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Foreign Exchange Guide to the United Kingdom

Read this currency guide to the United Kingdom with money transfer and travel tips.

Country Code:
Domestic Currency:
British pound sterling
Symbol - Code:
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This is a foreign exchange guide to the United Kingdom, British pound sterling currency news plus GBP transfers and travel tips.

In this guide we review :

  1. British pound sterling info - general info about the British pound sterling
  2. British pound sterling in the markets - recent GBP moves and predictions from the FX markets
  3. Travelling in the United Kingdom - currency & money saving tips
  4. Buying British pound sterling cash online - travel money for the United Kingdom
  5. Sending money to the United Kingdom - save on British pound sterling bank transfers to the United Kingdom
  6. British pound sterling exchange rates - latest & historic exchange rates.

British pound sterling (GBP) general currency information

The British pound (ISO: GBP) is one base unit of sterling – that being the name of Britain's currency – and is subdivided into 100 pence.

Contributing to around 13% of all foreign exchange deals, the pound, or sterling, is the world’s fourth most traded currency.

Reputedly, sterling is 1200 years old. It is said that Anglo-Saxon traders used silver pennies in the eighth century called ‘sterlings’, 240 of which would equal one pound in weight.

Due to its membership of the European Union, Britain could have adopted the euro as its currency upon its introduction in 1999, however the British government opted against this because it wanted to retain monetary policy independence and because it perceived euro adoption as offering only small economic benefits.

In recent years, the most significant event to affect sterling’s valuation was the UK’s vote to leave the European Union on June 24th 2016 – a day on which the exchange rate for GBP/USD fell by as much as 11%.

In the past two decades, the pound’s highest valuation against the dollar occurred in November 2007 when GBP/USD reached 2.1161. Its lowest value came in October 2016, three-and-a-half months after the historic ‘Brexit’ vote, when GBP/USD reached 1.1905.

What is the British pound sterling currency code and symbol?

The three letter currency code for the British pound sterling is GBP and the symbol is £.

Which countries use the British pound sterling?

It is the domestic currency in United Kingdom, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey and South Georgia And South Sandwich Islands.

British pound sterling (GBP) in the markets

Between mid-June and mid-July, the pound bought between 1.305 and 1.335 US dollars, and between 1.125 and 1.145 euros.

Against the dollar, the pound is down significantly from April’s high near 1.44 but against the euro (a far more important measure given that most of the UK’s two-way trade is with the EU), it remains rock solid, and little changed from rates in September of last year.

The pound’s remarkable stability in the face of July's political turmoil (a string of high-profile political resignations, each related to disagreements over Brexit) is indicative of underlying strength and traders should expect a rally in the currency once some form of Brexit deal is fully signed off, said a Guardian economist.

MUFG said in July it expects “a deal to be reached this side of Christmas,” after which the pound will strengthen.

Bearish on the pound is UBS. The bank said it would bet on weakness and offered a contrarian view that UK economic activity was insufficient to trigger a Bank of England rate hike in August.

The interactive chart below shows the GBP to USD exchange rate for the previous 3 months with rate alerts for days when the exchange rate moved up or down significantly or for 30 day highs and lows.

GBP-USD 3 Month chart
GBP-USD 3 Month chart
GBPUSD currency converter

Travel, Currency and Money saving tips for the United Kingdom

England is still one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Be sure to get out of London as England's smaller cities and beautiful country villages are fascinating and boast a robust culture. England is not known as a budget location and if you don't keep an eye on your budget it can be expensive.

ATMs are everywhere and all major credit cards are accepted  though you could purchase a Prepaid Travel Card if you prefer not to carry your credit card with you all the time while travelling.

In the United Kingdom, the National Rail service is known to always expensive, no matter how long your trip is. Depending how worried you are about your budget, by booking your ticket with the National Rail over a week in advance and during off peak hours, you can secure you tickets for for up to 50% less.

