Compare international money transfer services

Compare to find the best rates and lowest fees for your next international money transfer from the UK.

There are lots of reasons for making international money transfers, from buying property abroad to sending money to family members, and there are lots of ways to make them. You could send a bank wire transfer, use an online money transfer app like Wise or Atlantic Money or send cash through a service like Western Union?

We’ve scoured the market to find the best international money transfer services based on low fees, strong exchange rates, fast delivery and flexible options. Here’s what you need to know.

Compare international money transfer services

Table: sorted by promoted deals first
Our table below lets you compare services you can use to send money abroad. Compare fees, exchange rates and discounts from different money transfer services, and when you have made your choice, click Go to site.
1 - 20 of 21
Name Product Filter values Finder score Pay by Receiving options Fastest transfer Fee (pay by bank transfer) Key benefits
OFFER
TorFX
4.5
★★★★★
Debit card, Bank transfer
Bank account
Within minutes
£0
Get a £50 Amazon voucher for each friend you refer who transfers £5,000 or more. T&Cs apply.
Key Currency
Not rated yet
Bank transfer
Bank account
24 hours
£0
Western Union
3.0
★★★★★
Cash, Credit card, Debit card, Bank transfer
Cash pickup location, Bank account, Mobile wallet
Within minutes
From £0
OFFER
Wise (TransferWise)
4.0
★★★★★
Credit card, Debit card, Bank transfer
Bank account, Alipay (China only)
Within minutes
From 0.41%
Refer 3 friends to receive up to £50 referral bonus
Equals Money Account
Not rated yet
Bank transfer
Bank account
3 hours
£0
OFX
4.5
★★★★★
Credit card, Debit card, Bank transfer
Bank account
24 hours
£0
CurrencyTransfer
Not rated yet
Bank transfer
Bank account
24 hours
£0
OFFER
Currencies Direct
4.0
★★★★★
Debit card, Bank transfer
Bank account
24 hours
£0
Get a £50 Amazon voucher for each friend you refer who transfers £5,000 or more. T&Cs apply.
PassTo
DISCOUNT
PassTo
4.0
★★★★★
Credit card, Debit card, Bank transfer
Cash pickup location, Bank account, Mobile wallet
Within minutes
From £1.40
No fees on your first transfer. Refer 3 friends to PassTo and earn £50 once they each make a transfer of at least £200. They'll earn £5 too. T&Cs apply.
OFFER
Atlantic Money
Not rated yet
Bank transfer
Bank account
Within minutes
£3
Pay no fees on your first Atlantic Money transaction with this link.
FairFX
Not rated yet
Credit card, Debit card, Bank transfer
Cash pickup location, Bank account
24 hours
£0
Remitly
4.0
★★★★★
Credit card, Debit card, Bank transfer
Cash pickup location, Bank account, Mobile wallet, Home delivery
Within minutes
From £0
OFFER
CurrencyFair
3.5
★★★★★
Bank transfer
Bank account
Within minutes
€3
New customers get unlimited fee-free transfers for their first 3 months. T&Cs apply.
WorldRemit
OFFER
WorldRemit
3.5
★★★★★
Credit card, Debit card, Bank transfer, Apple Pay
Cash pickup location, Bank account, Mobile wallet, Home delivery, Prepaid phone credit
Within minutes
From £1.99
Use promo code 3FREE and pay no fees on your first 3 transfers. Conditions apply.
OFX
4.5
★★★★★
Credit card, Debit card, Bank transfer
Bank account
24 hours
£0
TorFX Business
4.5
★★★★★
Debit card, Bank transfer
Bank account
Within minutes
£0
Currencies Direct Business
4.0
★★★★★
Debit card, Bank transfer
Bank account
24 hours
£0
OFX Business
Not rated yet
Credit card, Debit card, Bank transfer
Bank account
24 hours
£0
CurrencyFair Business
Not rated yet
Bank transfer
Bank account
Within minutes
€3
Zero fees on your first 10 transfers. T&Cs apply.
WorldFirst Business
Not rated yet
Debit card, Bank transfer
Bank account, Mobile wallet
24 hours
£0
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We only list licensed services that are overseen by a government regulator. Every service we compare has been assessed and reviewed by our editorial team.

