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What’s the fastest way to wire money?

2 minutes read

While there are many options to send money, there is no single answer to this question. The best provider will depend on your bank, location, recipient country, and whether you want to pay for an express transfer or not. Typically, online providers offer the best and fastest options, even within hours (which carries an extra fee). Here are some online providers to have in mind:

  • World Remit – This provider offers money transactions to over 150 countries. They take the mid-market rate as reference, which serves as a midpoint for interbank transactions to trade different currencies, making it as transparent as possible. Then, a profit margin of 0.5-1.25% will be summed up depending on the currency at stake.
  • Remitly – If your recipient wants to receive the money in cash, they’ve got you covered with more than 40,000 cash pick-up locations worldwide. Exchange rates include a 1 to 3.7% markup rate, and fees depend on how much money you send and how fast you want it to arrive. Sending more than 500 USD (as of 28 Feb 2022) has no extra fees!
  • Western Union – This provider has 550,000 locations in over 20 countries, where the recipient can access cash pick-up. You can have money sent within the same day when paying with a card. This accessibility and speed comes at a cost though, being a high-end provider.
  • Wise – User experience is its forte, as they have a friendly website and mobile app for making transfers. They offer cheap fees, but funds take between 1-2 business days.

*You may find cheaper options with more competitive exchange rates if you can withstand a slower transaction.

Which things influence the speed of my transaction?

When speaking of international money transfers, many things influence the speed with which the transaction will happen. Let’s take a look at the most important ones:

  • The recipient’s country: Each country has its regulations and normativity regarding international money transfers, mainly due to nations’ efforts to avoid fraudulent transactions.
  • Service provider: Many providers have online services for sending money internationally, some with express transfers that may cost more. Some providers like Wise and MoneyGram have a calculator on their webpage where you can estimate fees and rates. You can also see when the money will arrive.
  • Your selected payment method: The speed of your transaction is also highly determined by the payment method of your choice. For example:
    • When paying with a credit card your transfer shall get to the destination in one business day. However, this payment method usually comes with an extra fee of around 1-3%.
    • ACH (Automatic clearing house) transfers can take around 1-2 business days to get to the destination account. It is not the fastest method, but it sure is a cheap one. ACH transfers cost between 2-4 USD.
    • Wire transfers are also usual in international transfers, and many providers offer this payment option. These are easy to set up and are available in almost every country. The downside of this payment method is its cost, as outgoing foreign wire transfer fees are around 30-50 USD.

Daniel Quiroz

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