Domestic and International
including Australia, USA, Canada, India, Pakistan and the EU
Click here for International (below)
Transfers in the UK are fairly straightforward but there are a couple ways to do it.
UK banks have two electronic payment systems to move funds between bank accounts for personal transfers.
Faster Payments and CHAPS, are often going to be your easiest and best options.
1. Faster Payments
Faster Payments is usually integrated in online banking and mobile
banking and can be used to transfer money instantly between bank accounts for free.
Faster Payments is ideal for both small and large transfers as most banks will let you transfer about £10,000 per day via this system.
2. CHAPS Payments (Clearing House Automated Payment System)
If your receiving bank doesn’t accept Faster Payments, your other option is to send money via CHAPS.
Typically, there’s no cap on how much you can send via CHAPS and the transfer fees are also pretty high (£25 GBP per transfer on average).
The amount you are sending
The other country involved
Note: £4000 CAD is approximately $7000 USD
Why the Amount Matters:
Some services are designed for smaller amounts and some for larger amounts. This makes a big difference to how much you pay in fees and the service you receive.
But here is the kicker:
If you sign up to a service that most transfers smaller amounts, but you set up a transaction for a larger amount (above about £4000) the chances of your account being frozen or account cancelled is increased. The reason is that all money transfer services need to meet anti-money laundering and counter terrorism laws.
Signing up for a service designed for larger amounts helps to avoid these issues.
There are other reasons, which we briefly discuss next:
For cash there are three major services like Western Union, Moneygram and Ria that have outlets in the UK as well as strong networks worldwide. With these you can set up the transfer online and then have the recipient collect cash.
However to run all those physical locations there is a big cost which you end up paying for.
Fortunately in recent years there is a new breed of services that have cut costs by being more efficient online and partnering with costs effective services like pawn shops and post offices.
For example, if you can send money from your bank account in the UK, WorldRemit is highly recommended as a lower cost alternative where cash is needed by the receiver. You can also get your first three transactions free.
If you need to open a bank account in the UK as a non-resident or recent arrival you may find that it is easier to start with a digital service.
If cost is your main priority and you are happy doing everything online, we found a handful of services do best when the amounts are relatively small (less than £4000).
- Signup is easy
- Awesome online platforms
- Customer service is great
Our top pick is Wise as you can see in the table below. Currencyfair is also a great choice is you want to save every last penny in the transaction.
Above £4000 and a different type of service shines brightly. These services have a fee structure that means you pay less (in percentage terms) as the amounts increase. Just as importantly the signup process and the service itself is designed for larger amounts.
If large amounts where low fees and a smooth experience is important, OFX is our top pick especially when you take into account 24/7 english speaking support and their worldwide network of offices in North America, Australia, Asia and London.
However TorFX may be your preference if you like the idea of having a dedicated customer service person with best in the industry telephone support and a London office.
- Strong phone support and online service
- Become cheaper as amounts increase
- More involved signup means less possible issues with regulatory compliance while transacting. ie. smooth sailing.
Money Transfer Services in the UK
|Service Name||Min Amount||Phone/ Online Service||Locations||Fees + Conditions||Special Offers||Transfer $5000 to UK (see *Note)||Transfer $50000 to UK (see *Note)|
|My Bank||None||Online/ Phone/ Branch||UK||£15 + bank at other sides fee||None||£2,610.04||£26,100.40|
|TorFX Full Review||£100||Online/ Phone||UK, Australia||No Fees||Click here to get all transactions free||£2,735*||£27,428*|
| OFX - Full Review||£100||Online/ Phone||UK, Australia, US, NZ, Hong Kong , Canada||£7 fee or transfer £3000 or more and it’s free. *See Offers >>||No Fees when you register now||£2,753*||£27,612*|
|XE - Full Review||0||Online||US, UK, CAN||A small fee for low value transfers||Fee free transactions||Click link to see rates||Click link to see rates|
|World First - Full Review||£100||Online/ Phone||UK, US, Australia||No Fixed Fees||Click Here for no fees for ever||£2,750*||£27,551*|
|Wise - Full Review||None||Online Focus||Based online. 50+ Supported Countries Including AUS, CAN, UK and US||Price depends on route (eg. AUD>USD is 0.7%)||Click for very competitive rates||£2,766*||£27,598*|
|Currencyfair - Full Review||8 Euros||Online/ Phone||Australia, UK, Ireland||£2.50||Check rates and get your first three transactions free|
|TransferGo - Full Review||£0||Online/ Phone||UK, Europe||From £0, 3 levels based on speed of delivery.||Use promo code "transumo" for zero fee on first transfer|
* Important Note About Rates:
These rates are the average of two major comparison services in the UK.
However despite seeming to have real time rates – each service usually offers a different rate depending on the amount transferred as currencies fluctuate along with the world currency markets each tick of the clock.
By the time you have registered with a company or even just logged onto their website, the rate they offer will have changed.
We have included the rates here simply as a way to clearly show that the services are very similar in what they offer and also a much better deal than banks.
In this group you will find six providers that are top shelf. They also happen to be some of the largest in the industry – which is no accident.
Of course, any of these will be a much cheaper and better way to move money internationally compared to a bank.
That said, some may be better options depending on the country you are transferring with.
There is no shortage of choice between Australia and the UK.
