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Foreign Exchange Guide to the United Kingdom

Latest market mid-rate: 1.0 =

Country Code:
Domestic Currency:
British pound sterling
Symbol - Code:
Telephone Prefix:

The domestic currency in the United Kingdom is the British pound sterling with currency code GBP. Read this foreign exchange guide to the United Kingdom and the British pound sterling with money transfer and travel tips plus British pound sterling exchange cross rates.

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

The pound twice threatened US$1.44 in 2018, but just days after being labelled the “darling of the currency world” by an ING analyst, it began its correction.

Against the US dollar, between April 17th and April 27th (the time of this report), the pound fell in nine of ten trading days to $1.377. Within the same period, EUR/GBP climbed to £0.88, from £0.862.

Much of the reversal in GBP optimism came off the back of a BBC interview with Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, who hinted that “softer” economic data left a May interest rate hike up in the air.

Confirming the softness of UK data was late-April’s print for quarterly economic growth (for the first quarter), which came in at a five-year low of 0.1%.

Post-GDP, Mizuho said that it would be revising down its GBP forecasts; however, ING warned against becoming too pessimistic.

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
GBP currency converter

Travel, Currency and Money saving tips for 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.

ATM's 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.

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)

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 Online logo Travelex Online
£695.60 GBP (7.43%)
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: £695.60 GBP
Exchange Rate: 0.6956
(Inverse 1GBP=USD 1.4376)
Fees: USD 0
Total Cost : 7.43% (from mid-rate: 0.7514)
Amount of money that could be received by your currency exchange at rate USD/GBP=0.6956 and inclusive of the fee of USD 0.
Rate timestamp : Sun May 27 2018 07:00:04 GMT+0000 (UTC)
Bank Rates - Average
£650.92 GBP (13.37%)
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: £650.92 GBP
Exchange Rate: 0.6575
(Inverse 1GBP=USD 1.5209)
Fees: USD 10 (1%)
Total Cost : 13.37% (from mid-rate: 0.7514)
Receive GBP £45 less than with  Travelex Online logo Travelex Online
Amount of money that could be received by your currency exchange at rate USD/GBP=0.6575 and inclusive of the fee of USD 10 (1%).

When in London BER recommends CitizenM London Bankside trendy boutique hotels.

Sending money to the United Kingdom

How to save when sending money 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 3 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 (prev. USForex)
£7441.00 GBP (0.97%)
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: £7441.00 GBP
Exchange Rate: 0.7441
(Inverse 1GBP=USD 1.3439)
Fees: USD 0
Total Cost : 0.97% (from mid-rate: 0.7514)
This is the amount of money that could be received by your transfer at rate USD/GBP=0.7441 and inclusive of the fee of USD 0.
Rate timestamp : Sun May 27 2018 07:03:13 GMT+0000 (UTC)
Bank Rates - Average
£7208.17 GBP (4.07%)
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: £7208.17 GBP
Exchange Rate: 0.7219
(Inverse 1GBP=USD 1.3852)
Fees: USD 15
Total Cost : 4.07% (from mid-rate: 0.7514)
Receive GBP £233 less than with  OFX logo OFX
This is the amount of money that could be received by your transfer at rate USD/GBP=0.7219 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
26 May 20181.3307Latest
19 May 20181.34681 Week-1.2%
26 Apr 20181.39181 Month-4.39%
27 Nov 20171.33216 Months-0.11%
26 May 20171.28061 Year+3.91%
26 May 20161.46652 Years-9.26%
27 May 20131.51085 Years-11.92%
28 May 20081.977910 Years-32.72%

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

DateExchange RatePeriodChange
26 May 20181.1416Latest
19 May 20181.14231 Week-0.06%
26 Apr 20181.14941 Month-0.68%
27 Nov 20171.11906 Months+2.02%
26 May 20171.14511 Year-0.31%
26 May 20161.31022 Years-12.87%
27 May 20131.16835 Years-2.29%
28 May 20081.265010 Years-9.75%

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

DateExchange RatePeriodChange
26 May 2018145.5732Latest
19 May 2018149.17781 Week-2.42%
26 Apr 2018152.12991 Month-4.31%
27 Nov 2017148.04866 Months-1.67%
26 May 2017142.55211 Year+2.12%
26 May 2016161.01942 Years-9.59%
27 May 2013152.72385 Years-4.68%
28 May 2008207.277810 Years-29.77%

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

DateExchange RatePeriodChange
26 May 20181.7614Latest
19 May 20181.79291 Week-1.76%
26 Apr 20181.84251 Month-4.4%
27 Nov 20171.75116 Months+0.59%
26 May 20171.71921 Year+2.45%
26 May 20162.03052 Years-13.25%
27 May 20131.56735 Years+12.38%
28 May 20082.059110 Years-14.46%

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

DateExchange RatePeriodChange
26 May 20181.7259Latest
19 May 20181.73681 Week-0.63%
26 Apr 20181.79161 Month-3.67%
27 Nov 20171.69966 Months+1.55%
26 May 20171.72241 Year+0.2%
26 May 20161.90692 Years-9.49%
27 May 20131.56045 Years+10.61%
28 May 20081.962710 Years-12.07%

British pound sterling News