If you live abroad and need to remit money home – whether you’re a retired expat, a migrant worker, or someone who resides in his own country but is being paid from abroad, you can learn about the leading remittance companies here.
Our page will explain how to remit money internationally for cheap, the different services each remittance company provides and ultimately which are the best remittance companies providers most apt for your needs (and of offering cheap remittance rates). We compare remittance companies for 7 years now and we will give you a comprehensive overview.
The Best Remittance Transfer Service Providers and Companies
Below you can compare remittance transfer providers and rates – including bank-to-bank transfers alongside cash pickups and mobile top-ups. Learn which are the best international remittances services and those most suited to your specific requirements and needs. Choosing the right provider allows you to remit money home for cheap – possibly 50% less than what you would have paid with traditional foreign exchange companies branches (such as WU or Moneygram) or a bank. Compare remittances companies and view the top remittances companies here:
Best Remittance Providers for Bank to Bank
More Worthwhile Mentions:
Our Remittances Focuses
Our focus on this page is to compare remittances options and designated services/companies and their rates specifically for destinations like
✅ Money transfers from USA to India and from UK to India
✅ Money transfers from UK to the Philippines and from USA to Philippines
✅ Money transfers from USA to Thailand and from UK to Thailand
✅ Money transfers from UK to Poland
✅ Money transfers from USA to Mexico
✅ Money transfers from UK to Hungary and from USA to Hungary
✅ Money transfers from UK to Romania and from USA to Romania
✅ Remittance to any other destination [for transfers above £5,000 or $5,000 view our Currency Broker listings]
Remittances Companies – A Quick Comparison
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. The most recent report published on remittances prices was December 2020 which calculated the average cost of remitting money home to be a whopping 6.51%. Follow our tips on cheap remittances providers and you should certainly find a better deal than this.
Below you can find statistics based on the World Bank Remittances Prices for Q1 2021:
International Money Order for Remittances?
We have created a large guide about international money orders to explain the associated cost of this method for remittances transfers, and our bottom line is that there’s a $10 fee to issue those in the U.S, and that there are other currency costs making it an expensive method to remit money online.
More Cheap Remittances Companies & Money Transfer Firms
Remit money from UK and many other countries around the world using the following options. Here is the complete list of companies remitting small amounts internationally of companies we have covered:
What makes them the cheapest and best rated remittances companies?
✓ Remit online for cheap, without having to go to your bank or foreign exchange office.
✓ Understand exactly how much you are 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 customers who used the service and high media attention and encouragement from established institutions, such as the World Bank.
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).
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 services and the transfer of pensions, mortgages, and salaries.
✓ 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 available. Private clients don’t have direct access to currency dealers.
✗ Non-transparent fees. 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. The best foreign exchange rate guide can be found here.
The State of Remittances in 2021
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 comprises of the Remittance Service Providers (RSP), Remittance Corridors, the Remittance Network and the Money transfer system.
For a long while, the Remittance industry continued to grow as a result of several factors. These factors included the increase in labour requirements across the world, an increase in the number of migrants, and a shift towards global cooperation and economic development. COVID-19, however, has disrupted social mobility and caused an increase in the number of return migrants, resulting in a drop in YoY remittance volumes in 2020 for the first time since 2009. Only the fourth time this has happened since remittance flows were measured since 1970.
According to information from the World Bank, migrants sent US$508 billion back to their families in developing countries — down from the $547 billion sent in 2019, but to put this in perspective, still more than the $479 billion sent in 2017. . 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. In some countries this can be even higher – Nepal for example saw remittance inflows of $7billion in 2020, equivalent to 22.6% of Nepal’s GDP.
- 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.
- More than 247 million people, or 3.4% of the world’s population, live outside their countries of birth.
- Remittances reached a record $547 billion in 2019 but are estimated to drop to $508 billion in 2020, with forecasts of $470 billion in 2021*.
- 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.
- 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).
- The World Bank projected a decline of remittance flows in 2020 across all regions: Europe and Central Asia (-16%); Sub-Saharan Africa (-8.8%), South Asia (-4%), the Middle East and North Africa (-8%), Latin America and the Caribbean (-0.2%), and East Asia and the Pacific (-10.5%).
- The global average cost of sending $200 remains high at 6.51 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020. Significantly higher than the cheapest remittances companies listed on this page.
- Sub-Saharan Africa continued to have the highest average remittance costs, at about 8.5 per cent; South Asia had the lowest average remittance costs at 5 per cent. The average remittance costs for the remaining regions were: Europe and Central Asia (6.5%); East Asia and Pacific (7.1%); Middle East and North Africa (7.5%); and Latin America and the Caribbean (5.8%).
- The five countries to see the largest remittance inflows in 2020 were India ($76bn), China ($59.5bn), Mexico ($40.5bn), Philippines ($33bn) and Egypt ($24bn).
*Note that even as of May 2021, the figures for 2020 remittance flows are still estimated by the world bank.
Remittances rates are decreasing but inequality grows
The world’s inequality has grown tremendously, and some of the currencies belonging to developing countries have declined. The exact split between different remittance 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 Wise (Transferwise), Currencyfair, World Remit, and Azimo.
An overview of remittance inflows and outflows
|Country||Inflow (USD)||Outflow (USD)|
Countries with highest remittances flows
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
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
Mobile payments are on the up across the world. Many countries are even skipping the card generation and moving straight from cash to mobile. 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 to sub-saharan Africa is currently estimated to be at $44 billion.
Until the unforeseen events of 2020, remittance inflows wereonly getting bigger, yet 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, can easily cost 10%+ of the sum being transferred.
- Burkina Faso is another country where one can expect to pay 16% on remittances, usually to Nigeria.
- It costs a lot to send money from Nigeria, 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 a long time had a monopoly on the local transfer market, with extremely functional technology that can be used even on mobile phones not considered “smart”.
A competitor to M-Pesa was launched in 2015 in an attempt to foil the dangers of such an important monopoly. Equity and Airtel 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.
- 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 for Remittances & Inequality
Remittance providers are continually enhancing their payment services. Offering not just bank-to-bank transfers and cash pickup services but also mobile payment and bill payment services. With WorldRemit for example, remitters sending money home to Kenya have the choice between four different payment types; bank-to-bank, cash pickup, mobile money and airtime top up.
When it comes to transferring money internationally for remittances, one should become familiarized with all aspects, including currency terminology. For example, did you know that in India they also use Lakh which stands for 100,000 Indian Rupee?
Last Words on the Best Remittances Companies
In a world that gets more global every day, opportunities are increasing and cultural boundaries are becoming meaningless. And whilst remittance flows are forecasted to decline in 2021 due to obvious reasons, this is anticipated to be the only setback in a much larger positive growth trend when market conditions return to normal. Indeed, as the concept of “the global citizen” 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. Regardless of the purpose, most expatriates rely on a bank or a 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 quick 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 on the market.
Through our assessment, we could indeed detect some differences and we have carefully filtered and selected the best remittances companies that will satisfy any expatriate. As a result, Wise (Transferwise), MoneyCorp, Currencies Direct, and OFX are all top remittances services 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 , and remit money from the EU – countries such as France, Spain, Germany and 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. Whilst neither are the cheapest remittances companies available on the market today, you should find they provide cheap remittances when compared to Western Union and Moneygram.
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 remittances 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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