Great apps to remit money back home

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Bryan Smith - November, 07 2022

5 min read

About the author

Content Manager at Prodigy Finance, helping international students gear up to study abroad

Remitting funds back home can be a great way to assist your family with the cost of living or to repay any financial obligations - and having an international money transfer app available can help make this complicated process much simpler.

What do I use an international money transfer app for?

International money transfer apps can be used to pay international beneficiaries (such as businesses) or to remit funds to local bank beneficiaries in a variety of countries around the world.

International money transfer apps enable you to send funds in one currency (such as, for example, that of your study country) where it will be converted through a foreign currency exchange and deposited into a bank account in the local currency of the recipient.

Money transfer apps usually have varying fees and can be far cheaper than attempting to make an international transfer directly through your bank.

What do I need to know about remitting money back home?

The United Nations estimates that around 1 billion people worldwide are involved in international remittances - and migrant workers transfer an estimated average between $200 and $300 USD every one or two months.

However, despite how commonplace international remittances are, it’s important to be aware of and comply with your study country’s international money transfer laws

For example, in the US, financial institutions (including money transfer providers) are mandated by The Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 to report international transfers that are over 10,000 USD to the IRS.

However, parties making transactions wouldn’t need to pay additional tax unless they surpass the US Lifetime Gift Tax Exemption. In 2022, this limit was set at 12.06 million dollars.

Laws and regulations may differ from country to country, and keeping abreast of these rules can enable you to make wise financial decisions and comply with remittance laws as they change over time.

Fortunately, there are a variety of popular remittance apps for you to choose from. We’ve rounded up some of the most popular examples:

Paypal

Paypal is a popular payment service that first went public in 2002, and is available in countries that support online money transfers.

PayPal enables users to transfer money between PayPal accounts, and also supports international bank deposits, cash pickup, and mobile reload (for data and call minutes) in certain countries.

It’s important to note that in some countries, PayPal will only work as an international remittance service when connected to a particular online bank account, for which you may be charged or need to settle additional fees when sending or receiving funds.

Download PayPal (iOS App Store | Google Play Store)

Xoom

Xoom is a remittance provider that is a PayPal service. Xoom allows customers to remit money by one of four methods - including a bank account deposit, direct to debit card service, cash pickup, and door-to-door delivery.

Xoom also enables its customers to pay certain bills remotely in select markets.

Download Xoom (iOS App Store | Google Play Store)

Wise

Wise (previously called TransferWise) is an online money transfer service that enables its users to transfer funds internationally, with fees charged between 0.5 and 1% of the total transfer fund.

Wise offers different transaction limitations per the countries and currencies you plan to exchange.

You can also use Wise to repay your Prodigy Finance loan.

Download Wise (iOS App Store | Google Play Store)

Moneygram

Moneygram is a US-based transfer service designed for sending funds to and from the United States.

Like Xoom, Moneygram supports sending funds to bank accounts, mobile accounts, or through cash pickup services.

Moneygram offers gradual discounts to customers who make frequent transfers, or who refer friends to use the service.

Download Moneygram (iOS App Store | Google Play Store)

Instarem

Instarem is a Singapore-based remittance service that offers international money transfers to various markets.

Instarem offers customers an upfront fee breakdown, allowing users to configure how much money they’d like to send, and accordingly see what fees will apply to their transaction.

Download Instarem (iOS App Store | Google Play Store)

Worldremit

Worldremit (much like its name suggests!) supports money transfers to over 130 countries through bank deposit, mobile account transfer, cash pickup, and mobile airtime top up.

Worldremit claims over 5 million customers to date.

Download Worldremit (iOS App Store | Google Play Store)

Skrill

Based in London in the United Kingdom, Skrill is a digital wallet provider that provides an international money transfer service.

Skrill offers users the ability to transfer funds to a bank account and additionally provides the option to transfer funds through providing an email address - the service supports over 40 countries, and also enables users to earn referral rewards for inviting friends and family.

Download Skrill (iOS App Store | Google Play Store)

OFX

OFX is another international transfer app intended for sending larger amounts, and has a minimum transfer limit of $1000 USD or more (or your country equivalent) with no maximum limit.

Download OFX (iOS App Store | Google Play Store)

What’s the best app to send money internationally?

Choosing the right app for you is largely based on your study country, your personal financial circumstances, how much money you plan to transfer, and how often you intend to remit money back home.

Before committing to any international payments app, be sure to consider:

  • The total amount of money you would wish to remit in a single transaction
  • What exchange rates and fees would apply to the amount of money you’re preparing to send
  • Applicable transfer limitations on your transactions
  • What currencies the app supports or excludes
  • That your chosen service is fully compliant with local regulations

Do any apps offer free international money transfers?

Unfortunately, no apps offer entirely free international money transfers. While some apps may claim to offer fee-free transactions and transfers to international recipients, a common way for service providers to instead generate revenue is to take a margin on conversion when converting one currency to another.

Understanding each service’s revenue model and charges can enable you to find a solution that works for you and is most affordable to your use case.

Disclaimer: The contents of this guide are intended as an overview for illustrative and educational purposes and do not constitute an endorsement of any application nor means of remittance mentioned.

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