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Updated on Thursday, May 23, 2019
If you have family or friends in Mexico, you’ll find that the process of sending them money from the United States is easier and cheaper than ever before. There is a plethora of services today that offer a variety of options for getting your hard-earned dollars converted to pesos and sent south of the border.
Have you been using the same service to send funds for ages? Time to figure out if you can find a better deal. We’ve looked at a range of different international money transfer companies, and tallied their options and the fees involved to send money to Mexico.
How to send money internationally
Not very long ago, there was really only one way to send money to Mexico from the United States. You’d visit a bricks-and-mortar transfer agent and send the money in person. Online remittance services have challenged the traditional money transfer agencies that maintain lots of physical outlets.
Whether you stick with the agency down the block or go online, you’ve got options for how the recipient can get their funds, via bank transfer or cash pickup. The sender can send money via cash, bank transfer, debit card or credit card.
Dan Canning, U.S. managing director at WorldRemit, cautions consumers to use a reputable money transfer service, especially ones that require you to verify your information and so you can minimize the risk of fraud.
“Online money transfer operators can mitigate some of the risks and issues involved with cash-based remittances because they are able to use advanced technology to validate customer identities and ensure the integrity of their customers’ personal information,” he said.
“The electronic footprint generated by online transfers can also act as a strong deterrent to criminal groups who seek to victimize consumers through fraud scams.”
Compare services to send money to Mexico
We’ve looked at the services of seven competing international money transfer companies to give you a feel for the competitive landscape.
Cost to send $100 to Mexico
Time it takes to get to recipient
At a physical office: $9.99
Bank transfer: 3-4 business days
Bank transfer: $3.99
Bank transfer: 3-5 business days
Bank transfer: $1
Up to 4 business days
1 business day
Online to recipient’s bank account: $4.99
Anywhere from within minutes up to 5 business days, depending on how you send funds
Via bank transfer: $2.99
Within the same business day
15 minutes or less
Send money to Mexico with MoneyGram
MoneyGram offers a quick service feature that lets you send money within minutes for cash pickup. The company also allows you send money online once you register for a free account, or you can stop by any one of their 350,000 locations worldwide.
Beware that MoneyGram has some of the more costly options for sending money abroad, but you can minimize your costs by using a bank transfer and sending money to your recipient’s bank account. However, this low-cost option means it could take from three to four business days for funds to arrive in Mexico.
Send money to Mexico with Remitly
Remitly lets you send money via bank transfer — what it calls the economy option — or debit card — what it calls the express option. To initiate a transfer, you’ll need to register for an account online, though you’re limited to sending up to $10,000 within the first 24 hours after account registration depending on what personal information you provide. The recipient can pick up their cash at over 15,000 participating locations.
The express option gets your money to Mexico in minutes, while the economy option means your funds will arrive within three to five business days. Remitly offers a money-back guarantee if your funds don’t arrive on time.
Send money to Mexico with Ria
Ria allows you to send money at any one of their 369,000 branches worldwide or online. It has partnered with the PayNearMe app where you can initiate a transfer online, then head to the nearest participating 7-Eleven to drop off the cash.
To send money, stop off at any one of their branches or create an online account. Once you verify your personal information, select how you want to pay — bank transfer, debit or credit card — and how you want the recipient to receive their funds, whether it’s through bank deposit or cash pickup.
The cheapest option is to send it money to your recipient’s bank account via a bank transfer online. You can’t send more than $2,999.99 per day, or $999.99 for Arizona and Oklahoma residents. It’ll also take up to four business days, assuming Ria doesn’t require additional safety checks.
Send money to Mexico with TransferWise
TransferWise offers a variety of payment options — ACH transfer, bank transfer, debit or credit card payment — but the recipient will need a bank account to receive funds. Transferwise offers customers currency exchange using the mid-market rate — there are no markups and it’s based on the “real” exchange rate, like the ones you find on websites like XE.com.
To send money to Mexico, you’ll need to start off by opening an account with Transferwise and complete the verification process. Once complete, you can initiate a transfer by logging into your account and indicating how much money you want to send and the transfer method.
Transferwise lets you send up to $10,000 every 24 hours per order using ACH transfer and up to $50,000 with other methods. As soon as Transferwise receives your funds, it claims it’ll arrive in your recipient’s account within one business day.
Send money to Mexico with Western Union
As one of the largest money transfer companies in the world, Western Union offers a myriad of options to send and receive money. You can show up at any one of their 42,000 branches in the U.S., online or via their mobile app, and pay via bank transfer, cash or even Apple Pay.
Once you register for a free account online, you can select where you want to send money, the payment method and how you want the recipient to receive their funds. The cheapest option is via bank transfer and have the recipient pick up cash at a Western Union location, which can take up to four business days to arrive.
Send money to Mexico with WorldRemit
Launched in 2010, WorldRemit allows users to send money online or via a mobile device. You can send money in a variety of ways, including bank transfer, with a credit or debit card or via Apple Pay. Your recipient can do a cash pickup at a participating location — some locations will have higher fees than others — or receive the funds in their bank account.
You’ll need to open an online account with WorldRemit and verify your identity using an official ID. Once complete, you then select how you want to pay for the transfer and delivery method. The cheapest option is cash pickup at certain locations, and the money should be available instantly.
Send money to Mexico with Xoom
Xoom is owned by Paypal, which means you can use your Paypal account to send cash, but you can only use a linked bank account, credit card or debit card to send funds. The recipient can pick up the cash at over 35,000 participating locations or have the money sent to their bank account.
To send money, you’ll need to register for an account with Xoom. Once you provide all required documentation, you can transfer up to $50,000 every 24 hours or up to $60,000 each month. If you want to send more than $10,000, it could delay processing times — up to two to three business days on top of normal processing times even for the cheapest option.
Shop around for your best rate
When comparing money transfers services, you’ll want to see how much it’ll cost you in fees and approximate time of arrival. Money remittance services make money through fees and markups in their currency exchange rates. However, exchange rates are constantly in flux, which means that if you find a low-cost option today, doesn’t mean it’ll be true within a few days.
“Exchange rate fluctuations are caused by supply and demand changes in the FX market, which are in turn, affected by a variety of financial and economic factors,” Canning said.
Money transfer services make use of exchange rates to help you transfer money. Even if you find a good rate, it could go up within hours, meaning that $100 you send to your aunt in Mexico is no longer worth as much as it was before.
Canning also mentions that remittance services can guarantee a certain currency exchange rate with a specified amount of time. Places like WorldRemit can choose to receive email or text alerts of currency exchange rates to find optimal times to send money. If possible, sign up for these alerts so you can try to get a more favorable rate.