Find the best exchange rates

Whether you’re sending money abroad, or getting ready for a holiday, make sure you get the top price.

Get the best exchange rates

What is the exchange rate?

The exchange rate shows the value of two currencies relative to one another. You’ll see it expressed as a simple formula showing how much the Pound is worth when compared to other global currencies, for example 1 GBP = 1.18 EUR.

There are multiple factors that affect the exchange rate, including everything from supply and demand for a particular currency to levels of consumer confidence and spending. Even current events, for example political instability or a natural disaster, can have an impact on the value of a currency.

In many cases, the exchange rate won’t have all that much of a noticeable effect on your daily life. But if you’re buying goods or services from overseas, travelling overseas or sending money overseas, you will need to take current exchange rates into account.

How can I find the best exchange rate?

Finding a great exchange rate can save you lots of money when you’re making a transaction involving foreign currency, but it’s not the only expense to consider. Transfer fees, withdrawal fees, and other hidden charges can also turn the smallest of transactions into a much larger expense, so it pays to compare a range of options before choosing the right option.

Keep these tips in mind when looking for the best available exchange rate:

  • What is the current mid-market rate? You will probably have noticed that the exchange rate you can Google, or see quoted in the financial news is different to the one that banks, transfer companies, and travel money companies offer to their customers. That’s because the rate on the news is the ‘mid-market rate‘. This is the price at which banks around the world purchase currency from one another. Check on this rate regularly so you know how much your pounds are really worth.
  • Are you getting the right rate? As mentioned above, the mid-market rate and a company’s customer rate are two different things. Despite this, some providers won’t make it clear that when you use their online calculator to work out how much a transaction will cost you, the calculator will use the mid-market rate rather than the one you will actually receive. Make sure you are using the customer exchange rate when calculating the cost of your transaction.
  • Can you place a forward contract? In the case of a international money transfer, some providers offer the flexibility of placing a forward contract. This option allows you to lock in an exchange rate now for a transfer that will be completed in the future. So if the value of the pound drops in the interim, your money is protected against any decreases.
  • Can you place a limit order? Similarly, a limit order allows you to specify your desired transfer parameters, such as the exchange rate you would like for your transaction, and then the order will only be placed if your transfer conditions are met. This means you can take advantage of changing market conditions to send a more affordable transfer.
  • Should you send a large transfer? In the case of both money transfers and travel money, you can sometimes get better rates when you’re spending larger amounts of money. Sending one big transfer, or ordering one big batch of foreign currency, rather than several smaller ones is often a good idea.

How can I send an international money transfer?

One thing you’ll discover when hunting for the best exchange rate is that there are plenty of options to choose from when you want to send money overseas. Many people simply go with the easiest – and perhaps the most convenient – option and choose their bank to send the money overseas. The problem, however, is that banks offer some of the worst exchange rates you will find and usually also charge high transfer fees.

The absence of any value for money from the banks has led to the rise of online money transfer services in recent years. These providers, including Currency Fair, Currency Solutions, FairFX and many more, offer exchange rates far superior to those offered by the banks. They also offer lower fees in most cases, providing secure and fast online transfers from your bank account to your beneficiary’s account.

Another option worth considering is a money transfer company that allows you to send funds for cash collection. Your beneficiary is able to collect the funds you send by visiting their nearest transfer company branch. Providers like Western Union, MoneyGram and Xpress Money all operate extensive international transfer networks.

Depending on your circumstances, there are a couple of other options you may wish to consider. A banker’s draft, for example, is a secure yet slow international transfer method, while digital payment company PayPal can also be used for small funds transfers.

Send money abroad with TorFX

Get bank-beating exchange rates and no fees when you transfer with TorFX.

  • Send money with competitive rates
  • Price-match guarantee
  • Dedicated account manager to help you
  • Send as much as you need with no maximum transfer limit

Case study: Banks versus Money Transfer Companies

When Dave gets an urgent email from his brother, Sam, requesting urgent cash, Dave isn’t particularly surprised. Sam is backpacking around Australia and has never been known for his thriftiness, so Dave had already started putting money aside in case Sam ran out of money while on his travels. He agrees to send Sam £1,000 to help him pay for accommodation and food, but rather than simply send the funds straight away he decides to compare the fee and exchange rate on offer from his bank and from a money transfer company.

Money transfer company Bank
Exchange rate1 GBP = 2.128 AUD1 GBP = 2.0735 AUD
Transfer fee£2.50£20
Transfer methodOnline bank account transferInternational wire transfer
Processing time3 business days1-3 business days
Amount received (in AUD)$2,128$2073.50

As Dave’s comparison shows, he’ll be able to send an extra AUD $54.50 to his brother when he uses the money transfer company, plus he will save £17.50 in transfer fees as opposed to using his bank.

Compare international money transfer services and their exchange rates

Table: sorted by promoted deals first
Our table below lets you compare the services you can use to send money abroad. Choose if you want to send under or over £10,000, and you’ll be shown a list of services that can help you.
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.
24 hours

View details
TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
Currencies Direct
Within an hour

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

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

View details
XE has fast transfers with low 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.
24 hours
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.
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.
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.
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.

Compare up to 4 providers

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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    torFXJuly 13, 2017

    Is torFX a safe and reliable money transfer company to use?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      AnndyJuly 21, 2017Staff

      Hi there,

      Thanks for your question.

      torfx is a legitimate business that is registered in England & Wales. They are also authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority as an Electronic Money Institution.

      You can visit this page to learn more about torfx.


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