Money transfer apps are the quickest and cheapest way to send money abroad and have better exchange rates and less admin fees than banks.
Best money transfer apps compared and reviewed
You can use our comparison of what we think are the best money transfer apps to compare what currencies they offer, the minimum and maximum transfer amounts and the different ways they let you send money abroad. In our guide, we compare and review some of the best money transfer apps based on pricing, fees, speed, transaction size, and how many currencies and countries they offer so you can choose the best money transfer app for sending your money abroad.
Currencies Direct: Best money transfer app for large currency transfers
Currencies Direct has built up a network of 22 offices (since 1996) around the world and serves more than 325,000 personal, business and online selling clients. You can transfer money online, through the company’s app, in one of its branches or over the phone with the help of an account manager. In our 2020 currency broker awards Currencies Direct won best overall currency broker. This was based on the feedback of clients asked to rank currency brokers relative to their peers. Clients voted on ease of use, speed and reliability of transactions, and extra features like mobile apps, customer service and added value.
- ✔️Personal service
- ✔️Negotiable exchange rates
- ✔️Part of a large group
- ❌No currency options
TorFX: Best money transfer app for currency forwards
- Currencies: 40+
- Minimum transfer: £100
- Forward contract: 24 months
- Annual transfers: £7.5bn
- Number of customers: 325,000
TorFX (founded in 2004) is better suited to those who need to transfer a large amount of money as they provide a personal service where you can ask for price alerts, advice on market timing and also protecting your budget through currency forward contracts.
- ✔️Part of a large group
- ✔️Good exchange rates
- ✔️24-month currency forwards
- ❌No currency options
Wise: Best for medium money transfers
Wise offer a very low-cost way to send money abroad. There is an excellent tool for getting live quotes on the website and is most suitable for small and medium-sized transfers.
- ✔️Really easy-to use app and website
- ✔️Transparent pricing with rate guarantees
- ✔️One of the cheapest ways to send money abroad
- ❌Not great for very large transfers
- ❌No currency forwards
Western Union: Best for small money transfers & cash
Western Union is one of the oldest money transfer providers in the world. The app has recently rebranded as WU which allows users to send money worldwide at excellent rates. This year significantly reduced fees and improved its exchange rates to compete with money transfer startups.
- ✔️Established network of branches
- ✔️Cash and credit card transfers
- ✔️Good app and online platform
- ❌Still slightly more expensive that start up money transfer apps like Wise
Remitly: No fees on your first money transfer
Remitly, was founded in 2011 to help immigrants save money home for less. Since then they have grown significantly and now offer money transfers in 75 different currencies to over 100 countries. When we Remitly, they were one of the cheapest money transfer apps, even more so when you take advantage of their “no fees” on your first transfer offer.
- ✔️No fees on your first money transfers
- ✔️Lots of currencies and countries
- ✔️Easy to use app with transparent fees
- ❌Not as cheap as Wise
We have chosen what we think are the best money transfer apps based on:
- 20 years in the foreign exchange industry
- Interviews with the currency broker CEOs and senior management
- Over 7,000 votes in our annual awards
- Analysis and testing of the money transfer apps and pricing
How to compare money transfer services
When comparing money transfer companies, there are a number of things to consider, including:
- Fees and charges
- Transfer speed
- transfer options
- Safety of funds
Fees and charges
Every provider has different fees and charges, and it’s important to understand how these work. Some providers, such as Wise, offer excellent exchange rates but then charge a small transaction fee. Others have no transaction fees, but offer less attractive exchange rates. Fees may also depend on your method of payment and how quickly you need the transfer processed. When comparing fees and charges, it’s sensible to visit the websites of a few different providers and input your planned transfer to see the rates and charges different firms are offering. Make sure you consider the size of your planned transaction and whether you are likely to make frequent transactions, as many providers offer fees and exchange rates that vary depending on transaction size and frequency.
Transaction speed varies among providers. Some offer instant transfers, while others offer slower transfers that can take a few days or even weeks. Speed may depend on your method of payment. For example, if you pay with a debit card, it may be faster than if you pay by bank transfer.
Some providers do not offer money transfers to certain countries, so it’s important to check what countries you can transfer money to. Some money transfer providers offer more features than others. One example of a feature is a ‘limit order’. With a limit order, you set instructions to carry out your money transfer once the exchange rate reaches a certain level. Another example is a ‘forward contract’. These allow you to book money transfers for the future at rates that are locked in today.
Safety of funds
We only feature money transfer apps that are regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) that offer a high level of security and provide features such as two-factor authentication for logins, encryption, 3D Secure authentication for card payments, and fraud monitoring to keep your money secure.
It’s important to use a transfer provider that is regulated by a financial regulator such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Companies that are regulated have to follow certain rules that are designed to protect consumers. For example, they have to keep your money separate from their money.
International money transfer app FAQS:
Money transfer apps let you send money cheaply and quickly to other countries and people around the world. They are cheaper because they provide better exchange rates and lower fees than banks. As they are specialist apps, it is quicker for the recipient to receive money as well.
