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Best exchange rates sending money from UK

The holy grail when you send money abroad is finding an organisation that you can trust and one that offers the best exchange rates along with transparent, smart and straightforward customer service.

Guides Foreign Transfers GBP
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Here we try to demystify the landscape of the foreign exchange market and services to help you to secure the best exchange rates sending from the UK, whether that be for buying a house overseas, paying overseas tuition fees, or paying your overseas business partners. Whatever the reason may be, the principles to securing the best exchange rates remain the same.

Ultimately, you want to save money and ensure that your money arrives when and where you expect it to.

In regard to the first criteria, saving money – there are two key factors to consider. These are – the current exchange rates, and the potential fees – both that of the organisation that you are dealing with and potentially any foreign banks/ financials institutions that may charge fees down the chain.

Of the two, exchange rates and fees, the most important when you are transferring a large sum of money is to secure the best exchange rate. This means, an exchange rate that is as close as possible to the mid-market rate (Read our guide: What is the Mid-Market Rate?).

Unlike the share market there are no standard exchange rates, the rate you are offered will vary depending on the provider, the market and the currency pair. Having access to information is the key, most importantly you need up-to-date information.

There are no standard exchange rates, the rate you are offered will vary depending on the provider, the market and the currency pair.

You can use the Best Exchange Rates calculator to see clearly who is offering the best deal for your International Money Transfers and Travel Money needs, and most importantly who is taking the lowest margin on the exchange rate and smallest fees to give you the largest possible converted amount.

The largest cost is the exchange rate margin not the transaction fee…but most FX providers only ever mention the fees!

Both banks and currency exchange providers apply a margin (a percentage charge) to the mid-rate you see on the news each night, the mid-rate is what it costs large banks and currency brokers to buy and sell foreign exchange and is also sometimes called the Inter-bank exchange rate.

On top of this exchange rate margin, the other cost to be aware of is the fee and any commission that may be applied.  All these add up to your Total Cost of Exchange.

Be sure to ask your chosen organisation if there will be fees down the chain from other organisations. This is particularly important if you are paying a customer or business partner.

Once you are sending over $1000 (or equivalent) the largest cost component is generally in the exchange rate margin not the commissions and fees.

Often banks & currency vendors advertise that their exchange is “Commission Free” but this is because they make all their profit through terrible exchange rates. The largest cost is in the exchange rate margin rather than the fees…but most FX providers only ever mention the fees!

Sending a LARGER foreign transfer? Request a Multi-Vendor Quote ▾
Foreign Transfer Providers
Ratings & Reviews
Receive USD($)Exchange RateFee GBPTotal CostTransfer ServicesTransfer SpeedDeal Links
 
TorFX logo
6,406.5 USD
Best Overall
1.281301.39%Bank Transfers - Online & Phone1-2 days
 
OFX logo
6,413 USD
6.5 USD
1.2826£0^1.29%Bank Transfers - Online & Phone, Foreign Currency Accounts1-2 days
HSBC logo
6,278.07 USD
128 USD
1.2575£7.53.36%Online, Branch, Bank Transfers2-3 days
 
Natwest Bank logo
6,243.21 USD
163 USD
1.2524153.9%Online, Branch, Bank Transfers2-3 days
Citibank International Money Transfers
Citibank logo
6,215.05 USD
191 USD
1.246124.33%Online, Branch, Bank Transfers2-3 days
Banks - Average Rate
Lloyds TSB logo Santander logo Citibank logo Natwest Bank logo HSBC logo
6,215 USD
191 USD
1.2467154.33%Online, Branch, Bank Transfers2-3 days
Santander International Money Transfers
 
Santander logo
6,179.18 USD
227 USD
1.2408204.88%Online, Branch, Bank Transfers2-3 days
 
Lloyds TSB logo
6,160.26 USD
246 USD
1.237205.18%Online, Branch, Bank Transfers2-3 days
TorFX: Foreign Transfer GBP→USD
GBP amount:£5,000 GBP
Fee:
Exchange Rate:1.2813 (1.39% from mid-rate)
USD amount:6,406.5 USD
Total Cost:1.39%
Time:0:20 Local
Transfer Speed:1-2 days
Services:Bank Transfers - Online & Phone
Rating:
 
