manager.
Be careful when using the exchange rate calculator on their website as it is the standard rate only. If you’re a customer, then you can do better, and together with your account manager, you can even lock in your exchange rate for when you’re ready to make your transfer.
Best for small transfers and easiest to use.
WorldRemit is by far the easiest and fastest way to send money overseas. You can download the app for free, set up your account, and be ready to transfer within minutes!
What makes this service one of the best in the world is that not only can you transfer between linked bank accounts, but you can arrange for cash pickups and home delivery, all accessible within the app.
WorldRemit makes it super easy to fund your transfer and move your hard-earned cash through bank transfer, credit or debit card, Apple Pay, and plenty of other e-wallets.
- Send money to over 130 countries.
- 90% of transfers are practically instant.
- Send money to people who don’t even have a bank account in the receiving country.
- Ability to send mobile money and airtime top-ups.
- Payment options include Poli, iDEAL, Trustly, and Apple Pay (Google Pay no longer accepted).
The amount of money you can send really depends on where you live and the rules for money transfers to the country you’re sending it to. It can also depend on how you intend to pay for the transfer.
Because WorldRemit is not a bank or credit institution, any money you have in your account may not be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme of the United Kingdom. How they are required to protect your money legally though is through a process called safeguarding.
What this is means is that if WorldRemit happens to stop being able to provide a service, you can still get your money back. But depending on the reason why they stopped trading may mean you won’t get your money back in full.
To send money you will need to provide a government-issued photo id to confirm you as the money sender.
On top of that, they have the usual verification processes most other money transfer apps use and have a dedicated team that monitors your account for any suspicious activity.
So far everything has been really positive for WorldRemit. But here’s where things can change. Their fee structure is very complex. It can depend on where you’re sending it from, the currency, the payment method, and how much you’re going to send.
As an example, let’s say someone in the United States wants to send me money in Australia via Apple Pay. The most they could send in one transaction is $300 USD with a 24 hour limit of $9000 USD.
If that same person wanted to send me $100 USD into my bank they would be up for a $3.99 USD flat rate transfer fee. Their exchange rate is higher than the interbank rate but not by much.
To actually know whether you’re getting a good rate it’s a good idea to compare to other money transfer services and how much is actually going to arrive in the other account.
Best currency calculator.
XE definitely has market expertise when it comes to foreign currency exchange. They have been in business since 1995 and have heaps of information on their website about money transfer tips, market analysis, currency charts, trading resources, and more.
They make money transfers quick, easy, and secure for both individuals and businesses. You can also check out their live rates and compare trends of different currencies.
Once you’re ready to make a transfer, XE will let you send money to over 130 countries in a matter of minutes.
- Part of Euronet.
- Lock in a rate today and schedule a transfer any time within the next 3 years.
- Set up rate alerts for your ideal exchange rate.
- Mass global payments as a standalone platform, managed service, or fully integrated API.
XE employs currency market experts that will help you by closely monitoring the markets and tailor their services to your business.
You can easily track the status of your money transfer through the app so you know where your money is at any given time.
Being in the currency business since the mid-90s it’s safe to say that XE has built up a reputation for itself as being a trustworthy service.
When you transfer with XE you get access to services for anti-money laundering and fraud prevention. Being an international company they follow the rules of every country they operate in and are backed by a multi-billion dollar parent company.
A unique feature I like is if you accidentally send money to the wrong person, if you can get on it quickly you can still get it canceled if you give XE a call.
While you’re not able to pay with cash, you can pay with direct debit, wire transfer, and credit or debit card.
If you’re after paying $0 in fees then direct debit is the way to go. The trade-off with this is that it takes longer to transfer your funds. Any other way of transfer will incur a small fee.
Something to be aware of is if you use their currency converter to figure out how much you’ll get after the transfer, then the rate you’re seeing is the mid-market rate. This rate is the mid-point at which a currency can be bought or sold at.
Unfortunately, this rate is not available to anyone, not even XE. Having said that, they will always try to get you the best send rate possible in the fastest time.
Best for expats sending small to medium amounts home.
Remitly may not be as good as the others on this list, but it still makes the cut in the seventh position because you can still send from 17 countries to over 100 other countries.
The reason why Remitly doesn’t expand at the moment is due to most of their customer base being immigrants in these countries. Because of this, their focus is on the current transfer options that immigrants would mostly use.
- Be eligible for discounts and bonuses through your first-time use and referring friends.
- Choose between express or economy delivery of your money.
- Set up scheduled transfers for a one-off or recurring payment.
- Convenient delivery options including cash pick up to mobile wallets and even home delivery.
Standard security practices are in place to keep your money and account information safe. Every time you log in it will be with an SSL 256-bit encryption secure server connection.
After you’ve joined Remitly, continuous monitoring for suspicious activity will be handled by cross-referencing your normal activity through industry service providers who will be the ones that verify your transaction has been completed as part of a normal pattern.
The fee structure and exchange rate are fairly straightforward. Put in the amount and country you want to send your cash to, choose between express or economy delivery, and then pick your delivery method.
There are currently 3 tiers of sending limits. If you decide to increase your limit it could take up to 14 days to action, so make sure you get to it in advance.
Fees can vary between countries and amounts. As an example, if I wanted to send money to my relatives in Greece, I could choose between an $8.99 AUD express transfer (usually within minutes with a debit card) and $7.99 AUD for economy transfer (3-5 business days).
Naturally, if you fund with a credit card, your bank may charge a withdrawal fee.
As a signup bonus, your first transfer (express or economy) is free!
Money Transfer FAQs
The main features to look for when choosing a provider are:
Exchange Rates – Different apps have different rates. It may not differ much if you’re just sending small amounts, but if it’s bigger it may pay to look at what other apps are offering.
Fees – What fees if any are applicable to the transfer? Some might waive the fee if you pay with direct debit but the transfer times may be longer going with this option.
Transfer Type – Does the app allow you to transfer the right type of currency? Can you get cash sent to a home location if that is what is needed?
Customer Service – If something goes wrong can you count on the provider to give you back your money or even talk to someone about negotiating a better rate that perhaps others aren’t getting? Especially if you will be a repeat customer for them.
Yes. Each provider is forced to comply with financial institution regulations in the country/countries they are operating in. They must let you know of all fees before you hit send and some might even have to give you a time limit to cancel the transfer if needed.
Not only that, but all practically require you to verify and set up your account with a government-issued id. You’ll have 2FA (two-factor authentication) and SSL encryption while using the app to keep your information secure.
It depends on how you transfer it. Using a credit card may only take minutes compared to a direct debit or wire transfer but expect to pay a little more for this premium service.
Cash is slowly being phased out of many different currencies, I can’t actually remember the last time I went to an ATM to withdraw money and put it in my wallet!
Here I have uncovered the 7 best money transfer apps I believe are out there on the market today to send money internationally.
We have seen just how easy using a money transfer service actually is. The fact that you can even bypass the banks themselves and still use a linked bank account for international transfers with competitive exchange rates and it’s all done in just a few taps.
There are plenty of other cash apps I haven’t included either. Domestic apps which (funnily enough) is for domestic transfers only and for use in the United States such as Venmo (a fun one between friends) and Zelle. Other international apps such as Western Union, Currency Fair, and Azimo.
The fact that we can transfer money overseas practically instantly is an awesome tool to then let you get on with what matters…running your business.
Let me know in the comments below which is your favorite money transfer app?
It’s time to be the pilot of your life and not the passenger.
Chris Bournelis is a blogger and part-time web developer. He has been working in online business since 2015. Join Chris here at ChrisBournelis.com for the best SaaS reviews and tips to get the most out of your online business.