International money transfer apps provide an alternative to bank transfers. These apps charge lower fees than the banks do when you send money abroad. They’re also less expensive than other types of international money transfer services. So these fintech startups are rapidly gaining market share and displacing the older financial institutions that help people send money to other countries. Here are several of these fintech services that help you receive money from abroad.
Wise was originally called TransferWise. It’s one of the most well known money transfer apps and charges relatively low fees on debit card transactions as well as international money transfers. Wise also uses mid-market rates, so it doesn’t adjust the currency exchange rate to earn an additional margin on each transaction. Users only pay the fee to transfer currency, and the actual exchange occurs at market prices.
Wise is designed to process payments between bank accounts. The money sender must set up a Wise account to use the money transfer service. The sender can then transfer money from their bank account to the recipient’s bank account.
This app allows users to send money from debit and credit cards, but the maximum amounts of money that can be sent this way are much lower than the limits for ACH and wire transfers. It also offers business accounts, which is a useful feature for writers and other contractors who have founded agencies and set them up as LLCs or S corporations. These accounts support large transfers. A business in most US states can send a payment of $1 million to another bank account using the Wise app.
This startup also offers a multi-currency electronic account that comes with a debit card. The account stores account balances in multiple currencies. It includes optimization features that allow international travelers to spend the currency with the lowest conversion fees while traveling. And Wise also provides international money transfer processing services for other fintech apps, such as accounting software.
This is the best choice if the client wants to use a payment method other than wire transfers or ACH payments. Wise supports a wide variety of payment services.
OFX is an Australian money transfer company that was once called Oz Forex. It’s also a big and well-known money transfer company. Like Wise, it’s designed to process money transfers between bank accounts. OFX supports ACH transactions along with wire transfers, which cost more but arrive very quickly. It doesn’t support as many payment methods as Wise does though.
This startup calculates fees differently than Wise does. It once charged a $15 flat fee when a user sent less than $10,000 abroad, but now its website says that it offers zero-fee international money transfers. It does adjust the exchange rates for its customers to collect a margin on each transaction, though. So even though OFX doesn’t charge fees, it’s still earning revenue from each transaction.
Many websites mention that OFX has great customer support so it may be the best money transfer app for customers who want assistance with international money transfers. The company has a 24-7 help line.
XE is another major money transfer service. It’s a Canadian company that’s a subsidiary of Kansas-based payment processor Euronet Worldwide. XE supports a wide variety of currencies and offers business accounts as well as individual accounts.
XE displays the mid-market exchange rates on its website, which is a great resource for looking up current currency exchange rates for multiple pairs. But the company doesn’t offer these rates to its customers, and explains that its financial partners don’t even offer it these exchange rates themselves. Like other currency exchange services, it’s charging a margin on each transaction. Recent reviews indicate that it may have added flat-rate fees on small transactions as well.
The main benefit of this money transfer service is that it supports 130 different currencies, which is more currencies than many of its competitors. Competing services may support 30 or 40 currencies. Writers in some countries may not be able to accept payments through other money transfer services. If you’re in that position, XE may be your best option for receiving an international payment.
XE is a good option for writers who live in countries that aren’t supported by other money transfer services.
SendFX is another Australian fintech that provides international money transfers. It was launched in 2019 so it’s much newer than the other startups in this niche. As a result, it doesn’t appear on many other lists of similar companies but it does appear to be gaining market traction rapidly, at least in Australia.
Like several other companies that help you receive money from abroad, SendFX doesn’t charge any fees on international money transfers. That indicates that it collects a spread. But according to Mozo, SendFX both provides a better exchange rate on conversions between the US dollar and the Australian dollar and is able to process payments more quickly than more established money transfer apps.
SendFX appears to be positioning itself for eventual expansion into international markets, and it’s even got an affiliate marketing program set up to help it expand more rapidly.
There’s not much information about this startup yet but it might offer better rates than other, more established services. It could be especially useful for a business that sends money to Australia or receives money from the country.
TorFX is a British money transfer service. It’s been around for awhile with a founding date of 2004. Like several other startups in this industry, it doesn’t charge fees on individual money transfers so it is earning margins from exchange rate spreads. TorFX has both individual and business customers.
The downside of this money transfer service is that you can’t open an account there if you’re located in the United States or Canada, even though you can use it to send money to those countries. A related fintech with the same owners that’s also located in Britain, Currencies Direct, provides service to those markets.
TorFX offers forward currency contracts that lock in exchange rates for up to two years. As a result, it may be the best option for people who expect to make a currency exchange in the future. Currencies Direct, the sister company, offers a similar service to users in the United States.
Each international money transfer app has its own strengths and weaknesses. These fintech startups offer better currency exchange rates than the banks and many of them charge no additional fees for sending money, so those are baseline advantages that don’t differentiate them very much. But if you’re looking for specific services like hedging future exchange rates, customer service, or support for multiple payment methods, there are international money transfer companies that are better in certain areas.