8 inexpensive ways to transfer money


In the tech-driven world we live in today, transferring money by cash, check, bank draft, or money order can seem like going the dinosaur’s way. While these traditional methods may seem less popular when there are faster electronic methods of transferring money between accounts, states, and even countries, that doesn’t mean the old ways aren’t yet viable options. . Also, if cost is your main concern, there are inexpensive ways to transfer money, and the cheapest method may vary depending on your situation.

A bank teller can help you set up many other transfer services, including wire transfers to another bank, state, or country. If you want to transfer funds to an account at another financial institution, you will need the account number you want to send money to and the bank routing number. There are often fees associated with transferring money to another financial institution.

Your bank

A bank can help you with many types of transfers. If you are just transferring money from one account to another at the same financial institution, this is something you can easily do at your bank for free. This can be done in person at a branch by withdrawing money from one account and making the deposit to another or by initiating the transfer online.

Key points to remember

  • Traditional methods of sending money, such as your bank, are still applicable today.
  • Transfers abroad through your bank are possible, but there is an additional charge for sending the money.
  • New apps like Paypal and Zelle make it easy to send money to friends and family in minutes, at no cost.
  • Western Union and MoneyGram can be used to send money to another city, state, or country for a fee.
  • Another option for transferring money is cash, as it is free to withdraw money from a bank and make a deposit to the bank where the recipient has a checking account.

Money transfers abroad are also possible through your bank, although you often need a lot more information, including the name and address of the account holder, information about the financial institution to the money is sent and the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) or International Bank Account Number (IBAN) of the recipient bank. International money transfers sent in US dollars will cost you around $ 45. Funds sent in foreign currency will cost around $ 35. Rates change and may vary depending on your bank.


One of the newer players in the payments scene is Zelle, founded in 2017. The company is a US-based digital payments network owned by privately-held financial services firm Early Warning Services. To access the service, users (with funds in a US bank account) register their email address and US cell phone number with the Zelle app or through their bank’s Zelle electronic portal.

Then the person sending the money enters the preferred email address and the recipient’s US cell phone number, who must also have a US bank account. After payment is sent, the recipient receives a notification with instructions for making the payment. Zelle does not charge a fee for sending or receiving money, but sometimes the bank or other financial institution charges customers for access to the service.

Pay Pal

PayPal can be a cost-effective method of transferring money. It allows individuals and businesses to transfer funds electronically from one PayPal account to another. Sending money through PayPal is free, although the recipient will be charged a fee for collecting payment. For transfers up to $ 3,000, the fee is 2.9%, plus $ 0.30 per transaction.

The fees drop slightly for larger transactions, and there is no charge for sending to friends or family, as long as the money is coming from a bank account. International transaction fees tend to be around 1% higher and keep in mind that you will be charged an exchange rate on transfers made in international funds.

Western Union or MoneyGram

Western Union and MoneyGram provide similar services that allow you to transfer money to a different city, state, or country. They charge a flat rate for the transfer based on the speed of the transfer, the location you are sending money to, and the amount of money sent. If you make a transfer abroad or internationally, you will also be charged an exchange rate. These money transfer services usually do not offer a very competitive exchange rate, resulting in hidden fees if you are transferring money internationally. However, one of the main advantages of these services is that they tend to be both very reliable and convenient.

As an example of fees, a $ 200 transfer via Western Union to a location in the United States or Canada will cost you around $ 12 for a quick transfer and $ 8 for a next day transfer. A transfer to the UK will cost around $ 22 if done through a Western Union agent and $ 15 if done online. Fees can change at any time.

The new fintech startups that provide international money transfers are Transferwise (recently changed its name to Wise) and Payoneer, which serves over 150 countries.


While this can be considered the “old-fashioned way” when it comes to transferring money, the use of cash can be extremely convenient in some circumstances. For those occasions when time is not the most important consideration, simply withdrawing money and physically taking it to another bank for deposit into an account is completely free! In most cases, the many cases where the deposited money is available for immediate withdrawal. Keep in mind that sending money by post is not recommended. If the mail is lost, there is no way to get the money back.

Personal checks

Writing a check and depositing it in another account, delivering it to another person, or mailing it to a recipient in another city or state is another affordable choice, especially if your bank offers a free check.

Things get a bit tricky when sending checks internationally. Sending a check overseas denominated in U.S. dollars will often cause delays in cashing the check so the bank can verify the deposit, and some banks may not even accept foreign checks. The recipient of the check may also have to pay a fee to cash it and cover the exchange rate for the funds to be exchanged into the local currency. This method is safer than cash for mailing because you can void a check if it does not reach its destination.

Bank drafts, money orders and cashier’s checks

For physical transfers sent in foreign currencies, you can purchase bank drafts and money orders in the currency of where you are sending money. Inexpensive Money Orders can be purchased at many post office branches. These money orders will often be cheaper than those purchased through a financial institution, ranging from $ 3 to $ 9. Money orders bought from a bank often cost around $ 10.

Money Orders are generally used for smaller amounts than bank drafts. For this reason, the cost of purchasing a bank draft is often higher than that of a money order. While these forms of money transfer may take longer, they tend to be a more economical choice than services like wire transfers, and they are trackable in case they don’t reach their destination.

Money transfers by email

Some financial institutions, especially some of the largest Canadian banks, offer an email money transfer service. This form of money transfer works like an electronic check. Funds are not physically transferred by email, although the transaction is initiated by email, and the recipient is notified by email that the funds are available. You don’t need the recipient’s bank account number, although a security question is usually required to identify the recipient before they can collect the funds.

Be sure to only accept email forwardings from people you know so you don’t fall victim to a phishing scam.

Money transfer via email money transfer usually has a nominal cost of a few dollars, which makes it a cheap option if you have the option. Receiving funds by this method is generally free. This service is also quite reliable and fast, usually only taking a few days to reach the recipient’s account.

The bottom line

Shopping around and studying your options will help you find the best deal for money transfers. Take your time and research the latest information on fees online. The cheapest method of transferring money in one circumstance may not be the same in another. Do your homework to make sure that you don’t donate your hard-earned money to large financial institutions or money transfer organizations.


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