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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.   [USD/GBP=0.782]

United Kingdom
Country Code:
GB
Domestic Currency:
British Pound Sterling
Symbol - Code:
£ GBP
Telephone Prefix:
+44

This is a foreign exchange guide to the United Kingdom, the British Pound Sterling currency plus GBP transfers and travel tips.


In this the United Kingdom currency guide we take a look at :

  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.
  7. GBP News - the latest British Pound Sterling related articles from our blog.

British Pound Sterling (GBP) general currency information


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.

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.


British Pound Sterling (GBP) in the markets

A choppy, volatile pound is what traders expected in the months leading up to Brexit (scheduled for March 2019), and that’s what they got in October and November, albeit within a 5-cent range between $1.27 and $1.32.

The pound’s outlook is inextricably linked to Brexit; nothing else matters, it seems.

On November-15, the day of this report, the pound suffered one of its largest intraday declines in recent years following the resignation of yet another Brexit Secretary (effectively the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator). A number of UK ministers resigned in protest over the latest proposed terms for a UK/EU divorce. The latest deal is unlikely to make it through Parliament and that will send Britain back to the drawing board with only 4 months left on the clock.

A “no deal” Brexit would likely see the pound trade back towards the low $1.20s.

Against the euro, the pound traded in mid-November at £0.89, midway between the August-November swing.

Sterling forecasts are futile given the prevailing uncertainties.

The interactive chart below shows the USD to GBP 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.


USD-GBP 3 Month chart
USD-GBP 3 Month chart
USDGBP 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.

 

Compare USD to GBP Travel Money Exchange Rates vs the Banks

USD $1,000 → Spend British pound sterling (GBP) Settings - Currency/Amount

ProvidersAmount GBPExchange RateCostReviewsDeals Links
Travelex Online US logoTravelex Online US
£707.00 GBP
Top Provider
0.7079.6%
 
HSBC logoHSBC
£699.90 GBP
£7.1 less
0.699910.51%
Banks - Average Rate
U.S. Bank logo Wells Fargo Bank logo HSBC logo
£690.53 GBP
£16 less
0.695211.71%
Wells Fargo Bank logoWells Fargo Bank
£685.90 GBP
£21 less
0.699912.3%
U.S. Bank logoU.S. Bank
£685.80 GBP
£21 less
0.685812.31%
Travelex Online US fee breakdown & reviews
USD amount:$1,000 USD
Fee:$0
Exchange Rate:0.707 (9.6% from mid-rate)
GBP amount:£707.00 GBP
Total Cost:9.6%
Time:
Rate Fetched: Tue Nov 20 2018 22:00:04 GMT+0000 (UTC)
Rating:
 
: 4.3/5.0
Reviews:
HSBC fee breakdown & reviews
USD amount:$1,000 USD
Fee:$0
Exchange Rate:0.6999 (10.51% from mid-rate)
GBP amount:£699.90 GBP
Total Cost:10.51%
Time:0:07 Local
Rating:
: /5.0
Reviews:
 

Banks - Average Rate
U.S. Bank logo Wells Fargo Bank logo HSBC logo

Banks - Average Rate
USD amount:$1,000 USD
Fee:$10 USD (1%)
Exchange Rate:0.6843 (12.5% from mid-rate)
GBP amount:£690.53 GBP
Total Cost:11.71%
Wells Fargo Bank fee breakdown & reviews
USD amount:$1,000 USD
Fee:$20 USD (Minimum fee)
Exchange Rate:0.6999 (10.51% from mid-rate)
GBP amount:£685.90 GBP
Total Cost:12.3%
Time:0:07 Local
Rating:
: /5.0
Reviews:
U.S. Bank fee breakdown & reviews
USD amount:$1,000 USD
Fee:$0
Exchange Rate:0.6858 (12.31% from mid-rate)
GBP amount:£685.80 GBP
Total Cost:12.31%
Time:0:07 Local
Rating:
: /5.0
Reviews:
 
Sending a LARGER foreign transfer? Shop-around with multiple providers: Get Quotes
Cost is provider fees + exchange rate margin vs USD/GBP mid-rate: 0.7821
Rates @ 11/21/2018
 

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!

 

Compare USD to GBP Foreign Transfers vs the Banks

Send USD $10,000 → GBP Settings - Currency/Amount

ProvidersAmount GBPExchange RateCostReviewsDeals Links
OFX logoOFX
£7790.00 GBP
Top Provider
0.7790.4%
 
HSBC logoHSBC
£7586.00 GBP
£204 less
0.75863%
Banks - Average Rate
Bank of America logo U.S. Bank logo Wells Fargo Bank logo HSBC logo
£7384.88 GBP
£405 less
0.74255.58%
Wells Fargo Bank logoWells Fargo Bank
£7382.69 GBP
£407 less
0.73965.6%
Bank of America logoBank of America
£7285.41 GBP
£505 less
0.73596.85%
U.S. Bank logoU.S. Bank
£7285.41 GBP
£505 less
0.73596.85%
 
