How to Transfer Money to Friends Outside the US

Ways to Transfer Funds Overseas

Transferring money from the US to friends from another country can be expensive and time-consuming. You either have to go to your bank to send the money, or you can use other money transfer services.

Whether you are transferring funds to give as a gift to a friend, or as financial aid, you have to choose the right service that will benefit you and the recipient.

Sending money abroad is not as intimidating as it seems. Fortunately, there are various ways to transfer money to friends outside the US. Let’s first look at the traditional ways to go about it:

1. Personal Checks, Bank Drafts, and Money Orders

Personal Checks:

The process is simple: write a check, deposit the check to the recipient’s account, or send a check via courier. However, transferring money via check is not a time-efficient method of sending cash to a friend, especially when it’s overseas. Although the technique is safe because you can cancel the check if it fails to reach its destination, personal checks may not be accepted at foreign banks.

Bank Drafts and Money Orders:

These methods are great options when you want to transfer money to friends outside the US. Money orders and bank drafts can be purchased in the currency of the country you are sending it to. Post offices are allowed to offer money orders and are often inexpensive compared to bank wires, usually in the range of $3 up to $9.

If sending large amounts, a bank draft is more suitable than a money order. Bank drafts and money orders usually take more time to receive the intended destination but are more economical than bank wires and money transfers. The service also allows you to trace the money if it does not reach the intended recipient.

2. Bank Wires

A wire transfer is a classic way of sending money. To perform a bank wire transfer, you go to your bank and inform the teller that you want to send money abroad. Most banks allow wire transfers, and some provide their clients the option to make a wire transfer online or via phone.

Traditional wire transfers may take several days to complete. The fees associated with wire transfers depend on which country you are sending money to. Different banks have different fee structures, so it is best to read money transfer reviews beforehand.

A bank wire is a reliable and secure method of transferring money from the US to another country. However, some people do not like traditional bank wires because of the number of days it will take for the cash to get to the recipient. It is also expensive to send money through bank wire anywhere in the range of $25 to $65 per outgoing transfer.

3. Money Transfers

How to Transfer Money Abroad
Ways to Transfer Money Abroad

You can also look for non-bank wire transfer services as an alternative to traditional bank wire. A bank account is not required to send money through non-bank exchange services or money transfer services. You need to provide the name of the recipient, the country where the recipient resides, and the amount that you want to send. The sender will shoulder all upfront fees to initiate the money transfer.

Some of the most popular non-bank wire transfer services include Western Union and MoneyGram. People turn to non-wire transfer services due to ease in the transaction and fixed fees. Sending money to New Zealand from the US through Western Union, for example, costs less than $5 for $100.

Are you looking for alternative ways to send money to friends and relatives outside the US?

There are a plethora of online payment systems that you can use to transfer money conveniently.

4. Online Payment Systems

Almost everything can be done electronically nowadays, including sending money to friends and relatives abroad. Online payment solutions are one of the best options when you want a speedy, reliable transaction. Here are the most common online payments systems and their pros and cons:


One of the most popular online payment systems known to man, PayPal, has been around since 1998. If you have purchased something from Amazon or eBay before, you likely have used PayPal for payment. PayPal is a trusted way of sending money or receiving funds from other countries.

You can send to anyone with an active PayPal account using your laptop or smartphone. However, PayPal fees can be expensive, and their exchange rates are low compared to other online payment processors.


Founded in 2005, Payoneer is one of the earliest companies to offer digital payment services and online money transfers. Payoneer functions almost the same way as PayPal does, but the fees they charge are lower.

PayPal deducts around 5.5% for every transaction while the Payoneer charges 1% to 2%. While both online payment processors are easy to use and known for their speedy transactions, PayPal has a more extensive user base (286 million as of September 2019).


UK-based online money transfer service WorldRemit was established in 2010. It supports money transfer from over 50 countries to more than 140 countries worldwide. WorldRemit fees are cheaper than PayPal and Payoneer, and transactions take 1-2 days to complete. The company offers its clients a free first-time international money transfer for free, too.


Founded in 2011, London-based TransferWise is becoming increasingly popular due to its hassle-free and fast online money transfer transactions. Creating a TransferWise account is quick and easy.

You can send money to friends outside the US through TransferWise’s mobile app and online platform. Compared to PayPal, Payoneer, and WorldRemit, the fees and exchange rates of TransferWise are very competitive.

One of the downsides in using TransferWise is that you can only pay for the money transfer through your debit or credit card, or via bank transfer. The company currently does not support all currencies compared to WorldRemit, Payoneer, and PayPal.


Comparing methods to transfer money to your friends and loved ones helps you get the best rates and processing times. Taking time to research the available options lets you get more value for your hard-earned money.

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