Best Remittance Companies 2020: Cheapest & Safest

If you live abroad and need to remit money back home – whether you’re a retired expat, an immigrant worker abroad, or someone who resides in his own country and is being paid from abroad, we are here to help you fulfil your needs and gain access to viable remittance information. Our page will explain how to remit money internationally for cheap, with ease, though the best remittance companies and services. Our aim is to help to compare the different options available for you on the remittance market.

You’re in the right place if you are seek for

Migrant Remittances: 

You’re working abroad as an immigrant and remitting money (your income) home to family, friends, or your own domestic bank account. You’re looking for cost-effective solutions with great global reach, enabling you to either wire your money remittances to a bank account, or enable its recipient to receive it in cash. This transaction could be a one-off, or on a regular basis.

Regular Remittances: 

You’re residing abroad and want to conduct  overseas remittances on a regular basis; you are either remitting your salary to your home back account, remitting money from your home bank account to your current bank account, or paying for something in installments (most commonly, mortgage payments and pensions).

Remitting Payments:

Even if you have not moved abroad as an expat or immigrant you may still have a bank account abroad for a variety of reasons. If you are accepting money into that overseas bank account, you would eventually want to receive that money from abroad so you can make use of it.

Discovering the best remittances company could be a struggle in this cumbersome area but we are here to help our reader get to the nitty-gritty.

The Best Remittance Transfer Companies

Compare remittance transfer providers and rates – bank-to-bank transfers alongside cash pickups. Learn which are the best international remittances services – most suited for your specific requirements and needs. Remit money home for cheap – possibly 50% less than what you would have paid with traditional foreign exchange offices (such as WU or Moneygram) or a bank.

  • From: UK, USA, AUS, SA, EU.
  • To: Mexico, Thailand, Philippines and all Eastern, Middle East, and Central Europe.
  • Min Transfer:: £/€ 100
  • Automated Regular Payments Enabled
  • Sign Up to Receive Rates.
  • Online or by Phone
  • Bank to Bank Only
  • Top Quality:
    Best Service

  • From: UK, USA, Europe.
  • To: India, Middle East, Parts of South America, and Eastern Europe.
  • Min Transfer:: £/€ 50
  • Automated Regular Payments Enabled
  • Sign Up to Receive Rates.
  • Online or by Phone
  • Bank to Bank Only
  • Top Quality:
    Most Reliable

  • From: UK, USA, Australia and Europe.
  • To: India, Pakistan, and Eastern Europe.
  • Min Transfer:: £/€ 1
  • No Automated Transfers
  • Clear Pricing Before Sign-Up.
  • Online Platform Only
  • Bank to Bank Only
  • Top Quality:
    Cheap & Transparent

  • From: UK, Europe.
  • To: Globally - Dealing with 198 Currencies.
  • Min Transfer:: £/€ 1
  • No Automated Transfers
  • Clear Pricing Before Sign-Up.
  • Online Platform Only
  • Cash Pickup*
  • Top Quality:
    Widest Reach, Cash Pickup

* Azimo cash pickup option is available at the majority of destinations, but not all of them.

Case Study for Cheap and Helpful Remittance Services:

Meet the NZ Expat Remitting Money from Australia to New Zealand and Fiji

Who:

Prashant Lal, New Zealand expat

What:

Sends money back to New Zealand and Fiji to support his family and in-laws as well as pay off the mortgages on two properties

When:

Every month since September 2014

How:

Remitting money home using the services of OFX

PlalPrashant Lal, an employee of OFX, moved to Australia for work in September 2014, bringing with him his partner – 28 years old, Manisha.

Originally from Fiji, Prashant moved to Wellington, New Zealand at age 13 where he lived for 12 years. In September 2014, Prashant was offered a position with OFX in Sydney and he and Manisha decided to make the move.

Having never been to Australia, Prashant was initially concerned about how to transfer money to begin setting up his new life here. Although he was able to set up an Australian bank account with his current bank, bank transfer fees between the two accounts remained high.

As I was about to start a job with OFX I decided to give the service a try. I looked into how much I was going to be saving compared to transferring with my bank and it was quite a substantial difference! We decided to use OFX to transfer money into our Australian account to help pay for moving costs such as our flat bond, new furniture and groceries until we received our first pay packets.”

