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Xoom, owned by PayPal, is in the business of speed. Established in 2001, the web-based provider makes most money transfers within minutes. You can send funds from the U.S. to more than 160 countries with different delivery options, such as deposits into bank accounts and cash for pickup at locations, depending on the country. But you’ll need to provide a lot of personal information to send larger amounts of money.
Compared with its competitors, Xoom has middling exchange rate margins, and markup rates above the midmarket rate are on par, as well. (Skip ahead for definitions of these money transfer terms.) Read on for more information about Xoom’s costs, delivery speed, transfer methods and customer experience.
This overview of Xoom is for U.S.-based audiences sending money within the U.S. and abroad only.
» Compare your options: Find out what banks charge for wire transfers
Xoom is best for:
People looking to transfer money fast — even if it means providing a lot of personal information to send larger amounts.
Affordable if you fund with a bank account. Xoom charges a fee of $4.99 or less for transfers using bank accounts to many destinations, regardless of how much you send. (Note that for higher send amounts to some countries, if you choose cash pickup as the delivery method, the fee may be as high as $17.99 even if you fund with a bank account.)
Xoom is fast. In most cases, money can arrive within minutes, even transfers funded with bank accounts, which can take as long as a week with some competitors.
High transfer limits for verified accounts. Send up to $50,000 per day to a recipient’s bank account by verifying personal information through Xoom.
Low transfer minimum. You need to transfer at least $10 to move money with Xoom.
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.
Multilingual customer support. If you need help by phone in the U.S. or Canada, agents can speak English, Spanish and Filipino. You can get help via email in several languages, too.
Highly rated apps. The mobile app receives 4.7 stars in the Google app store and 4.8 stars in the Apple app store.
» MORE: Learn if Xoom's the best fit and compare money transfers
Some destinations take longer. Its website says some deliveries take up to a few days — though this is also the minimum for bank deposits at many competitors.
Must verify personal information to transfer higher amounts. You can transfer up to $2,999 per day if you have a basic profile on the site, which requires you to provide some of your personal details. To increase your transfer limit, you’ll need to provide more information, such as your Social Security number, passport, driver’s license and more.
Lacks some support channels. There’s no live chat support, which some other providers offer.
Card funding carries high fees. You'll pay almost $90 to send $2,999 (the daily maximum for a user who has filled out a basic profile and hasn't verified additional information with Xoom) to some 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.
» Shop around for your bank: Check out NerdWallet’s best savings accounts
Xoom transfer methods and options
Xoom offers several ways to transfer money. Here’s a breakdown of the options:
Sending channels: Xoom’s website and mobile app.
Payment options: Bank account, debit card or credit card — standard for many online providers. You can also pay using your PayPal balance.
Delivery options: Bank deposit at the recipient's bank, 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.
Transfer limits: $2,999 per day if you have only a basic profile on the site; up to $50,000 per day to a recipient’s bank account by verifying personal information through Xoom.
» Ready to make a transfer? Xoom is among the fastest transfer services out there, but if you’re more concerned about price than speed, you might want to consider other options.
Definitions: Money Transfer Rates
There are three rates that determine how much your money transfer will cost and how much money your recipient will receive.
Exchange rate: An exchange rate is the price of one currency in relation to another currency. For example, if you want to convert U.S. dollars to euros, you would check what one U.S. dollar is worth in euros.
Midmarket rate: The midmarket rate, also called the interbank rate or interbank exchange rate, is the exchange rate that big banks use to swap currencies among one another.
Exchange rate markup: Most providers use an exchange rate markup when pricing your transfer. They give customers an exchange rate that’s the midmarket rate plus an additional percentage, or markup, to make a profit on the transfer.
Example: If the midmarket rate for U.S. dollars to Mexican pesos is 20 pesos per dollar, then a 2% exchange rate markup means the provider is giving you 19.6 pesos per dollar. For a $500 transfer with a midmarket rate, you’d send 10,000 pesos, but with a 2% markup, you’d end up sending 9,800 pesos. The higher the markup, the less your recipient gets in their currency.
General advice for international money transfers
1. Know how exchange rates work (and how to find the best). One of the ways money transfer providers make money is through exchange rate markups. Most transfer providers won’t give you the exchange rate you’d find on a currency exchange platform like the one at Bloomberg.com or Reuters.com. Those sites just tell you the price of one currency in relation to another, but they are a helpful starting point to know what the best rate looks like this minute. When you check the exchange rate for an international transfer with services like Western Union, focus on the exchange rate markup by looking at the foreign currency amount. The higher it is, the lower the markup is, and the more money your recipient receives.
2. Compare total transfer costs across multiple providers. There are two types of costs: upfront fee and exchange rate markup (see above). Find the provider that has the lowest fee combined with the best exchange rate you can get. Usually online nonbank providers offer cheaper transfers than banks.
3. Avoid paying with a credit card. It’s an option for some providers, but there might be a higher upfront fee and your credit card issuer may tack on costs such as interest and cash advance fees. A transfer paid by bank account directly tends to be a much cheaper (and much slower) transfer. If you need money delivered quickly, use a debit card, which will also incur a lower fee than using a credit card.