How do I choose an international money transfer service?

The contents provided on this page are for informational purposes only and do not constitute financial advice. Consider your personal circumstances and objectives before making any financial decisions.

If you have loved ones, family or friends overseas, then you may have thought about sending them money from time to time. But how would you do it? How can you make sure they receive it on time and, more importantly, that they receive it at all

There are many international money transfer services available, each with unique offers. Doing your research is important to secure the best rates and ensure safe and reliable money transfers that will give you and your loved ones peace of mind. 

What do you need to know before choosing an international money transfer service? 

There are several factors to consider before sending an international money transfer. Let’s take a look at some key features to consider when choosing an international money transfer service. 

Destination Countries 

Where do you want or need to send money? Can your service provider send money all over the world? When choosing an international money transfer service, you need to first find out if they support your destination country. Some services may charge an additional fee to send money to certain countries, depending on the country you are sending from.

Money Transfer Fees

Sending money overseas is a convenient service that, of course, costs money. Different service providers will have their own sets of fees along with an exchange rate markup. It can be helpful to compare these fees, understand if the fees are impacted by how much you want to send, and consider these against the exchange rate. There may also be fees added by third-party providers depending on the payment or receipt method chosen.

Transfer Limits

A bank or other financial services provider may limit how much money can be sent per transaction. This is typically due to international banking regulations and is worth considering depending on how much you plan to send overseas.


Another factor to consider is how long your transfer takes to end up in the hands of your loved one – the recipient. Some service providers may offer instant transfers, although this usually comes with an additional fee. Timing can also vary based on the methods of sending and receiving that a provider offers.

Receiving the Transfer

Are you helping a loved one pay a medical bill? Or sending a friend extra cash? Each service provider may offer different methods for receiving a money transfer. For instance, some providers may allow funds to be received via a bank account, digital wallet, door-to-door or cash pick-up. Consider the urgency of your money transfer and what option is most convenient for you and your loved ones when choosing a money transfer service.  

Comparing Different Money Transfer Services 

Below is a guide to three different service providers to give you an idea of the differences and similarities between providers and help find an international money transfer service that works for you. The information below is meant to serve as a guide only, not an endorsement of services. We encourage you to explore them and other money transfer services on your own before you make a decision. (All fees mentioned below were publicly listed as of February 2023 and may change.)


Wise, formerly TransferWise, has coverage in over 80 countries and focuses on “borderless banking” by helping their customers set up a bank account with them. It’s free to sign up, and the bank account can hold and manage more than 50 currencies. For most currencies, there is no limit on how much money you can receive and hold in your bank account. However, there is a limit per transaction or per day that varies by country. 

For money transfers, there are different limits based on the sending method you choose and the country from which you initiate the money transfer. For example, if you send money by bank transfer or POLi, Wise allows you to send up 1.8 million AUD; however, your bank might not let you send that much at once. You can send up to 18,000 AUD by debit or credit card, and up to 50,000 AUD by PayID, if that amount is available in your accounts.


Fees depend on the transfer type. With Wise you’ll pay a small, flat fee and a percentage of the amount that is converted. You will be shown the specific fee amounts before you complete your money transfer.

Transfer speed

Wise transfer speeds can vary depending on the destination country amount sent, and payment method chosen. For example, bank transfers can take days; however, sending money via a debit or credit card may take only a few seconds. 

Advantages and Disadvantages

Wise is easy to use and not just a money transfer app. You can hold an account with different currencies and have a card linked to use for purchases. There are no locations for in-person sending or cash pick-up for transfers with Wise, so transfers must be done online or through the app.


WorldRemit has coverage in about 140 countries. You can sign up for a free account with WorldRemit and send and receive money through bank transfer, cash pick-up and mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay. However, it’s important to note that not all transfer services are available in all destination countries. 


WorldRemit’s fees vary depending on your transfer size and payment method. Additionally, there is a markup fee on top of the exchange rate and a possible cash advance fee added by your credit card company. You will see these fees listed during your transaction, before you complete the transfer.

Transfer speed

Most transfers via WorldRemit are immediate or received within minutes. However, this can vary depending on the destination country and the method of receipt, and a home delivery can take up to seven days.

Advantages and Disadvantages

WorldRemit provides an app for users to make easy and quick online payments and their transfer speeds are typically pretty quick. They do offer cash pick-up for the receiver, but in-person locations are not available in all countries or regions.

Western Union

Western Union has coverage in more than 200 countries and territories and allows you to send and receive money transfers in multiple ways, such as through mobile wallets, bank accounts, and in-person agent locations, depending on the country you are sending from and to. Whether you send money using the Western Union mobile app or website, you can easily track your transfer to see when your money is received.

With Western Union, if you’re short on cash, you also have the option to access a pay advance through Beforepay so you can send and boost your money transfer when you need. Through a first-of-its-kind collaboration, Western Union customers can now boost their money transfers by accessing up to $2000 with Beforepay for a fixed 5% fee, subject to eligibility, with repayments in easy installments. No interest or hidden costs apply to boost your transfer with Beforepay and Western Union.


Western Union’s fees are aligned with their competitors, with exchange rate markup fees of less than 6%, depending on the currency exchange rate and the destination country. You can estimate your fees and see payment and receipt options available online or in the app before you transfer any money. 

Transfer speeds

Western Union provides fast transfer speeds with many same-day transfers available if you pay with cash, credit, or debit card. There may be an additional fee to send near-instant transfers. 

Advantages and Disadvantages

Western Union allows you to send your first online transfer for a $0 transfer fee at competitive exchange rates, and earn reward points with the Western Union rewards program for each eligible transaction you send. Your points can be used to redeem discounts on future transfers. Western Union is also committed to providing multiple options for receipt that take into account the needs of the local population.

While there is no transfer fee for a customer’s first transfer, subsequent transfers will incur a transfer fee of .99 cents to 1.99 AUD. 

Choosing the best international money transfer service comes down to timing, fees, convenience, and whatever else is most important to you. You deserve the peace of mind knowing your family and friends will reliably receive your transfer, so you don’t have to worry when sending your money overseas. 

This article was provided by Western Union. For more information about boosting your money transfer with Beforepay and Western Union, download the Western Union app or visit the Western Union website here


Disclaimer: Beforepay Group Ltd, ABN: 63 6933 925 505. Beforepay allows eligible customers to access their pay and provides budgeting tools. Beforepay does not provide financial products, financial advice or credit products. The views provided in this article include factual information and the personal opinions of relevant Beforepay staff and do not constitute financial advice. Beforepay and its related bodies corporate make no representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness or reliability of the contents of this blog post and do not accept any liability for any loss whatsoever arising from the use of this information. Please read our Terms of Service carefully before deciding whether to use any of our services.