Whether you’re headed abroad or want to send some money back home, international money transfers are a confusing place. There are all sorts of companies competing for your money using promises of best FX rates and “no-fee” transfers, but which ones are actually worth it? I’ve compared them!

From my research, I found that there are six major players when it comes to transferring money internationally: OFX, Transferwise, CurrencyFair, WorldRemit, XE.com and PayPal. This isn’t even to mention the major (and minor) banks that offer international trade services (or other financial institutions).

If you think I’ve missed a good one, then please do let me know because the point of this is to give an honest spread of the best ways to transfer money internationally.

I’ll go through the pros and cons of each and compare the amounts of money that you can expect to receive for a $1,000AUD transfer right now (12th March 2020 @ 9:37am ET) as an example!

I’m using Australian dollars as an example, as I am an Australian living in the United States myself, but these should work in this order for all directions in many different currencies.

#1 OFX – Transfer money with OFX – 1st Place

$1,000AUD in $USD with OFX is currently = $631.10USD (Your rate: 0.6311)

This is the best rate that I’ve found online so far. This rate I have used is actually slightly better than the normal customer rate because we have a special OFX community for America Josh Readers that offers this slightly more competitive rate.

If you’d like to sign up for this rate you can do so online: This will take you through the signup process and you will be put onto our special FX rate. (Quick note – If you’ve been at your current address for less than 6 months, use your previous address – even if that’s in your former home country.)

Alternatively, for those of you who want to talk to a real person (maybe you want to transfer a greater amount of money for example) then we’ve got the awesome Amelie at OFX! Amelie can give you the same awesome rates for being such an awesome America Josh reader, and can also answer your questions via phone or via email.

Just fill in the form below and Amelie’s team will be in touch within 24 hours.

The transfers are almost instantly in your bank account, and the fuss is minimal. There’s a quick check when you first sign up to confirm your identity but this is the case with any reputable resource.

  • If you feel like it!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

#2 Transfer money with Transferwise – 2nd Place

$1,000AUD in $USD with Transferwise is currently = $629.99USD (Your rate: 0.6345150 + $6.56AUD Fee)

As you can see, it’s very close to our special OFX rate, but not quite the same.

As above, the transfers are almost instantly in your bank account. There’s again a quick signup process to confirm your identity. You can get your first transfer for free and help me out by using this referral link to sign up!

Transferwise is a big company and markets a lot, so you will hear about them a lot.

#3 Transfer money with CurrencyFair – 3rd Place

1,000AUD in $USD with CurrencyFair is currently = $629.16 (Your rate: 0.6331 + $4 fee)

CurrencyFair was suggested by a reader and is widely mentioned across the internet, and as you can see, it’s close to the TransferWise rate and in some cases might be competitive or better!

#4 Transfer money with WorldRemit – 4th Place

1,000AUD in $USD with WorldRemit is currently = $624.35 (Your rate: 0.62834 + $3.99AUD fee)

WorldRemit describes its rates quite oddly because when you type in “I want to send $1,000” it says “That will cost $1,003.99” which seems, in my opinion, to be a devious way to confuse people. I have reverse-engineered the numbers.

#5 Transfer money with XE.com – 5th Place

$1,000AUD in $USD with OFX is currently = $622.01 (Your rate: 0.622)

Another step down in actual returns when looking at XE.com, another popular transfer method. This one doesn’t cost a fee, but it’s clear from the above that it doesn’t always mean it’s good!

#6 Transfer money with PayPal – 6th Place

$1,000AUD in $USD with OFX is currently = $610.48 (Your rate: 0.61048)

This one just really is way off the mark and while there is “no fee” if you transfer internally within PayPal, their rate is not helping you at all. Another big name in the market that’s not worth it as all!

Should I transfer money internationally with a bank?

The most important thing to remember when transferring money internationally is this: Keep your eye on the final numbers and the amount you will actually receive in your bank account.

“No fee” transfers are great, except for the fact that they are in most banks’ cases making this up by giving you a rate that is not as competitive. Effectively taking a fee through another means.

Here’s a chart comparing, for example, the major Australian banks right now (12th March 2020 @ 9:37am ET):

Compare major australian banks exchange rate

All of these appear to charge rates in addition to an exchange rate that is not comparable to the ones you saw above. Be careful!

Should I transfer money internationally with Citi or HSBC?

When researching this topic, a number of people mentioned Citi and/or HSBC as a good way of transferring money because you can do it internally within their own special systems “without fees”. As they are large international banks, they appear to have a benefit over the rest of the market.

The best thing you can do is compare these for yourself.

In my personal experience, I have not seen their rates to be as competitive as those offered above, but I do know that for those in elite or higher plans with these banks, there can be value found in them.

What about Xoom and MoneyGram?

Both of these services offer reasonable transfers from the U.S. to other countries only.

Right now $1,000USD will get you:

  1. $1,493.10AUD with Xoom (consisting of a rate of 1.43931 and fees ranging from $4.99 and $50.98 – it’s a bit confusing)
  2. $1,473.75AUD with MoneyGram (consisting of a rate of 1.4737 and fees ranging from $1.999 to $14.99)

I would still recommend using the services above as their rates are still better:

  1. $1,528.60 with OFX (consisting of a rate of 1.5286)
  2. $1,522.69 with Transferwise (consisting of a rate of 1.53657 and fees of $9.03USD)

A note about “market rates” and “mid-market rates”

One thing to note first is that many comparison money sites will list a “Market [or mid-market] rate” at the top and allow you to enter some numbers to see how much your money is worth. But be careful because this is effectively a marketing strategy and you will probably see something like this text underneath:

“All figures are live mid-market rates, which are not available to consumers and are for informational purposes only. To see the rates we quote for money transfer, please create an account.”

This rate is not really indicative of how much money you will actually receive because, in order for an FX company to function, they need to take a cut. This cut can take the form of the transfer rate being slightly lower, fees, or both.

The market rate for the purposes of this post was: 0.651100 where $1,000AUD in $USD = $651.10USD.

The last thing to remember

I know $5 here or $10 there might not seem like much when it comes to picking who to transfer your money internationally, however, with a move internationally, you will probably be transferring more and therefore the decimal point will move to the right at least one, if not more, digits. $5 suddenly becomes $50, $10 becomes $100, and missing out on $25 is now missing out on $250… not an insubstantial amount of money!

Remember: Look for the final amount you will receive and compare that moment to moment. That’s what matters.

About the Author

America Josh

I had a fantastic life in Adelaide and in Australia but thought in late 2015 that it was time to do something new. I handed over control of my company, sold my house, car, and even gave away my cat (“Aslan”) to start on my journey to New York.

I arrived in New York on January 10, 2017, from Adelaide, South Australia and in March 2017, I started America Josh to help make the transition to the US from wherever you’re from just a little bit easier.

Keep reading