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Useful for immigrants: the best international money transfer services in 2021

Every immigrant has family and friends at home. Very often, friends and family need financial support. In other cases, immigrants still have financial obligations in their home country, such as a mortgage or child's tuition fees. This means that for many immigrants, international remittances are a regular activity, while for others it is less common. Edition Citizen path has compiled a list of money transfer services that may be useful to immigrants.

Photo: Shutterstock

Remittances sent from the United States to various countries exceeded $ 2017 billion in 148, and these numbers will continue to rise, according to the World Bank. It is safe to say that as long as the pandemic affects the global community, financial support for family members and relatives at home will remain a priority. This makes finding the best international money transfer services a necessity.

The situation has changed a lot since Western Union was the only option for transferring money abroad. As technologies become more advanced and services become more integrated, there are many more possibilities.

Choosing an international money transfer service

Money transfers are associated with different countries, different currencies, and different financial companies that process different stages of a transaction. This means that the best international money transfer services may differ depending on the situation. When thinking about choosing a company to translate, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Transfer time

How long will it take for the money to reach the people who need it? If you are sending money because someone has an emergency at home, a translation service that takes several business days is not the best option. If you are transferring money for a more predictable transaction, such as a mortgage payment that must be made on a specific date, you can calculate the time of the transaction if you know how long it will take for the money to reach its destination, depending on the company.

Transfer fee

Money transfer companies don't just provide this service out of the goodness of their soul - they too need to make money to stay in business. This means that a processing fee will be charged on your international money transfer. Usually, a percentage of the amount you send is added to the transaction. When translating online, you usually have a breakdown of all costs that you need to review before making a translation. With a personal translation, the agent will tell you what the cost is. Some companies charge a commission, others don't. It's important to make sure that the amount of commission you choose is comfortable for you and makes sense depending on the amount you are sending.

On the subject: 9 tips for creating an emergency cash reserve

Exchange rate

Not all companies work with the same exchange rates. Some companies update their rates at different times. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that when comparing international money transfer services, you can see that different exchange rates are advertised for the same transaction. Keep this in mind if finding the best rate for you is important to you.

Sending and receiving

Some services require a bank account. If this is not an option for you or the person receiving the money, you may need to skip some of the options.

The best part of all of this is that these days there is a money transfer solution to suit every situation.

Money transfer services with a large number of offices around the world

Convenience is sometimes an important factor when choosing a money transfer company.

Western Union

Western Union has been around since 1851. Western Union introduced its money transfer service in 1871. Today Western Union operates in more than 200 countries and territories and has more than 150 million offices around the world. With this vast network, it's hard to imagine a place in the world where you won't find Western Union.

As online services have become more accessible, Western Union has also expanded to online transfers. Western Union's website also has an appraiser that allows you to calculate commissions in advance, which helps you avoid surprises, whether you transfer in person or online.

  • Pros. Lots of ways to send and receive money, and lots of places around the world. In addition, “money in minutes” can actually be collected after a few minutes.
  • Минусы. Transfer fees can be high depending on your requested transfer speed.

MoneyGram has a comparable number of agents around the world with Western Union (about 300 agents in 000 countries), and, as a rule, the company transfers money just as quickly. The service offers bank transfers and partnerships with banks abroad to streamline the process and send money directly to a bank account instead of receiving it in person. You can also choose home delivery as a transfer option. You can track the status of your transfer through the website or app.

  • Pros. Fast transfers, making MoneyGram a great option for emergencies.
  • Минусы. Once again, fees. There are no fees for bank transfers, but there are fees and surcharges for all other services that can increase your transaction costs.

Best international money transfer services with low or no fees

In the vast majority of cases, when choosing the best international money transfer service, most people pay attention to the commission. When comparing costs, it is important to understand the costs to find the best way to send money overseas.

