Xoom Money Transfer Review: When You Want Fast, Not Cheap

Spencer TierneyFebruary 6, 2019
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NerdWallet rating: 3.5/5.0

Xoom, owned by PayPal, is in the business of speed. Established in 2001, the web-based provider makes most transfers within minutes. You can send money from the U.S. to more than 70 countries with different delivery options, such as deposits into bank accounts and cash for pickup at locations, depending on the country. But Xoom’s transfers tend to be more expensive than its competitors.

Read on for more information about Xoom’s costs, delivery speed, transfer methods and customer experience.

Best if: You’re looking to transfer money fast — even if you have to pay a premium.

Transfer costs

Xoom’s transfers tend to cost more than competitors, regardless of transfer method.

The upside:

Funding with a bank account is relatively affordable: Xoom charges a fee of $4.99 or less for transfers using bank accounts to many destinations, regardless of how much you send.

The downsides:

Xoom charges high markups: Markups tend to be 1% to 3% above the mid-market rate. Some providers have markups of less than 1%.

The mid-market rate, also called the interbank rate, is the exchange rate that big banks use to swap currencies between one another. Most providers give customers an exchange rate that’s the mid-market rate plus an additional percentage, or markup, to make profit on the transfer.

Example: If the mid-market rate for U.S. dollars to Mexican pesos is 20 pesos per dollar, then a 2% markup means the provider is giving you 19.6 pesos per dollar. For a $500 transfer, that’s the difference between 10,000 pesos from the first rate and 9,800 pesos from the second. And the higher the markup, the less your recipient gets in the local currency.

Card funding carries high fees: You'll pay almost $90 to send $2,999 — the daily maximum for a user who has only filled out a basic profile, and hasn't verified additional information with Xoom — to many popular countries with a credit or debit card. And your credit card issuer can also tack on additional costs such as interest and cash advance fees.

» Compare your options: Find out what banks charge for wire transfers

Speed offerings

Xoom is known for speed.

The upside:

Xoom is fast: Money can arrive within minutes in most cases, even transfers funded with bank accounts, which can take over a week with some competitors.

The downside:

Some destinations take longer: Its website says some deliveries take up to a few days — though this is the minimum for bank deposits at many competitors.

» MORE: Learn if Xoom's the best fit and compare money transfers

Transfer methods and options

You can send money through Xoom’s website and mobile app and pay with a bank account, debit card or credit card — standard for many online providers.

The upsides:

Variety of delivery options: Bank deposit at the recipient's bank is also standard. Xoom adds cash pickup at a location such as a bank or retail store in many countries and delivery straight to a recipient’s home in a few countries.

High transfer limits for verified accounts: Send up to $25,000 per day by verifying personal information through Xoom.

Low transfer minimum: You need to transfer at least $10 to move money with Xoom.

The downside:

Verify personal information to transfer higher amounts: You can transfer only $2,999 per day if you have only a basic profile on the site.

» Shop around for your bank: Check out NerdWallet’s best savings accounts

Customer experience

The upsides:

Easy-to-use website: Xoom organizes its website by destination country, so you can see what costs, speeds and delivery options are available for your transfer without logging in. For the frequent customer, there’s a feature to quickly send a transfer you’ve done before. FAQs are well-organized and clear.

24/7, multilingual customer support: Agents can speak English, Spanish or Filipino. There’s also help in French during certain hours.

High-rated apps: The mobile app receives 4.3 stars on the Google Play store and 4.8 stars on iTunes.

The downside:

Lacks some support channels: There’s no live chat support.

» Ready to take the next step? Xoom is among the fastest transfer services out there, but if you’re more concerned about price, you might want to consider other options.

Ratings Methodology

We analyze seven providers that work in the U.S., mostly focusing on major players in the international money transfer industry, based on market research, experts, cost analysis and U.S. internet traffic.

They are: MoneyGram, OFX, Remitly, Ria, TransferWise, Western Union and Xoom (owned by PayPal).

Fees and exchange rate markups mentioned are based on the analysis linked below.

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