How to send money to the USA

Here's how to send a quick, affordable and secure money transfer to the United States from the UK.

Last updated:

How to send money to the USA

Here's how to send a quick, affordable and secure money transfer to the United States from the UK.

Last updated:

While your local bank branch might be the most obvious option for sending money across borders, you can save on fees and take advantage of more competitive exchange rates with an online money transfer company. In this guide, we’ll go through tips on how to get the best deal and what options you have.

In short, to transfer money to the United States, you’ll need to:

  1. Compare some services that can exchange your money to US dollars.
  2. Choose one and sign up for an account.
  3. Provide the details of your transfer, including the amount and who you want to send it to.
  4. Confirm and pay.
TorFX International Money Transfers

International Money Transfer Offer

Send money overseas in 30+ currencies with competitive rates for transfer amounts over £2,500. TorFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate.

  • No transfer fees.
  • Dedicated account manager assigned to you.
  • Forex tools available.

    How much does it cost to send money to the US? Compare your options

    Table: sorted by a combination of service offering and the amount your recipient will receive

    Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
    GBP 2,000 1 day GBP 0.00 1.222 USD
    12,218
    Make transferring money abroad as simple and safe as possible with bank-beating exchange rates - online, via the app or over the phone. Go to site Show details
    GBP 5,000 Same day GBP 0.00 1.222 USD
    12,218
    Universal Partners FX offers competitive exchange rates and same-day transfers for 100+ currencies. Go to site Show details
    GBP 5,000 1 day GBP 0.00 1.222 USD
    12,218
    Take advantage of fee lock-ins and live bookable rates, helping you save up to 85% in hidden bank fees. Go to site Show details
    GBP 2,000 1 day GBP 0.00 1.222 USD
    12,218
    TorFX guarantee to beat any competitor's exchange rate for a transaction (conditions apply)
    (Conditions apply)
    Go to site Show details
    GBP 1 1 - 2 days GBP 0.00 1.222 USD
    12,218
    Whatever amount you transfer, XE will not charge you a fee for using their service. Go to site Show details
    GBP 1,000 1 - 2 days GBP 0.00 1.222 USD
    12,218
    Better exchange rates for Finder customers.
    Send 60+ currencies at competitive rates and no fees. If you find a better eligible quote, WorldFirst will beat it.
    Go to site Show details
    GBP 50 Same day GBP 2.99 1.214 USD
    12,141
    Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.
    An online money transfer service with cash pick-up, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available.
    Go to site Show details
    GBP 2,500 1 day GBP 0.00 1.222 USD
    12,218
    With 17 years of foreign exchange expertise, OFX know the money transfers business very well, offering facilities for one-off and recurring transfers. Go to site Show details
    GBP 3,000 1 day GBP 0.00 1.222 USD
    12,218
    Get no fees as a Finder customer when you transfer your money overseas with Global Reach. Go to site Show details

    Compare up to 4 providers

    Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

    What’s the best way to send money to the US?

    There are three main options that you can use, each with their own pros and cons.

    The best way to send money to the United States depends on your situation. The main options include the following:

    Blue icon representing money transfers Image: Infogram

    Money transfer services

    These offer some of the most cost-effective transfers as they only trade in foreign currencies. You’ll also have a variety of options for your recipient to get the money, like to a mobile wallet or home delivery.

    Picture not described: BlueCoinsCashIcon_Infogram_94x62.png Image: Infogram

    Cash transfers

    Services such as Western Union allow you to send cash transfers for immediate pick-up by the recipient. While it’s a fast way to send money, it generally won’t match the rates or fees of dedicated money transfer services.

    Picture not described: BlueBankIcon_Infogram_62x56.png Image: Infogram

    Banks

    The US dollar is one of the most popular currencies, so it’s safe to assume that any major bank in the UK will offer it. However, beware of the higher fees and less competitive exchange rates banks offer compared to the other options.

    Case Study: Michael sends money to the USA

    The tech company that Michael works for in California is transferring him to their offices in London for a year to spearhead a new department there. He doesn’t want to uproot his family, so his wife and kids will be staying behind in the USA. Because he will be sending money home on a regular basis, he compares two money transfer providers to ensure that he gets the best deal. Michael figures he will be transferring £1,000 to his wife each month.

