International money transfers are quick ways to send money overseas, but with all the options available to you, it might be difficult to find a place to start. From banks to transfer services, comparing all the details can become a confusing task. We’re here to help you get the best deal on your next transfer by explaining the rates, fees and speeds of competing money transfer specialists.
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How do international money transfers work?
International money transfers allow you to send money overseas through a bank or money transfer service. Because the pound is a widely-traded currency, you’ll be able to find plenty of companies that can exchange dollars to pounds, so you’ll need to be sure you compare your rates and the potential fees before choosing which service to use. Once you complete the transaction, your recipient will receive the money in their bank account or in person at a specified pick-up location.
Banks versus money transfer companies
Your first thought may be to ask your bank to transfer money to an overseas account, and while many offer this service, it is often much more expensive and yields a worse exchange rate than an international money transfer company. You’ll be able to get a better rate and pay less fees with one of these companies than with your bank, so explore your options in the table above.
Craig needs to send money to the UK
Craig’s son Kevin is on his OE (overseas experience) in the UK, and with money starting to get tight, Kevin calls 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
1 NZD = 0.54 GBP
1 NZD = 0.52 GBP
Bank account deposit
Bank account deposit
1 business day
1 business day
Total GBP received
Craig’s quick comparison shows him that the first transfer company will net him nearly 20 extra pounds. He completes the online application, and by the next day, Kevin has a little extra money in his account.
Tips for sending money to the UK
How to compare transfer companies when transferring money to the UK
By comparing a few elements of your transfer, you can ensure that you get the cheapest deal for your needs.
Exchange rates. Nearly all providers skew exchange rates for a profit. Compare the rate you’re offered to the mid-market rate — the rate banks and transfer services use when they trade among themselves — and look for the smallest margin between them.
Transfer fees. Find out whether the provider charges a flat fee or a percentage of your transfer. If you’re sending a large amount, ask whether you qualify for a fee-free transfer.
Payment and delivery options. Some transfer companies allow you to pay with a credit card online, by phone or through an app. Others offer agent locations for cash payments and pick-ups. Also ask how your recipient can receive your funds: bank account, cash pick-up, mobile wallet and more.
Transfer speeds. If it needs to be there fast, companies like Western Union and MoneyGram allow for quick cash pick-ups, often in minutes. If you have more time, you’ll get better rates and fees with an independent provider.
Transfer limits. Your best option might depend on how much you want to send. For large transfers, weigh the best exchange rate — especially since providers encourage large transfers by offering low fees. For smaller amounts, consider the fees you’ll pay on top of the exchange rate.
Flexible transfer options. Ask whether you can schedule payments ahead of time or protect your transfer against market fluctuations with a limit order or forward contract.
Customer support. Most companies offer customer service by Internet chat, phone, in person or by email. Make sure help will be available if you need it.
Exchange rates are determined on a daily and hourly basis by the fluctuations in political and economic climate across the globe. A strong currency is one that trades better when exchanged with the currency of another country. In this case, the British pound (GBP) often trades stronger than the New Zealand dollar (NZD). This means that you will get fewer pounds per dollar spent. In August 2018, NZD$1 is worth about GBP£0.52 – meaning you will have to spend more to get a full pound.
Options for sending money to the UK from New Zealand
Bank transfers. Many New Zealand banks can safely wire your funds to countries around the world. Banks rely on existing links between banks and banking systems worldwide. However, a downside is the frustratingly high fees and weaker exchange rates you’ll receive by going through your bank.
Online money transfer services. These specialists offer more affordable transfers than banks do, allowing you to quickly and easily manage your transactions from home. With competitive exchange rates and lower fees, you can send funds from your bank account. Many also allow you to pay with a credit or debit card.
Providers with cash pick-up. Trusted providers like Western Union and MoneyGram offer the key advantage of giving your recipient fast access to the cash you send — sometimes within minutes. You can often pay online or at one of thousands of agent locations worldwide. However, services typically cost more than an online transfer specialist and vary by where you’re transferring your money and how you’re paying for it.
PayPal transfers. Not just for online purchases, PayPal offers transfers to more than 100 countries and supports multiple currencies. Its exchange rates are often better than those you’ll get from a bank but not quite as strong as rates from money transfer companies. PayPal calculates its transfer fee as a percentage of the amount you’re sending — meaning it’s often better for sending smaller amounts of money.
International money order. You can get this type of money order from your bank and send it overseas to your recipient, who then cashes it in with their own bank. While more secure than a personal cheque, it’s a slower option than using an electronic transfer. It also costs a little more — you’ll have to purchase the cheque, and your recipient may be charged a fee by their own bank when they cash it.
Click Go to Site and begin the registration process.
Start a transfer transaction, giving your recipients information and how much you want to transfer.
Pay for the transaction.
Save the tracking number to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Emergency transfers to the UK
It’s possible to complete an emergency cash transfer that gives your recipient access to funds quickly, but this is usually the most expensive option. You will face higher fees and a worse exchange rate, so if your friend or family member can wait a day or two for a regular transfer to be completed, you’ll save money in the long run.
Whether picking up funds in London or anywhere else around the UK, take a few simple safety precautions to prevent yourself from becoming a target for thieves.
Call ahead. Learn the company’s business hours and choose a safe time to pick up your cash. Daylight hours are best.