An international money transfer, or ‘currency transfer’, is a way of sending money abroad. Usually, it involves sending money from a bank account in one country to a bank account in another country. Depending on which money transfer provider you use, the money could be transferred almost instantly.
We have consistantly ranked Wise (transferwise) as the best app for sending small amounts of money abroad. They have a really easy-to-use app, great exchange rates and are listed on the London Stock Exchange.
- Further reading: Our expert verdict on Wise money transfers.
To avoid fees when making international money transfers, you should;
- Choose a money transfer app that offers no fees. These apps include their fees in the exchange rate, rather than charge seperately.
- Check the exchange rates your money transfer provider is offering to make sure they are competitive. You can do this in our currency quote comparison tool.
- Avoid high street banks for your transfers. Banks normally charge high fees for international transfers or offer much worse exchange rates.
- Paying via bank transfer or debit card as this can work out cheaper than credit cards or cash.
Not really, money transfer apps, usually have limits on how much you can send. See our money transfer comparison table to see the max send limits. If you wish to transfer a large sum of money, it can be worth using a currency broker instead of a money transfer provider. Currency brokers tend to specialise in large transfers, meaning that they may be able to make the process more efficient and cost-effective for you. You can find out more about using a currency broker to transfer a large sum of money here.
One advantage of using a currency broker for larger transfers is that they tend to have higher maximum transfer limits than money transfer companies. For example, whereas Wise has a limit of $200,000 for GBP to USD transfers, Currencies Direct allows you to transfer £300,000.
- Want to send a large amount of money abroad? You can compare currency brokers for large currency transfers here
When transferring large amounts of money internationally, it’s crucial to compare providers to ensure that you get the best overall deal. With large transfers, even small differences in exchange rates can make a big difference to the money received or spent. As well as considering the exchange rates on offer, it’s important to consider other factors such as speed of transfer, hidden fees and charges, and security.
It’s also a good idea to contact your bank before making a large payment to a currency broker. Many banks only let you transfer a certain amount of money online per day. Lloyds Bank, for example, has a limit of £25,000.
To make a large transfer, you may have to provide the currency broker with some extra information, such as the source of funds, Swift bank codes, additional ID, and more.
- Further information – Read our guide to large currency transfers.
Yes you can send money instantly. To send money abroad instantly, you will need to find a money transfer company that offers this. Fore example Wise offers instant money transfers.
It’s worth noting that while many companies advertise that they offer ‘instant’ transfers, these transfers are often not really instant. In reality, they can take several minutes or even hours to go through.
To make an instant transfer, you may have to pay in a certain way. For example, you may have to pay by debit card instead of bank transfer. You may also have to pay a higher fee.
If you need your money to reach the recipient account by the next day, it’s generally worth doing an instant transfer. Otherwise, you run the risk that your payment may not arrive in time.
The safest way to send money internationally is through an FCA-regulated money transfer firm like Wise, Western Union or Remitly. Companies that are regulated by the FCA have to follow certain rules that are designed to protect consumers. For example, they are required to ‘safeguard’ your money by keeping it separate from their money. This means you will likely get your money back if the company goes bust. Using a regulated money transfer provider can also help protect you from scams and fraud – which are very common in the payments space. You can check if a company is regulated by the FCA on the FCA’s website.
It’s important to understand that money transfer companies are generally not covered by the UK’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). That’s because the FSCS is only available to UK-authorised banks, building societies, and credit unions. Most money transfer companies are classified as ‘e-money institutions’. E-money institutions are still required to keep clients’ money safe and secure. However, they do this differently to traditional banks.
To ensure that you are sending money safely, it’s a good idea to use a provider that offers a high level of security. Ideally, a provider should offer:
- Two-factor authentication for logins
- Data encryption
- 3D Secure authentication for card payments
- Anti-fraud monitoring
- Regular auditing
The best way to compare money transfer rates is to use our money transfer comparison table and get a quote with specific rates through our quote generator. It is really easy to add the details of how much you want to transfer and when your money needs to arrive so providers can give you a quote. This should enable you to find out what rate is available, as well as the fees and charges you’re facing.
If you want to send money abroad, it is much cheaper to use an international money transfer provider compared to your bank. Money transfer companies specialise in currency transfers, and as a result, tend to offer better exchange rates than the high street banks, as well as faster, more efficient transfers.
Transferring money to a foreign bank account can be much faster and cheaper when you use a money transfer company over a bank because money transfer companies are much quicker to handle and process your transactions and normally offer exchange rates much closer to the market than high street banks.
You will also be able to get an idea of the different types of service each provider can offer, the steps you will need to follow and the information you will need to provide to start your transfer. Many money transfer companies will also give you an idea of how long your money will take to arrive.
Here is how to compare money transfer companies in the UK to help you find the best service to send money abroad or receive money from overseas.
People make international money transfers for many reasons, including:
- To send money to family and friends overseas.
- To pay for goods and services from a company that is based overseas.
- To send money home when working abroad.
- To send money to an international bank account.
- To cover the deposit when buying property abroad.
You can use international money transfers to make both one-off and regular payments overseas.
This article contains affiliate links which may earn us some form of income if you go on to open an account. However, if you would rather visit the money transfer providers via a non-affiliate link, you can view them directly here: