Sending money abroad? What to know about international money transfer apps

No need to call your bank the next time you’re looking to transfer money to family or friends living overseas. Instead, international money transfer apps can help make sending money abroad simple.

But with so many options available, it can be tough to know where to start.

This guide explores the key features of international money transfer apps, potential benefits, and the basics on how to use one.

How to send money internationally

There are several ways to send money abroad — but if looking to save time and effort, one way to send money internationally is with a money transfer app.

Sending money internationally with an app follows a similar process to using a money transfer app domestically.

No matter the provider, the process may look something like this:

  1. Create an account and input personal and banking details.
  2. Before an international transfer of money can be completed, funds will need to be added to the account. Typically, money can be transferred from an external checking or savings account into the designated app account.
  3. Once done, enter the amount to send and select the currency.
  4. Oftentimes, the recipient will also need to be signed up with the money transfer app to receive the funds, unless the app facilitates cash delivery.

These apps are designed to be user-friendly and convenient, helping people to transfer funds quickly, even if the person on the receiving end is in another country.

It's important to understand and compare potential fees and exchange rates between different apps. It also helps to be aware of exchange rate fluctuations, which can impact the final amount received by the recipient.

Potential benefits of using international money transfer apps

If looking for a safe, convenient, and cost-effective way to send money to friends and family around the world, an international money transfer app could potentially be a great option.

Here are some potential benefits of transferring money internationally with an international money transfer app.

  • They’re convenient and easy to use. International money transfer apps are designed to be easy to use. Creating an account and sending money can sometimes be done in just a few minutes, at any time of day or night. Some apps also help customers track their transfers in real time so they know exactly when the money will arrive.
  • They can potentially help save money compared to other transfer options. International money transfer apps typically offer lower fees than traditional banks. It can be helpful to compare rates from different providers before sending money.
  • They typically include security features. Many international money transfer apps use security measures to help protect customers’ financial information, including money alerts, two-factor authentication, and encryption.

Depending on the provider, there may be options to send cash beyond just an app. For instance, Xoom, a PayPal service, allows users to:

  • Send cash for pickup.
  • Have cash delivered.
  • Send cash directly to a debit card.
  • Transfer cash straight into a bank account.

Considerations of using apps to send money internationally

Below is an outline of some important factors to consider when choosing an app or service to send money internationally.

Fees and exchange rates

When sending money internationally, transactions typically include fees and exchange rates.

Fees can vary depending on the app, the amount of money being sent, and the destination country. Exchange rates can also fluctuate, so it is important to check the rate before sending money.

There are two main types of fees when sending money internationally:

  • Transfer fees. These are fees that are charged by the money transfer app for processing a transfer. Transfer fees can be a flat fee, a percentage of the amount being sent, or a combination of both.
  • Exchange rate margin. This is the difference between the exchange rate that the money transfer app offers and the mid-market exchange rate. The mid-market exchange rate is the rate that banks and other financial institutions use to exchange currencies. The exchange rate margin is how the money transfer app makes money.

Multiple currencies

Not all money transfer apps support the same currencies. Consider choosing an app that supports the currency being sent.

Transfer speed

Some apps can deliver money within minutes, while others can take several days. Depending on the amount of money being transferred and the destination country, transfer speeds may vary.

While the transfer may be completed in one day, it may take up to a week or more for the funds to be accessible by the recipient. If timing is a concern, check with the app before initiating a transfer.

Money destinations

Some countries have more stringent regulations than others, which can affect the transfer process. It’s important to be aware of the exchange rate between the sending and receiving currencies.


International money transfer apps can be a secure way to send or receive money overseas. However, some apps offer increased security features, such as two-factor and biometric authentication, encryption, and transfer updates.

There are many scams that target people who are sending money internationally — so be sure to only send money to people you know.

Transaction limits

Before initiating a transfer, make note of any transaction limits, as there may be a maximum amount of money that can be sent in a single transaction. They can vary depending on the app, the destination country, and account type.


Some money transfer apps allow sending cash internationally. The fees and exchange rates for sending cash abroad can vary depending on the app being used.

App features

Consider looking for an international money transfer app that offers added features, from real-time tracking to transparent exchange rates. Here are some examples:

  • Real-time updates. Some apps allow users to track their transfers, giving them an overview of where their money is.
  • Accessibility. Consider whether an app can be accessed from around the world, or at least in the locations where the money is going to be transferred.
  • Multiple payment options. Some international money transfer apps offer multiple payment options, including bank transfers, credit cards, debit cards, and digital wallets.
  • Transparent exchange rates. Money transfer apps provide transparent exchange rates, which can help users know exactly how much money they will receive in the destination currency.
  • Compatibility. The app should be compatible with various devices, such as Android and iOS.

Learn about Xoom, a PayPal service.

Apps to send money internationally FAQ

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