Insights into the UK’s money transfer industry

Does the sender or the receiver decide which money transfer service to use?

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Money transfers is a huge industry, with millions of us in the UK alone sending money overseas every year. Convenience, exchange rates and hidden fees are all part of the consideration when deciding who to send with. But according to our latest study, over 17 million Brits have little choice in what provider they use.

In other words? That’s 41.5% of those who do send money overseas choosing their provider based on what’s best for the person receiving it.

Choice Percentage
Best for the recipient 41.50%
Best for the sender 58.50%

What are these considerations?

  • Branches that offer cash pickup
  • The ability to transfer directly into their bank account
  • The fastest method
  • The access to customer support
  • Hours of operation

Let’s go deeper

The remaining 58.5% of those using money transfer services choose their provider based on suiting themselves. This could be for the most cost effective method or the ease of use. Men are more likely to send money overseas at 41.2%, compared to only 29.3% of women. They also tend to be more considerate, with 42.9% of men choosing the provider based on the needs of the sender (with women at 39.5%).

Millennials are also most likely to be transferring money overseas, with 58.8% of all millennials saying they do. This is followed by 37.2% of Gen X and only 22.6% of Baby Boomers.

Region Percentage
London 61.4%
North East 49.0%
West Midlands 36.9%

Who’s most likely to be sending money overseas?

Those living in the East Midlands are the most selfless senders, with more than half (58.3%) choosing a provider based on what’s best for the person receiving the funds. Londoners followed (51.8%), followed by those residing in the North West (44.0%).

Why do we send money overseas?

The most common reason why people send money overseas is to support their family (41.2%). This was followed by sending money as a gift (37.8%), for a holiday (23.7%), an emergency (20.3%), transferring funds to their own foreign accounts (16.9%), business (13.5%) and for a wedding (9.5%). Check out here where the UK sends the most money in the form of remittances.

Recievers Percentage
Family support 41.20%
Occasional gift 37.80%
Holiday 23.70%
Emergency 20.30%
Own overseas account 16.90%
Business 13.50%
Wedding 9.50%

By the demographics

Women are more likely to transfer money overseas to their families than men (42.2% compared to 40.5%). Twice as many men (17.6%) are sending money overseas for business than women (7.8%).

Millennials are the most likely to be sending money to their families by a wide margin, at 50.7%. Gen X followed at 37.8%, then Baby Boomers (35.3%). Gen X are the most likely to be sending money not only for gifts (41.8%), but for business as well (15.1%).

Jon Ostler


The remittance industry is unique due to its multi-market nature – for the over one in three Brits using international money transfers, choices are endless. However, if you’re one of the 41.5% sending on the needs of the recipient, options start to become more limited.

Improvements need to be made at both ends to improve the range of options for Brits. There’s no point in money transfer providers improving their options and services within the UK when the receiver of the transfer is limited to how they accept the funds.

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK Communications Manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806

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