Bring a friend. Carrying money when alone can be dangerous. Ask a friend to come along.
Deposit your money immediately. The likelihood of losing your money to theft or simple carelessness grows the longer you have it with you. Go straight to a bank and deposit your cash as soon as possible.
Keep your cash hidden. Place your money in your purse or wallet before leaving the office. Carrying cash out in the open could make you a target.
Overseas money transfers are easy, no matter which method you choose. But knowing how to compare your options gives you a leg up in terms of cost, rates and transfer speeds. An informed choice will always be a better choice.
Common questions about transfers to the UK
Certain money transfer companies (such as TransferWise and OFX) will cancel a transaction, granted the transfer has not yet been completed.
A forward contract allows you to lock in an ideal exchange rate now and transfer the money later.
A limit order allows you to take advantage of changing market conditions by executing the money transfer when a certain exchange rate is met.
Cash pick-up locations in the United Kingdom
GTBank UK Address: 60-62 Margaret St, Fitzrovia, London W1W 8TF, UK Hours: 9am–5pm Phone: +44 20 7947 9700
HSBC Address: Kings Mall, 21 King St, London W6 0QF, UK Hours: 9am–7pm Phone: +44 345 740 4404
BANK OF ENGLAND Address: Threadneedle St, London EC2R 8AH, UK Hours: 9am–3pm Phone: +44 20 7601 4444
POST OFFICE – TRAFALGAR SQUARE Address:24/28 William IV Street, London WC2N 4DL, United Kingdom Hours: 8:30am–6:30pm Phone: +44 345 722 3344
TESCO – REGENT STREET METRO Address: 17-25 Regent St, St. James’s, London SW1Y 4LR, UK Hours: 6am–12am Phone: +44 345 677 9812
POST OFFICE – LOWER REGENT STREET Address: Ryman, 11 Lower Regent Street, St. James’s, London SW1Y 4LR, UK Hours: 8am–6:30pm Phone: +44 20 7930 9538
RYMAN STRAND Address: 430 The Strand London, Greater London WC2R 0QN Hours: 8am–7pm Phone: +44-207 2404408
THOMAS EXCHANGE GLOBAL LTD (EMBANKMENT) Address: 15 Villiers Street London, Greater London WC2N 6NN Hours: 10am–8pm Phone: +44-800 833833
BREAK POINT LTD TRAFALGAR SQUARE Address: Unit A, William Iv Street, 7-8 St Martins Place, Greater London WC2N 4JH Hours: 6am–11pm Phone: +44-800 833833
HSBC Address: 2-4 Saint Anne’s Square, Manchester M2 7HD Hours: 9am–6pm Phone: +44 345 740 4404
UBL UK Address: 4 Cheetham Hill Shopping Centre, 40 Bury Old Rd, Manchester M8 5EL Hours: 9:30am–4pm Phone: +44 800 218 2266
BARCLAYS BANK Address: Longsight Shopping Centre, 537 Stockport Rd, Manchester M12 4JH Hours: 9:30am–4:30pm Phone: +44 345 734 5345
POST OFFICE – MANCHESTER Address: 26 Spring Gardens, Manchester M2 1BB Hours: 9am–6pm Phone: +44 345 611 2970
TESCO – MANCHESTER METRO Address: 58-66 Market St, Manchester M1 1PW Hours: 6am–12am Phone: +44 345 677 9453
POST OFFICE – PICCADILLY PLAZA Address: F4, Londis Store, Piccadilly Plaza, Portland St, Manchester M1 4AL Hours: 6am–6pm Phone: +44 161 237 1229
MOON TRAVEL UK LTD Address: 455 Cheetham Hill Road, Manchester M8 9PA Hours: 9am–10pm Phone: +44-800 833833
PHONE ARENA Address: 61b Off Bury New Road, Moulton Street, Manchester M8 8FX Hours: 10am–8pm Phone: +44-800 833833
THOMSON MANCHESTER MS Address: Unit A, 30 Market Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester M1 1PW Hours: 9am–8pm Phone: +44-800 833833
UBL UK Address: 391-393 Stratford Rd, Birmingham B11 4JZ, UK Hours: 9am–5pm Phone: +44 800 218 2266
BARCLAYS BANK Address: 15 Colmore Row, Birmingham B3 2BH, UK Hours: 9am–5pm Phone: +44 345 734 5345
DEUTSCHE BANK Address: One Brindleyplace, 50 Broad St, Birmingham B1 2JB, UK Hours: 9am–5pm Phone: +44 121 615 7200
POST OFFICE – CORPORATION STREET Address: 118 Corporation St, Birmingham B4 6SX Hours: 8:30am–5:30pm Phone: +44 345 611 2970
DEBENHAMS – BULL RING Address: Bullring Shopping Centre, Upper West Mall, Birmingham B5 4BL Hours: 9:30am–8pm Phone: +44 344 800 8877
TESCO – BIRMINGHAM CAX METRO Address: Caxton Gate, New St, Birmingham B2 5AE Hours: 6am–12pm Phone: +44 345 677 9850
THE MONEY SHOP BIRMINGHAM DALE END Address: Unit 5, Kings Parade, Dale End, Birmingham, B4 7LN Hours: 9am–5:30pm Phone: +44-800-833833
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