: 4.7/5.0
Reviews:
 
OFX: Foreign Transfer GBP→USD
GBP amount:£5,000 GBP
Fee:£0^ - No fees for BestExchangeRates users (normally 7GBP for smaller transfers)
Exchange Rate:1.2826 (1.29% from mid-rate)
USD amount:6,413 USD
Total Cost:1.29%
Difference:
6.5 USD more than using TorFX
Time:
Rate Fetched: Thu Apr 18 2019 22:09:07 GMT+0000 (UTC)
Transfer Speed:1-2 days
Services:Bank Transfers - Online & Phone, Foreign Currency Accounts
Rating:
 
: 4.8/5.0
Reviews:
 

HSBC logoHSBC

HSBC: Foreign Transfer GBP→USD
GBP amount:£5,000 GBP
Fee:£7.5 GBP (.15%)
Exchange Rate:1.2575 (3.22% from mid-rate)
USD amount:6,278.07 USD
Total Cost:3.36%
Difference:
128 USD less than using TorFX
Time:0:20 Local
Transfer Speed:2-3 days
Services:Online, Branch, Bank Transfers
Rating:
: /5.0
Reviews:
 

Natwest Bank logoNatwest Bank

Natwest Bank: Foreign Transfer GBP→USD
GBP amount:£5,000 GBP
Fee:15
Exchange Rate:1.2524 (3.61% from mid-rate)
USD amount:6,243.21 USD
Total Cost:3.9%
Difference:
163 USD less than using TorFX
Time:0:20 Local
Transfer Speed:2-3 days
Services:Online, Branch, Bank Transfers
Rating:
 
: 1/5.0
Reviews:
 

Citibank logoCitibank

Citibank: Foreign Transfer GBP→USD
GBP amount:£5,000 GBP
Fee:12
Exchange Rate:1.2460 (4.1% from mid-rate)
USD amount:6,215.05 USD
Total Cost:4.33%
Difference:
191 USD less than using TorFX
Time:0:20 Local
Transfer Speed:2-3 days
Services:Online, Branch, Bank Transfers
Rating:
: /5.0
Reviews:
 

Banks - Average Rate

Foreign Transfer GBP→USD
GBP amount:£5,000 GBP
Fee:15
Exchange Rate:1.2370 (4.79% from mid-rate)
USD amount:6,215 USD
Total Cost:4.33%
Difference:
191 USD less than using TorFX
Transfer Speed:2-3 days
Services:Online, Branch, Bank Transfers
 

Santander logoSantander

Santander: Foreign Transfer GBP→USD
GBP amount:£5,000 GBP
Fee:20
Exchange Rate:1.2408 (4.5% from mid-rate)
USD amount:6,179.18 USD
Total Cost:4.88%
Difference:
227 USD less than using TorFX
Time:0:20 Local
Transfer Speed:2-3 days
Services:Online, Branch, Bank Transfers
Rating:
 
: 2/5.0
Reviews:
 

Lloyds TSB logoLloyds TSB

Lloyds TSB: Foreign Transfer GBP→USD
GBP amount:£5,000 GBP
Fee:20
Exchange Rate:1.2370 (4.79% from mid-rate)
USD amount:6,160.26 USD
Total Cost:5.18%
Difference:
246 USD less than using TorFX
Time:0:20 Local
Transfer Speed:2-3 days
Services:Online, Branch, Bank Transfers
Rating:
 
: 1/5.0
Reviews:
 
 

Note if you are making a one-off foreign transfer of less than $1000 (or equivalent) then using your bank’s internet banking foreign payment function might be convenient than using an FX specialist.

However, if you see yourself making multiple smaller global transfers then we would recommend using a fx provider as the small savings will add up over time.

