A money transfer is what you use to send money abroad. You'll usually do an international money transfer from your UK debit card, credit card or bank account, to a bank account in another country.

Depending on which money transfer company or mobile app you use, the money could be transferred almost instantly. With some international money transfer companies it could take up to five days.

Sometimes an international money transfer can be collected as cash in person by whoever you're sending it to, rather than deposited into a bank account. That's usually what happens if you use a global money transfer service like Moneygram or Western Union to transfer money abroad.

How to do a money transfer

When you're planning a money transfer, the first thing to do is compare exchange deals. You can do your international money transfer and currency exchange comparison using the table above.

When you've decided which company offers the best money transfer service for you, you'll need to arrange your money transfer. Some international money transfer transactions can be done online using a mobile app like Transferwise or Paypal. For other money transfer services, you might need to visit your local bank branch, or visit a Western Union or Moneygram branch.

Here are some other things to think about before you do a money transfer.

How to get the best money transfer deal

Use our international money transfer and currency exchange comparison table. It'll help you to find the best money transfer companies so you can send money abroad from the UK to another country.

Before you begin an international money transfer, you should compare the fees and rates from a few different money transfer companies and apps. That way you'll find the best money transfer deal.

The cost of sending money abroad is based on several factors such as:

  • How much money you want to transfer abroad

  • The current exchange rate

  • Additional money transfer fees

Money transfer fees can vary depending on which company or app you're using, and which country you're sending money to.

The fees and rates can also vary a lot between different money transfer companies. That's why it's so important to compare money exchange deals.

How else can I send money abroad?

There are lots of ways to send money abroad. If you're looking for the best and cheapest way to send money abroad, it'll depend on a few factors. These include how quickly you need to send the money, and how much you need to transfer. The deals you'll be offered will vary depending on these factors.

International bank transfer: This is often called a wire transfer. It's where you send money abroad to another bank account using an international bank account number (IBAN) and/or SWIFT code. The fees and charges vary from bank to bank. Some banks let you send money internationally online or via their app but some need you to go into a branch. This comparison doesn't cover wire transfers. Talk directly to your current account provider if you want to do an international bank transfer.

Money transfer apps: Using an app you can do an online money transfer. It's the easiest way to do a currency transfer. You can download an app like Paypal, OFX, Transferwise or Venmo on iOS or Android. Then you just connect it to a source of money, like a bank account. You can then send money abroad at the click of a button.

Money transfer agents. This is the original way of sending money abroad. To do this, you just visit a Western Union or Moneygram agent and send money abroad to another agent elsewhere in the world. The recipient can then go and collect the money. This can be quick - sometimes they can collect it within seconds of sending the money.

Money transfer fees

When you compare international money transfer deals, you'll need to look carefully at the fees, commission and exchange rates.

As mentioned before, the fees and rates will vary depending on how much money you're sending and which country you're sending it to. The fees can sometimes be charged to both the sender and receiver.

Some money transfer companies will advertise fee-free money transfers. But you should look closely at the exchange rate. You'll find that different money transfer companies offer different exchange rates. That's usually because money many money transfer companies mark up the exchange rate in place instead of charging separate fees.

When you compare money transfer companies think about how much foreign currency you're actually getting after fees and charges.

Western Union fees

Western Union charges a fee to transfer money abroad. This varies depending on several factors:

  • which country you're sending the money abroad to

  • which currency you want

  • how you're paying for the transfer (bank account, debit card or credit card)

  • whether you're sending the money online or at a counter.

Western Union also adds a charge on to the exchange rate.

Moneygram fees

Moneygram's transfer fees also vary depending on:

  • which country you're sending the money to

  • which currency you want

  • how you're paying for the transfer (bank account, debit card or credit card).

  • whether you're sending the money online or at a counter.

Moneygram may also add a charge to the exchange rate. This charge can vary, depending on whether you send the money online or at a physical agent.

XE money transfer fees

XE doesn't charge a fee for an international money transfer, whether you're sending or receiving.

But sending money through XE isn't free. XE adds a charge on to the current mid-market exchange rate. That means they get a small percentage of the total amount transferred.

Transferwise fees

Transferwise charges a fee to do an international money transfer. The fee varies from country to country, and it also depends on how much you're sending.

With Transferwise you get a true mid-market exchange rate. That means it's the same internal exchange rate that banks use.

Paypal fees

Paypal charges a wide range of fees for sending money abroad.

The fees vary depending on the sender and the recipient's country and the currency being transferred. It can also be affected by how you're paying for the transaction. It's cheapest to use a bank account.

The sender can decide whether to pay the fees up front, or pass them on for the receiver to pay. Paypal also adds a charge to the exchange rate.

International money transfer FAQs

Q

Can I agree an exchange rate now and send my money later?

A

Some transfer companies let you do this, also known as a forward contract transfer. Find out more here.

Q

Why do transfer companies offer different exchange rates?

A

They deduct their costs from the interbank rate (the rate banks use to exchange currencies with one another) to give you a personalised rate.

Q

How long does an international money transfer take?

A

Most take three to five working days, although they can take up to two weeks. Check with the transfer company before you send your money.

Q

Can I transfer money abroad to any country?

A

This depends on the transfer company, so compare the companies above to find one that lets you send money to your chosen destination.

Q

Can I transfer money abroad to an account in another name?

A

Some transfer companies only let you send money to an account in your own name. Check this before sending your money to avoid any delays.

Q

Can I transfer money abroad through my bank?

A

Yes, most banks offer a transfer service, but it is usually more expensive than using the companies in this comparison. Find out more here.

Q

Are money transfers FCA regulated?

A

Yes, your money is kept separate to a transfer company's operational money, meaning you have a better chance of getting your money back if they go bust.

Q

Can I send money worldwide?

A

It depends on the company you choose, some offer a worldwide money transfer service from one account, so look out for this.

About our international money transfers comparison

Q

Who do we include in this comparison?

A

We include money transfer companies from our panel. They are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Here is more information about how our website works.

Q

How do we make money from our comparison?

A

We have commercial agreements with some of the companies in this comparison and get paid commission if we help you take out one of their products or services. Find out more here.

You do not pay any extra and the deal you get is not affected.

Last updated: 29 September, 2020