22 November 2017 : 

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Money Transfers

Whether you are considering emigrating, buying or selling an overseas property, or sending money abroad to family and friends, using a foreign exchange service instead of high street banks could save you money on fees and exchange rates. The process is quick and easy; simply register your details online and enjoy great rates. There are a wide range of international exchange companies below, offering great personal customer service, competitive rates and low fees.

Compare money transfer suppliers using the table below & get a better exchange rate.

Provider Name Transfer
We provide this money transfer comparison service free to the user, but we may receive commissions from the companies we refer users to. This table is ordered by the Creditsafe ranking, an independent business resilience rating system.


What are money transfers?

Money transfers are simply a way of sending money abroad. They may sound like something that is part of ‘high finance’, rather than a tool for everyday personal finance, but as people increasingly transact overseas they are becoming increasingly popular with ‘normal people’. 

Essentially, when people need to send money abroad (perhaps to children studying abroad, or for mortgage payments on foreign property) they can either use their bank, as most people traditionally have, or a specialist money transfer company.

Large or small amounts can be transferred, but to get the best value for your money, comparing the different services is essential to find the one with the lowest cost and least amount of stress. 

How are money transfers charged?

When transferring money internationally the costs are broken into 2 parts:

  • Fees: these include a combination of using the service, cost of overseas bank receiving fees and transfer charges. Care needs to be taken to see if any charges are made when collecting the money from its desired destination, as this could come at the expense of the receiver.
  • Exchange rates: When banks or firms say they are commission free, it is usually in the exchange rate where they would look to recover those losses. This is due to banks and money transfer firms not stating a definitive exchange rate.  So beware to take into account the overall cost, once the fees and total costs have been taken away.

Typically, foreign exchange companies can offer the best exchange rates, especially when transferring large sums. However there are a few things that can affect the exchange rate such as the amount to be exchanged, the exchange rate levels at the time of buying, and the volatility of the currency when buying and selling the currencies. 

Who offer money transfer services?

For the majority of people, their first port of call when looking to transfer money abroad would be to go to a high street bank, as they are established and trusted brands. However, this could work out as a very expensive method, due to the high fees involved and relatively uncompetitive exchange rates. 

Banks know that many people will not bother to check the exchange rate or even the hidden fees involved when making an international money transfer. Therefore they can make money from those who don’t wish to investigate and find the best value for money. 

Depending on which bank you hold an account with, some allow money to be sent abroad without a fee. This would be through an overseas division of the same banking group. This will only work if the sender and recipient of the money have the same bank. It will also need to be checked with the bank itself as only some banks offer this service.

However, foreign exchange companies that provide money transfers can offer much more competitive exchange rates, through not having to pay the huge overheads of banks. With the combination of technology this has allowed better communication of information and for more informed knowledge of the market and better exchange rates. 

As foreign exchange companies solely specialise in international money transactions, as opposed to banks which dabble in various things, their quality of service in this sector is generally higher than that of banks. Foreign exchange companies know they cannot rely on the laziness of customers not to check the fees and exchange rates like banks often do, and therefore strive to stay as competitive as they can. 

Comparing money transfer options

When choosing which foreign exchange company to transfer money with, it is important to make sure you have taken into account the total fees, and accounted for this if you are looking to send an exact amount abroad as they could be left short on the receiving end. 

Deciding which is the easiest method for you to send money, whether it’s online, over the phone, or through an agent, can play a deciding role in choosing the best money transfer. It is worth finding out which method works best for you and if the foreign exchange company provide the preferred method. 

The amount of time needed to transfer the money is another issue to think about when comparing money transfers. This will vary with every company, as some provide quick transfers at a higher cost whilst others simply offer standard transfers. This is something to note if you need the money to arrive urgently. 

One last check is to make sure that the receiver of the money being transferred is aware of the suitability of access to be able to receive the money. This means checking with them, to find out their easiest point of call to pick up money from. 

What to watch for when transferring money?

As the money is being sent internationally, it won’t be as secure as money being sent within the UK. This is because not all countries follow the same financial rules and guidelines. It may therefore be prudent to carry out some checks for yourself on your chosen money transfer service, to give yourself peace of mind.

  • How long has the foreign exchange company has been in business for? This will give you some idea of its reliability and standing in the market. This is due to the fact that if a money transfer company is holding your money while the firm go bust, there is no guarantee you will get your money back.
  • Is the company authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under payment services regulation? If they are then they will have to undergo strict business practices and regulation. 
  • Is the company registered with HMRC to undertake business overseas?

Given the risks associated with transferring money abroad, we have sorted the table above by the credit rating of the business by a 3rd party (business to business), credit checking service – Creditsafe.

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Please ensure that you fully read the terms & conditions of any product or policy before you decide to proceed and are fully aware of the total costs and the benefits and any exclusions or limitations applicable to the product or plan.

Please note that the product links will take you direct to the Issuer or Insurer's site direct and we cannot be held responsible for the information which they provide within their own sites. On some comparison tables we use a star rating which rates products by visitor popularity.
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