As globalization increases, so does the need for businesses to be able to work seamlessly with their international partners and customers. A major component of this is to make sure money transfers flow seamlessly–and cheaply–from one country to the next.
Historically, the international money transfer space was monopolized by banks which imposed high transaction fees and slow processing times on cross-border transactions. Fortunately, competitors like Transferwise and Xoom have swooped in with money transfer services that save companies time and money.
Both TransferWise and Xoom (owned by PayPal) offer a similar money transfer service, but there are subtle differences that give each of them an advantage over the other depending on the application. When choosing an international money transfer provider, businesses are often concerned with the following:
We’ll take a look at each of these categories to help you determine which money transfer service is better for you.
Despite offering a similar service, Xoom and TransferWise charge their customers differently.
Xoom, like many, simply adds a mark up to the current market rate. For example, if the exchange rate from EUR to USD is 0.913, Xoom might offer to process the transfer at a slightly lower rate of 0.902. This means your recipient receives less money and Xoom pockets the difference. You’ll also be charged additional fees depending on the transfer amount and payment method.
Transferwise, on the other hand, is unique in that it offers the mid-market exchange rate (i.e. the current exchange rate you’d find on google) without a markup, and instead calculates a fee that it adds to the transfer. The fee is calculated as a percentage of the transfer amount, and this varies depending on the currency and payment method. Additionally, Transferwise lowers their rates for larger transfers, so for companies who need to transfer say, hundreds of thousands of dollars at once, the savings could be substantial.
Let’s take a look at a few examples to see how this actually plays out:
USD → EUR
|Amount you want the recipient to receive||€1,000||€1,000||N/A|
|Total cost of transaction if sending via bank account(including exchange rates and applicable fees)||$1,103.45||$1108.40||TransferWise|
|Total cost of transaction if sending via debit card (including exchange rates and applicable fees)||$1113.35||$1141.89||TransferWise|
|Total cost of transaction if sending via credit card (including applicable fees)||$1141.45||$1141.89||TransferWise|
In this scenario, Tranferwise is the cheaper option no matter how you transfer the money. And remember from above, TransferWise lowers their transfer fee on transfers that pass a certain threshold. Worth noting too, Xoom has a maximum transfer limit of $50,000, so not only is TransferWise less costly for large transfers, but depending on the transfer amount, it may be the only option.
In a pinch, processing speed becomes critical. To that end, both TransferWise and Xoom offer relatively fast processing times that vary from minutes to a few business days. Because processing varies widely depending on the transfer amount, currency, country, and payment method, it’s difficult to pick a clear winner, but Xoom may have the edge.
While both providers promise instant card transfers, Xoom boasts delivery in minutes even on bank transfers whereas Tranferwise typically takes a day or two.
However, it is clear that both companies offer faster processing time than traditional bank transfers and offer the convenience of initiating the transaction from your phone or computer. That leads us to our final category.
Any money saved on low fees is quickly gobbled up if additional labor hours are spent sitting on the phone with customer service or fighting with tech issues, so ease of use and convenience is critical. Making an informed decision for your business requires an understanding of what each company offers, their limitations, and how they support their customers.
Features and Support
|Receiving options||Bank account only||Bank account, cash pick up, and home delivery in some cases.|
|Customer Service||Weekdays 9am-5pm Eastern||24/7 in English and Spanish|
|Registration||Easy online sign-up||Easy online sign-up|
|Mobile App for IOS and Android||Yes||Yes|
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TranferWise offers a much wider range of transfer amounts both on large and small transfers. This makes the decision easy for companies who have to send large payments. However, if your payees have varying payment preferences, Xoom money transfers offer more transfer options for your recipients.
And while both companies offer an easy sign-up process and convenient mobile apps, Xoom is the clear winner in customer support with 24/7 availability. Additionally, because Xoom is owned by Paypal, Xoom works seamlessly–and with no added fees–when transferring to and from a Paypal account.
As is often the case, in the TransferWise vs Xoom debate, the answer isn’t black and white. Choosing the best money transfer service provider depends on the unique needs of each business. The frequency, size, and currency of your transfers can all greatly affect which service is the better fit. While neither TransferWise nor Xoom is a one-size-fits-all solution, this comparison helps give some direction as to who each is better suited for.
Xoom offers a great service for businesses that need to transfer money fast. Additionally, their 24/7 customer service and variety of receiving options (like cash pick up and home delivery) offer added convenience. The downside is Xoom transactions generally cost more and that can add up if quickly.
TransferWise’s low fees make it an attractive service for businesses who are more cost-conscious, or who need to make large bank transfers. If you need to make payments greater than $50,000, TransferWise is the clear winner. And as we saw above, TransferWise is generally cheaper than Xoom even at lower transaction amounts. For businesses that need to process a high volume of small payments or a few large payments, the cost-savings could add up quickly. However, by choosing TransferWise, you’re limited to bank transfers (no cash pickups), and you aren’t won’t have the convenience of Xoom’s 24/7 phone support.
Both TransferWise and Xoom offer easy-to-use and relatively cheap services for making international money transfers, but the subtle differences can have a big impact on how effectively each can support your business. It’s important to critically evaluate how each provider can fulfill the needs of your business, and while this comparison gives a high-level overview of TranferWise and Xoom, be sure to reach out to each company to learn more about their specific offerings before making a decision.