How to check you've chosen a safe money transfer company | Finder UK

How safe is my international money transfer provider?

Check the FCA status of your money transfer company to make a safe choice with your next international transfer.

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An international money transfer provider is a fast and good-value option if you need to send money abroad from the UK. But how can you check that you’ve chosen a safe money transfer company?

How can I ensure my money transfer is safe?

As well as reading our in-depth international money transfer reviews, you should check the provider’s FCA status.

FCA stands for the Financial Conduct Authority, which is the regulator for financial services companies and financial markets in the UK. All UK-based companies dealing with international money transfers need to be either authorised or registered by the FCA.

This gives your money a degree of protection, but this varies depending on whether the company is FCA authorised or registered.

FCA authorised or FCA registered – what’s the difference?

Though it may not be obvious, there is a clear difference between being FCA authorised and FCA registered.

  • Being FCA authorised means there are certain safeguards on your money. Any company authorised by the FCA must safeguard your money by keeping it separate from company funds, so if it goes bust, you’re more likely to get your money back.
  • Being FCA registered is a much weaker level of protection for you. To be FCA registered, the company only needs to show the FCA that it is based in the UK and that none of its managers have been convicted of financial crimes. It may also choose to safeguard your money by placing it separate to company funds, but it isn’t obliged to do so by law.

In other words, to ensure a safe money transfer from the UK, it’s always best to go for a company that is FCA authorised and not just FCA registered.

How to check if a company is FCA authorised or registered

The FCA keeps a list of all the registered and authorised firms in the UK on its Financial Services Register.

If the company you’re looking for isn’t on the register, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s operating illegally – it may just be based elsewhere. Look at its papers or for any information on its website to find out where it’s based. Or you can call the FCA’s consumer helpline on 0300 500 0597 from the UK or +4420 7066 1000 from abroad.

If a company isn’t registered with the FCA or an EU regulator, avoid it. It may be operating illegally and your money will not be protected.

Stay safe from money transfer scams

Remain vigilant with these simple tips:

  • Be wary of unsolicited emails and phone calls. No money transfer provider will ever call or email you to confirm your ID, password or payment details. If you ever get something like this, report it to the company via its official website, and send the details to Action Fraud and the FCA.
  • Never send money to strangers. Make sure you know who you’re sending money to. If it’s for an online auction or sale, be sure that you have all the seller’s information and have confirmed they’re reputable before sending your payment.
  • Ask questions. If they answer quickly and accurately, it’s a good sign that they’re a safe money transfer company.

The most common money transfer scams you should watch out for

What are my rights to expecting a safe money transfer?

As well as FCA approval, British law now requires money transfer services and banks to disclose information both before and after a transfer. Before a transfer, you have the right to know:

  • The exchange rate
  • Fees and taxes collected from you
  • Fees charged by agents overseas and others involved in the transfer process
  • The amount your recipient is expected to receive (excluding foreign taxes and recipient fees)

You also have the right to know:

  • Your ability to cancel the transfer. Unless the transfer has been picked up or deposited, you have 30 minutes (and sometimes more) to cancel at no charge.
  • The company or bank’s process to investigate and fix any mistakes. It generally has 90 days to resolve any problems.

These rules apply to all international transfers of £50 or more.

Read our reviews on some of the biggest money transfer providers in the UK

Compare money transfer providers

Table: sorted by promoted deals first
Data updated regularly
Name Product Filter Values Fastest Transfer Speed Fees (Pay by Bank Transfer) Learn More
Wise (TransferWise) for large transfers
Within an hour
From £3.75

View details
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies.
TorFX
24 hours
£0

View details
TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
Central FX
24 hours
£0

View details
CentralFX's dedicated team will guide you or your business from first call to final payment.
SpartanFX
24 hours
£0

View details
SpartanFX has fee-free transfers, a best exchange rate guarantee and personalised one-to-one support for every customer.
Currencies Direct
Within an hour
£0

View details
CurrenciesDirect makes transferring money abroad simple with bank-beating exchange rates.
CurrencyTransfer
24 hours
£0

View details
CurrencyTransfer lets you shop around for the best exchange rate on its online marketplace.
XE Money Transfers
24 hours
£0
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ £25 Amazon voucher when you refer a friend

View details
XE has fast transfers with no fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
Wise (TransferWise)
Within an hour
From £3.75

View details
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies.
Azimo
Within minutes
From £0.99
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ First two transfers free for new customers.

View details
Azimo sends money directly to a bank account or over 280,000 cash pick-up points. It also has fast transfers to 50+ countries.
CurrencyFair
24 hours
€3
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ Zero fees on your first 10 transfers

View details
CurrencyFair has bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
Remitly
Within minutes
From £1.49
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ Free transfers and better exchange rates for new customers

View details
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
WorldRemit
Within an hour
From £1.99
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.

View details
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

To send a safe money transfer abroad from the UK, always make sure the provider you choose is at least FCA registered, and ideally FCA authorised. If you’re at all concerned, look at other options using our in-depth international money transfer provider reviews as a guide.

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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    MikeFebruary 21, 2019

    Is Worldwide Currencies authorised with the FCA?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      CharisseFebruary 22, 2019Staff

      Hi Mike,

      Thanks for reaching out to Finder.

      Yes, Worldwide Currencies Limited is fully authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Payment Services Regulations 2017 (registration 525361) for the provision of payment services.

      You can find this information on their website, under ‘Security’ tab/page.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Charisse

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