Supporting Family Back Home

Impressed with the savings he was enjoying, Prashant began making regular transfers back to New Zealand to help support both his parents, still living in Wellington.

Having lived with and near my immediate family my whole life, it was a big step to move away from them to Sydney, so I decided to send money back regularly in order to continue supporting them. My wife and I also send a monthly amount back to her parents, sister, and nephew, which goes towards paying for utilities.”

We also own two properties in Wellington, which we are renting out. We use OFX to top up the respective mortgages and hope to have fully paid them off by 2025.”

A Proudly Recommended Service

When I set everything up I obviously compared the savings between my bank and OFX and still sporadically continue to do so, but OFX always comes out best. I have so far transferred about [$28,600] since September 2014 and I’ve made an estimated savings of [$1,000]. I proudly recommend the OFX service to any friends and family who are either travelling or relocating overseas, and continue to be impressed by the savings I make.”

> Read more about how you can remit money online for cheap with on our review here: OFX (Formerly OzForex) review, rated as one of the best online money transfer platforms by us.

 

Even More Cheap Remittance Money Transfer Companies

Remit money from UK and USA using the following options. Here is the complete list of companies remitting small amounts internationally of companies we have covered:

  1. Currencyfair Review
  2. Transferwise Review
  3. Azimo Money Transfer Review
  4. Lebara Money Transfer Review
  5. Travelex Money Transfer Review
  6. FairFX Money Transfer Review
  7. OrbitRemit Review
  8. Xoom Money Transfer Review
  9. Ria Money Transfer Review
  10. WorldRemit Money Transfer Review
  11. TranserGo Money Transfer Review
  12. Western Union (WU) Money Transfer Review
  13. Moneygram Money Transfer Review

 


What makes them a top remittances service?

✓ Remit online for cheap, without having to go to your bank or foreign exchange office.

✓ Understand exactly how much are you going to get.

✓ Automated regular transfers can be set up with some companies.

✓ Wide global reach that enables sending money to even very remote locations in Africa, South America, and Asia.

✓ Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority as an Approved Payment Provider, so you know that your money is safe.

✓ No upfront charge fees. You only pay in relation to the amount transferred.

✓ Satisfaction from fellow immigrants who used the service and high media attention and encouragement from established institutions, such as the World Bank.

✓ Options like a Limit Order or a Forward Contract.


Why are bureaux de change and banks a worse option than the best remittance services?

 To trade with a bank you need to go through a lengthy account setup process.

 There is no personalised assistance in banks or in exchange offices.

 You don’t get a clear indication of the money you will receive in return for the exchange.

There are high transfer fees of up to £30 per transfer.

✗ These often have terrible reviews by clients online (true for most UK banks, Western Union, and Moneygram).


Read our FX FAQ page which addresses all concerns with international money transfers.

 

Compare to Find the Cheapest Remittances

Are the companies featured in this section really cheaper than traditional settlements like Moneygram and Western Union agents? The World Bank has a programme named “Remittances Prices” that has set itself a goal to reduce the remittances fees to developing countries that rely on that inflow of cash from its residents abroad (more on the remittances market here).

Below you can find statistics based on the World Bank Remittances Prices for 2017:

Example 1: Remit money online from the UK to Romania

TransferwiseTotal Cost 1.19% of total

AzimoTotal Cost 2.6% of total

Western Union (online): Total Cost 4.84% of total

Transfer- Fast (Transfast) Total Cost 4.86% of total

Skrill (eWallet): Total Cost 5.67% of total

Western Union (Branch): Total Cost 12.58% of total

Xoom Money Transfer: Our research dictates between 1.5% and 5% in total of the total cost

Orbit Remitour research dictates between 2% and 3%.

TransferGo: our research dictates between 2% and 3%.