Best Exchange Rates with Foreign Exchange Payments specialists

For transfers, you should avoid paying a Total Margin anywhere above 1.5 per cent (of the amount being transferred) for major currencies (USD, EUR, AUD, CAD, NZD, CHF etc) and 2 to 3 percent for all other currencies.

Using your Bank’s exchange rates services (both via online banking and in bank branches) to make international money transfers can be very expensive – often 5% to 6% worse than you can get by using one of our foreign exchange partner for your transfer.

Bank International Money Transfers are often 5% to 6% more expensive than using a global payment provider.

Our BER partner UK payment providers deal directly with the currency markets which means they can offer highly competitive exchange rates on all major currencies, they can better the rates offered by banks – for a $10,000 transfer you could save over $500.

They can also offer you advice on timing your transaction and ways to manage currency fluctuations and risk so that you obtain the best possible exchange rate. Opening an account with the Foreign exchange provider is quick, simple and completely free.

I’m not familiar with the FX Specialists, can I trust them?

It’s all good if an organisation offers the best exchange rate, but not at all worth your while if you are not confident that your transaction will be executed.

Security is critical and you must ensure that your FX provider is a licensed and regulated organisation. All our partners on this website are.

You can also click through and check out the size of the organisation, it’s provenance, and reviews from other customers to allay any concerns. This is always a good way to judge whether or not you are comfortable dealing with a particular organisation.

Use our Foreign Transfer calculator to see how much you can save using an FX specialist for your International Money Transfers compared to your bank.

Additional Services

If you need to make regular international transfers, say, for an overseas mortgage payment, you can economise on your time as well as your wallet by setting up an automated international transfer with FX specialists such as World First and OFX.

OFX and World First also offer forward contracts where you can fix the exchange rate now, but transfer the money in the future.

Other side offers include rate alerts, apps, and more recently Receiving accounts which can be very useful if you are a small business or on-line seller.

Receiving accounts are accounts in multiple different currencies provided by the FX specialist, such as World First. This enables you to accept money into a local account in the country that you are selling to. The money is then transferred back to your home account at a time that suits you – i.e when the exchange rate is favourable.

If you are looking to save on travel money for an upcoming trip then read our guide: Pre-ordering foreign cash online for better currency exchange rates.
 

Compare & Save GBP with BestExchangeRates BestExchangeRates logo

Foreign Transfers Travel Money

Use our calculators to compare banks and FX specialists. Quickly calculate how much you could save on your next foreign transfer, travel money or card purchase.

 

 

Further Reading

 

SGD/MYR at 17-Month High; Ringgit Slumps on FTSE Index Deselection

What is arguably Southeast Asia’s most important exchange rate, Singapore dollar-Malaysian ringgit, leapt on Thursday to its highest level since November 2017, driven by FTSE Russell’s decision to reconsider Malaysia’s inclusion in an important bond index.

Updated: 18 Apr, 2019

Commodities Boom Will Take Australian Dollar to US$0.74

The Australian dollar is forecast to climb to US$0.74 in the coming months, supported by a commodities boom that has seen the price of Australia’s largest export, iron ore, climb to a 5-year high.

Updated: 15 Apr, 2019

Brexit This Year Now a Toss-Up, Bookmakers Say; What Next for Pound?

GBP Pound Sterling Brexit Deal on Financial Services

With the chance of a 2019 Brexit now reduced to 50 percent, the pound’s value is likely to remain capped for the time being, most likely near US$1.34, experts say. On the downside, US$1.24 is likely should the latest Article 50 extension be used to hold a UK general election.

Updated: 14 Apr, 2019

Euro to Sink to US$1.08, Says ANZ

The euro hasn’t traded as low as US$1.08 since the early portion of 2017, but that’s where we’re heading within the next 3 months, analysts at ANZ believe.

Updated: 7 Apr, 2019

AUD/NZD at 10-Week High and “Likely to Run Higher From Here”

The Australian dollar-New Zealand dollar exchange rate rose on Friday to a 10-week high as traders continue to make bets on monetary policy divergence between the RBA and RBNZ. Even higher rates are expected by teams at TD Securities and Societe Generale.

Updated: 5 Apr, 2019

  

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