UK International Money Transfer Statistics

Where does the UK send its money?

17 Jan 2018
Working in the UK and sending money back home is common practice among many expats – sometimes to support their family directly, others just to send a gift to a friend that still lives in their country of origin. We tried to quantify this more precisely, and found out that the UK consistently sends over $20 billion abroad every year through international money transfers.
Using the most recently available data from World Bank, along with findings from our own surveys, we’ve thus tried to get an idea of where this money is going and what it’s being sent for.

The latest stats

Which countries receive the most money?

Nigeria receives more money from the UK than any other country, accounting for 14.8% of all transfers abroad. This is followed by India (14.1%), France (6.7%), Pakistan (6.7%) and Germany (4.9%).

Almost half of all transfers abroad go to one of these countries.

Relative amount remitted to top 5 countries
CountryAmount sent% of total money flow% of GDP
Nigeria$3,711,104,64114.84%0.93%
India$3,585,169,75714.11%0.16%
France$1,711,895,4196.74%0.07%
Pakistan$1,697,177,1886.68%0.61%
Germany$1,246,823,8444.91%0.04%
Poland$1,133,537,8344.46%0.24%
China$932,883,3973.67%0.01%
Spain$709,489,2622.79%0.06%
Philippines$624,760,9362.46%0.20%
Belgium$606,741,1302.39%0.13%
Kenya$585,451,9502.30%0.83%
Sri Lanka$529,995,0192.09%0.65%
Bangladesh$472,065,8041.86%0.21%
Australia$471,164,9311.85%0.04%
United States$459,337,4161.81%0.00%
Italy$447,123,3501.76%0.02%
Hungary$410,889,3441.62%0.33%
Ireland$312,894,1331.23%0.10%
Jamaica$306,989,0971.21%2.18%
Lithuania$291,600,7831.15%0.68%

Source: finder.com/uk, World Bank

Why do people send money abroad?

Our survey of over 2000 adults revealed the main reasons people transfer money abroad. The top reason was for family support, followed closely behind by transferring money as a gift.

Reasons people send money abroad
Reasons people send money abroad
  • To support their family (41.2%)
  • As a gift (37.8%)
  • For a holiday (23.7%)
  • An emergency (20.3%)
  • Transfers to own foreign accounts (16.9%)
  • Business (13.5%)
  • For a wedding (9.5%)

Demographics

The survey also shed light on which people send money abroad the most, according to gender, region and age group.

Gender differences

Men are more likely to have made an international money transfer than women: 41% compared to 29%.

41% of men

have transferred money abroad.

29% of women

have done the same.

Regional differences

The three regions of the UK that are the most likely to have transferred money abroad, in order, are:

1. London: 61.4%
2. North East: 49.0%
3. West Midlands: 36.9%

Generational differences

Age also seems to make a significant difference to this probability, with 58.8% of millennials having transferred money abroad, compared to 37.2% of members of generation X, and 22.6% of baby boomers. In other words, younger adults are more likely to send money abroad.

Proportion of each generation that has sent money abroad

Image showing the demographics of people who have sent money abroad.

Proportion that has transferred money abroad
Millennials58.8%
Generation X37.2%
Baby Boomers22.6%

International money transfer trends

How much money has the UK sent year-on-year?

The amount of money transferred abroad from the UK has been increasing steadily. In 2016, $25.4 billion were sent overseas: an increase of 20.6% compared to 2010.

20.6% increase

in the yearly amount sent abroad since 2010.
Total yearly remittance from the UK
Amount sent abroad
2010$21,057,338,409
2011$23,159,388,796
2012$23,601,144,754
2013$23,917,379,492
2014$25,143,122,059
2015$25,337,393,935
2016$25,403,400,777

Remittances from the UK to India reached a high of $4.3 billion in 2012, then dropped in 2013 when it was overtaken by Nigeria. Nigeria received the most money from the UK for two years until India reclaimed that title in 2015. 2016 saw Nigeria reclaim the top spot as remittances from the UK to India fell to $3.6 billion, its lowest since 2010. Two other countries that experienced a significant drop in 2013 were Pakistan and Bangladesh. Pakistan received $1.5 billion in 2012, which dropped to $1.1 billion in 2013. The amount of money sent to Bangladesh dropped from $850 million in 2012 to $470 million in 2013.

Yearly remittance to the top three countries
IndiaNigeriaPakistan
2010$3.4 billion$3.7 billion$1.1 billion
2011$3.9 billion$3.9 billion$1.3 billion
2012$4.3 billion$3.8 billion$1.5 billion
2013$3.6 billion$3.7 billion$1.1 billion
2014$3.7 billion$3.8 billion$1.3 billion
2015$3.9 billion$3.7 billion$1.6 billion
2016$3.6 billion$3.8 billion$1.7 billion

International money transfer provider stats

We compared the providers on finder to see how widely they differ from each other.

  • Fees varied from £0 to £10
  • The exchange rate of GBP to EUR varied from 1.099 to 1.138
  • The transfer speed ranged from the same day to 2 days.
  • The minimum amount you can transfer also differs from provider to provider – from £1 to £5,000.
Lowest Highest Difference
Range of fees £0 £10 £10
Exchange rate 1.099 1.138 0.039
Minimum Amount £1 £5,000 £4,999
Speed Same day 2 days 2 days
Data accurate as of 24/04/18.

Latest international money transfer headlines

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