Sending money to the U.K. doesn’t have to break the bank. Learn how to send simple and affordable international money transfers from the United States to the U.K.
When you need to get money to a loved one overseas, the last thing you want to have to deal with is navigating a potentially complicated and expensive process. Sending money from the United States to the U.K. doesn’t have to be expensive. Compare the transfer fees and exchange rates of the many options available to you to get the best deal.
From bank transfers and online transactions to options that allow recipients to collect your funds within minutes, sending an international money transfer to the U.K. is easy. However, do your research and shop around for the best available deal.
How do international money transfers work?
An international money transfer allows you to send money to a recipient overseas. Generally, a transfer involves you providing funds to a bank or an independent transfer provider, which then sends the money to your recipient in another country — in this case, the U.K. This can be done in person or oftentimes online. You can use cash or transfer funds from your bank account, which will then either be deposited into your recipient’s bank account are made available as cash for them to pick up at a location in their country.
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With over 17 years of foreign exchange expertise and over $100 billion transferred, OFX can help with all your currency exchange needs, including:
- Buying property abroad
- Regular overseas payments
- Risk management
- If the provider quotes a different rate to the one above please let us know
These companies, such as WorldRemit and OFX, offer better exchange rates than you will find from a bank and allow you to take care of the entire transaction online. They also charge lower transfer fees, with some companies waiving their fees completely when you transfer more than a set minimum amount. Using such a company can save you money and get your recipient more pounds in their wallet.
Craig’s son Kevin is living and working in the U.K., and with money starting to get tight, Kevin phones home to ask his dad for $1,000 in extra spending money. Rather than using his bank to complete the transfer, Craig decides to weigh the fees and features of two money transfer companies.
|Money transfer company 1||Money transfer company 2|
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 0.64 GBP||1 USD = 0.62 GBP|
|Transfer method||Bank account deposit||Bank account deposit|
|Processing time||1 business day||1 business day|
|Amount received (in British Pounds)||640 GBP||620 GBP|
As you can see, taking the time to do a quick comparison between different providers can make a noticeable difference in the amount of funds your recipient will receive.
Banks versus money transfer companies
If you need to conduct an international money transfer, your first thought may be your bank. However, their fees are often higher compared to international money transfers companies. These money transfer companies specialize in international transactions and can offer much better exchange rates than most major banks.
Best GBP > USD exchange rates
How to compare transfer companies when transferring money to the U.K.
- Exchange rates. Exchange rates can vary noticeably between money transfer providers, so see how rates compare among different companies. Remember that the company that offers the highest exchange rate might charge a higher fee to offset the costs.
- Fees. In most cases you’ll be charged a transfer fee for each transaction, but some companies will waive the fee if you transfer more than a certain threshold.
- Transfer methods. Check to see whether transfers can be placed online, over the phone and/or by visiting a branch.
- Transfer options. If you need flexible transfer options, such as the ability to place a special order or schedule repeat payments, check closely to see what features each provider offers.
- Turnaround time. While some companies make funds available for collection within minutes, others will require you to allow several business days for transfers to be completed.
- Minimum amount. Some companies impose a minimum transfer limit, which can be restrictive if you only want to transfer a small amount.
- Pickup methods. Can your recipient collect the cash you send in person, or is it deposited directly into their bank account?
- Customer service. Check to see whether phone, email and live chat support are offered in case you need assistance with a transfer.
Options for sending money to the U.K. from America
- Bank transfers. Your bank will allow you to send an international transfer from your U.S. account to a bank account in the U.K.
- Online money transfer providers. Funds can be quickly and conveniently sent online through a money transfer provider.
- Money transfer companies with cash pickup options. Companies like MoneyGram, Moneycorp, Ria and Western Union allow the funds you send to be picked up from agent locations all over the U.K.
- PayPal. PayPal offers an easy and affordable online solution when you need to send money from the U.S. to the U.K.
- Checks. This money transfer method might take a little longer than other options but it is still effective.
Emergency cash transfers in the U.K.
In some situations you will need to send an emergency cash transfer to someone in the U.K. — perhaps you’re buying a collectible item from a U.K. seller or maybe your relatives in the U.K. have fallen on hard times and need urgent cash. Whatever the reason you need to send funds quickly, remember that you might have to settle for a higher fee and a lower exchange rate if you want to get your money there as quickly as possible. With this in mind, make sure to closely check the exchange rate and fees that apply to your transaction before sending your funds.
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Tips for picking up cash in the U.K.
Although the U.K. is generally a safe place to visit, you should always remember to exercise caution when you pick up cash from an agent location. Your personal safety is paramount, so it makes sense to avoid any high-crime areas and make sure not to flash your funds around in public. You should also make sure to deposit the cash into your bank account as soon as possible.
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How to send money to the UK
Although the exact process for sending an international money transfer will vary depending on the provider and transfer method you choose, in most cases you’ll have to register for an account with the provider before you can transfer any funds. This usually means you’ll need to provide:
- Your name
- Your address and contact details
- Proof of ID
- Your payment information
- If you are not using cash for this transaction, you will need to provide your banking info in order to have funds drafted from your account.
Once you have completed a transfer, you will be given a receipt or tracking number. This can be used to monitor the progress and eventual completion of your transfer. Sending money to the U.K. is simple and affordable when you choose the right transfer method, so make sure to compare a range of options before you make your final decision.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I cancel my transaction and get a refund?
Certain money transfer companies (such as TransferWise and OFX) will cancel a transaction, granted the transfer has not yet been completed.
What is a forward contract?
A forward contract allows you to lock in an ideal exchange rate now and transfer the money later.
What is a limit order?
A limit order allows you to take advantage of changing market conditions by executing the money transfer when a certain exchange rate is met.