The best transfer providers for sending money to Mexico either offer low prices, such as OFX and Remitly, or delivery within minutes, like MoneyGram and Xoom. Money transfers vary in cost, speed and delivery options, so pick the provider that works best for you.
|Cheapest for bank deposits|
|Cheapest for cash delivery|
Cheapest for bank deposits: OFX
If cost is your main concern and if both you and your recipient have bank accounts, OFX beats the competition for a few reasons. This digital transfer platform charges no upfront transfer fees and has a low markup on exchange rates for U.S. dollars to Mexican pesos. In addition, you can set up rate alerts to send money when a rate is more favorable for you. Delivery takes from one to three business days. But OFX has some limits: The minimum you can send is $150, and transfers require bank accounts for sending and receiving money.
Cheapest for cash pickup: Remitly
This online and mobile provider combines low transfer costs and a considerable network of cash pickup locations in Mexico. Along with having competitive exchange rates, Remitly’s transfers of $500 or more are fee-free when you pay with a bank account or debit card. Transfers cost about $4 if you send less than $500. You can also pay with a credit card, but there’s a 3% fee.
Transfers using a bank account generally take three business days to arrive, while those paid with a debit or credit card usually get there within minutes. You can send money to a bank account or to one of Remitly’s nearly 11,000 cash pickup locations in Mexico. Customer service includes phone support in Spanish, available every day.
Fastest (tie): MoneyGram
MoneyGram sends money to Mexico quickly, but the speed depends on the funding method. Transfers paid with a bank account take an hour or more, while those paid with a debit or credit card usually arrive in minutes. The timing can depend on the retail location or bank hours. You can pay with cash if you send money from U.S. MoneyGram locations. Delivery is either to a bank account or as cash pickup at one of over 16,000 locations in Mexico.
MoneyGram’s convenience comes at a price. Although there’s no upfront fee for transfers between U.S. and Mexican bank accounts, regardless of amount, its markups on exchange rates tend to be higher than those of competitors.
Fastest (tie): Xoom
This PayPal-owned provider typically delivers money the same day it’s sent, regardless of how the transfer is funded. Delivery to cash pickup locations and some bank accounts can take minutes, but transfers are subject to retailer or bank hours. Using a bank account results in a flat fee of about $5 for sending up to $2,999, while transfers with a credit or debit card cost from $5 to $76.
Although its exchange rates are among the most expensive of the providers listed, Xoom makes up for it with delivery speed and a few other features. From Xoom’s website or mobile app, you can send money to a recipient’s bank account at major Mexican banks or to one of the nearly 14,300 cash pickup locations it supports. The customer service team is available 24/7 and speaks Spanish. Besides transfers, you can use Xoom to pay utility bills for family members in Mexico.
Biggest network: Western Union
Western Union has the largest number of cash pickup locations in Mexico compared to competitors: over 24,900. If you have family members in rural parts of Mexico, the size of the delivery network can help. Transfers with cash pickup arrive within minutes, while sending to bank accounts can take four business days. You pay more for the faster delivery options. You can send money online or via mobile app and pay for the transfers with a U.S. bank account, debit card or credit card. You also can make transfers through a Western Union location in the U.S., but those have to be paid for by cash or, at some locations, by a PIN-based debit card.
Western Union’s transfers range in cost depending on payment method and delivery option. Online and mobile transfers sent to Mexican bank accounts tend to be the cheapest because markups on exchange rates are low and there are no fees. You pay more, such as $1 to $25 in fees, for online transfers to cash pickup locations. Fees for sending cash from a Western Union location in the U.S. to one abroad vary by ZIP code.
If you’re sending money to another part of the U.S. or to a country other than Mexico, see other ways to send money.
Spencer Tierney is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: email@example.com. Twitter: @SpencerNerd.
Updated Aug. 24, 2017.
To determine the best money transfer services, we considered 17 providers and compared them by fees, exchange rates, speed offerings and delivery options. Providers’ security measures were also checked. We excluded services that don’t cover states with large numbers of Mexican immigrants.
The money transfer providers considered: Lucky Money, MoneyGram, OFX, Pangea, Remitly, Ria, ShareMoney, Skrill, Transfast, TransferWise, Western Union, WorldRemit, World First, XE, XendPay, Xoom and Xpress Money.
We chose providers that had a competitive edge in at least one category: low transfer costs (factoring in exchange-rate margin and fees), fast speeds and extensive delivery network. All providers are government-regulated.
Of the five providers featured, four offer delivery as cash available for pickup at Mexican locations such as banks and convenience stores. Only 44% of Mexican adults have a bank account, according to the country’s recent National Financial Inclusion report or Encuesta Nacional de Inclusión Financiera.
All providers’ exchange rates for one U.S. dollar to Mexican pesos were collected online from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. PDT on Aug. 10-11, 2017. We then compared them to the daily median exchange rate both days — 17.92 and 17.91 pesos per dollar — on the Bloomberg Markets website (used as the midmarket rates) to determine each provider’s rate markups. The cheapest providers had the best combination of low markups and low upfront fees.