While detailed data on remittances is quite limited, we were able to measure the relative success of many of the top money transfer services in each country by looking at their mobile app's download rankings on the Apple App Store. It turns out that PayPal, relative-newcomer Revolut and TransferWise are winning in nearly every country, but there are exceptions. For example, Skrill ranked in the top 5 in 24 countries. With a dozen other mobile apps rounding out the top 5 across all the countries, it seems competition for low-fee money transfer apps is still fierce.
Top Money Transfer Apps by Downloads: PayPal, Revolut and TransferWise
Of the 31 countries we studied from Iceland to Russia, PayPal was the most downloaded money transfer app in 22 areas including the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain—the European countries from which people send the most money abroad. Revolut was the second most downloaded money transfer app overall, and ranked 1st for downloads in seven countries: Poland, Portugal, Ireland, Romania, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Lithuania. TransferWise was the third most downloaded app.
|Number of European Countries an App Ranked 1st, 2nd, etc.||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||5th|
|1||Paypal Mobile Cash||22||8||1||0||0|
Download Rankings of Top Money Transfer Apps by Country
While PayPal, Revolut and TransferWise were quite dominant overall, there were some notable local money transfer services that competed closely. For example, in Russia and the Ukraine the QIWI app ranked 1st in terms of money transfer download ranking.
Rounding out the top 5 in each country was quite a wide array of money transfer companies, including Skrill, Western Union, WorldRemit, Yandex.Money, TransferGo, QIWI Wallet, WebMoney, Neteller, Ecopayz, MoneyGram, Payoneer and Pingit. Below you can see the top 5 money transfer apps in each European country in our study, including each app's download rank in the Finance category (in parentheses).
|Top Money Transfer Apps (Finance Download Rank)||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||5th|
|Austria||Paypal Mobile Cash (4)||Western Union (15)||Revolut (38)||Skrill (58)||TransferWise (71)|
|Belgium||Paypal Mobile Cash (6)||Revolut (29)||TransferWise (43)||WorldRemit (63)||Skrill (86)|
|Bulgaria||Paypal Mobile Cash (8)||Revolut (8)||TransferWise (18)||Skrill (47)||WebMoney (103)|
|Croatia||Paypal Mobile Cash (6)||Revolut (18)||Skrill (38)||TransferWise (77)||Payoneer (121)|
|Czech Republic||Revolut (10)||Paypal Mobile Cash (11)||Yandex.Money (20)||TransferWise (44)||Skrill (51)|
|Denmark||Paypal Mobile Cash (8)||Revolut (45)||TransferWise (58)||WorldRemit (78)||TransferGo (149)|
|Estonia||Paypal Mobile Cash (6)||Revolut (12)||TransferWise (22)||Yandex.Money (25)||Skrill (29)|
|Finland||Paypal Mobile Cash (10)||TransferWise (54)||Skrill (58)||Revolut (68)||WorldRemit (86)|
|France||Paypal Mobile Cash (1)||Western Union (18)||Revolut (20)||MoneyGram (50)||TransferWise (58)|
|Germany||Paypal Mobile Cash (2)||Western Union (26)||Revolut (66)||TransferWise (70)||TransferGo (120)|
|Greece||Paypal Mobile Cash (6)||Revolut (8)||TransferWise (41)||Skrill (41)||Neteller (108)|
|Hungary||Paypal Mobile Cash (8)||Revolut (10)||TransferWise (14)||Skrill (54)||WorldRemit (93)|
|Iceland||Paypal Mobile Cash (10)||Revolut (26)||WorldRemit (31)||Skrill (38)||TransferGo (52)|
|Ireland||Revolut (1)||Paypal Mobile Cash (3)||TransferWise (11)||Western Union (17)||Skrill (44)|
|Italy||Paypal Mobile Cash (5)||Western Union (26)||Revolut (45)||TransferWise (79)||Skrill (102)|
|Latvia||Revolut (5)||Paypal Mobile Cash (9)||QIWI Wallet (16)||TransferWise (36)||Yandex.Money (39)|
