What's the cheapest way to send money abroad?

Need to send a payment from the US? No matter where you're sending funds to, you'll want the cheapest way to transfer money abroad. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know.

What is the cheapest way to send money from the United States?

When you want to send money from the United States, always factor in the total cost of your transfer. Don’t forget to consider both the provider’s initial fee as well as how much the USD exchange rate currently is.

Although some providers may tell you that they have low or no fees, take a closer look, they’re likely hidden within the exchange rate. For example, in our table above, you can see that for a 10000 USD transfer from the United States to the to the United Kingdom costs over 48 GBP more with our most expensive provider than with the cheapest one. This gap will only increase as your transfer amount gets higher.

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How much does it cost to send money abroad from the United States?

When transferring money abroad, you will usually be charged a transfer fee by your bank or online transfer provider, as well as paying a different exchange rate than the mid-market one. This means that it’s often worth shopping around for the best deal when sending money abroad.

Transfer fees

Money transfer providers usually charge a fee for their services. This fee is typically a percentage of the amount being transferred, and can range from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars. It’s important to be aware of these fees before you send money, as they can add up quickly. Based on the providers we have compared, the difference between the cheapest Wise and most expensive provider Remitly can be as high as 48 GBP.

Some providers offer lower fees for larger transfers, while others offer discounts for customers who use their services regularly. Be sure to compare the fees charged by different providers to find the best deal.

Exchange rate

Exchange rates are the cost of one currency compared to another. They can be used to determine how much money someone would need to buy a certain amount of another currency, or how much money someone would receive if they sold a certain amount of their currency. Exchange rates can change rapidly, so it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest rates.

If you are thinking about sending money internationally, the difference between the worst 0.8200 and the best exchange rates 0.8291 in our table is 0,0091 GBP and it might not seem like a lot at first, but if you calculate it for 10000 USD it can add up to 48 GBP.

What providers have the lowest transfer fee?

  • XE: 0 USD

  • OFX: 0 USD

  • Remitly: 0 USD

  • Currencyfair: 3.03 USD

  • Wise: 51.01 USD

When sending money from the United States, Wise has the lowest international money transfer fee out of the 5 providers compared.

Send money with XE

What providers have the best exchange rate?

  • Wise: 0.8291

  • Currencyfair: 0.8244

  • XE: 0.8241

  • OFX: 0.8239

  • Remitly: 0.8200

In our comparison, Wise has the best exchange rate out of the 5 providers reviews when sending money from the United States.

Send money with Wise

How can you find the cheapest money transfer option?

The cheapest way to send your payment from the United States will depend on a range of factors, including where you’re sending money to, how you want to pay, how you’d like the funds to be collected and how quickly you need to transfer to arrive. However, specialist online and app money transfer services can often be the cheapest way to send money internationally, with better exchange rates and lower fees compared to traditional banks.

To find the cheapest money transfer option for your payment you’ll want to compare a few providers, looking at rates, fees and delivery times.

As an example, comparing providers before sending 10000 USD from the United States to the United Kingdom could save you up to 48 GBP.

Find the cheapest provider for your transfer

What should you consider when transferring money abroad from the United States to keep your costs down?

When you’re transferring money abroad you’ll need to look at the overall cost of your payment – but also the speed, security and convenience of different providers.

Calculating the overall cost of transferring money abroad can be a bit trickier than it looks. Depending on the provider, you may come across different fee types:

  • Variable transfer fee – this may change based on how you pay for the transfer. Paying via your online banking or debit card is usually cheapest, and credit cards typically the most costly

  • Exchange rate markup – this is a percentage fee added to the rate used to convert your funds, and can push up the overall price significantly

  • Third party costs – such as SWIFT fees or cash advance charges if you pay with a credit card

Factors which influence the cost of your transfer include where you’re sending money to, the value of the payment, how the transfer is received, and how fast you need it to be.

Finding the best way to send your payment doesn’t need to be a headache. Check out our international money transfer pages for provider reviews and comparisons, which only feature safe, convenient and trusted providers which we’ve picked out just for you.

Banks or online transfer providers, which one is cheaper?

It used to be the case that banks would be your only option if you wanted to send money internationally. However, there’s now plenty more choice on the market, with specialist international money transfer services offering fast, cheap ways to process overseas payments, often online and via apps.

You’ll need to compare a few different banks and online money transfer services to see which suits you best – here are a few key features of each to help you decide:


  • You can often set up your payment online, by phone, or in person in a branch

  • Banks tend to support payments to a good range of countries and currencies

  • Payments are secure, familiar and reliable

  • Exchange rates usually include a markup, and transfer fees can be high

  • Delivery times may be 3 – 5 working days

Online transfer providers:

  • Open an account and make payments online or using a convenient app

  • Exchange rates may be better than those from banks, with transparent fees

  • Some payments arrive instantly, and average transfer times are usually among the best on the market

  • No in person service offered – support is usually provided by phone or text chat

  • You can’t usually pay in cash – bank transfers or card are more common

Why are international bank transfers expensive?

Though bank transfers are a very popular way to move money internationally, the substantial fees can be disheartening. Why are these commonly used transferral services so costly? If you frequently send wire transfers through your bank, it’s time to find out where your money is really going.

The following list contains some of the less hidden charges that banks will levy against customers who use international bank transfer services:

  • Foreign Exchange Commission – Aside from the fee your bank charges for an international transfer, you also have to pay a currency exchange rate. This rate is always changing and can be different depending on which financial institution you use. The rates posted at your local bank are rarely the true foreign exchange market rates \– they’re usually higher because of additional fees that the banks charge.