On a 500 pound transfer you can save 56 pounds per transfer (data from World Bank)

(equals  based on Today’s Exchange Rates)

 

Example 2: Remit money online from the UK to Brazil

AzimoTotal Cost 2.4% of total

Small World FS: Total Cost 4.17% of total

MoneyGram (online): Total Cost 4.85% of total

MoneyGram (branch): Total Cost 7.59% of total

Western Union (online): Total Cost 8.22% of total

On a 500 pound transfer you can save 29 Pounds per transfer (data from World Bank)

(equals 3,582.5641 BRL based on Today’s Exchange Rates)

 

 

Example 3: Remit money online from the UK to Poland

TransferwiseTotal Cost 0.78% of total

Western Union: Total Cost 5.69% of total

MoneyGram: Total Cost 5.77% of total

Sami Swoi: Total Cost 7.99% of total

On a 500 pound transfer you can save 35 Pounds per transfer (data from World Bank)

(equals 2,451.2315 PLN based on Today’s Exchange Rates)

 

Example 4: Remit money online from UK to Thailand

TransferwiseTotal Cost 0.8% of total

Skrill (eWallet): Total Cost 5.5% of total

Western Union (Branch): Total Cost 11% of total

On a 500 pound transfer you can save 22 Pounds per transfer (data from World Bank)

(equals  based on Today’s Exchange Rates)

When remitting money from the USA to India, Thailand, the Philippines or other developing countries in Asia or Africa, companies like Ria Money Transfer or Transfast cost around 3% of the total costs, which isn’t bad but still much more expensive than the companies featured on this table that can accept U.S clients that send money home.

Newcomer: The Lebara money transfer service is breaking the market by offering very low margins and small fees on transfers from the UK to 13 different locations. It is even cheaper than Transferwise on the GBPEUR route.

 

Regular Transfers for Expats

Looking for regularly timed transfers, for things like pensions, mortgages or salary transfers?

 

What makes these companies a great choice for regularly remitting money internationally?

✓ Easy sign-up is available on the website.

✓ You can choose whether to use an online platform or telephone.

✓ Automated regular transfers can be set up.

✓ Personal currency assistants for each client.

✓ Wide global reach, allows for accepting clients from most countries, and dealing with most currencies.

✓ Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority as an Approved Payment Provider.

✓ Charge no transfer fees.

✓ Will beat a bank’s Buy / Sell rates any day of the week.

✓ Expertise in immigration and the transfer of pensions, mortgages, and salaries is avaliable.

✓ Great client reviews can be found across the web.

 

What makes banks a worse choice?

Not easy to sign up. You can only figure out the rates once you’re a client.

No personalised assistance is avaliable. Private clients don’t have direct access to currency dealers.

Non-transparent fees, consist of fixed transfer fees, commissions, and exchange rate markups.

✗ High transfer fees of up to £30 per transfer are charged.

✗ Worse exchange rates than commercial firms.

✗ Often, terrible reviews by clients online.



Word of Advice

 Beware of Honeymoon Rates: Some remittance transfer companies will offer you tight margins for your first transfer, but as you use them more frequently, these margins will increase. Make sure to convey to any company you’re dealing with that you will expect the same margin for future transfers, and take a minute to compare between each transfer’s exchange rate and the real current currency exchange rate.

Remittances are defined as the transfer of money by a person who lives in a foreign country to his or her home country. The Remittance industry contributes to the economic growth of the countries participating in the practice as well as to the livelihood of the individuals involved. The remittance system is comprised of the Remittance Service Providers (RSP), Remittance Corridors, the Remittance Network and the Money transfer system.

The Remittance industry continues to grow as a result of several factors. These factors include the increase in the labour force, increase in the number of migrants, increase in the urban population, as well as global economic development.
According to information from the World Bank, migrants are now sending US$441 billion back to their families in developing countries — three times the amount spent on official aid. These inflows of cash constitute more than 10% of GDP in over 25 developing countries and lead to increased investments in health, education, and small businesses in various communities.