For more travel tips and ideas on ways to save money when traveling in the United Kingdom read our UK Travel guide.

Is the Euro accepted in the UK?

The United Kingdom does not currently use the euro as its currency and it is extremely unlikely to replace the pound in the near future. You may find some shops that will accept the Euro but watch out for the EUR/GBP exchange rates they offer.

Travel money for the United Kingdom

Save money and time by Ordering your British pound sterling online from Travelex, you get better rates and can pick up the GBP cash locally or even on travel day at the airport.

Another popular option is to use a Pre-paid Travel Card. Your Debit/Credit Card provider will charge you 2% from market mid-rate, but your bank may also charge an extra 3% as an “Overseas Transaction Charge” plus “Overseas ATM” fees for withdrawing cash.

For card purchases if offered a choice of currencies always select to Pay in British pound sterling otherwise you may get much worst exchange rates.

Travel Money Exchange Rates Compared

Buying GBP Cash with USD 1,000

Travelex US Online logo Travelex US Online
£686.60 GBP (10.12%)
Free Home Delivery when you Buy Online Travel Money & Cards with $0 commission and great exchange rates only available from Travelex Online. Zero cost for Home Delivery or pickup your foreign cash at your local Travelex store or at the airport on departure day. * Home deliveries can only be made to the registered billing address of your chosen payment method.
Price Details
Receive: £686.60 GBP
Exchange Rate: 0.6866
(Inverse 1GBP=USD 1.4565)
Fees: USD 0
Total Cost : 10.12% (from mid-rate: 0.7639)
Amount of money that could be received by your currency exchange at rate USD/GBP=0.6866 and inclusive of the fee of USD 0.
Rate timestamp : Wed Jul 18 2018 06:00:04 GMT+0000 (UTC)
Bank Rates - Average
£661.72 GBP (13.38%)
This is the average USD to GBP Buy Foreign Cash exchange rate from multiple banks, exchange kiosks and post-offices, available over the counter and via the internet.

Price Details
Receive: £661.72 GBP
Exchange Rate: 0.6684
(Inverse 1GBP=USD 1.4961)
Fees: USD 10 (1%)
Total Cost : 13.38% (from mid-rate: 0.7639)
Receive GBP £25 less than with  Travelex US Online logo Travelex US Online
Amount of money that could be received by your currency exchange at rate USD/GBP=0.6684 and inclusive of the fee of USD 10 (1%).

the United Kingdom Trip Checklist    

  1. Compare GBP travel cash rates - probably why you are here!
  2. Search Hotel deals - Save on your accomodation in the United Kingdom
  3. Lonely Planet - world's best travel guide (coupon and deals)

Sending money to the United Kingdom

When searching around for information on how to get a good exchange rate when sending money to the United Kingdom you need to start with finding out the latest British pound sterling foreign-transfer exchange rate.

Then compare your bank's exchange rates to several licensed FX providers exchange rate and fees to see how much you can save (we make that calculation easy here).

Get a better deal for foreign transfers to the United Kingdom

When sending money to the United Kingdom it’s important to compare your bank’s rates & fees with those we have negotiated with our partner money transfer providers. To get a better deal you should follow these 4 simple steps :

  1. Open an account with a BER reviewed FX provider (id docs may be required)
  2. You specify the local or British pound sterling amount you want to transfer
  3. Make a local currency domestic transfer for the requested amount to the provider's bank account in your country
  4. Once your funds are received by the provider the converted GBP amount will be transfered to the recipient account you specify in the United Kingdom.

Use our Send to GBP calculator to compare the exchange rates of FX specialist providers rates versus your bank's standard rates you can hopefully save around 5% and maybe more - end result is more British pound sterling deposited into the recipient bank account and less margins and fees kept by the banks!

