Money transfers are a popular way to send money electronically from one person or company to another. These services can be a great alternative to sending a check or money order by mail, which can be slower and more expensive. Money transfers can be domestic or international and they may be sent using a bank wire or an online money transfer service. The best money transfer services offer low fees, fast turnaround and a wide range of destinations.
A money transfer service is a business that collects cash from customers and then sends the funds to their recipients. The company can be an independent money transfer operator or a bank. A money transfer service can also be a remittance business, which collects remittances from workers living abroad and then delivers those remittances to local people and businesses. The money transfer industry is regulated by both federal and state laws to protect consumers.
The most common way to send money is through a bank wire, which is an electronic transaction between two banks. It can be done with domestic or international funds and the transaction is usually completed within a day. A bank wire is a good choice if you need to send a large amount of money quickly and you know the recipient’s banking information. The recipient’s bank will need the six-digit sort code of the receiving bank and a unique eight-digit reference number, known as a SWIFT code, to process the payment.
Other popular options include MoneyGram, WorldRemit and XE Money Transfer. These companies are typically used for consumer-to-consumer money transfers and have a network of agent locations around the world. Many of these providers have lower costs than Western Union. Some, like MoneyGram, can even deliver your transfer in minutes if you choose to pick up the money as cash.
You can also send money online or through an app with a specialist provider. These companies are often better than banks because they don’t have fixed transfer fees and they use competitive exchange rates. The best money transfer apps don’t charge a fee for any amount you send, and they also offer higher exchange rates than the midmarket rate.
A less traditional option is Jpay, a service that lets friends and family of inmates send money to their loved ones behind bars. It’s a convenient and affordable option, but it only serves a very narrow segment of the population.
If you want to send money online, the website and mobile apps of MoneyGram are an excellent choice. The company has an extensive network of agent locations, and its online transfer tools allow you to see what the cost will be in your home currency before you make a purchase. You can also use an online money transfer calculator to compare the costs of different providers. Another option is OFX, which offers competitive exchange rates and doesn’t have any fixed transfer fees. This company is based in the UK but can send to more than 50 countries worldwide.