Moving to another country requires a huge amount of time, effort and planning, with one of the most important elements being a plan for your finances. Regardless of whether you need access to your savings to buy a new home or you want to send funds back to help out friends and family, you will need a way to do so effectively.

While there are plenty of ways to transfer money internationally there are vast differences between methods, especially in terms of speed and cost. Make sure that you know the pros and cons of each option before making your decision, the following guide will help.

Bank transfers

If you are looking for an extremely safe way to transfer money, banks are a great option, particularly if you are with an international bank and are simply transferring between accounts. All you need is the name, address and account details of the recipient and you can conduct the transfer from anywhere that has a secure internet connection.

The drawback of bank transfers is that they are rather slow – often taking up to a week to process – and fees are commonly charged to both send and receive the money. Banks also tend to offer poor exchange rates, which can make larger transfers quite costly, and the size and frequency of transfers are also restricted.

Money Transfer Services

Money transfer services such as Western Union and Moneygram provide an extremely fast and easy way to send money internationally, regardless of where it needs to go. You simply need the name of the person you are sending the money to and, if they have photo ID and your confirmation number, they can collect the money within minutes.

Unfortunately, such speed and convenience comes at a hefty cost, as money transfer services charge expensive fees that only increase with the size of the transfer. They also offer very poor foreign exchange rates, there are limits regarding how often you can transfer money, and larger transfers cannot be completed online.


PayPal has become an increasingly popular way to transfer funds internationally and it is now available in more than 200 countries. PayPal is free to join and provides quality customer service 7 days a week via phone and email. To send money, all you need is the name, email or phone number of the recipient, and all they need is a PayPal account.

The problem with PayPal is that it can get expensive quickly, especially when transferring larger amounts. The sender is charged a fee of 1% of the amount sent and the recipient is charged an even larger fee of 3.9%. It can also take up to 3 days to access the money and a further fee is charged if the transferred funds need to be converted into the local currency.

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Foreign Exchange Brokers (Forex)

Finding the best exchange rate can save you a fortune on a large transfer and with forex brokers you get the best rate every time. You can lock in favourable rates for recurring transfers, such as school fees or mortgage payments, and you can even pick your own ideal rate and have your transfer go through automatically when that rate is available.

Forex brokers also provide special rates for loyal customers – such as fee-free transfers – and they can provide expert advice and customer service 7 days a week. The only drawback of forex transfers is that there is usually a minimum transfer required which can be as much as €5,000 EUR.

Don’t let your hard earned money leak away through fees, charges and poor exchange rates. Instead, take the time to compare your transfer options and find the one that is right for you.

The following table compares the estimated fees associated with sending €5,000 EUR to France using four main methods. All estimations include the combined cost of both sending and receiving the money.

FromBank TransfersMoney Transfer ServicesPayPalForex brokers
Australia$45 (AUS)$300 AUS$368.15 AUSFree
Canada$27 (CAN)$300 CAN$352.54 CANFree
USA$45 (US)$217 USD$269.09 USDFree
China354.66 CNY217.34 CNY1,670.19 CNYFree
India5,758.78 INRn/a17,281.38 INRFree