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Transfer Money Abroad

A Guide to UK Money Transfer Companies

We understand that sending large amounts of money to another account in a different currency can be daunting and expensive, especially through bank transfers. However, it’s really not so terrifying, other than seeing your bank balance temporarily drain! Read on as we clue you into how the process of sending money abroad works and at the end, we list the 5 money transfer companies that we think are the best currency exchange companies in the UK.

A Brief Introduction to Money Transfer

If you’re moving abroad from the UK, you won’t be surprised to learn that most countries don’t use Pound Sterling. In which case, you’re likely going to be interested in learning how to transfer money abroad.

There are a few different options when it comes to exchanging currency when moving abroad:

  • Currency Exchange Services – you can use these services when you arrive, however this will prove expensive and are mostly for tourists.
  • Banks – Naturally, your bank will be able to assist you in transferring money abroad, but you can expect fees unless you use the same bank in both countries, which might not always be possible.
  • Money Transfer Companies – these companies will offer money transfer at a competitive rate and are a good option when transferring between different banks.

In most cases, you’ll want to want to transfer your money abroad at a rate that saves you the most money. Nobody likes to lose money! So, stick with us as we delve further into some of the finer points of transferring money aboard as well our picks for the best currency exchange companies in the UK, which could save you money.

How Does Transferring Money Internationally Work?

It’s great to know the options before you when it comes to transferring money abroad, but the next question is the most important: How does it work and how much does a money transfer abroad cost?

For us mere mortals, it may seem like magic; money goes in, different money comes out. Unfortunately, money transfer is a lot more mundane. There are some slight differences as to how each company, bank or money transfer organisation, achieves this, but it boils down to:

  • You transfer money to the company;
  • Once the funds have been received, the company transfers the money in one of two ways: by directly converting the currency or through the use of reserves;
  • Finally, the agreed amount is then deposited into the recipient account.


It’s a simple enough process, and you can likely see where the costs of sending money abroad come in. Often, there are fees for the money transfer, such as a service fee, expediency fee, and a slightly less obvious conversion fee, which are applied once the company has received the money and is transferring it to the recipient account.

For the service and expediency fees, banks and some international money transfer companies in the UK, will tell you, upfront, that they’re charging fees and how much. This does immediately hike up the price, and you can expect the fee to from £5 to £50 or even more.

On average, the fees charged by international money transfer companies in the UK are around £15, while banks will have fees of £30.

Mid-market Rate

About the conversion fees, you’ll find that you won’t receive the mid-market exchange rate (the exchange rate that you’ll likely see everywhere). Companies that offer no fee transfers will likely have a higher exchange rate markup, essentially a conversion fee, in order to make ends meet. The exchange rate is something that you, as a savvy customer, will need to keep a watch for. So, shopping around is imperative.

As exchange rate markups are not openly stated, it’s harder to understand what percentage it will be. However, banks usually have a markup of at least 4%, which, when compared to the around 2% applied by most international money transfer companies is quite steep, if you ask us.

Market Forces

One last thing, the currency exchange rate is subject to market forces and the rate will likely change over a couple of days. Thus, make su

re that you have good communication with the company helping you transfer money to know if the changes will drastically affect your money transfer.

How Long Does Money Transfer Take?

Just like money transfer, we’ll keep this quick. Transferring money abroad can take only a few hours, or sometimes up to 5 business days­. The variability comes from a host of factors but rest assured that the transfer will usually happen within 1-2 days.

As delays do occur, it’s best to know the usually causes and see if can avoid them and reduce the potential of a longer transfer:

  • Incorrect Details – If there’s some incorrect information, you can expect to supply additional information or for the transfer to be cancelled.
  • Payment Method – Certain methods of payment will take longer to clear, such as wire transfer or cheques. A longer clearing time could mean another day.
  • Opening Hours – There are certain key steps that must be verified for financial and legal reason, and this can’t be done outside business hours, so no weekend transfers. Therefore, you should send your transfer request early in the day and the week.
  • Holidays – This is similar to the previous point, but you need to be aware of the holidays in the country of the sending and receiving account as there will limited to no transfer during these days.

Our Picks for the Top 5 UK Money Transfer Companies

When it comes to choosing which organisation you want to send money abroad with, there are a few factors that you should take particular note of. So, below, we’ve highlighted the most important criteria that we used in making our list of the top 5 international money transfer companies in the UK.


✔ Fees and Exchange Rate Markup

These are important as they will add to the cost of your transfer. Companies will often have fees for small transfers since there is less money to be made with an exchange rate markup. An exchange rate markup is a little harder to see with international money transfer, but it’s usually a good idea to ask for quotes to see who will give you the best deal.

✔ Supported Currencies and Countries

Before you try and transfer money, it’s best to make sure the organisation works with the currency that interests you. It’ll save you from wasting time. For the big currencies (EURO, USD, AUD, etc.), you’ll find that these are always supported by UK money transfer companies. Where it gets harder are the less popular ones. The companies we’ve listed have a good selection, but always be sure to check!

✔ Reviews

The most important thing you can do before choosing is to read the reviews of a money transfer company. It will highlight any potential problems and also give you peace of mind when sending money abroad with a company that has a good score and many reviews.

Top 6 International Money Transfer Companies

Finally, what you’ve been reading this article for, our pick of the top 6 international money transfer companies in the UK. These were picked for their great service, currency options, and ease of sending money abroad. So, let’s get into it:

1 – Wise

Wise was founded in 2010 and since then have created a big reputation for themselves. They have 11 offices with over 1,300 employees across 4 continents which makes them one of the biggest international money transfer companies out there. Wise also offers a borderless account where you can send, receive and spend money in over 50 currencies. This makes it much easier for people who have moved overseas and need to transfer money abroad to pay for things in different currencies on a regular basis.

Minimum transfer£1
Maximum transfer£1,000,000
Exchange rate markupNo
Accepts credit cardYes
Other payment optionsDirect debit, bank transfer, debit card, Android/Apple Pay
Currencies supported54
Countries you can send to59
How long a transfer takesUsually up to 2 business days
RegulatorsFCA (UK), FinCEN (US), FinTRAC (CA), ASIC (AU), CED (HK), RBI (IN), KLFBJ (JP), DIANZ (NZ)
Trustpilot score4.6/5 from 130,000+ reviews
App quality scoreGoogle: 4.5/5, Apple: 4.7/5
Referral schemeRefer a friend and they’ll get a discount on their first transfer, refer 3 friends that transfer over £200, and you’ll receive £50.

2 – TransferGo

TransferGo was founded on 2012 in Lithuania and has since grown to be a prominent player within the European money transfer industry. It promises quick next-day transfers within Europe or same day for a small fee. It also accommodates international money transfers to countries outside the Europe, however there’s a small fee associated with this too. The company is growing quickly and it’s easy to see why as it’s fast and has great customer service.

Minimum transfer£1
Maximum transfer£10,000 when paying by card, otherwise there’s no limit
Exchange rate markupYes
Accepts credit cardYes
Other payment optionsBank transfers, direct debit, debit card
Currencies supported39
Countries you can send to63
How long a transfer takes1 business day
RegulatorsFCA (UK), BoL (LT)
Trustpilot score4.8/5 from 23,000+ reviews
App quality scoreGoogle: 4.3/5, Apple: 4.7/5
Referral schemeRefer a friend who makes a transfer of over 100 within 6 months of signing up to receive a bonus. Bonus varies on location and sum transferred.

3 – Currencies Direct

Being a UK-based company with 21 offices around the world, Currencies Direct can offer local expertise to help you on currency markets. They specialise in transferring money to Spain, France, Portugal, the USA and South Africa, with zero transfer fees. Most transfers are carried out the same day or the next working day, making Currencies Direct an excellent choice to transfer your money abroad.

Minimum transfer£100
Maximum transfer£25,000 online, more is possible over the phone
Exchange rate markupYes
Accepts credit cardNo
Other payment optionsBank transfer, debit card, direct debit
Currencies supported39
Countries you can send to200+
How long a transfer takes1-2 business days
RegulatorsFCA (UK), FinCen (US), FinTRAC (CA), SARB (ZA), BoS (SP)
Trustpilot score4.9/5 from 6,000+ reviews
App quality scoreGoogle: 4.4/5, Apple: 3.7/5
Referral schemeFor ever friend you refer who transfers over £5,000, you’ll receive a £50 Amazon voucher.

Company Overview

Currencies Direct offers services to both individuals and companies. It is mostly specialized in transferring money when someone is emigrating, buying a property overseas, or sending money abroad regularly. Finally, it also offers travel money, in case you need some cash money for your holiday.


Below you can find an overview of all the different characteristics of Currencies Direct.

Transfer Speed

Most online reviews point out that the company is able to transfer the money fast and on schedule. In general delivery of the funds can take anything between a few hours to 3 days, with the least traded currencies taking the longest. Multiple customers seemed particularly impressed by the possibility of receiving the money on the next business day.

Fees and Minimum Transfer

Currencies Direct does not apply fees when transferring money internationally. This, together with the size of its annual transactions, makes for a high chance of saving a considerable amount of money compared to what a bank could offer you. On their website it’s also possible to easily check the current exchange rate, and get an idea of the approximate savings you would get.

Concerning the minimum transfer, this is limited to £100 (or $100, €100). You can then use them if you need to send money abroad frequently. There is also no maximum transaction limit, but of course in case of transfer of very high amount it might take longer to finalize the procedure.

How to Transfer the Money

If you were to decide to use Currencies Direct, you will have to create an account on their website. This is pretty easy, and the high majority of online reviews show that the registration was a positive experience. You will have to provide a few important information (e.g. your name, nationality, date of birth), and specify the amount you are looking to transfer. Note that to finalize the account you will be required to connect your phone number to account, and you will receive a special PIN code on the mobile.

Moreover, you can also ask for a quote, and one of their specialist will contact you directly via phone or email to guide you through the process and explain you what kind of services they can offer you.


Currencies Direct is registered in the UK on the FCA, which makes it completely safe to use. Moreover, it has registrations in France (ACPR), the States (at federal level in the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a bureau of the U.S. Department of Treasury, as a Money Services Business), and in South Africa (FSB).

4 – Xe

Xe started in 1993 and entered the money transfer business in 2001. It’s a great option if you need to exchange large sums of currency as Xe supports over 98 options. While it is a Canadian company, it has offices all over the world and can send money to over 130 countries. It’s a great option for more niche currencies, and has a nifty app.

Minimum transfer£1
Maximum transfer£350,000 online, more is possible over the phone
Exchange rate markupYes
Accepts credit cardYes
Other payment optionsBank transfers, direct debit, debit card
Currencies supported98
Countries you can send to130+
How long a transfer takes1-2 business days
RegulatorsFCA (UK), FinCEN (US), FinTRAC (CA), ASIC (AU), Netherlands Central Bank (NL)
Trustpilot score4.4/5 from 48,000+ reviews
App quality scoreGoogle: 3.5/5, Apple: 4.4/5
Referral schemeRefer a friend who transfers over £1,000, you’ll both a £25 Amazon voucher.

5 – TorFX

If you need expertise on how to transfer money abroad to buy property in a different currency or to transfer your wages, TorFX can help. You will be assigned a personal Account Manager who can provide you with industry insights and will help you make informed decisions when transferring large sums of money internationally. As well as having zero transfer fees, TorFX has been trusted by more the 50,000 private clients for their services.

Minimum transfer£100
Maximum transferNo limit
Exchange rate markupYes
Accepts credit cardNo
Other payment optionsBank transfer, debit card, direct debit, cheque
Currencies supported59
Countries you can send to110
How long a transfer takes1-2 business days
RegulatorsFCA (UK), ASIC (AU)
Trustpilot score4.9/5 from 4,400+ reviews
App quality scoreGoogle: 4/5, Apple: 4.4/5
Referral schemeFor ever friend you refer who transfers over £5,000, you’ll receive a £50 Amazon voucher.


Below you can find some extra information about the characteristics of the company.

Transfer Speed

According to both the TorFX website and the majority of reviews online, the transfer of money can take between 1 and 3 days. In many cases the transfer took place in the same day, particularly when the money is converted to a currency in the same time-zone, or when the delivery is particularly urgent. Transfers can take more than a day when the currencies involved are more exotic.

Fees and Minimum Transfer

Unlike banks and other international money transfer providers, the service TorFX offers is completely free, with no transfer fees or other hidden charges. The minimum transfer amount is £100 or equivalent (e.g. AU$100 or €100).

How to Make a Currency Transfer

You can move money abroad with TorFX in three simple steps.

  1. Register on their website here or give them a call. It’s free to create an account and only takes a couple of minutes, but you may need to provide a copy of your ID (for security purposes).
  2. Once you’ve created an account you agree the exchange rate for your transfer online or over the phone.
  3. Transfer your payment to TorFX’s bank account and they’ll transfer the currency to your recipient account.

You can also request a quote to find out how much you could save compared to a bank or another provider.


TorFX takes the security of funds seriously. They are authorised by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) as an Electronic Money Institution. They also hold highest credit rating with Dun and Bradstreet. Its Australian office is regulated by AUSTRAC (Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre) and holds an Australian Financial Services Licence, AFS Licence number 246838.

6 – OFX

OFX was founded in 1998, and it has passed from a small company of 2 employees to one of the biggest international money transfers in the market. It has over 200 employees, and overall these years it managed to transfer more than £50 billion and 1 million total transfers.

OFX used to be divided into multiple brands (OZForex, UKForex, etc), and only in 2015 it became known as OFX. Since 2013 the company is traded in the Australian Stock exchange.

Quick Facts
Currencies Offered55
FeesNo wire fees
Minimum Transfer£100 or equivalent in other currencies
Money Transfer Comparison Rating90.4%
FCARegulated on the FCA as an Authorized Payment Institution
ReviewsVery Positive

Company Overview

OFX has 6 offices in various continents (London, Sydney, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Toronto, Auckland and Singapour). It is able to offer services to people residing in all those locations, to a total of 190 countries. It offers a 24/7 customer service, which makes it very convenient. Note that with OFX you can only transfer money from bank to bank, and not from cash to bank, or vice versa.

Money Transfer and Taxes

We’re sure the title alone has struck some fear into, but you’ll be glad to know that you won’t face any tax when transferring money abroad from the UK. It’s your money and you’ve already paid tax, so there’s nothing to do here.

In the receiving country, if you transfer this money to an account with your name there shouldn’t be any problems. Just be aware that if you transfer a very high volume of money, it might draw the attention of the local tax office. So, be sure to have the documentation to show that it’s your hard money, not ill-gotten gains.


Transfer Speed

80% of OFX’s transfers are cleared the same day, and the website says that the funds will be delivered in 1-2 business days. Conveniently, the transfers can be tracked with your mobile phone through an app. Although some reviews highlight delays in the delivery of the money, it seems that most currencies can indeed be transferred in around a couple of days.

Fees and Minimum Transfer

Until 2015 OFX, divided still in the various brands, used to have a minimum transfer rate of £750, and a small fee for transactions lower than £3,000. Since 2016 the company updated its policies, and now offers a service on pair with the other modern foreign exchange brokers. Currently there is no fee on any international transaction, and no minimum transfer required. The exchange rate used is also among the lowest in the industry, again to keep up with the competition of other providers.

How to Transfer the Money

In most cases creating an account at OFX will be a straightforward process. You will have to press ‘Register’ on the main website, and follow the procedure. In some cases (depending on the countries of origin/destination, and the currency sent), you will have to give some extra confirmations of your identity, for example by sending a copy of your ID card. The procedures are requested both to guarantee the safety of the transfer, and to adhere to the anti money laundering regulations.


OFX is highly regulated, and is part of the appropriate financial regulation bodies in each country where it operates directly. Besides the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK, it is registered in the Australian ASIC (Australian Securities and Exchange Commission), the FinCEN in the USA, and finally FINTRAC in Canada (neither FinCEN nor FINTRAC provide a directory of members for us to verify this). This makes the company safe in every environment and for all the various transfer needs you might have.

6 – Rational FX

Rational FX was founded in 2005 as a small start-up, and since then it has grown into a respectable international money transfer specialist. It has a team of 70 people speaking various languages.

Rational FX offers the standard services provided by other Foreign Exchange Brokers, and is able to provide transfers for both privates and corporate.

Quick Facts
Currencies Offered40+
Fees£4 for amounts lower than £4,000, otherwise no fees
Minimum TransferNo minimum transfer
Money Transfer Comparison Ratingn.a.
FCA CheckRegistered in the Financial Conduct Registry as ‘Payment Service Firm

Company Overview

Rational FX has now offices in London, Birmingham, Spain and France. It is mostly specialized in helping private individuals sending money abroad to purchase properties, or in case of a relocation abroad. Moreover, thanks to its offices in Spain and France is caters to British expats who need regular money transfers from the UK. Together with its Rational brand, the company owns xendpay, a separate entity that is more focused on business and corporate transactions.


Below you will find the main information about Rational FX services.

Transfer Speed

The website of Rational FX mentions that payment anywhere in the world can be made within the same day. Looking online at various reviews, it seems most payments take between 1 to 3 days, which is more or less the average of all international money transfer companies. Some reviews mention how sending money to some countries can take a long time instead, particularly places like Russia or countries whose currency is not frequently traded.

Fees and Minimum Transfer

Rational FX requires a fee of £4.00 for any transaction below £4,000 (€5 for transactions up to €5,000, and $6 for transactions up to $6,000). This is less than what a bank would ask for, but more than some other foreign exchange brokers who do not charge any fee at all. For transfers above £4,000 there is no fee charged. There is no minimum transfer, so the company can be used also for smaller transactions. There are no other charges applied.

How to Transfer the Money

To transfer money you can follow two different procedures. One option is to go to their home page, and fill in their currency converter. In this way you can see directly how much money you would approximately save, and ask a specialist to contact you either by phone or by email. Alternatively, if you have more experience with sending money abroad, you can also directly create an account and log in.

The website is available in English, Spanish, French and German, and it’s easy to navigate both from mobile and desktop.


Rational FX is registered in the FCA. Moreover, it is a member of the HMCR under the Money Laundry regulation active since 2007 in the UK. The funds transferred are held at Barclays.

What Next?

We hope that this page has helped you in finding the right international money transfer company for you. There are many things to consider when you transfer money abroad, so be sure to take your time when choosing.

If transferring your money abroad is part of a greater move to a foreign country, we have some articles that will help you with that process too! So, check out the links below and let us help on your moving journey.