When you need to transfer money to the UK from overseas, there are plenty of potential pitfalls and problems that can turn even the simplest of transactions into an expensive hassle. From poor exchange rates and high fees to tax implications, there are plenty of issues to consider when repatriating funds.
Send money abroad with XE
Whatever amount you transfer, XE will not charge you a fee for using their service.
The good news, however, is that sending an international money transfer is simple and convenient using modern technology. It’s also less damaging to your bank balance than ever before, thanks to the emergence of a wealth of new international transfer options.
If you compare your options and shop around for the best transfer provider, you can send speedy and cost-effective international money transfers to the UK.
How does repatriation of funds work?
The repatriation of funds is when you move money from abroad back to the UK. There are plenty of situations where you might need to perform this type of transaction, including if you’re working overseas and sending money home to your UK-based family or if you receive a pension overseas that you want to transfer into your UK bank account.
Wherever you’re sending the money from, you should be able to find a major bank in most countries that will be able to handle the transaction for you. However, the problem is that banks don’t offer great value for money when you send funds overseas, with their poor exchange rates and high fees conspiring to take a big bite out of your bank balance.
The poor deal offered by banks has led to the rise in recent years of specialist online money transfer providers. These companies trade large volumes of foreign currency and, as such, can offer superior exchange rates to the banks. Their fees are also lower and they offer fast and secure online transfers, allowing you to send funds to bank accounts around the world. Companies like MoneyCorp and Currency Fair offer this service and you can compare a range of reputable online transfer providers at finder.com.
If you want to send your funds back to the UK in cash form, perhaps to help out a family member in urgent need of financial support, you may wish to use a company that offers cash pickup transfers. Providers such as Western Union and MoneyGram offer extensive worldwide transfer networks so that your beneficiary can pick up the cash you send from the other side of the world within minutes.
There are other issues to be aware of when sending money to the UK, including possible restrictions that may apply to the amount of money you can transfer. You’ll also need to remember to report all of your income when filing your tax return.
How do I compare international money transfer services?
Ask yourself the following questions when weighing up the merits of competing transfer companies:
Which company offers the best exchange rates? The importance of the exchange rate in determining the affordability of your transaction cannot be understated. Look around to find a company that regularly offers competitive rates, but remember to factor in the fees that may also be attached.
Which company charges the lowest fees? Transfer fees can range from a few pounds to £50 or more, so it pays to compare the transaction fees charged by different companies.
What transfer options are available? Some companies offer one-off spot orders only, while others allow you to place limit orders or forward contracts, and to set up regular payments months or even years in advance. You should also look at the methods by which you can place a transfer, such as online, in person, over the telephone or by using a smartphone/tablet app.
How will my beneficiary receive the money? In many cases, the money can be sent straight from an overseas bank account to your account in the UK. However, when you want the money you send to be available as cash for collection, companies like Western Union and MoneyGram are happy to oblige.
How quickly will the money be transferred? If time is an important factor for your money transfers, compare how long it will take for each company to get the funds to your recipient. It could take 10 minutes or it could take up to five or more business days.
Does the company have a good reputation? Do a little online research to check up on a company’s bona fides and whether it has a good reputation for offering secure transfers and professional customer service. Asking friends and family for their recommendations can also help you reach a final decision.
How can you access customer support? Hopefully you’ll never have any problems with your transactions but if you do, will you be able to access customer support via phone, email and/or online?
It’s simple. You can quickly and easily repatriate funds online through a number of providers; in most cases, all you need to do is register for a free account.
It’s cost-effective. If you shop around and compare money transfer providers, you can save yourself a whole lot of money.
Choice. There are plenty of reputable money transfer companies vying for your business, and the increased choice results in better transfer deals for consumers.
Restrictions and regulations. You’ll need to make sure you’re aware of any maximum limits that apply for transfers to the UK from your chosen country, while it’s also important to remember the tax implications if you earn an income from overseas.
Frequently asked questions
Yes. You will usually be given a transaction reference number which you can use to check on the status of your funds. This can be done online or over the phone in most cases.
This depends on the money transfer company you choose. Some only offer support for a few major currencies such as the Euro and US Dollar, while other companies will allow you to transfer a much larger range of common and exotic currencies.
No. You may wish to use your bank or a transfer company that offers cash pickup transfers through a worldwide network of branches. Whichever transfer method you choose, make sure to compare your options and shop around to find value for money.
You may wish to use a flexible transfer option like a limit order or a forward contract to help you get the exchange rate you want for your transaction.
Shirley Liu is Finder's global program manager. She was previously the publisher for banking and investments and has also written comparisons for energy, money transfers, Uber Eats and many other topics. Shirley has a Master of Commerce and a Bachelor of Media, Journalism and Communications from the University of New South Wales. She is passionate about helping people find the best deal for their needs.
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