What is an international money transfer?

An international money transfer is the process of sending money between people or financial accounts in different countries. Every day, trillions of pounds are transferred between people and businesses around the world.

Typically, you need to give a bank or money transfer service your recipient’s details and the money you want to send. The bank or transfer service then converts your funds to the currency in which it will be received and electronically sends the payment to your recipient.

Depending on the money transfer service, you may be able to send funds online, via mobile app, over the phone or in person.

How much does it cost to transfer money internationally?

The cost of sending an international money transfer varies between service providers. Factors like the type of transfer, destination country and amount being sent can affect your total cost.

Generally, banks and money transfers services make money from international transfers in two ways:

  1. Transfer fee. This is typically a flat fee or a percentage of the transfer amount. When transfer services give you a quote, they usually don’t deduct the fee first, and assume that you’ll find separate funds to cover the fee. That makes the conversion look better.
  2. Exchange rate margin. Most banks and money transfer services make a profit by using an exchange rate that’s not quite as good as the interbank rate, and pocketing the difference. This is called a “markup” or “margin”. When you see a service that boasts “zero commissions” or “no transfer fees”, it’s more than likely using its own exchange rate to ensure it can cover costs and turn a profit.

Bear in mind that transfer fees can vary depending on how much you’re transferring, how you pay for the service, how quickly you need it actioned and how your recipient receives the funds. Cash pickup can cost more than transfers to a bank account, for example, because it can require having local branches. You’ll usually incur higher fees for larger transfers, but when it’s a percentage-based fee, services may actually slash the percentage for larger transfers.

Realistically, it can be a bit of a moving target. Exchange rates change all the time and are hard to predict. On top of this, transfer services adjust their own fees or exchange rates, meaning that even if the interbank exchange rate is fairly static, a transfer service’s rate could still change. After all, it’s in their interests not to rush when passing on improvements in exchange rates!

Transfers within the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) or European Economic Area (EEA) tend to be cheaper.

What countries are in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) or European Economic Area (EEA)

The SEPA consists of the Eurozone and a few other countries. The EEA consists of the EU and a few others. Confused? Just check out our lists!

So how do I get the cheapest money transfers?

To get the best deal, focus on the final amount that your transfer recipient will get, after any fees have been deducted. Companies that offer fee-free transfers may make up for it with a poor exchange rate. This is why it’s important to look at the total cost of your transfer, not just the transfer fee or exchange rate.

To manage the shifting nature of exchange rates, it’s worth running a quick comparison at the point of transfer (quotes are usually “locked in” for a specific number of minutes), but you can also set rate alerts so that your transfer is only actioned if and when a rate hits a threshold of your choosing. To do this you’ll need to first create a free account with a transfer service such as TorFX.

How can I pay for my money transfer?

Not all money transfer services accept the same payment methods, but you may be able to pay by the following:

  • Debit card
  • Credit card
  • Bank transfer
  • Cash

If you want to pay in cash, you’ll need to visit a bank branch or money transfer agent in person. If you transfer funds online or via mobile app, you can only pay electronically by card or bank transfer.

How can my recipient receive the money?

Again, receiving options vary between transfer services, but your recipient may be able to receive funds the following ways:

  • Bank account
  • Mobile wallet
  • Cash pick-up at a bank or money transfer location
  • Airtime top-up

How can I send money overseas?

There are multiple options to consider when sending money overseas:

Transfer methodDescriptionProsCons
Online money transfer serviceElectronic funds transfer through an online money transfer service.
  • Can be done from anywhere via mobile app
  • Low cost (compared to banks)
  • Fast
  • Cannot pay in cash
  • Many online services don’t support cash pickup (some like WorldRemit and Remitly do)
In-person money transfer serviceCash or electronic transfer by visiting a money transfer service location in person.
  • Multiple transfer options
  • In-person customer service
  • Requires local travel
  • Can only be done within business hours
BankWire transfer or international money transfer through a bank.