Key findings:

  1. The loss/benefit picture of this reality is twofold: while the migration of highly skilled people from small, poor countries can affect basic service delivery, it can generate numerous benefits, including increased trade, investment, knowledge, and technology transfers from diaspora contributions.
  2. More than 247 million people, or 3.4% of the world’s population, live outside their countries of birth.
  3. Although the number of international migrants rose from 175 million in 2000 to more than 247 million in 2013 and will surpass 251 million in 2015, the share of migrants has remained just above 3% since the turn of the Century.
  4. The top migrant destination country is the United States, followed by Saudi Arabia, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Spain, and Australia.
  5. The top six immigration countries, relative to population, are outside the high-income OECD countries: Qatar (91 percent), United Arab Emirates (88 percent), Kuwait (72 percent), Jordan (56 percent), and Bahrain (54 percent).
  6. According to available official data, the Mexico–United States corridor is the largest migration corridor in the world, accounting for 13 million migrants in 2013.
  7. Russia–Ukraine is the second largest corridor, followed by Bangladesh-India. For the former Soviet Union corridors, many natives became migrants without moving when new international boundaries were drawn.
  8. In 2015, worldwide remittance flows are estimated to have exceeded $601 billion, according to the World Bank. Of that amount, developing countries are estimated to receive about $441 billion, nearly three times the amount of official development assistance. The true size of remittances, including unrecorded flows through formal and informal channels, is believed to be significantly larger.

While remittances rates are decreasing – inequality grows

The world’s inequality has grown tremendously during these years, and some of the developing countries’ currencies have declined. The exact split between different remittances providers is unknown, but it is clear Western Union and Moneygram have the biggest market share, which is slowly eaten away by new providers like Transferwise, Currencyfair, World Remit, and Azimo.

The top 10 recipients of remittances in 2016 were:

Country
Mexico$28,126,000,000
China$15,418,000,000
India$10,657,000,000
Philippines$10,536,000,000
Guatemala$6,756,000,000
Vietnam$6,668,000,000
Nigeria$5,668,000,000
El Salvador$4,194,000,000
Dominican Republic$4,088,000,000

 

There are several different methods by which funds may be transferred. The best ways to send money abroad are:

  • Cash to cash
  • Bank account to bank account
  • Via cellular/mobile phone
  • Via credit and debit cards
  • Via prepaid debit cards

Costly Corridors

The most costly corridors in USD are South Africa to Malawi, South Africa to Botswana, South Africa to Angola, South Africa to Mozambique, and South Africa to Zimbabwe. The least costly corridors are Singapore to Thailand, Singapore to Bangladesh, UAE to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia to Pakistan and Spain to the Dominican Republic.

Value of Funds Transferred by Transfer Method

The value of funds transferred varies greatly based on the method used to transfer the funds. The Bank of International Settlement Statistics (BIS) published a comprehensive report for payment volumes sent and received during 2011. The data indicates that by far, credit transfer is the most widely used method of sending funds abroad. Card payments are also very popular. However, payments sent via cell phones are also increasing in popularity. While mobile payments are growing, they still only account for only 7% of mobile phone subscribers (2013).

It is estimated that the value of mobile payments will increase to as much as $450 million by 2017. Great opportunities exist in this area for money transfer services which we have covered on our Best Money Transfer Apps page and below:

Mobile Money Transfer Apps Are Becoming The New Normal For Sending Remittances To Countries In Africa

The remittance market in Africa accounts for almost $40 billion of the continent’s gross income every year. That number is only getting bigger, but up until recently there have been few easy and cheap ways to transfer that money into the respective countries. Banks charged high fees, up to 29% when transferring from certain countries.

Some of the most important remittance corridors are the most expensive:

  • South Africa still charges high rates for remittances to other African countries. A transfer from South Africa to Lesotho, which is the largest “corridor” in Africa, typically costs a migrant 16% of the sum.
  • Burkina Faso is another country where one can expect to pay 16% on remittances, usually to Nigeria.
  • It costs to send money from Nigeria itself, with fees between 10% and 13%.

Remittances have been a major part of the economies of many African countries. So much so, that the continent was deeply impacted by the 2008 economic crisis, despite African banks having little to do with the sources of the collapse. Therefore, the money lost in transfer fees is not insignificant in its effect on the economy.

It is understandable then that Kenya is home to the world leader in mobile money transfer capabilities. Safaricom’s M-Pesa service has for the past few years had a monopoly on the local transfer market, with extremely functional technology that can be used even on mobile phones not considered “smart”.