OFX fee breakdown & reviews
USD amount:$10,000 USD
Fee:$0
Exchange Rate:0.7790 (0.4% from mid-rate)
GBP amount:£7790.00 GBP
Total Cost:0.4%
Time:
Rate Fetched: 0:07 Local
Rating:
 
: 4.8/5.0
Reviews:
HSBC fee breakdown & reviews
USD amount:$10,000 USD
Fee:0
Exchange Rate:0.7586 (3% from mid-rate)
GBP amount:£7586.00 GBP
Total Cost:3%
Difference:
£204 GBP less than using OFX
Time:0:07 Local
Rating:
: /5.0
Reviews:
 

Banks - Average Rate
Bank of America logo U.S. Bank logo Wells Fargo Bank logo HSBC logo

Banks - Average Rate
USD amount:$10,000 USD
Fee:$15
Exchange Rate:0.7343 (6.11% from mid-rate)
GBP amount:£7384.88 GBP
Total Cost:5.58%
Difference:
£405 GBP less than using OFX
Wells Fargo Bank fee breakdown & reviews
USD amount:$10,000 USD
Fee:$18
Exchange Rate:0.7396 (5.43% from mid-rate)
GBP amount:£7382.69 GBP
Total Cost:5.6%
Difference:
£407 GBP less than using OFX
Time:0:07 Local
Rating:
: /5.0
Reviews:
Bank of America fee breakdown & reviews
USD amount:$10,000 USD
Fee:$100 USD (1%)
Exchange Rate:0.7359 (5.91% from mid-rate)
GBP amount:£7285.41 GBP
Total Cost:6.85%
Difference:
£505 GBP less than using OFX
Time:0:07 Local
Rating:
: /5.0
Reviews:
U.S. Bank fee breakdown & reviews
USD amount:$10,000 USD
Fee:$100 USD (1%)
Exchange Rate:0.7359 (5.91% from mid-rate)
GBP amount:£7285.41 GBP
Total Cost:6.85%
Difference:
£505 GBP less than using OFX
Time:0:07 Local
Rating:
: /5.0
Reviews:
 
Sending a LARGER foreign transfer? Shop-around with multiple providers: Get Quotes
Cost is provider fees + exchange rate margin vs USD/GBP mid-rate: 0.7821
Rates @ 11/21/2018
 

Major GBP cross rates


GBP/USD - British Pound Sterling to United States Dollar - 10 Year History

DateExchange RatePeriodChange
20 Nov 20181.2817Latest
13 Nov 20181.30151 Week-1.52%
21 Oct 20181.30661 Month-1.91%
24 May 20181.33836 Months-4.23%
20 Nov 20171.32431 Year-3.22%
20 Nov 20161.23272 Years+3.98%
21 Nov 20131.61975 Years-20.87%
22 Nov 20081.488010 Years-13.86%

GBP/EUR - British Pound Sterling to Euro - 10 Year History

DateExchange RatePeriodChange
20 Nov 20181.1238Latest
13 Nov 20181.15051 Week-2.32%
21 Oct 20181.13521 Month-1%
24 May 20181.14176 Months-1.57%
20 Nov 20171.12831 Year-0.4%
20 Nov 20161.16482 Years-3.52%
21 Nov 20131.20155 Years-6.47%
22 Nov 20081.185510 Years-5.2%

GBP/JPY - British Pound Sterling to Japanese Yen - 10 Year History

DateExchange RatePeriodChange
20 Nov 2018144.3512Latest
13 Nov 2018148.10611 Week-2.54%
21 Oct 2018146.95121 Month-1.77%
24 May 2018146.29286 Months-1.33%
20 Nov 2017149.05861 Year-3.16%
20 Nov 2016136.85922 Years+5.47%
21 Nov 2013163.48625 Years-11.7%
22 Nov 2008141.394510 Years+2.09%

GBP/AUD - British Pound Sterling to Australian Dollar - 10 Year History

DateExchange RatePeriodChange
20 Nov 20181.7669Latest
13 Nov 20181.80021 Week-1.85%
21 Oct 20181.83691 Month-3.81%
24 May 20181.76776 Months-0.05%
20 Nov 20171.75301 Year+0.79%
20 Nov 20161.68402 Years+4.92%
21 Nov 20131.75435 Years+0.72%
22 Nov 20082.378410 Years-25.71%

GBP/CAD - British Pound Sterling to Canadian Dollar - 10 Year History

DateExchange RatePeriodChange
20 Nov 20181.6964Latest
13 Nov 20181.72121 Week-1.44%
21 Oct 20181.71231 Month-0.93%
24 May 20181.72466 Months-1.64%
20 Nov 20171.69731 Year-0.05%
20 Nov 20161.66512 Years+1.88%
21 Nov 20131.70205 Years-0.33%
22 Nov 20081.911310 Years-11.24%

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