(Note: All major banks support wire transfers, but not all offer additional in-house money transfer services.)

  • Considered a very secure way to send money
  • Can be expensive
  • Can only be funded through your bank account
ChequeWrite a cheque and mail it to your recipient.
  • Can be postdated to delay payment.
  • Can be cancelled in transit.
  • No transaction fee (assuming you already own cheques)
  • Additional time for delivery
  • Cheque could get lost in the mail
Money orderGet a certified money order printed and mail it to your recipient.
  • Difficult to cash fraudulently
  • Can be cancelled in transit
  • Additional time for delivery
  • Money order could get lost in the mail

What are the benefits of using an online money transfer service?

While it might be easy to assume that big banks are the best way to go when sending an international money transfer, there are many reasons why an online money transfer service might be just as good if not better:

  • Security. Similar to banks, online transfer services usually follow industry-standard security practices to protect your money and personal information. This often includes encrypted data transfer, SSL certificates, two-factor authentication, security questions/answers and personal identity verification.
  • Regulation. Money transfers are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
  • Cost savings. Online transfer services often translate to lower fees and stronger exchange rates
  • Speed. Online money transfer companies often use the latest financial technology to get your money where it needs to go fast.
  • Ease. Mobile apps and convenient online platforms make it easy to send money anytime from anywhere. Additionally, many money transfer services offer features that let you set up recurring transfers, making it easy to pay bills, send regular remittances, manage international business payments and more.

How to send money using an online money transfer service

Online money transfer services are increasingly competitive with big banks, in many cases offering more flexible options and lower fees. Sending an international money transfer through an online service is simple:

  1. Compare services, and select one that suits your needs.
  2. Create an account by entering personal details like your name, email, address and phone number.
  3. You may need to submit a scanned copy of your personal ID (i.e. passport photo page or driver’s license) to qualify for higher transfer limits.
  4. Link your bank account, debit card or credit card to your newly-created account, so you can pay for transfers. Alternatively, you may need to transfer funds from your bank account.

Most of the time, you can access your account immediately after submitting all the required information. For some services (particularly transfer services for businesses), there may be a delay while your information is reviewed and a transfer specialist is assigned to your account.

How to send money through a bank

Bank transfers have long been regarded as reliable and safe. The steps for sending an international money transfer through your bank are generally as follows:

  1. Login to your online banking portal.
  2. Navigate to the international money transfers section of your account. It’s usually a good idea to check your bank’s exchange rates before sending money.
  3. Typically, you need the address and SWIFT code of your recipient’s bank and their account information. SWIFT codes are used internationally to identify banks.

To send a bank wire transfer or money order, you need to visit your bank in person. You may also be able to get money orders at other financial institutions like post offices, credit unions, retailers and even some convenience stores and fuel stations.

What do I need to send and receive money abroad?

Make sure you have the following on hand when sending an international money transfer.

  • Your personal details. Name, phone number, and government-issued identification like a driver’s license or passport. Additional details may be required for security purposes, particularly for very large transfers.
  • Your recipient’s personal details. Name, phone number and residential address.
  • Your recipient’s bank information. Bank name, address, routing number, SWIFT code and your recipient’s account number.
  • Payment. Check beforehand what types of payment methods are acceptable. For example, not all money transfer services accept credit cards.

What documents do I need to send money abroad?

For money transfers, you don’t need any particular documents for sending money overseas other than government-issued personal identification.

If you receive a large money transfer from abroad, then you may be required to pay tax. The UK doesn’t charge a gift tax, but it does impose inheritance taxes on large gifts. Whether you are required to pay tax depends on whether you are “domiciled” in the UK or abroad.

Best money transfer services in the UK

  • Best for large transfersTorFX
  • Best for small transfersXe
  • Best for exchange ratesWise
  • Best for cash transfersRemitly
  • Best for business transfersAirwallex
  • Best for fast transfersPaysend

TorFX – Best for large transfers

If you need to make a large money transfer, you will want to find a provider with no transfer limit but that also offers strong exchange rates and low fees.

