Money transfer apps are the quickest and cheapest way to send money abroad. as they offer better exchange rates and less red tape than banks. In our guide to we review some of the best money transfer apps including Wise, Azimo, Xe, and Western Union. We have also compared money transfer apps based on pricing, fees, speed, transactions size, and how many currencies and countries they offer so you can choose the best money transfer app for sending your money abroad.
Best Money Transfer Apps
Our picks for the best money transfer apps are based on over 7,000 votes in our annual awards, our own experiences testing the accounts as well as an in-depth comparison of the features that make them stand out compared to alternatives.
Money Transfer App Reviews
In our money transfer app reviews, we highlight the pros and cons of each account, what you can invest in, how much it costs and how they compare to the competition. We also explain what makes them different and tell you who they are most appropriate for so you can choose the best app for transferring currency.
Wise Money Transfer App
✔️ Fixed exchange rates
✔️ Simple app
✔️ Free to signup
❌ No cash option
❌ No timing for large transactions
❌ No currency forwards
Wise Money Transfer App Review
Wise, which was formerly known as TransferWise, is an international money transfer firm that was launched in 2011 and now has over 10 million customers. Through its platform, you can send money to more than 80 countries.
- Excellent exchange rates. Wise offers users actual mid-market exchange rates (from Reuters).
- Competitive, transparent fees.
- Fast transfers. Instant transfers are available.
- An excellent platform that is very user-friendly.
- A high level of security.
- A good level of customer service.
- An excellent app that allows you to transfer money on the go.
One downside to Wise is that it does charge more for faster transfers. Overall, however, it is an excellent money transfer provider and one that is well-suited to those looking to make transfers at the best exchange rates.
Who are Wise?
Founded in 2011, Wise was founded to primarily assist with small regular international money transfers.
What does Wise offer?
Wise offer a very low cost way to send money abroad. There is an excellent tool for getting live quotes on the website
What is Wise best for?
Making normal international payments for personal and business transactions,
Customers can transfer money to accounts in around 54 currencies to 61 countries, while receiving money in least 24 of these currencies, using a system based on a peer-to-peer network. Wise enables customers to make online or mobile transfers from their bank account to a recipient’s bank account, while avoiding the heavy fees or expensive exchange rates that banks often charge.
Wise has a similar geographical reach to some of its competitors, offering access to similar numbers of currencies. Its debit card and multi-currency account differentiate Wise from the competition. It is larger than some online competitors, but smaller that the large US giants such as Western Union.
Wise is most suitable for small and medium-sized transfers. For amounts above £7,000, other services may be cheaper or simpler to set up.
Wise Money Transfer Mobile Apps
Wise offers mobile apps, allowing customers to use Apple Pay and Android Pay among other functions. The app incorporates biometric security and has a built-in chat function. You can sign up to become a Wise customer via the company’s website and then transfer currency. The telephone service is for customer support, not as a dealing service.
The app has received positive reviews from customers, including a 4.5 out of 5 rating at the Google Play Store and a 5 out of 5 rating from the App Store. Customers report that they like functions such as the online calculator which shows how much their transfers will cost, an indicator of processing times and status updates.
Wise Money Transfer Exchange Rates, Charges & Fees
Wise charges clients a fee based on a percentage of the amount they transfer. This is typically as little as 0.5 per cent. The company charges a low fee, compared to most other providers. Wise has special offers for new customers, including free transfers and discount coupons. Its transparent services mean that customers are not hit by hidden charges or unfair exchange rates. Although some other providers offer similar transparency, others claim to charge zero fees, but use an expensive exchange rate.
Here are some examples of Wise’s transfer rates:
- To transfer £100 to euros on 30 March 2021 would cost £0.85 and the recipient would get €116.20
- To transfer £100 to dollars would cost £1.41 and the recipient would get $135.65
Xe Money Transfer App
✔️ Lots of historic data
✔️ Industry-level exchange
✔️ Good for large transfers
❌ No cash option
❌ Online only
❌ No currency forwards
XE is part of the Euronet Worldwide family, who are recognised as leaders in the currency exchange space. It aims to offer the most simple, reliable, and friendly money transfer service.
- Good exchange rates. XE uses mid-market rates.
- Transfers to more than 130 countries.
- Fast delivery.
- Transparent delivery times so that you can move money fast.
- Tools such as currency charts and alerts. You can set an alert so that you never miss your desired rate.
- A good app that allows you to make transfers on the go.
