International Remittance Processing Services Explained and Compared

There are plenty of companies that process international remittances

But what makes them different? How do you know which is the best one? Let’s compare a number of the most well known remittance services and see which ones stand out in terms of fees, rates, security, transfer times, and satisfaction. That way, you can make sure you’re getting the best deal when you send money abroad.


Fees: 0.5% of transaction
Exchange Rates: Good
Security: Reasonably good (HTTPS encryption)
Transfer times: Up to five working days – sent from bank to bank

TransferWise offers reasonable rates for international currency exchange, but is not always the quickest when it comes to transfer time. Transfers can take up to a week complete, which is a real hassle in an emergency or time of need. TransferWise also doesn’t offer much in the way of a loyalty bonus for regular customers. However, the system is otherwise reasonably convenient, transfers directly to a bank account, and has high satisfaction (provided users are in no hurry).


Fees: 3.4% + $0.45 NZD
Exchange Rates: Poor
Security: Very good (due to its size – SSL connections)
Transfer times: Almost immediate for transfers from one PayPal account to another, but up to a week for bank transfers.

A quick, secure option for sending international remittance if transferred between PayPal accounts. However this is offset by reasonably high percentage fees, which are particularly hefty if a large amount of money is being sent (on $10,000, 3.4% is $340). PayPal also offers pretty poor exchange rates. The impact of this is lessened if only a small amount of money is being sent, however this still makes PayPal an impractical option for multiple uses in most cases. While Paypal has reasonably good satisfaction rates, customer service is relatively poor if issues arise.


Fees: around $20 – $50 NZD
Exchange Rates: Poor
Security: Average – somewhat vulnerable to fraud
Transfer times: Within minutes

MoneyGram offers quick, secure, bank to bank only transfers but is offset by moderately high fees and poor exchange rates. MoneyGram has been noted as particularly vulnerable to fraud in a number of cases, with criminals using the system to receive payment from money request scams. To make matters worse, the company has been known not to terminate such users in the past. While this is less of an issue in the current day (due to greater awareness of scams), such dealings have tainted the company’s once secure reputation.

Western Union

Fees: Variable, but approx. $10 – 20NZD depending on service
Exchange Rates: Poor
Security: Good – but also vulnerable to fraud due to its widespread existence
Transfer time: Around 1-5 working days

Western Union offers relatively cheap fees and some extra conveniences – such as being able to pick up money at a Western Union outlet, rather than needing a bank account (handy for travelers). Unfortunately, it offers relatively low exchange rates and transfers can take anywhere from 1 to a slow 5 working days, depending on the destination. The company is also vulnerable to fraud, and has even been banned as a payment method through Ebay. Having said this, it makes reasonable attempts to educate consumers on scam avoidance and, assuming you know the recipient personally, is otherwise reasonably safe.


Fees: Between $0 -$8 NZD
Exchange Rates: Very good
Security: Very good
Transfer time: 1 working day

An all around option with low fees, good security, and good exchange rates. While transfer is not instant, payments are delivered within one working day direct to the recipient’s bank account, making OrbitRemit a perfect option for sending international remittances. Unlike other providers, OrbitRemit scores high on customer satisfaction and the easy-to-use website interface is one of a kind.

So the next time you go to choose a remittance service compare fees, rates, security, and speed so that you can choose the best all around remittance service.