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How to send money to the UK

Get the best rate for your secure overseas transfer.

While your local bank may be the most obvious way to send money to the UK, you can save on fees and get a more competitive exchange rate with a money transfer company — but make sure it offers a speed and transfer type you’re happy with.

Send money to the UK with WorldRemit

WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.

  • No minimum transfer amount
  • Large range of destinations
  • Competitive exchange rate
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Compare money transfer services to the UK

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 60 1 day ZAR 0.00 0.049 GBP
492
Skrill offers easy transfers to many popular destinations, but keep an eye out for added fees. Go to site Show details
USD 1 Within an hour ZAR 500.00 0.049 GBP
467
Use promo code FREE to send your first transfer with no fee. T&Cs apply.
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
Go to site Show details
USD 2,000 1 day ZAR 0.00 0.049 GBP
492
TorFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. Conditions apply.
TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
Go to site Show details
EUR 8 3 - 5 days EUR 3.00 0.049 GBP
490
Special offer: Zero fees on your first 10 transfers.
CurrencyFair has bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
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.

How do international money transfers work?

International money transfers allow you to send money overseas through a bank or money transfer service. Because the Pound sterling is a widely-traded currency, you’ll be able to find plenty of companies that can exchange South African rand to pounds, so you’ll need to be sure you compare your rates and the potential fees before choosing which service to use. Once you complete the transaction, your recipient will receive the money in their bank account or in person at a specified pickup location.

Banks versus money transfer companies

Your first thought may be to ask your bank to transfer money to an overseas account, and while many offer this service, it is often much more expensive and yields a worse exchange rate than an international money transfer company. You’ll be able to get a better rate and pay less fees with one of these companies than with your bank, so explore your options.

Craig needs to send money to the UK

Craig’s son Kevin is studying abroad in the UK, and with money starting to get tight, Kevin calls home to ask his dad for R5,000 in extra spending money. Rather than using his bank to complete the transfer, Craig decides to weigh the fees and features of two money transfer companies.
Money transfer company 1Money transfer company 2
Exchange rate1 ZAR = 0.061 GBP1 ZAR = 0.055 GBP
Transfer feeR5R4
Transfer methodBank account depositBank account deposit
Transfer speed
1 business day1 business day
Total GBP received
305 GBP275 GBP

Craig’s quick comparison shows him that the first transfer company will net him 30 extra pounds. He completes the online application, and by the next day, Kevin has a little extra money in his account.

How to compare transfer companies when transferring money to the UK

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 via online chat, phone, in person or by email. Make sure help will be available if you need it.
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Foreign exchange rates explained

Exchange rates are determined on a daily and hourly basis by the fluctuations in political and economic climate across the globe. A strong currency is one that trades better when exchanged with the currency of another country. Below, you can see a real-time update of what the mid-market rate for ZAR/GBP is, as well as what it has been historically.

ZAR to GBP: Historical rate chart

1
0
Updated: 19 Sep 2021 20:18:53 UTC

Options for sending money to the UK from South Africa

  • Bank transfers. Many South African banks can safely wire your funds to countries around the world. Banks rely on existing links between banks and banking systems worldwide. However, a downside is the frustratingly high fees and weaker exchange rates you’ll receive by going through your bank.
  • Online money transfer services. These specialists offer more affordable transfers than banks do, allowing you to quickly and easily manage your transactions from home. With competitive exchange rates and lower fees, you can send funds from your bank account. Many also allow you to pay with a credit or debit card.
  • Providers with cash pickup. Trusted providers like Western Union and MoneyGram offer the key advantage of giving your recipient fast access to the cash you send — sometimes within minutes. You can often pay online or at one of thousands of agent locations worldwide. However, services typically cost more than an online transfer specialist and vary by where you’re transferring your money and how you’re paying for it.
  • PayPal transfers. Not just for online purchases, PayPal offers transfers to more than 100 countries and supports multiple currencies. Its exchange rates are often better than those you’ll get from a bank but not quite as strong as rates from money transfer companies. PayPal calculates its transfer fee as a percentage of the amount you’re sending — meaning it’s often better for sending smaller amounts of money.
  • International money order. You can get this type of money order from your bank and send it overseas to your recipient, who then cashes it in with their own bank. While more secure than a personal cheque, it’s a slower option than using an electronic transfer. It also costs a little more — you’ll have to purchase the cheque, and your recipient may be charged a fee by their own bank.
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How to send money to the UK

  1. Choose a money transfer provider.
  2. Click Go to Site and begin the registration process.
  3. Start a transfer transaction, giving your recipients information and how much you want to transfer.
  4. Pay for the transaction.
  5. Save the tracking number to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Emergency transfers to the UK

It’s possible to complete an emergency cash transfer that gives your recipient access to funds quickly, but this is usually the most expensive option. You will face higher fees and a worse exchange rate, so if your friend or family member can wait a day or two for a regular transfer to be completed, you’ll save money in the long run.

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Tips for picking up cash in the UK

Whether picking up funds in London or anywhere else around the UK, take a few simple safety precautions to prevent yourself from 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.

Bottom line

Overseas money transfers are easy, no matter which method you choose. But knowing how to compare your options gives you a leg up in terms of cost, rates and transfer speeds. An informed choice will always be a better choice.

Common questions about transfers to the UK

Cash pickup locations in United Kingdom

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