M-Pesa’s first competitor was recently launched in an attempt to foil the dangers of such an important monopoly. Equity and Airtel have partnered to create Equitel, a service which uses “thin SIMs” – a microchip you can slip easily over a SIM card, allowing you to switch operators easily.

Now cross-border mobile transfers are becoming possible.

  • MFS Africa and
  • Terra Connect are becoming big players.
  • WorldRemit  and Azimo has also been strengthening its hand by improving payment systems for remittances to Africa

The most important factor in the popularity of these mobile services is, of course, the huge amount saved on fees. Their significance to the economy has not gone unnoticed by the Kenyan government, who are a major shareholder in Safaricom.

But there are other factors leading to the rise of mobile transfer capabilities. The ease of the process is vitally important, especially since many residents of recipient countries do not have easy access to banks. Extra transparency in the process is also a factor, as people become less trusting in systems that have cost them so much for so long.

The general consensus is the more payment operators there are, the better, as migrants have long known the literal costs of a monopoly. Remittances will continue playing a big part in African economies for the foreseeable future, and we’ll be seeing more and more innovative mobile payments technology emerging in the next months and years.

Concluding Words

Remittances will continue playing a big part in all economies around the globe for the foreseeable future, and we’ll be seeing more and more innovative mobile payments technology providers emerging over the coming months and years.


Last Words on Remitting Money Home

In a world that gets more global every day, opportunities are increasing and cultural boundaries are becoming meaningless. Indeed, as “the global citizen” concept takes more and more importance, millions of people relocate to remote places to work, live, discover, and pursue their dreams. As this movement entails opportunities, it usually yields financial gains and drives up international remittances.

While some people remit money home from UK or from USA to help their families, others do so in order to invest their savings. However, regardless of the purpose, most expatriates rely on a bank or an remittance service provider. In fact more and more expatriates are opting for such money remittance companies as they provide much more value than banks and show a great level of care and sympathy for their clients (whereas banks almost never do). They enable cost savings, risk limitation and quicker execution. However as hundreds of these companies have been created, it has become critical to identify the ones that maximise value, or in other words which are the top remittance companies in on the market.

Through our assessment, we could indeed detect some differences and we have carefully filtered and selected the best remittances transfer companies that will satisfy any expatriate. As a result, Transferwise, MoneyCorp, Currencies Direct, and World First are all top remittances services players that will enable expatriates to make regular bank-to-bank remittances and hedge future exposure while providing them with state-of-the-art guidance and customer support. We believe they are the best option to remit money from UK, remit money from USA (except Worldfirst that exited this market in early 2019), and remit money from the EU – France, Spain, Germany or Italy are all available with these providers.

Azimo and World Remit, in our opinion, are the best ways to remit money to your family back home, and then pick it up as cash in places like India, Pakistan, Mexico, or Bangladesh. There is no other way to turn your pounds, euros or dollars into rupee, peso, taka, hryvnia, leu, zloty, lira or others. If you have already been using an international remittance company, then the reviews above will definitely provide you with insight and perspective. If you have never done it before, then your journey might begin right here!

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Larry
5 years ago

I use moneycorp because I prefer the big household names. They’re alright, very responsive.

Mal N
5 years ago

TOR FX IS TRUST WORTHY AND ALSO HAS GOOD TOOLS

MonkeyB
5 years ago

Where is World’s First? Best site.

Jeremy - ie
5 years ago

I transfer Euros to pound on a regular basis, currently residing in the great city of Barcelona.

I am paying 20 Euro per transfer, and about 3% in exhange rates. That means I get 950 Euro (value) for every 1000 Euro I transfer.

With either one of your featured companies, should I pay less? What is an FX company standard margin?

Kirk M.
2 years ago

Tried a few companies but I can surely say that, for smaller amounts (<1000 euros), Transferwise is the best option. This is how I get paid for my regular gigs. But for bigger paychecks, I highly recommend WorldFirst because I get a bigger saving overall.

Hope this can help other people.

Ashutosh
1 year ago

Azimo is a great company and solution for money transfers here in India. Most of the people are using it and don’t really go to the banks for this type of services. You can send money with Azimo and have it picked up by the recipient in only 2 hours.