6 Cheap and Safe Ways to Pay International Invoices in 2024

Do you have to pay overseas invoices? Paying international invoices for things like school fees, medical expenses, or utility bills can be difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. Sometimes it can even be risky. But it doesn’t have to be.

In this article, we will look at 6 methods that offer safe, cheap, and fast ways to pay international invoices. We’ll explore their pros and cons, and when they can be a good option.

How to pay international invoices: 6 ways

In this article, we’ll cover:

MethodsGreat for:
International money transferHigher value payments to recipients who prefer to have their money sent directly to their bank, and who don’t pay international received fees
WiseLow cost transfers of more or less any value, which can be deposited to banks in 160+ countries quickly or even instantly
Setting up a local bank accountDual nationals, foreign residents and other people who may be eligible for a broader range of foreign bank accounts – make local payments easily from your account
PayPalQuick deposits to PayPal accounts globally, when your recipient doesn’t have a bank account or uses PayPal as their primary business account
Paying with a credit cardSpreading the costs of your invoice across a few months, or for convenience when your invoice includes a card payment link
Western UnionSending money for cash collection more or less anywhere in the world – often within minutes

Go to Wise

What is the best way to pay invoices internationally?Each payment method has different pros and cons and which option is best for you depends on your needs. You can choose to make an international transfer with a provider like Wise and OFX, setup a local bank account in that country, or pay by credit card.
Can I pay an international invoice with a credit card?Many card providers allow you to pay invoices using a credit card. This guide has pros and cons of paying by credit cards, and when it’s a good option.
What is the safest payment method for international payments?Most international money transfer providers employ security features to keep transactions and personal information safe. However, you should always be wary of suspicious websites or activity when paying overseas bills online.

1. International money transfer online

International money transfers are transfers made directly into a recipient’s bank account. This is the traditional way of paying for overseas bills and can be done through banks like Chase, Wells Fargo, or Bank of America, or specialist money transfer providers like Wise, OFX and WorldRemit.

When is this a good option?

An international money transfer is a good option if:

  • The issuer of the invoice has an eligible bank account you can pay into
  • The person you’re paying won’t get charged high recipient fees by their own bank
  • The invoice is fairly large – some banks and money transfer providers only allow bill payments over a certain amount
  • You have a unique reference such as an invoice number which you can include as a message on the transfer so your payment can be identified easily

How to pay an international invoice with an international money transfer

  1. Log into your online or mobile banking service
  2. Navigate to the payment section and select international transfers
  3. Enter the amount and currency you need to send
  4. Add your recipient’s details and your payment reference
  5. Confirm your transfer

Pros and cons of paying a bill via an international money transfer

Pros ✅Cons ❌
  • Exchange rates used for international money transfers are often more favorable than using credit or debit cards.
  • Transfers via banks and specialist providers are generally safe and secure.
  • You can complete the transfer at a branch if you need more assistance.
  • You can easily setup a transfer online with specialist money transfer providers, and with some banks.
  • Alternative providers like OFX, Wise, and Remitly may be faster and cheaper
  • You usually need an account with the bank to make an international money transfer.
  • Banks may have high transfer fees. Can be expensive for sending small amounts.
  • Some providers may include a markup on the exchange rate, making the overall cost higher.

Go to WiseGo to OFX

Best international money transfer apps to pay invoices

There are many alternatives to banks and money transfer services. International money transfer apps like OFX, Wise, and WorldRemit migh be faster and cheaper than banks. The best international money transfer app for you will depend on your needs, you can compare providers and choose the best one for yourself.

  • OFX: Send money to more than 150 countries in more than 50 currencies. OFX offers various money management tools, including risk management.
  • Wise: Fast, convenient, low-cost payments to more than 160 countries in more than 40 currencies. Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate and has a transparent fee structure.
  • Revolut: Pay bills in more than 25 currencies. Tiered account options offer various services, including an interest-bearing account option. Revolut provides analytics tools to monitor spending.
  • WorldRemit: Send money to more than 130 countries via the WorldRemit mobile app. An account can be funded using popular credit and debit cards, as well as ApplePay. WorldRemit offers 24/7 support in 6 different languages.
  • Remitly: Transfer to more than 100 countries worldwide. Remitly offers low transfer fees and a great range of pay in and pay out methods. A cash pickup option is available in some countries.

Go to WiseGo to OFX

2. Wise

Wise Business is a specialist in business account services, and an international money transfer provider that offers low, transparent fees, mid-market exchange rates, and fast transfers. With Wise, you can pay invoices and make recurring payments to more than 160 countries in more than 40 currencies. You can also get debit and expense cards for you and your team, and receive money in foreign currencies conveniently. Wise Business customers get extra perks including cloud accounting integrations, multi-user access, and a powerful API to streamline workflow.

Launched in 2011 in the UK, Wise is trusted by more than 16 million customers worldwide to transfer money quickly, cheaply, and safely.

When is this a good option?