TorFX is just that sort of service. It offers fee-free transfers and has a price-match guarantee on its exchange rate, making it very competitive. It’s good for sending large amounts because there’s no maximum limit. You’ll also get access to plenty of forex tools.

Here’s why TorFX is our winner for large transfers:

  • No maximum limit
  • Fee-free transfers
  • Price match guarantee
  • Forex tools

Xe – Best for small transfers

When it comes to small money transfers, you don’t want the cost of fees or weak exchange rates to eat into the amount your recipient gets.

We picked Xe as our best money transfer for smaller transfers as it has no fees and good exchange rates, resulting in the lowest cost for a £1,000 transfer. You can also “buy now, send later” and lock in a rate in advance. Xe does charge a small flat fee for transfers below £250, but anything above that amount has no fees and strong exchange rates when compared to other providers.

Here’s what made Xe our winner for small transfers:

  • No fees on most transactions
  • Competitive exchange rate for smaller amounts
  • Worldwide network
  • Forward contracts available

Wise – Best for exchange rates

It’s hard to beat Wise when it comes to exchange rates as it is one of the few providers to offer the mid-market rate. The mid-market rate, or the interbank rate, is the one banks use to exchange currencies with each other. Money transfer providers typically add a markup to the mid-market rate in order to make money from the transfer.

Wise prides itself on offering the mid-market rate, choosing instead to add a transfer fee as its way to make money. This means that whatever exchange rate you are quoted by Wise is going to be the best exchange rate around. However, exchange rates are just one piece of the puzzle, so it is still worth comparing the overall cost of the transfer to make sure you are getting the best deal for you.

A close runner-up was Revolut, whose exchange rate was very, very close to the mid-market rate. However, while Revolut’s pricing is extremely competitive, it can depend on what plan you’re on, how much currency you exchange within a month, where you are sending to and even what day of the week it is. So for simplicity, Wise won out.

Here are the key features that meant we picked Wise as our winner for best exchange rates:

  • Always offers the mid-market rate
  • Wide reach – send money to over 80 countries
  • Multiple payment options including Google Pay & Apple Pay

    Remitly – Best for cash transfers

    In an ever-increasing digital world, providers that have a large network for cash transfers can be hard to find. But sometimes when your recipients don’t have a bank account or need cash on hand, cash pickup is the best option for your transfer.

    Remitly has partnered with banks across a range of countries in order to provide 100,000s of cash pickup locations for its customers. It has a cash pickup locator in order to help you find the perfect spot to send your transfer. Recipients can also receive a text message to let them know when their cash is ready for pickup.

    Here are some of the reasons we picked Remitly for cash transfers:

    • 100,000s partner cash pickup locations
    • Promotional fees and rates for new customers
    • Delivery promise

    Airwallex – Best for business transfers

    If you are a business that makes regular international money transfers, you will be looking for a service which offers tools such as recurring payments or forward contracts to help you lock in the best rate in advance.

    We compared the best business transfer services around and our top pick is Airwallex. Airwallex can help you to make business payments in 30+ currencies using competitive interbank rates and no fees for most transfers. There’s also a multi-currency business account which lets you hold over 11 different currencies Xero integration also helps make sure your books are always up to date.

    Our main reasons for picking Airwallex as our top pick for business transfers are:

    • Competitive exchange rates
    • Flexible solutions including payment platforms
    • Developer API which automates payments
    • Xero integration

    Paysend – Best for fast transfers

    UK-based Paysend has some of the fastest transfer times available. The promised delivery time is within minutes for the majority of its transfers. The only reason it would be longer would be if you chose to pay by bank transfer and the bank’s processing times are slow.

    The biggest advantage of Paysend is that it has a clean and simple mobile app. So it is straightforward and easy to set up your transfer and you can be confident that it will be delivered within minutes.