Sending a LARGER international money transfer? Request a Free Multi-Vendor Quote

Compare Foreign Transfers

Sending USD 10,000 to GBP

OFX logo OFX
£7599.00 GBP (0.52%)
Book & track your foreign transfers online (24/7) with industry best rates for all your deals - not just the first one! Lock in exchange rates with Spot & Forward Deals. BestExchangeRates users get the transfer fees waived.
Price Details
Receive: £7599.00 GBP
Exchange Rate: 0.7599
(Inverse 1GBP=USD 1.3160)
Fees: USD 0
Total Cost : 0.52% (from mid-rate: 0.7639)
This is the amount of money that could be received by your transfer at rate USD/GBP=0.7599 and inclusive of the fee of USD 0.
Rate timestamp : Wed Jul 18 2018 06:03:15 GMT+0000 (UTC)
Bank Rates - Average
£7359.94 GBP (3.65%)
This is the average USD to GBP International Transfer exchange rate and fees from multiple banks for FX rates available over the counter and also via Internet Banking.

Price Details
Receive: £7359.94 GBP
Exchange Rate: 0.7371
(Inverse 1GBP=USD 1.3567)
Fees: USD 15
Total Cost : 3.65% (from mid-rate: 0.7639)
Receive GBP £239 less than with  OFX logo OFX
This is the amount of money that could be received by your transfer at rate USD/GBP=0.7371 and inclusive of the fee of USD 15.

British pound sterling - exchange rates - live and historic

Major GBP cross rates
View Full List (A-Z)

GBP/USD - British pound sterling to U.S. dollar - 10 Year History

DateExchange RatePeriodChange
17 Jul 20181.3148Latest
10 Jul 20181.32581 Week-0.83%
17 Jun 20181.32761 Month-0.96%
18 Jan 20181.38936 Months-5.36%
17 Jul 20171.30521 Year+0.74%
17 Jul 20161.32512 Years-0.78%
18 Jul 20131.51855 Years-13.41%
19 Jul 20081.996010 Years-34.13%

GBP/EUR - British pound sterling to Euro - 10 Year History

DateExchange RatePeriodChange
17 Jul 20181.1275Latest
10 Jul 20181.13051 Week-0.27%
17 Jun 20181.14511 Month-1.54%
18 Jan 20181.13556 Months-0.7%
17 Jul 20171.13761 Year-0.89%
17 Jul 20161.19822 Years-5.9%
18 Jul 20131.15795 Years-2.63%
19 Jul 20081.261010 Years-10.59%

GBP/JPY - British pound sterling to Japanese yen - 10 Year History

DateExchange RatePeriodChange
17 Jul 2018148.3643Latest
10 Jul 2018146.97351 Week+0.95%
17 Jun 2018146.88221 Month+1.01%
18 Jan 2018154.26236 Months-3.82%
17 Jul 2017146.96421 Year+0.95%
17 Jul 2016139.71192 Years+6.19%
18 Jul 2013152.01225 Years-2.4%
19 Jul 2008213.343810 Years-30.46%

GBP/AUD - British pound sterling to Australian dollar - 10 Year History

DateExchange RatePeriodChange
17 Jul 20181.7795Latest
10 Jul 20181.78781 Week-0.46%
17 Jun 20181.78431 Month-0.27%
18 Jan 20181.73546 Months+2.54%
17 Jul 20171.67561 Year+6.2%
17 Jul 20161.74422 Years+2.02%
18 Jul 20131.65215 Years+7.71%
19 Jul 20082.054010 Years-13.36%

GBP/CAD - British pound sterling to Canadian dollar - 10 Year History

DateExchange RatePeriodChange
17 Jul 20181.7361Latest
10 Jul 20181.74281 Week-0.38%
17 Jun 20181.75241 Month-0.93%
18 Jan 20181.72436 Months+0.68%
17 Jul 20171.65711 Year+4.77%
17 Jul 20161.71702 Years+1.11%
18 Jul 20131.57785 Years+10.03%
19 Jul 20082.007810 Years-13.53%

British pound sterling News