Wise is a good option if:

  • You need a fast, convenient, and low-cost way to pay invoices
  • You prefer to manage your money online or by app
  • You need one-off, recurring, or even bulk payouts to up to 1,000 people at one
  • You’re sending anything from under a dollar up to 1 million dollars, as Wise uses a high transfer limit for convenient business payments

How to pay an international invoice with Wise

  1. Log into your Wise Business account online or in the app
  2. Tap Send Money
  3. Enter the amount you need the recipient to get, and the currency
  4. Choose your payment method and add your recipient details – if you’ve sent money to this recipient before you can just pick them from your recipient list
  5. Pay and your money is on the way

Pros and Cons of using Wise for international money transfer

Pros ✅Cons ❌
  • Transparent fees mean you always know what you are paying
  • More than 60% of transfers are instant
  • Uses the mid-market exchange rate for currency conversion
  • You can pay large or small invoices
  • Wise is not a bank so it doesn’t have branches
  • Fees can vary between countries and currency routes
  • No cash deposits

Go to Wise

3. Set up a local bank account

These days, most banking can be done online so it can make sense to set up a bank account in the country you are paying the bills. For example, if you own a property in France and are constantly paying bills in Euros relating to the property, it might pay to set up a French bank account next time you are in the country.

Once the account is open, you can make an international money transfer to add money to the account and then use it to pay bills as they arise. If you don’t have the requirements to open a bank account in that country, you can create a foreign currency account with international money transfer specialists like Wise and Revolut.

  • The Wise multi-currency account offers local bank account details in 10 currencies including Euro, USD, CAD, and GBP. Also, it allows you to hold and exchange 40+ currencies. The Wise multi-currency account is free for personal use.
  • Revolut has various accounts with different monthly fees, ranging from 0 USD to 16.99 USD per month. You can hold more than 25 currencies in a Standard account which has no monthly fee.

Open Wise AccountOpen Revolut Account

When is this a good option?

Setting up a local bank account is a good option if:

  • You are a dual citizen or if you regularly pay several bills in the same country
  • You’ve found a bank you like which has an account you’re eligible to apply for
  • You need to pay foreign contractors or freelancers on a regular basis

How to pay an international invoice with a local bank account

  1. Log into your local bank account and select transfers
  2. Add money to your account if there isn’t enough in the balance already
  3. Enter the amount your recipient should receive in the local currency
  4. Add your recipient’s information
  5. Initiate the transfer

Pros and cons of setting up a local account

Pros ✅Cons ❌
  • Paying bills from a local bank account is often cheaper than international transfers
  • No currency exchange fees since bills are paid in local currency
  • Recurring bill payments are easy to set up
  • Domestic payments can be faster than international transfers
  • You can setup an account online with providers like Wise and Revolut
  • Opening a local bank account may require citizenship
  • Some banks require you to visit a branch to open an account
  • Topping up a local bank account can be costly

Go to WiseGo to Revolut

4. PayPal

PayPal is one of the world’s largest internet payment companies. It is easy to set up an account and most overseas billers will accept payment from PayPal, making this very convenient.

When is this a good option?

PayPal is great to pay bills if:

  • You already have a PayPal account
  • Your recipient prefers PayPal to a direct bank deposit
  • You want to spread out bill payments over a couple of months with PayPal’s financing feature.

How to pay an international invoice with PayPal

  1. Log into your PayPal account online or in the app
  2. Select Send money
  3. Enter the amount and currency to send
  4. Add your recipient’s email address, which is linked to their PayPal account
  5. Check everything over and confirm

Pros and cons of paying a bill by PayPal

Pros ✅Cons ❌
  • Paying bills with PayPal is quick and easy, especially if you already have a PayPal account
  • Recurring bill payments are easy to set up
  • Financing may be available for some PayPal customers
  • Not all billers can be paid via PayPal
  • PayPal’s fee structure can be complicated
  • PayPal is not a bank so it doesn’t have branches and accounts are not interest-bearing

Learn more: Alternatives to PayPal

5. Paying by credit card

Many people pay overseas bills with their credit cards. This can be costly as banks and card issuers may charge a percentage fee on the transaction amount. However, there is usually no added flat fee for credit card bill payments.

Related: How to send money with a Credit Card

When is this a good option?

Using a credit card to pay bills can be a good option if:

  • You need to spread your costs over a few months and don’t mind paying a fee to do so
  • You’re making small international bill payments
  • You don’t want the hassle of setting up international money transfers.

How to pay an international invoice with a credit card

If your invoice includes a card payment link, click it and follow the instructions

If not:

  1. Log into your credit card account and find the transfer option
  2. Enter the amount to send to your recipient and the currency it should be deposited in
  3. Add your recipient’s account information
  4. Confirm the transfer

Pros and cons of paying a bill by credit card

Pros ✅Cons ❌
  • Credit cards are widely accepted as payment methods
  • Banks and credit card companies usually provide some form of fraud protection
  • Convenient for paying smaller bills
  • Providing your credit card details to an unknown vendor may be risky.
  • A fee may be charged as a percentage of the transaction amount
  • Exchange rates may not always be favorable

6. Western Union

Western Union has more than 500,000 agents worldwide, providing various services like international money transfers to almost every country in the world. It is a popular choice for cash pickup transfers.