    Notable mentions for transfer times include PassTo, Wise, Revolut and Remitly (if you are willing to pay more). Most of these promise same-day transactions, meaning your recipient won’t be kept waiting for funds.

    Here’s what we liked about Paysend for fast transfers.

    • Most transfers are delivered within minutes
    • Straightforward fee structure of £1 per transfer
    • Easy to use mobile app

    Whatever your reason for sending money abroad, whether it’s to pay for something, or if you’re sending money to a relative, you’ll want to find the cheapest way to do it. Comparison tools are a quick and easy way to compare costs. But as the exchange rate is ever changing, setting up a rate alert, if you have time, can save you money in the long run.”

    Rebecca Goodman, financial journalist

    Tips to save money on your international transfer

    Looking for low fees and strong exchange rates isn’t the only way to save on your next international money transfer besides. The following tips can also help keep your costs down:

    • Use a service that offers zero markup on the exchange rate. The mid-market rate is the “true” exchange rate between two currencies. While most transfer services add a margin on the mid-market rate to make money, some don’t. Instead, these services prefer to make money through transfer fees and possibly other charges. Depending on the type of transfer, it may work in your favour to use such a service.
    • Send larger transfers. Some services offer discounted or waived transfer fees if you send at, or above, a minimum amount.
    • Use forward contracts and limit orders. A forward contract lets you lock in a favourable exchange rate for future transfers. This means you’ll avoid unpredictable movements in exchange rates. A limit order allows you to wait until a favourable exchange rate is found before locking in your transfer.
    • Watch out for scams. With an increasing number of scams each year, it’s important to keep an eye out for the most common money transfer scams. It’s usually best to avoid sending money to anyone you don’t know personally.
    • Pay attention to taxes and regulations. Every country regulates money transfers differently. Make sure your recipient is aware of any tax or reporting obligations that apply to your transfer.

    Best international money transfer apps

    Frequently asked questions

    Sending to a specific country? Learn more

    How will the pound fare against the euro in 2023?

    Our expert panel predicted the value of the euro against the pound in July and at the end of 2023. 5 out of 6 panellists (83%) believe the pound will weaken against the euro by July 2023 (vs the rate of EUR/GBP £0.88 on 27.02.2023). The average prediction for July 2023 was EUR/GBP £0.92

    By the end of 2023, half of the panel thinks the pound will strengthen compared to its current rate, whilst the other half thinks the pound will weaken. The average prediction for December 2023 was EUR/GBP £0.91.

    5 out of 6 (83%) panellists believe the Northern Ireland Protocol needs to be resolved, in order to have a strong pound against the euro. It was further noted that the euro may decline in value due to fiscal issues in southern European countries.

    All the content may be republished with a link to this page
    Press enquiries

    We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you. Most of the data in Finder's comparison tables has the source: Moneyfacts Group PLC. In other cases, Finder has sourced data directly from providers.

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    6 Responses

      Default Gravatar
      PeterFebruary 20, 2017

      Can you help me with tracing an international payment from HSBC?

        AvatarFinder
        MillieMarch 1, 2017Finder

        I’m afraid we are a comparison site and therefore I recommend that you contact HSBC or your bank with this query.

      Default Gravatar
      PeterFebruary 20, 2017

      Hello – I am waiting for a wire transfer from HSBC in Hong Kong and it has not arrived.

        AvatarFinder
        MillieMarch 1, 2017Finder

        I’m afraid we are a comparison site and therefore I recommend that you contact HSBC or your bank with this query.

      Default Gravatar
      SimonFebruary 2, 2017

      What should I do if the company does not offer me the same rate as the one displayed above?

        AvatarFinder
        JonFebruary 2, 2017Finder

        We actively monitor the rates to ensure they are accurate for each of the providers, however if you are quoted a different rate once you have created an account please take the following steps;
        1) Exchange rates are updated in realtime so please double check the rate above again to see if the currency has moved.
        2) Ask the provider to match the rate quoted above, most of the time they will, quote finder.com as the source.
        3) Please do leave a comment here to let us know how you get on.

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