First, the money transfer company charges a flat fee. It may be a small amount, perhaps $ 5. The second cost is the exchange rate the company offers you for the transaction. This hidden value represents the amount of new currency the recipient will receive in exchange for the dollar. For example, Company A might give you less Mexican pesos in exchange for $ 100 than Company B. This is because Company A keeps the extra pesos. This is additional profit for company A. Two of these costs (fixed fee + exchange rate) together constitute the “effective exchange rate”.


Unlike other companies that charge a fee based on how much you send, OFX does not charge a transfer fee no matter how much money you send. They have a minimum transfer amount of $ 1000, so this is not an option for you if you are sending smaller amounts. One of the features of OFX that sets them apart from other services is the ability to block the exchange rate or schedule transfers when the exchange rate reaches a certain amount. OFX offers money transfers from the US to over 55 countries.

  • Pros. No transfer fees. You can also set up one-time or recurring translations.
  • Минусы. Exchange rate markups and transfer processing times that take several business days. This may not be the best option if you need money to get to its destination quickly.

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Remitly offers small transfer fees for both bank transfers and in person. You can send money abroad to receive directly in the currency of the destination using a variety of payment methods. Home delivery is also available in some locations. Commissions depend on the origin and destination of the transfer, not the amount you transfer.

  • Pros. Express transfers that make money available in minutes. You can also send higher amounts if you are sending more money through Remitly. Economy class transfers (with the lowest fees) can take up to 5 days.
  • Минусы. Fees. Ramitly charges an exchange rate surcharge and transfer fees. Even if they are low, it is important to factor this into your transaction costs.

International online money transfer services


PayPal is one of the most affordable payment platforms in the world. It allows you to send money to friends and family or pay for services while protecting your billing information and bank account. One of the great things about PayPal is that everything happens digitally, resulting in a quick transition from one account to another.

Those who receive transfers through PayPal can choose to transfer money to a bank account or keep the money with PayPal. PayPal can be used to pay on different websites.

  • Pros. PayPal transfers are fast. You can also complete your transfer in a variety of ways, including bank accounts and credit or debit cards.
  • Минусы. Commissions for international transfers can be quite high.

Xoom is a PayPal company with a reputation for providing fast money transfers. Xoom partners with overseas banks to offer direct transfers from US and Canadian accounts to overseas accounts. Transfers take place in a matter of minutes or a few days, depending on the bank and currency. Xoom offers shuttle services to over 130 countries around the world.

  • Pros. Reliable customer service and many options for users in high volume remittance regions such as Latin America and some Southeast Asian countries. The Xoom can also be used in multiple languages, not just English; this makes it great for those new to the language.
  • Минусы. Transaction limits. If you need to transfer more than the standard $ 2, Xoom will require additional verification documents. In addition, some of the money sending services are only available to those who have bank accounts in the United States and Canada.
Wise (formerly TransferWise)

The name may have changed, but the company has remained the same: TransferWise, now known as Wise, focuses on “borderless banking,” allowing users to manage multiple currencies under a single account. Wise is ideal for those who need to exchange money between currencies very often and for those who have to make regular money transfers.

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A Wise account also gives you access to money in multiple currencies through your MasterCard debit card. A minimum deposit of $ 25 is required to open a Wise account, and you can sign up with Google, Apple or Facebook. Wise offers its transfer services to more than 70 countries around the world. The biggest downside to Wise is that you need a bank account to open an account with Wise, so this is definitely not for everyone.

  • Pros. No exchange rate markups and the ability to have access to multiple currencies in one account. The transaction fees are minimal and you can get a guaranteed exchange rate for one day.
  • Минусы. Transaction fee, which depends on the amount you send and the limit on ATM withdrawals.

WorldRemit operates in over 140 countries, making it a reliable online option for international money transfers. WorldRemit is a leader in mobile transfers and mainly deals with non-cash transactions. It offers multiple transfer and delivery options like most other services, and translations can be run on a website or in an app. Fees are low by industry standards, and transfer times are as fast as other services, depending on how the money is sent - bank transfers take days, and card transfers are only available with authorization.

  • Pros. There are no minimum transfer amounts.
  • Минусы. WorldRemit's maximum transfer amounts are lower than those of other services.

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