When is this a good option?

Western Union can be a good option if:

  • The recipient doesn’t have a bank account
  • The recipient would prefer to be paid in cash they can collect almost instantly
  • You’re sending in a very unusual currency – Western Union supports payments to almost every country in the world

Alternative providers like WorldRemit and Remitly also offer cash pickup options. Learn more about Western Union alternatives.

How to pay an international invoice with Western Union

  1. Log into your Western Union account
  2. Select send money and enter the amount and currency
  3. Pick how you want to pay, and how the money should be received
  4. Fund the transfer and it’ll be on the way – if you’re sending for cash collection you’ll need to pass a payment reference to the recipient so they can get their cash

Pros and cons of paying a bill via Western Union

Pros ✅Cons ❌
  • Western Union has a wide global reach
  • The recipient doesn’t need to have a bank account
  • Send cash via one of their 500,000 agents
  • Western Union is a well-known and trusted service
  • Western Union has fees which include a markup on the exchange rate
  • Pay out options vary widely between countries
  • Transfers can take up to 4 business days to arrive

Go to WesternUnion

How to pay international invoices

The steps to pay international invoices may differ depending on which method or provider you choose.

Keep in mind that some international payment methods can have lower costs, but longer delivery times, while others may have short delivery times, but at higher costs. Consider this when choosing a provider, then follow the steps to set up an international bill payment or pay a foreign contractor.

While the steps to pay international invoices may vary between providers, they usually involve some of the following steps:

  1. Create and verify an account
  2. Fund the account by depositing money or linking a bank account or credit or debit card
  3. Provide details of the provider or choose from a list
  4. Choose the currency route
  5. Review and compare fees to choose the best option
  6. Submit or send the payment

How to pay invoices in foreign currency

Paying an invoice in a foreign currency can be expensive due to the use of different exchange rates on the same currency, as well as exchange markups and fees. Banks and credit card issuers often charge premium exchange rate markups.

You may be able to save money by using online international money transfer specialists like Wise and OFX. These providers could offer faster transfers, at lower costs and at more favorable exchange rates than banks.

Providers like Revolut, Wise, and OFX also offer multi-currency accounts that use local bank details in the UK, Europe, and North America. Multi-currency accounts help you to save on exchange fees since you are already paying in the local currency. These providers offer business accounts with various features to make international bill payments cheaper and easier:

Wise Business Account: Wise business account lets you pay invoices in more than 160 countries and get local bank details for 10 different currencies. Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate and more than 60% of payments are instant, and 90% arrive within a day. Save money on overseas business expenses with the Wise Business debit card.

Go to Wise Business

Revolut Business Account: Revolut offers several tiers of business accounts, from Standard accounts with no monthly charges, to custom Enterprise accounts. Hold and exchange 25+ currencies and spend in 150 currencies. Connects with apps like Slack, Xero, and QuickBooks.

Go to Revolut Business

OFX Business Account: Make transfers to more than 170 countries and more than 50 currencies. Their global network ensures suppliers are paid quickly and safely. OFX offers multiple payment options, as well as forex risk management tools.

What currency should I pay in?

Before you do anything with your international invoice, make sure you’re clear what currency you should be paying in. You can agree the invoice currency upfront with your supplier before you complete the deal negotiations – which leaves less room for misunderstandings or hassle later.

Which currency is best is pretty subjective. Some suppliers, freelancers or contractors will want to be paid in their own home currency so the money can be deposited to their business bank account. However, as USD is a major global currency – and relatively stable – some recipient’s may prefer you to send in dollars, if they have a local USD account their end. They can then keep their money in USD for future payments, as an investment, or as a hedge against currency fluctuation in future.

Conclusion: What is the best way to pay international invoices?

There are several methods to pay international invoices. Each of these methods has its pros and cons, which one is best for you depends on your needs and requirements.

International money transfers with banks or paying with credit cards can be convenient to do, but they can often end up being costly. Western Union and WorldRemit can be good options if the recipient doesn’t have a bank account, whereas PayPal can be fast if you already have a PayPal account.

You can choose to open a local bank account, if you are regularly paying invoices in that country. Specialist international money transfer providers like Wise and OFX can offer conveniently fast and low-cost bill payments online.

When you need to pay overseas invoices, compare the different methods to discover which is best suited to your particular needs.

Go to WiseGo to OFX

Claire Millard
Fintech Content Writer
Claire Millard is a content and copywriter with a specialty in international finance. Her work has featured in The Times and The Telegraph, as well as industry magazines and leading personal finance blogs.
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Seyma Mektepli
Seyma is an experienced content writer and editor-in-chief at Exiap, delivering informative articles on personal finance, and money transfers.
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Last updated
June 20th, 2024