One downside to XE is that fees and charges can be higher than those of some other providers. Overall, however, it’s a very solid provider, and one that is well suited to more sophisticated users.
When comparing money transfer providers, user reviews can help you determine which providers are the best. Here are independently sourced and verified money transfer company reviews to help you decide which money transfer service to use.
Western Union Money Transfer App
✔️ Cash money transfers
✔️ Offer the most currencies
✔️ Well established and know
❌ Low max transfer amount
❌ No timing for large transactions
❌ Rates not comparable
Western Union Money Transfer App Review
Western Union. 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. Its app, which has a 4.6 rating in the Apple App Store, from over 10,000 users is straightforward to use and enables users to send money safely to more than 100 countries worldwide.
Who are Western Union?
Western Union was founded in 1851 and is one of the largest money transfer organisations in the world.
What does Western Union offer?
With Western Union you can send money to over 200 countries via their app, bank transfer or cash.
Who is Western Union good for?
Those who want to send cash only and for physical pick up.
You can send money using the Western Union app as well as on its website. The app, available for both iPhone and Android handsets, lets you track your transfers in real time, see exchange rates, find agents, pay by scanning your payment card and quickly make repeat transfers to previous recipients.
Its app is rated highly by users on the Apple App Store with a rating of 4.6 out of 5 (on 23 April 2021), although not quite as highly as some of its rivals. Azimo and WorldRemit have 4.7 while MoneyGram and Wise have 4.8. Ria’s app, on the other hand, has a rating of just 2.8.
Ratings are different on the Google Play store so check the reviews relevant to your handset.
Western Union doesn’t offer a telephone service for money transfers.
Compare Money Transfer Apps
Use our comparison of money transfer apps to compare each provider by fees, currencies and service. We only include money transfer apps brokers that are authorised and regulated by the FCA and where customers have voted for them in our awards survey.
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Compare Money Transfer Accounts Side-By-Side
Use our side-by-side money transfer account comparison to compare the best money transfer provider by pricing, market access, account types and services.
What are money transfer apps?
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.
Money Transfer Apps Explained
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.
How to do a money transfer & send money abroad
Sending money abroad via an international money transfer provider is typically a straightforward online process.
After comparing money transfer companies to find the best one for your requirements, the first step is to create an account with a provider. To open an account with an international money transfer app or website, you will need to sign up via their website or app with a phone number, email address and you name. The money transfer company will request your personal details, as well as the details of the bank account you wish to send your money to. Opening an account can take some time because providers today have to perform strict identity checks for money laundering reasons. It can be a good idea to have an account set up well before you want to make a transfer.
If you are sending up to £10,000 abroad the anti-money laundering requirements are less stringent, so it is easier to open an account. However, if you are sending more than £10,000 abroad, you should use a currency broker instead of a money transfer company as they can offer additional services such as advice, exchange rate limits, alerts and personal service.
Once your account is set up and you are ready to make a transfer, it is usually just a matter of agreeing on the exchange rate and making a payment to the provider. Once the provider has received your money, they will then transfer the money to the bank account overseas.
Beware though, exchange rates are constantly fluctuating. So, if you plan to make an international money transfer, it can pay to keep an eye on exchange rates. By making a transfer when the exchange rate is more favourable, you can potentially save money. If you are sending a large amount of money abroad you can lock in the current exchange rate with a currency forward contract for a transaction in the future.
How to compare money transfer services
When comparing money transfer companies, there are a number of things to consider, including:
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
You want a secure provider that you can trust. Top money transfer providers 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.
How to compare money transfer rates
The best way to compare money transfer rates is to use our 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.
What is the safest way to send money?
The safest way to send money internationally is through an FCA-regulated money transfer firm. 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 that you are likely to 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
One example of a provider that offers all of these security features is Wise.
There are more tips, advice and strategies in our currency transfer guides.
How to Send Money Instantly?
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.
How to Transfer Large Amounts of Money?
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.
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.
How to Avoid Wire Transfer Fees?
To avoid fees when making wire transfers you should;
- Choose a provider that offers no fees. Some providers build their fees into the exchange rates they offer so….
- Check the exchange rates your money transfer provider is offering to make sure they are competitive with other similar services
- Avoid high street banks for your transfers. Banks normally charge high fees for international transfers or offer much worse exchange rates.
- Pay in a certain way, for example with a debit card or accept a slower transfer speed and you could enjoy cheaper fees or better rates with some providers
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