From parents with kids in college to tea-sipping freelancers, many are reliant on PayPal to send/receive payments. Sadly, a good portion doesn’t realize how badly they are getting screwed on exchange rates.
PayPal is a business. Their primary objective: To make as much money as possible. But, we aren’t PayPal – we’re consumers. Our primary goal: To get the best deal we can.
Does PayPal offer excellent value for money, compared with their competition? They don’t – not by a long shot! Below, we’ll share five international payment apps rated by MTC that will save you HUNDREDS per year in BS fees.
The best international money transfer apps
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The best international money transfer apps will help you send money to friends anywhere in the world. These 5 money transfer apps are capable of handling international transfers to send money overseas.
Nine years ago, Taavet and Kristo were in a bit of a pickle. Life in London, while mostly grand for these Estonian friends, wasn’t without its complications. The biggest: foreign exchange. Taavet worked for Skype and received his paycheque in Euros. Kristo had a mortgage to pay back in their home country.
Every time they moved money, the banks took an egregious slice off the top. Taavet & Kristo were none too pleased that they were losing THOUSANDS of Euros every year. Then one day, they had a life-changing thought. Why not move money between each other’s bank accounts domestically using the interbank rate?
It truly was an elegant solution. Taavet & Kristo then thought, how many others are in the same boat as us? As it turned out, quite a few people. Using their personal arrangement as their business model, they launched Transferwise in 2010.
Fast forward to today, and they are a giant in the international money transfer industry. Only Western Union moves more money annually than Transferwise. Their mobile app has only contributed to their ongoing success. For one, its user-friendly design has made it easy to transfer (and save) money on transfers. Secondly, their fee transparency has earned them respect from a generation that values honesty.
Despite its popularity, Transferwise does fall short on delivery time. In some cases, transfers can take a week to process completely. Because of this, we don’t recommend using this service if your receiver needs cash ASAP. If time is on your side, though, Transferwise is one of the best in the business.
In the 21st century, the world’s workforce has become increasingly mobile. We’re not just talking about distributed teams – ambitious, hardworking people have traveled overseas to fill labor shortages.
These workers, whether they are Mexican agricultural workers or Filipinos working in the Canadian oilfields, aren’t just earning money for themselves. Every two weeks, they send home a significant chunk of their paycheck home.
As crucial as these transfers are, legacy remittance firms had long taken advantage of these folks. In the past, fees and exchange rate margins had eaten up as much as 20% of send amounts. As someone who once called Somaliland home, Ismail Ahmed, was familiar with this scale of financial abuse.
It was these gross margins that motivated him to found WorldRemit in 2010. Nine years later, they made up significant ground on industry leaders. With low fees, exchange rates near interbank, and transfers that process within an hour, they have become a viable alternative.
Their international money transfer app has only increased accessibility to new customers. With its clean design and ability to send cash to 150 countries, it won’t be long before they catch up to the likes of MoneyGram.
A decade ago, Estonians weren’t the only one singing the foreign exchange blues. Brett Meyers, an entrepreneur from Perth, Australia, has made Ireland his adopted home. Yet, every time he moved capital to/from Down Under, he got whacked on FX fees.
In 2009, he joined with Jonathan Potter, David Christian, and Sean Barrett to found CurrencyFair. While Transferwise went on to become money transfer’s dominant brand, the rising popularity of online money transfer benefited CurrencyFair as well.
P2P, or peer-to-peer sharing, is where this app diverges from the pack. Rather than exchanging money with CurrencyFair themselves, you can do so with other users. Because of this, 10% of users report getting a rate that’s BETTER than interbank.
However, if you go with CurrencyFair, you’ll still get a rate that’s a fraction of a percent off interbank. Our favourite feature – their secure login protocol. On supported phones, you can set up a fingerprint scan that will ensure only you have access to your account.
The struggle against the oppressive bank rates/fees stretches back further than you might expect. Fed up with losing thousands to the financial establishment, Matthew Gilmour started OFX way back in 1998.
For the first four years, they courted clients in Australia before moving online. From 2002 through to the present day, they won over B2B customers with excellent rates and 24/7 customer service.
Their app, like others on this list, is cleanly designed, making for easy navigation. Fees are highly competitive, helping users save heaps of cash versus the banks. However, the ability to set forward contracts is our favourite feature. This option gives the user price certainty, which is crucial in today’s uncertain economic times.
It’s isn’t all good news, though. With a minimum transfer amount of 250 AUD, they aren’t the best option for small senders. However, if you regularly move amounts greater than that, OFX might be just what you’re looking for.
Ever since the dawn of the World Wide Web, XE.com has been its authority on Forex rates. In 2002, they launched their own FX trading platform. However, it wasn’t until after their acquisition by Euronet that it got renamed to XE Money Transfer.
Since then, they have steadily increased their market share. XE’s app marries their transfer capabilities with financial info they’ve long been famous for. XE has no minimum send amounts, and they offer over 100 currencies.
However, its rates, while better than the banks, lag behind other online transfer companies. Additionally, it may not be the best choice of remittance senders, as XE does not offer cash pickup.
Don’t let established players cheat you out of your money. With an abundance of alternatives available online, there’s no excuse to remain with the banks. Once you’ve completed a few transfers with one of the best money transfer apps mentioned above, you’ll never go back.