The trick is to get the best for needs.
All the suggestions in the table above are recommended because they all have offices in both countries (with the exception of CurrencyFair which is Irish). This not only means they are regulated in those countries, but that they have local bank accounts in Australia and the UK – this generally means low or no fees from the banks!
Customer service wise all are top notch too but having offices in both these countries means that you are more likely to deal with someone in your timezone. Most importantly – they will have a good appreciation for any issues you might face when sending or receiving money from the local banks in those countries.
Cost wise, because of the volumes all these money transfer companies deal in between these two countries they will be able to provide the best rates.
Online or offline support can also be a deciding factor which we discuss below.
Due to onerous state-based regulations in the USA few companies have offices in both countries. OFX is a standout and our recommended choice if you are in the USA.
Customer service is the key here. Although most calls will be routed to their Toronto staff during business hours, knowledge of American banks and how the operate in terms of sending and receiving your money can be super helpful.
Additionally if you are in the USA or plan to become a resident, knowledgable support during sign up can make a big difference to things running smoothly.
Use the link above in our table to get the $15 fee removed for OFX.
You might also like our 5 Things to Know for UK to USA transfers
With offices in Toronto and London, OFX is our top choice in terms of service and having local bank accounts for sending and receiving funds.
Canadian banks tend to be particularly changeable in terms of the maximum amounts you can send. In Canada, there is also many ways you can fund the transaction with their own associated costs and limits and this changes between each bank… if all this sounds confusing – it is – which is why we recommend OFX who has the local knowledge to guide you.
Use the link above in our table to get the $15 fee removed.
Sending money to and from India is best done through a full service money transfer company that can hand hold your money through the process. For this TorFX’s proactive telephone oriented (with online options) makes the most sense to ensure everything runs smoothly.
You might also like our 4 Things to Know for UK to India
Sending money between Pakistan and the UK is best done through a full service money transfer company that will ensure your money is travelling well at each step of the way. TorFX’s has a telephone oriented service which will help ensure you funds arrive in a timely way with least stress to you at much lower costs than the banks.
Germany, France, Spain and other EU countries can easily look after your needs through the UK office which is by default regulated in the Europe as well.
Amounts less than £4000
We have included a Peer-to-peer (P2P) provider: CurrencyFair and Wise because when it comes to transferring smaller amounts they are hard to beat in terms of cost.
For larger amounts (above £4000), we have included three traditional money transfer companies (TorFX, OFX and WorldFirst) who become very competitive cost wise but also have other advantages that may suit your needs better.
For most people, cost is a great motivator and banks have been the only game in town for way too long.
We exposed costs and fees, but to cut long story short paying 3% minimum and often 4 or 5 or 6% (with the various fees included) to a bank is typical.
By comparison you can expect to pay no more than 2%.
As money transfer companies have grown, some newcomers have undercut the older kids on the block and if your motivation is purely cost driven it is worth exploring a little more.
Currencyfair and Wise tend to be the cheapest on amounts below £4000/€5000/$7500. Amounts above that tend to make the more established companies hard to beat (OFX, TorFX, Worldfirst) and some of their services are geared to larger amounts of money as well.
One reason for transacting via money transfer service providers is that their level of service is awesome.
This is particularly important when say – the receiving bank delays payment or something else seems to have gone wrong or you simply want someone who is helpful and knowledgeable to explain something.
Generally all five are standouts in this regard, although there are some important differences that may make all the difference.
Online or Phone?
All six services here, leave a good initial impression online, but there are some very big differences when it comes to signing up and making transactions.
The big question is: Would you prefer to mostly speak to someone or use an online platform?
Some services are web-based focus and allow you to perform transactions end-to-end by yourself, some are much more telephone-based. All have a combination of both.
TorFX – Mostly telephone for signup and booking transfers, although they seem to be continuously improving online.
TransferGo – In terms of top level support, TransferGo earns top shelf ratings in the review sites. This is limited to 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM GMT, Monday through Friday.
Some have 24/7 customer support, while others tend to be focused around operating during business hours in the countries where they have offices.
Money transfer companies are heralded as the fastest means of completing international transfers. This is because they have banks in multiple countries, which means that in most cases, they can receive and release funds in local currencies promptly. When banks transfer money, they, on the other hand, need to deal with international banks and which is relatively slower due to the checks and measures involved in the same.
4. Safety and Security
A major concern for anyone transferring money to distant lands by means as intangible as transactions in the virtual world, security would be a concern.
Is my money in safe hands? Is my banking information handled discreetly? Are these transactions safe?
Such queries are common and understandable. Fortunately establishing and running such a service in an organised, legal fashion is no easy business. Any company wishing to operate as such needs to meet a series of tough regulations in order to set shop. This accounts for the handful of service providers available for international money transfers in UK.
It’s safe to say that the service providers operating in UK are able to do so because their regulation is overseen by regulators that counter money-laundering, fraud and terrorism-financing.
Since meeting the expectations of such national bodies isn’t a cake walk, money transfer service providers are usually backed by larger, established businesses. They are obviously very keen to ensure security of transaction for their entire business is contingent upon it.
If you are still dubious, you can seek information regarding the security measures in place with the service provider you are using. They can give you a technical run-down of how your money and bank details are safe with them.