When you need to send an international money transfer, you may consider contacting your bank. While banks can handle wire transfers with ease, it’s not necessarily the best choice from a financial perspective.
There are plenty of dedicated money transfer companies that offer you a better deal than the banks. Reliable and secure, these companies can provide much better exchange rates and they lower transfer fees, with some waiving its fees when you send more than a certain amount.
How to compare transfer companies when transferring money to France
By comparing a few elements of your transfer, you can ensure that you get the cheapest deal for your needs.
Exchange rates. Nearly all providers skew exchange rates for a profit. Compare the rate you’re offered to the mid-market rate — the rate banks and transfer services use when they trade among themselves — and look for the smallest margin between them.
Transfer fees. Find out whether the provider charges a flat fee or a percentage of your transfer. If you’re sending a large amount, ask whether you qualify for a fee-free transfer.
Payment and delivery options. Some transfer companies allow you to pay with a credit card online, by phone or through an app. Others offer agent locations for cash payments and pickups. Also ask how your recipient can receive your funds: bank account, cash pickup, mobile wallet and more.
Transfer speeds. If it needs to be there fast, companies like Western Union and MoneyGram allow for quick cash pickups, often in minutes. If you have more time, you’ll get better rates and fees with an independent provider.
Transfer limits. Your best option might depend on how much you want to send. For large transfers, weigh the best exchange rate — especially since providers encourage large transfers by offering low fees. For smaller amounts, consider the fees you’ll pay on top of the exchange rate.
Flexible transfer options. Ask whether you can schedule payments ahead of time or protect your transfer against market fluctuations with a limit order or forward contract.
Customer support. Most companies offer customer service by Internet chat, phone, in person or by email. Make sure help will be available if you need it.
Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending £1,000 to France
To get an idea of costs, let’s compare numerous transfer options and associated fees to send £1,000 to France. This table uses real fees and exchange rates and is current as of 4 April 2020.
Money transfer company 1
Money transfer company 2
1 GBP = 1.10 EUR
1 GBP = 1.13 EUR
1 GBP = 1.12 EUR
Bank account deposit
Bank account deposit
Bank account deposit
Amount in EUR received for £1,000
As you can see, both online transfer companies would send more than 30 euros extra to the recipient – and more cheaply and quickly – compared with the bank.
The exchange rate determines how much one country’s currency is worth in another currency. When a country’s currency is strong, it will yield more money when exchanging it in a country with a weak currency. The euro’s exchange rate is flexible, which means it can change from moment to moment. Factors that influence the exchange rate include interest rates, economic stability and inflation. Currency exchange rate for France
Steps to send money to France
Register for an account with a provider, supplying your name, address, contact details, proof of ID and information about your selected payment method.
Provide your recipient’s information and contact details.
Select the amount of your transfer and complete your transaction.
Preserve your receipt or other proof of transaction in order to monitor the progress of your transfer.
Options to send money to France
Bank transfers. Most banks in the UK will allow you to send money to France
Money transfer providers. Providers like Ria and XE can help you quickly and easily transfer your money online.
PayPal. Electronic payment giant PayPal allows you to send money from the UK to France.
International money orders. Another option is to get an international guaranteed cheque from your bank.
Must read: How safe is a money transfer?
When you use a reputable provider, your funds are safely tracked until in the hands of your recipient. Yes. It’s industry standard for international money services to use 128-bit SSL encryption systems at a minimum. Many also are licensed with UK financial regulators.
Wherever you’re picking up cash, it’s important to take a few simple safety precautions to prevent yourself becoming a target for thieves.
Call ahead. Learn the company’s business hours and choose a safe time to pick up your cash. Daylight hours are best.
Bring a friend. Carrying money when alone can be dangerous. Ask a friend to come along.
Deposit your money immediately. The likelihood of losing your money to theft or simple carelessness grows the longer you have it with you. Go straight to a bank and deposit your cash as soon as possible.
Keep your cash hidden. Place your money in your purse or wallet before leaving the office. Carrying cash out in the open could make you a target.
Emergency cash transfers in France
You might need to send an emergency cash transfer to France – for example, if a relative or friend travelling through the country loses their wallet. When you need to transfer funds urgently, your fastest possible transfer will often be your most expensive option. Carefully review the exchange rate and transfer fee against your needs so that you understand exactly how much it will cost you.
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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