|Lithuania||Revolut (3)||Paypal Mobile Cash (8)||TransferGo (22)||Skrill (32)||TransferWise (34)|
|Netherlands||Paypal Mobile Cash (7)||Revolut (54)||TransferWise (59)||Skrill (69)||WorldRemit (113)|
|Norway||Paypal Mobile Cash (8)||Revolut (47)||WorldRemit (59)||Skrill (59)||TransferWise (67)|
|Poland||Revolut (5)||Paypal Mobile Cash (9)||TransferGo (34)||TransferWise (38)||Yandex.Money (48)|
|Portugal||Revolut (3)||Paypal Mobile Cash (4)||TransferWise (27)||Skrill (33)||Neteller (49)|
|Romania||Revolut (2)||Paypal Mobile Cash (13)||TransferWise (34)||TransferGo (35)||Skrill (37)|
|Russia||QIWI Wallet (3)||Yandex.Money (10)||Paypal Mobile Cash (21)||WebMoney (37)||Skrill (188)|
|Slovakia||Paypal Mobile Cash (9)||Revolut (15)||Skrill (41)||TransferWise (62)||Neteller (117)|
|Slovenia||Paypal Mobile Cash (6)||Revolut (6)||Skrill (27)||TransferWise (71)||Neteller (116)|
|Spain||Paypal Mobile Cash (5)||Revolut (26)||TransferWise (57)||Skrill (115)||WorldRemit (125)|
|Sweden||Paypal Mobile Cash (12)||Revolut (60)||TransferWise (67)||WorldRemit (75)||Skrill (116)|
|Switzerland||Paypal Mobile Cash (9)||Revolut (15)||TransferWise (56)||WorldRemit (104)||Skrill (210)|
|Turkey||Paypal Mobile Cash (79)||Ecopayz (115)||TransferWise (121)||Skrill (154)||TransferGo (202)|
|Ukraine||QIWI Wallet (8)||Paypal Mobile Cash (12)||Yandex.Money (16)||WebMoney (16)||TransferGo (27)|
|United Kingdom||Paypal Mobile Cash (1)||Revolut (12)||Western Union (36)||TransferWise (36)||Pingit (36)|
A number of apps in our study were not in the top 5 downloads for any European country: Remitly, Azimo, Small World, WorldFirst, Xoom, Venmo, OFX, TorFX, Currency Fair and Xoom.
These apps are free to download and typically offer free or low-cost exchange or transfers. Startups money transfer apps have been particularly successful in Europe by charging significantly less than traditional banks to make an international money transfer, and completing the transfer in a shorter time. To learn more about the amount of money that flows in and out of countries in Europe, please see our related article Remittance Flows in Europe: Where Does the Money Go?
In order to quantify the popularity of money transfer apps across Europe, we gathered Apple App Store data on daily download rankings in the "Finance" category in each country for each app. As the download rank of an app can vary quite a bit from day to day, we gathered data covering 30 days (3 March 2019 to 1 April 2019), which we then averaged to get the most accurate representation of an app's popularity.
To determine the overall app ranking, we first determined the number of countries (out of 31) in which an app ranked 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th. We then weighted these results according to the following system: 1st got a weight of 5, 2nd got a weight of 4, and so on. The app with the highest total score ranked 1st overall.
Study limitations: Of course, there is no download data available for Apple Pay as it comes ready on iPhones. Whilst ideally we could include Apple Pay in this analysis, it was not possible. Nonetheless, the analysis still is useful for comparing independent money transfer apps in each country, and for seeing how startups such as Revolut are taking ground from incumbents like PayPal and Western Union. And while we did not gather Android data, there's reason to believe the relative download stats would be comparable across platforms, yielding the same popularity results.
Here is a list of the money transfer apps analysed as part of this study for which we could find data:
- Currency Fair
- Paypal Mobile Cash
- QIWI Wallet
- Small World
- Square's Cash App
- Transfer Wise
- Western Union
Here is a list of the countries we covered:
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom