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.

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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.

Information about how to transfer money abroad

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 5 International Money Transfer Companies

Finally, what you’ve been reading this article for, our pick of the top 5 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.

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.

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.

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.