Send money internationally

It is easy to send money to people in other countries. There are several safe and quick ways to send money internationally. Learn how to send money to other countries quickly and safely.

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Photo courtesy of Stephen Luke

Send money with MoneyGram or WalMart2World

MoneyGram and WalMart2World are money transfer services you can use. They both work in almost all of the countries in the world. WalMart2World uses the RIA system for money transfers.

To send cash through MoneyGram or WalMart2World, you must first find a location they work in. WalMart2World is in all WalMart stores. MoneyGram locations are supermarkets, convenience stores, and gas stations. You must bring identification and cash. You are not able to use your credit or debit card. You can find MoneyGram and WalMart locations near you.

If you wish to send through a bank account, you can use WalMart2World’s online service. You will be asked to create an online account first. With WalMart2World, the money arrives in minutes and the fees are lower. The fees are a fixed amount, or “flat fee.” MoneyGram is slightly more expensive and slower. But is a good option if you are not able to travel to a WalMart.

Send money internationally from a bank

If you often send money internationally, it is best to use a bank account. Keeping a lot of cash in your home is not safe in the USA. It is better to open up a bank account. Learn about banks and how to open a bank account.

Here is what you need to know to send money internationally from your bank:

  • Before you send money, you will need information about the person getting the money. The bank calls this person the recipient. The bank will ask you for the recipient’s name, bank account number, and sometimes their address.
  • For some countries, you will need a bank identification number. These are IBANs (International Bank Account Number) or SWIFT/BIC numbers. Have the person who is receiving the money ask their bank if you will need this number.
  • Often, you can send money through your bank account online. If you need help or are not sure what the options are, go to your bank. You can talk to the worker in the reception window and they will help you.
  • Banks will charge you for sending money internationally. Make sure to ask about fees (how much it will cost).
  • Sending money internationally through your bank can be slow, too.

Send money with Western Union

Western Union is a financial services company. You can send money through their website or their smartphone app. You will need a bank account to send money online. They also will charge you a fee. If you do not have a bank account, you can still send money internationally through Western Union. You can find a local branch.

At a local branch, Western Union, you can pay with cash. This is also a good option if the person you are sending money to does not have a bank account. If your recipient has a Western Union branch near them, they will be able to pick up the money instead. You will need:

  • Your recipient’s name as it appears on their government-issued ID
  • Your recipient’s city or town, province or state, and country
  • Your government-issued ID

Send money with Xoom and Paypal

The most popular system for international money transfers on the internet or smartphones is Xoom. When you open a Xoom account, you can send money internationally to more 100 hundred countries and regions. The cost of sending money through Xoom changes. Sometimes it is a fixed fee. Sometimes they charge a percentage. You will need to enter bank account details to send money. You will also need the details of the person you are sending to. 

Xoom has pickup locations, which means you can send money and someone can pick it up in cash at the other end. Sometimes, the person you are sending to can pick it up in a few hours. For some countries, you can send cash to a bank account. If you are sending to a bank account, you will need that information, too.

If you have a smartphone, you can download the Xoom app. Then you can use Xoom to send money on your phone.

Xoom is only for sending money to people. If you want to send money to businesses, you can send money through PayPal. Paypal owns Xoom.

Other ways to send money


You can send a check from your bank account.  But some countries make it very hard to receive foreign checks. Foreign banks will charge a big fee to deposit them.

Money orders

A money order is similar to a check, but it is pre-approved and paid for. This means that the recipient’s name and the information is already on the paper and can not be changed.  An international money order costs $8. 55 for values up to $700 ($500 for El Salvador and Guyana). You can get money orders at banks, the post office, and some stores. You can learn more about international money orders from the US postal service.

What are fees?

When you send money internationally, you will be charged fees.

Transfer fees

Transfer fees are money you pay for sending money. It might be a percentage of the amount you send or it might be a fixed amount

Exchange rate fees

Exchange rates are the amounts one currency (such as US dollars) is worth in another currency (such as Euros).  The rates change all the time. Sometimes you pay a currency exchange fee as well as a fee for sending the money. Ask the bank or service to explain their fees.

Things to watch for when sending money internationally

  • How costs compare
    Look at all of the costs. It will save you money.
  • Delivery time
    Always be sure you know how long the transfer will take. If you are sending money for an emergency, Western Union, Xoom, or Walmart2World may be your best option.
  • Account details
    When sending money using account and routing numbers, check them several times. If they are not correct, the money will not get there.