Those of us who have bought a holiday home abroad, or those gifting a few quid to family members and friends, or even those sending emergency funds to a uni daughter in the States, will at some point need to use instant money transfers. With so many players on the market, we know that sending money abroad can be bewildering. That’s where our step-by-step guide to the cheapest way to send or pay money abroad comes to guide you through the process. Remember - Review & Compare!
One safe option is to choose a bank transfer. However, be prepared that banks will charge a flat fee of up to £25 per transfer. A number of banks allow you to transfer money to linked banks overseas without a fee; usually it's simply an overseas branch of the same bank group. If you and the person you want to send money to both open accounts with a particular bank group, you can cheaply move money. It is generally accepted that a bank wire transfer is the safest method of sending large sums of money. This is also the perfect option for those sending regular payments abroad.
Another option is to go for online money transfer services. Many companies enter the market with new and innovative ways to transfer money online and offer very competitive transfer fees. For some years now the traditional market leaders have been Western Union and Moneygram. These services are very flexible and offer an innovative option called Direct to Bank Account Online service - you can send money online to the bank account of your friends and family directly and they will receive the transfer without leaving the comfort of their home for as little as £3.90 for amounts up to £100.
Most recently PayPal has become a very popular sending money overseas service. PayPal accounts are free to open and you and the recipient both need them in order to move money. Once you’ve opened the account, you will have to load money from a bank account or credit card. Funds will be instantly credited to the recipient’s PayPal account but will take a few days to withdraw to a bank account. It'll charge you a 2.5% load fee the recipient will pay up to 4.9% plus 20p, depending on the country the cash arrives in.
- PayPal is the most widely used platform and you can make transfers in more than 100 currencies.
- Google Wallet is known for fast cashing out - anyone who has a debit card can receive the money you are sending.
- Venmo is the social network of money transfers. You can add friends and see their transactions. Somthing very important here is that there is no buyer's protection so only send money to people that you trust on Venmo.=
- OFX allows you to send money 190 countries in more than 55 currencies. Rates are quite cheap but there is a minimum transfer of $150.
- Western Union are known globally sending money between 200 countries in more than 130 currencies.
And finally... look out for phishing scams. Do not trust on emails which offer cheap money transfer services pretending they are a genuine business! Use your common sense and you will avoid the majority of scams and will be able to transfer your money safely, quickly and easily.