Back to all posts

International Money Transfer Methods: The 5 Popular Choices

money transfer
Reading time: 6 mins

Sending money internationally can seem complicated, especially if it's your first time. You might even be surprised at how expensive it can be. If you're looking for answers about this process, this article is here to help, we will show you 5 popular international money transfer methods and their pros and cons.

First, what is an international money transfer?

International transfers facilitate the movement of money across borders, enabling individuals and businesses to send funds to recipients in different countries.

The three key players are the sender, the recipient, and the provider of international money transfer services.

The process begins with you, the sender, initiating a transfer request through the chosen service provider. Whether you opt for an in-person visit or conduct the transfer online depends on your preference and the options provided by the service.

Once you've provided the recipient’s details and confirmed the amount to transfer, the providers of international money transfer services take over. They process and send the funds to the recipient swiftly, though the exact timing can vary depending on the service used. The recipient will then receive the funds, typically within a few moments or up to five working days

International Money Transfer Services 2

5 Popular International Money Transfer Methods

There are various international money transfer methods. Understanding how these methods work will help you choose the best and most cost-effective way to send money overseas.

  1. Bank Transfers

Bank transfers are one of the most traditional and widely used international money transfer services. This process involves transferring funds directly from your bank account to the recipient's bank account in another country.

How It Works

To initiate a bank transfer, you typically need to visit your bank, either online or in person, and provide the recipient's bank details, including their account number and the bank's SWIFT/BIC code. The bank then processes the transfer through international banking networks.


  • Security: Banks are highly regulated and offer robust security measures to protect your funds.
  • Familiarity: Many people are comfortable using their banks for financial transactions.
  • Wide Reach: Bank transfers can reach virtually any bank account worldwide.


  • Cost: Bank transfers often come with high fees, both for sending and receiving funds. Additionally, banks may offer less favorable exchange rates compared to other services.
  • Speed: Transfers can take several days to complete, especially if intermediary banks are involved.
  1. Online Money Transfer Services

Online money transfer services have revolutionised the way people send money internationally. Companies like Paywho, Wise, and PayPal offer digital platforms that make international money transfer fast, easy, and often more affordable.

How It Works

To use an online money transfer service, you need to create an account, link your bank account or credit card, and provide the recipient's details. These platforms typically use mid-market exchange rates and charge lower fees than traditional banks.


  • Cost-Effective: Lower fees and better exchange rates make these services a more affordable option.
  • Convenience: Transfers can be initiated from your smartphone or computer at any time.
  • Speed: Many services offer instant or same-day transfers.


  • Access: Not all recipients may have access to the necessary technology or banking infrastructure to receive funds.
  • Limits: Some services have transfer limits that may not meet the needs of all users.

Money Transfer Service 4

  1. Money Transfer Operators (MTOs)

Money Transfer Operators (MTOs) are specialised companies that facilitate the transfer of funds between individuals or businesses across international borders. These operators typically have a network of agents or branches in multiple countries, allowing users to send and receive money in various currencies. Famous providers of MTOs like Western Union and MoneyGram have long been staples in the international money transfer industry.

How It Works

To use an MTO, you can visit a physical location or use their website or app. You provide the recipient's details, pay the transfer amount and any associated fees, and the recipient can pick up the cash at a designated location or receive it directly into their bank account or mobile wallet.


  • Availability: MTOs have extensive networks of physical locations, making them accessible even in remote areas.
  • Speed: Many MTOs offer same-day transfers, with some providing instant transfers.
  • Flexibility: Recipients can choose to receive funds in cash, in a bank account, or in a mobile wallet.


  • Cost: Fees can be high, especially for larger amounts, and exchange rates may be less favourable.
  • Security: Cash pickups may carry risks of theft or fraud.
  1. Cryptocurrency Transfers

Cryptocurrency transfers are an emerging option in international money transfer services, leveraging blockchain technology to facilitate peer-to-peer transactions. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum offer a decentralised alternative to traditional money transfer methods.

How It Works

To send money using cryptocurrency, both the sender and recipient need a digital wallet. The sender purchases the desired amount of cryptocurrency, enters the recipient's wallet address, and initiates the transfer. The transaction is recorded on the blockchain, ensuring transparency and security.


  • Low Fees: Cryptocurrency transactions typically have lower fees compared to traditional methods.
  • Speed: Transfers can be completed within minutes, regardless of the destination.
  • Decentralisation: No need for intermediary banks or financial institutions.


  • Volatility: Cryptocurrency values can fluctuate significantly, impacting the final amount received.
  • Complexity: Understanding and using cryptocurrency requires a certain level of technical knowledge.
  • Regulation: Regulatory environments for cryptocurrency vary by country, potentially affecting accessibility and legality.
  1. Prepaid Debit Cards

Prepaid debit cards offer a convenient and flexible method for international money transfer services, allowing users to load funds onto a card and use it for purchases or withdrawals worldwide. These cards are especially useful for individuals who prefer not to use traditional banking services or who travel frequently.

How It Works

To use a prepaid debit card for international money transfer, individuals can purchase a card from a provider and load it with the desired amount of funds. The recipient can then use the card to make purchases at merchants or withdraw cash from ATMs globally. Some prepaid cards also allow for direct deposits, enabling users to receive payments directly onto the card.


  • Accessibility: Prepaid debit cards are widely available and can be used by individuals without bank accounts or credit history.
  • Convenience: Users can manage their funds easily through online portals or mobile apps provided by the card issuer.
  • Security: Prepaid cards offer enhanced security features such as PIN protection and fraud monitoring, reducing the risk of unauthorised transactions.


  • Fees: Prepaid debit cards may come with activation fees, monthly maintenance fees, and transaction fees, which can add up over time.
  • Limitations: Some cards impose limits on the maximum balance, daily spending, or ATM withdrawals, restricting the amount and frequency of transactions.
  • Exchange Rates: The exchange rates offered by prepaid debit card providers may not be as favourable as those available through other methods.

We Recommend Online Money Transfer Services: Here's Why

Among the various international money transfer methods, online money transfer services stand out as the most convenient, cost-effective, and efficient option. Unlike traditional bank transfers, which can be slow and costly, or Money Transfer Operators (MTOs), which often involve high fees and limited accessibility, online money transfer services offer a modern solution tailored to the needs of today’s global citizens.

With platforms like Paywho, you benefit from competitive exchange rates and lower fees, ensuring more of your money reaches its intended destination. The speed and ease of initiating transfers from your smartphone or computer, combined with the ability to track transactions in real-time, make online money transfer services incredibly user-friendly.

Additionally, these platforms are designed with advanced security measures, providing peace of mind that your financial information is well-protected. For those who value flexibility, affordability, and speed, choosing an online money transfer service like Paywho is a smart move.

With its extensive network, robust security protocols, and commitment to customer satisfaction, Paywho sets the standard for digital remittance, making it the preferred choice for individuals and businesses alike. Experience the convenience of Paywho today and streamline your international money transfers.

Share this article
Copy link
Back to all postsSuggested Articles