    Money transfer service 1Money transfer service 2
    Exchange rate1 GBP = 1.107 USD1 GBP = 1.189 USD
    Transfer fee£0£10
    Transfer time2 days2 days
    Transfer optionsOnline, phoneOnline, phone
    Amount received in USD for £1,0001,107 USD1,189 USD

    What’s the difference?

    Although the first service provider doesn’t charge a fee, the second provider’s superior exchange rate allows Michael’s wife to receive US$82 more.

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    How long will it take to transfer money to the US?

    It depends on what method you choose to go with, but the fastest one is instant and the slowest can take up to a week. Since banks need to transfer your money through several correspondent banks, it takes the longest. Cash transfers are the fastest and normally arrive in minutes.

    Emergency cash transfer

    If something happens and you need to transfer money to the US as fast as possible, cash transfers will be your best bet. This involves paying with a credit or debit card and transferring to a cash pick-up location. While it is fast, there’ll be more fees involved.

      How to send money to the US without a bank account

      Cash transfer services can also help you out if either you or your recipient is unbanked. If you don’t have a bank account, look for transfer services that have agent locations so you can go in and pay in cash. These cash transfer services will also have agent locations in other countries where your recipient can pick up the cash, without needing a bank account.

      What to watch out for

      If you’re sending a lot of money to the US, your recipient will need to declare it to the IRS. US citizens and residents will need to fill in Form 3520 if the transfer is one of the following:

      • A gift worth $100,000 or more and it’s from a non-resident.
      • A gift of $15,601 or more from a foreign corporation or partnership.

      While foreign gifts generally aren’t subject to income tax, you still need to file the form with your taxes or face penalties.

      Documentation you’ll need to send money to the US

      • The recipient’s full name. Your recipient will need to show photo identification if they’re picking up the money, so make sure the name on the order is the same as the name on their ID.
      • The sender’s full name. As an additional security measure, the agent may ask for the full name of the sender. Be sure that the recipient knows your complete name.
      • Your recipient’s contact information and bank details. Both the sender and the recipient must have each other’s address and contact details.
      • The tracking number. Keep the tracking number given to you upon sending the transfer as the recipient must provide this to the agent before the cash can be released.

      It’s always best to keep all the paperwork to do with your transfer, just in case you need proof that the money was sent.

      What to compare to get the best deal

      When you’re choosing what transfer service to go to, you should look into the following:
      • Exchange rates. Most services will add a margin to the exchange rate, but banks can often add the most. A small difference to the exchange rate can have a big impact when you transfer large amounts of money.
      • Fees. Fees are either charged as a flat fee or a percentage, which means the more you send, the higher the fee will be. While some services offer fee-free transfers, this means they’ll add a bigger margin to the exchange rate.
      • Payment options. Most, if not all, transfer companies will let you pay through your bank account, but if you can only pay with cash, you’ll have to look a bit harder.
      • Delivery methods. This depends on your recipient – would they prefer it deposited in their bank account or mobile wallet? Or can they pick it up from an agent location?
      • Customer service. Some services are only open during business hours, which can make it difficult when something goes wrong. Also, check out how you can contact them – do they only have a phone number? Or can you live-chat with them as well?

      Foreign exchange rates explained

      The exchange rate is how much one country’s currency is worth in another country’s currency. With the GBP/USD currency pairing, you’ll get more money when either the British pound is strong or the US dollar is weak.

      You’ll also see that the exchange rate you get quoted from money transfer companies differs. Compare what you get quoted with the mid-market rate below, which is what your money is actually worth.

      Today’s exchange rate GBP to USD

      1
      0
      Updated: 03 Apr 2020 21:37:58 UTC

      Cash pick-up locations in the US

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      2 Responses

      1. Default Gravatar
        JohnAugust 24, 2019

        I have inherited 50,000 pounds sterling in the UK. How much will I receive in USA at today’s bank rate of 1 pound sterling = $ 1.22, using the least expensive service available?

        • Avatarfinder Customer Care
          JeniAugust 25, 2019Staff

          Hi John,

          Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

          I’m afraid that we wouldn’t be able to provide the accurate even the estimate amount you might receive if it’s via bank transfer as banks have their own exchange rate as well as fees on processing money transfer. It is recommended to seek further info from the bank that will process the money transfer for you.

          I hope this helps.

          Thank you and have a wonderful day!

          Cheers,
          Jeni

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