Although most banks and currency exchange companies claim not to charge commissions for sending money abroad, the truth is that they add a significant surcharge to the current exchange rate, which translates into a cost for the user. Luckily, there are different platforms that allow us to send money abroad avoiding paying the commissions of traditional banks. Here we look at TransferWise, PayPal, and Revolut, three of the most popular alternatives.
One of the most popular options is TransferWise, a platform regulated by the FCA that has more than six million users worldwide. Sending money with TransferWise is much cheaper than using our usual bank. The reason is that the company always uses the real exchange rate , something that we can verify with a quick Google search. In addition, the commission that we will pay for the movement is clearly specified.
Let's take a practical example. Imagine that you want to transfer money from Spain to the United Kingdom. With TransferWise, a transfer of 1000 euros would only cost us 4.58 euros (which translates into a saving of approximately 25 euros compared to a traditional bank). That is, of the 995.42 EUR that we send, our recipient will receive 884.43 pounds, which corresponds to the average market exchange rate shown in Google at the time of carrying out the transfer (1 EUR → 0.889 GBP).
But how is it possible? When we use TransferWise we are not sending money directly to our recipient. Following the previous example, what we are doing is paying in euros to the Transferwise account in Spain. The TransferWise UK pound account then pays the recipient in their own currency. The money we send does not cross any borders , helping to save money in the process.
PayPal is one of the pioneers in the world of payments through the Internet. Founded in 1998, the company became quite popular as a payment system on the Internet, making a significant niche among the regular users of platforms such as eBay. Considering the above, it is not surprising that eBay itself ended up buying the company in 2002.
One of the advantages of PayPal is that we can make free transfers in euros between countries of the European Union. As a catch we could highlight the fact that both the sender of the payment and the receiver must be registered on the platform, something that is not necessary in TransferWise and Revolut. Even so, it can be an interesting alternative when sending money in groups of friends and family.
At this point it is important to bear in mind that PayPal is no longer free if we send money abroad in a different currency. The reason is that PayPal does not use the real exchange rate and charges both a commission for payment and a commission for currency exchange, which ends up making the transfers we make quite expensive. For this reason, the platform is not as interesting as the previous alternatives if we want to send money by changing currencies.
Given the importance of sending money abroad, PayPal recently launched Xoom, its own international transfer service. Specifically, the tool that allows the sending of money to bank accounts or cash collection points, as well as the payment of bills. In addition to the transaction fee, Xoom also charges an additional fee for currency conversion.
Since it opened its doors in 2015, Revolut has become one of the preferred options for many. In fact, today it has 7 million users around the world.
Like TransferWise, Revolut is an essential tool to avoid hidden bank fees every time we have to make international transfers. The platform allows us to send up to 6000 euros per month with a commission of 0.5% per transaction . Of course, Revolut respects the real exchange rate.
Undoubtedly, one of the advantages of Revolut is its wide range of services: the company allows us to open a bank account from which we can access monthly expense summaries, configure recurring payments, round up the returns of your purchases to reach your goals savings… And not only that, since we can also use Revolut to carry out cryptocurrency exchanges.