  • Minimum fees – Banks usually charge a minimum fee for international transfers, regardless of the amount being sent. Even if you are only sending a small sum, these fees can rapidly add up. Unfortunately, the more money you send, the higher percentage fee you will most likely be charged.

  • Handling charges – Banks often charge high fees for international money transfers, especially when the sending and receiving banks are not in direct relationship with each other. This means that a third intermediary bank may become involved in the process, which results in more fees for both you and the receiver.

Find the best alternative to bank transfers

How can you pay for your instant transfer from the United States?

When it comes to funding your international money transfer, you have a few different options. However, the best way to save money on your transfer is by using a provider that accepts debit card or bank transfer as a source of payment.

  • Wise: Bank transfer, card (debit or credit), SWIFT, Google Pay or Apple Pay

  • Currencyfair: Online

  • XE: Online

  • OFX: Bank transfer or direct debit

  • Remitly: Bank transfer or card (debit, credit, and prepaid)

What app is the cheapest to send money from the United States?

Sending money with an international payment app is a convenient option you can manage on the move. International money transfer services usually offer apps for convenience, with transfers set up in the app costing the same as it would to make the payment via the provider’s desktop site.

The cheapest app to send money will vary a bit depending on the details of your payment, and which services are available in your region. However, some great options to look at include:

  • Wise: 185,620 reviews, rated 4.4/5 on Trustpilot

  • Currencyfair: 6,291 reviews, rated 4.3/5 on Trustpilot

  • XE: 56,769 reviews, rated 4.2/5 on Trustpilot

  • OFX: 5,637 reviews, rated 4.2/5 on Trustpilot

  • Remitly: 38,339 reviews, rated 4.1/5 on Trustpilot

Send money with Wise

Is it safe to use an online provider when sending money abroad?

Anytime you need to make an international money transfer from the United States, it can be a little nerve-racking. But with our provider comparison tool, you’ll only ever see results for companies that are secure and operate legally in any part of the world.

Trying to find the safest way to send money from the United States? You’ll want to look for providers who are registered and follow FCA guidelines. In some cases, operators may also need to adhere to PRA regulations. Wondering what all these initials mean? Let’s explore:

FSCS – Financial Services Compensation Scheme – The FSCS safeguards customers in the event that their bank, insurer, or other eligible financial service company collapses. If your bank goes bankrupt or experiences any other financial difficulties, you may be able to get compensated through the FSCS.

FCA – The Financial Conduct Authority – must give permission for nearly all financial activities. The FCA makes sure that standards are met and businesses are trading safely by regulating and overseeing their practices.

PRA – Prudential Regulation Authority – The PRA’s primary goal is to protect customers’ money by ensuring that banks and other financial institutions are being managed safely and controlling risks.

Which international money transfer services can be considered safe?

International money transfer services are regulated to ensure that customers can send money quickly and safely.

If you’re looking for a safe and reliable international money transfer service, be sure to check out our reviews and [comparisons](/comparisons). We only feature trusted providers that are fully regulated and licensed.

Here are a couple of providers that we recommend and have an overwhelmingly positive feedback:

  • Wise: 185,620 reviews, rated 4.4/5 on Trustpilot

  • Currencyfair: 6,291 reviews, rated 4.3/5 on Trustpilot

  • XE: 56,769 reviews, rated 4.2/5 on Trustpilot

  • OFX: 5,637 reviews, rated 4.2/5 on Trustpilot

  • Remitly: 38,339 reviews, rated 4.1/5 on Trustpilot

Send money with Wise


When transferring money, it is important to consider all of the associated costs in order to find the cheapest option.
Comparing providers before sending a payment
can save you a significant amount of money. Factors which influence the cost of your transfer include where you are sending money to, how much you are sending, and how quickly you need it delivered. Using a specialist online or app money transfer service may be the cheapest way to send money internationally.

FAQ About the cheapest way to transfer money internationally

Can international bank transfers take longer than 5 working days?

The cheapest way to transfer money internationally is to use a specialised online money transfer service provider. These companies offer low or no fees, and their exchange rates are typically better than those offered by banks. However, it’s important to compare rates between providers to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

How much can I save by comparing providers before sending money internationally?

In our current comparison, when sending 10000 USD from the United States to the United Kingdom you could save up to 48 GBP. Keep in mind that the more you send, the higher your potential saving will be if you chose to compare international money transfer providers first.

Can I send money abroad for free?

There are costs involved in processing international transfers, which means it’s usually not possible to send money abroad for free. Even when transfer services state they have no transfer fee, they’re probably adding a change into the exchange rate they use to cover their costs and make sure they generate a profit.

Is Paypal cheaper than international bank transfers?

In general yes, but PayPal’s fees do vary based on the type of account you hold and where you’re located. To give an example from a recent comparison, if you were sending 1,000 USD to the UK your recipient may get almost 50 GBP more in the end if you use our top international money transfer provider, rather than PayPal. That’s nearly an extra 5% for no extra cost to you.

Is Wise cheaper than a bank transfer?

Wise usually offers a cheaper international money transfer option than banks. With Wise, you can send money to 80 countries with a low fee and mid-market exchange rate, even if the recipient doesn’t have a Wise account to receive it.

Is Western Union cheaper than a bank transfer?

Western Union is often seen as a more affordable option for sending money overseas than bank transfers. Fees can vary depending on the amount being transferred, but Western Union usually offers lower fees than most banks.

How much are international bank transfer fees?

Most banks charge a fee for international wire transfers. The fee is typically a percentage of the amount transferred, with a minimum fee amount which is different with every bank. Your bank may also charge a foreign currency conversion fee when you send or receive money in a foreign currency. This fee is usually charged as a percentage of the total transaction amount as well.

All comparison data is based on provider data available on 22/02/2023.

By Adam Dankhazi Updated February 24th, 2023