Studying abroad? Here are 3 international money transfer services worth exploring

International money transfer services
International money transfer services allow students to transfer or receive funds from abroad. Source: Ina Fassbender/AFP

Having access to funds is critical for any international student to ensure that they have a smooth sailing experience while abroad.

This bolsters the need for reliable international money transfer services that provide a medium for parents, guardians or financial providers to transfer funds to students seamlessly.

Similarly, some international students work part-time to support themselves while studying abroad. In some instances, they send money home to their families — assuming their study visa permits them to undertake part-time work.

Not having access to money can be daunting for students, especially in an emergency. While there are many international money transfer services to choose from, there are important things to consider before using them.

International money transfer services provide help for students to transfer funds

The best international money transfer services should fall in the hands of someone or an application that can transfer the funds from sender to receiver in a time-efficient, secure and hassle-free manner. Source: Damien Meyer/AFP

Important criteria to look out for

When it comes to picking the right international money transfer services, consider the following criteria:

  • Reliability of transaction
  • Processing times
  • Foreign exchange rate
  • Transfer rates
  • Sum of money being transferred

International money transfer services worth exploring

Western Union

Transfer rates: Typically ranges between 1% and 6%. More information on transfer rates can be viewed here.

Exchange rate: Western Union offers a comparison tool for individuals to analyse exchange rates. Fees and foreign exchange rates may vary by brand, channel, and location, based on a number of factors. Take note that fees and rates are subject to change without notice.

Processing time: Account-based transfers can take up to five business days. If a person transfers funds via a mobile wallet, the receiver can receive the funds within minutes.

Western Union is one of the most globally trusted and long-standing ways of doing international money transfers and is available in over 200 countries.


Transfer rates: The fee charged varies based on how much funds are being transferred, as well as the delivery speed selected.

Exchange rate: Remitly offers users a competitive exchange rate. The rate that is seen at the start of their transaction is the real exchange rate that they’ll pay.

However, if customers do not see the ideal exchange rate that is displayed, they can check if they’re eligible for a promotional fee.

Processing time: Remitly offers two delivery speeds — Economy or Express. Those who need to wire their money quickly can do so using the Express option. If paid via a debit card, funds can be delivered within minutes.

The Economy package delivers funds within three to five business days.

Remitly is a digital remittance service with a mission to deliver to make the money transfer process faster, affordable and more transparent. As a digital service with no physical location, Remitly can keep its transfer and service costs low, allowing customers to save more when transferring funds.


Transfer rates: A transfer fee is charged for everything except a bank transfer. Transfer rates can be accessed here.

Exchange rate: Moneygram provides a competitive exchange rate — click here to view their rates.

Processing time: Processing time differs, but usually only takes as fast as 10 minutes if done through the cash pickup option. How long it takes to receive funds depends on various factors that do not involve the payment method used.

The processing time is subject to operating hours, the destination country, availability, local laws and regulations and compliance requirements.

If transferred from one bank account to another, processing times can take as little as an hour to a day.

Moneygram is a fast-growing international money exchange service that is present in 200 countries. Their competitive edge lies in their speedy ability to deliver funds to a recipient, often not exceeding one business day.

Ultimately, the best international money transfer services depend on a student’s needs. It’s always best for students to do their own research before deciding which option to use.