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How do Money Transfer Apps Work?

how do money transfer apps work

This article is sponsored by WorldRemit

As an international student living in Australia, at some point during your time here you may need to send or receive money from overseas. With different currencies, banks, waiting periods and fees, international transfers can be surprisingly complicated and expensive. Fortunately, digital money transfers and apps exist to do the hard work for you – saving you time and money.  

Curious about how money transfer apps and digital money transfers work? We’ve put together everything you need to know.

How do money transfer apps work? 

An online money transfer is an electronic way of transferring money. Often, this can be done from your bank account to a family member’s or friend’s bank account. In the same way that physical money is exchanged between people, the money is transferred digitally between banks. 

Dedicated money transfer apps and websites are different to transferring money through your online bank account. They are independent from banks and avoid the complications that come with transferring money between bank accounts in different countries. 

The benefits of using a money transfer app

There are several reasons why you might want to consider using a money transfer app or online money transfer website.

Easy to use 

Using online money transfer websites and apps is really easy. First, you will need to set up an account with your chosen money transfer provider, such as WorldRemit. You will then be required to provide formal government-issued ID documents and address verification in order to verify your account and make your first transaction. The service will need to know which country you are sending the money to and the amount that you want to transfer. Then, simply type in your recipient’s details and pay for your transfer using your preferred option.  

Money transfer apps in particular are designed to be user-friendly and save you time, and if you get stuck, most have simple step-by-step instructions that will guide you through the transfer process. 

Transfer from anywhere  

Money transfer apps allow you to transfer money from anywhere, at any time. Since apps and websites exist online, all you need is the internet and a smartphone, tablet or computer to complete your transfer. There is no need to visit a physical agent location and wait in a long line, you can choose to transfer money at a time that suits you – any time of day or night. 


Most money transfer apps let you choose how to send your money to your recipient and how the recipient receives it. The options available to you will vary depending on where you and the receiver live, but payment options for online money transfers include using a credit, debit or prepaid card, bank transfer, Apple or Android Pay, Klarna, Poli, or Trustly.

If your recipient has a bank account, you can send the money straight into their account. If your receiver doesn’t have an account, you can send a cash pickup or mobile payment. For a cash pickup, the receiver can visit a partnered location, such as a convenience store, to collect physical cash. (Just note that with COVID-19 limiting some access to physical locations, a digital transfer may be easier and safer for the recipient.) A mobile payment will allow you to make the payment straight into your recipient’s mobile wallet, and they can use those funds immediately to purchase goods and services in their home country. 

Depending on the country the receiver is living in, digital money transfer providers, including WorldRemit, also offer airtime top up, where the recipient’s mobile phone credit can be instantly topped up by you. For customers sending money transfers to India, WorldRemit provides an online bill payments service, where you can make a payment directly to gas, water, electricity, television and other types of companies on behalf of yourself or someone else.

Multiple currencies

Money transfer apps operate in multiple currencies. You’ll be able to view a list of the available currencies and your chosen money transfer app will also calculate the exchange rate for you. 

Transparent fees

Digital money transfers are faster, often cheaper and offer better foreign exchange rates compared to traditional banks, which means your recipient will receive more money to use on what is important. Importantly, when making a bank transfer using a traditional bank, it is not uncommon for the recipient’s bank to also charge a fee – and in some cases, the amount of this fee is not determined until the payment is made. With digital money transfers, you’ll generally know all of the fees upfront before you make the transfer. 

How long does it take? 

Depending on the type of online money transfer you choose – such as a bank transfer, mobile wallet, cash pick up or airtime top-up – it can take 1-2 days or just a few minutes.  

Safety features to look out for

A safe and secure money transfer app will be authorised and regulated by national bodies like AUSTRAC (Australia) or the Financial Conduct Authority (UK). These apps are designed to protect accounts from unauthorised login attempts and will implement strict verification processes for customer identification. Secure apps will also have service teams dedicated to monitoring customer transactions for any unusual or suspicious activity. 

You should always be presented with information on your transfer before you make any payments. The app should show you transfer fees, exchange rates and transfer times so that you don’t get caught out. 

If you’re concerned about security, make sure you thoroughly research any app you are considering to check its safety and security ratings.  

For more information on WorldRemit, to do your first money transfer or download the app visit worldremit.com