Ratings Methodology for Domestic and International Money Transfer Providers
We took a close look at major providers for both international money transfers and domestic money transfers. We considered them based on criteria including fees and rates, methods for sending and receiving money, speed of delivery, digital experience and more.
Data collection and review process
Writers and editors make updates throughout the year as necessary. We maintain contact with providers to keep information current.
The review team is made up of seasoned writers, researchers and editors who cover personal banking deposit accounts, such as checking, savings and certificates of deposit, as well as related consumer banking services, such as overdraft programs, ATM networks, money transfers and person-to-person payments. Each writer and editor follows NerdWallet’s strict guidelines for editorial integrity.
The review team
In addition to NerdWallet, the work of our team members has appeared in The New York Times, The Associated Press, USA Today, Nasdaq, MSN, MarketWatch, Yahoo! Finance and other national and regional media outlets. The Banking team’s writers and editors combined have more than 40 years of experience in personal finance.
We analyze seven providers that work in the U.S., 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, Wise (formerly TransferWise), Western Union and Xoom (owned by PayPal).
International Money Transfer Providers
A provider’s international money transfers vary from country to country in multiple ways, including cost, speed and delivery options. NerdWallet considered each provider’s money transfers from the U.S. to up to four benchmark countries: Germany, India, Mexico and the United Kingdom.
Factors we consider, depending on the category, include: fees; the foreign exchange rate the provider uses; same-day delivery options; delivery time when using a bank account; availability of sending channels, payment methods and delivery options; sending limits; the quality of user-facing tech; and customer service availability.
Two of the countries — Mexico and India — consistently make the list of the top four places that receive the most remittances from the U.S., according to WorldBank data (personal remittances are transfers between residents and nonresidents, according to the organization). The other two — Germany and the U.K. — form part of the Group of Seven, which makes up more than 40% of the global economy’s aggregate GDP. This mix of countries accounts for a broad demographic and socioeconomic range of people who send money from the U.S.
How we select benchmark countries
We first collect available foreign exchange rate quotes or estimates on all providers’ websites for the various currency pairs (USD/EUR, USD/GBP, USD/INR and USD/MXN). All data on rates are collected daily for two consecutive days. For providers with rates that vary by payment or delivery option, we only gather rates for online transfers sent using bank accounts as payment and delivered to a foreign bank account.
How we look at foreign exchange rates
Provider rates are then compared with the daily median foreign exchange rates on the Reuters markets website to determine each markup. For analysis, we take the median of each provider’s rate markups across the two days.
Fees and rates can differ by the amount sent, so for comparison purposes, we analyze transfers of $200, $500, $1,000 and $10,000 when available for each provider.
For providers that don’t send personal transfers to all four countries, we only consider the countries where they’re available. This has not negatively affected those providers’ ratings.
Exceptions and limits
We analyze over a dozen providers that work in the U.S., focusing on major players in the domestic money transfer industry, based on market research, experts, cost analysis and U.S. internet traffic.
Domestic Money Transfer Providers
They are: Apple Pay, Cash App, Google Pay, Meta Pay (formerly Facebook Pay), MoneyGram, PopMoney, Ria, Venmo, Walmart2Walmart, Western Union, Wise (formerly TransferWise), Xoom (owned by PayPal) and Zelle.
A provider’s domestic money transfers vary in multiple ways, including cost, speed and delivery options. Factors we consider, depending on the category, include: fees; same-day delivery options; delivery time when using a bank account; availability of sending channels, payment methods and delivery options; sending limits; the quality of user-facing tech; and customer service availability.
Do you want to provide feedback? Contact us at [email protected].