International Money Transfer Companies Compared: UK
Even the most seasoned of remittance senders can forget the value in comparing services for their usual international money transfer.
With a wide selection of banks and online global payment providers offering appealing exchange rates, speedy transfer times, and even “fee-free” remittances, it’s not hard to get caught up in excitable claims. However, in truth, their service could be giving individuals or businesses an unfair deal on overseas transfers.
This is sometimes due to the obscure fees and charges that providers roll into their exchange rate. In other cases, it is down to the use of complicated terms and conditions which hide the real pricing of the service. As a result, it can be beneficial to look at overseas money transfer comparisons that are thoroughly researched before selecting a suitable global money transfer provider. For a more detailed look at sending money abroad, check out our guide: Sending money abroad: a guide to international money transfers.
You might be asking yourself the following, when trying to choose a service:
How do other currency providers compare to CurrencyFair?
Are banks much more expensive than CurrencyFair?
CurrencyFair vs TransferWise to send money to the UK
CurrencyFair vs Revolut - what are the differences?
In our UK currency transfer provider comparison, we cover these questions and more.
UK Money Transfer Companies Compared
Serving 200 countries and territories worldwide, Azimo is an online remittance service that has been in operation since 2012.
Azimo’s mission is to “use technology to democratise financial services, making them affordable and available to all”. While Azimo shares a similar goal to CurrencyFair, their pricing does not seem to support it. While transfers with Azimo are cheaper than with average high-street banks, there are some catches:
Azimo offer their customers two transfers without fees. This initial draw is complemented with a “special introductory [exchange] rate” on the initial two transfers.
Sadly, long-term, Azimo could become an even costlier way of sending money abroad. Their charges take two formats:
Fees: Usually, Azimo charge £1.99 per transfer.
Exchange rates: Azimo typically add 0.1-2.25% onto the currency market rate (also known as the rate you see on Google).
According to our calculations, as a result of these fees, Azimo customers are losing out in comparison to CurrencyFair customers:
|£ to €||Azimo||CurrencyFair|
Comparison made at 11:48am on November 13th, 2019
Barclays Bank is a multinational bank with its headquarters based in London.
Like many of the financial service providers, Barclays claims that “sending money is fee-free”.
However, upon further inspection, this is not entirely accurate. Their breakdown of fees is complex with lots of different variables – such as:
The money’s destination country: This will impact the Overseas Delivery Charge incorporated into Barclay’s global payments service. This charge, which is not a fee, is dependent on the destination of the money.
The amount being sent: While transfers to destinations such as Australia and America incur flat Overseas Delivery Charges, other costs to countries like Ireland are incurred as a percentage of the amount being sent.
The chosen method for sending: Sending money online is ‘fee-free’, while sending money by visiting a branch starts at £15, going all the way up to £40.
The exchange rate: Barclays’ exchange rates are “indicative”, meaning that they are liable to change at the point of sale.
As a result, it is difficult to assess how much a transfer will cost before the fact. However, it is certain Barclays do not deliver great value-for-money in comparison to CurrencyFair.
CurrencyFair’s fees do not vary by destination, or amount sent, and the exchange rate offered is never more than 0.6% in excess of the exchange rate available on Google.
There are plenty of appealing options for international money transfers in the UK. As outlined above, some of these providers have complex fee structures, additional charges, poor exchange rates or daily transfer limits that can make moving money abroad expensive, restrictive and unclear.
In contrast, our dedication to bringing customers financial fairness is summed up in our simple and transparent fee structure:
Fees: All transfers of all sizes to every available currency and destination will cost the equivalent of only £2.50 to the customer, each time.
Foreign Exchange: The margin we tack onto the live exchange rate available on Google is up to a maximum of 0.6%. Better yet, some customers can even beat that rate, using our peer-to-peer marketplace.
And that’s it! So you can rest assured that there are no nasty surprises hidden in our small print.
Our excellent service is available on desktop and mobile (Apple and Google Play), making it easy to access at home or on-the-go.
So far, our customers have securely sent the equivalent of over £7 billion abroad and saved above £195 million, or its currency equivalent, in the process. To join over 180,000 satisfied CurrencyFair users, sign up today.
Operating under the Bank of Scotland and the wider Lloyds Banking Group, this traditional bank is named after the West Yorkshire town where its headquarters are based.
There are two ways in which Halifax charge their customers when transferring their money overseas:
Fees: Halifax are quite up-front about the fees they charge on transfers, starting at £9.50 (not applicable to GBP sent from a Halifax Basic Account to an EU bank).
Foreign Exchange: The banking brand is also applaudably honest about the margins added onto their currency exchange rates. This begins at 3.2%, and reduces with bigger transfer amounts – but “can change at any time”.
CurrencyFair alternatively presents a fixed fee of £2.50, and the exchange rate offered in a direct, concise way for customers to understand the fair deal.
What’s more? CurrencyFair customers can avail of almost 4 transfers for the cost of a Halifax transfer.
One of the “Big Four” banks in the UK, most of the Lloyds Bank branches are located in England and Wales.
In the same way as with Halifax (a subsidiary of the Lloyds group) above, costs to send money globally are structured as follows:
Fees: Charges start at £9.50 (not applicable to GBP sent from a Halifax Basic Account to an EU bank), and could be bumped up where a correspondent bank is involved.
Foreign Exchange: Lloyds is also applaudably honest about the margins added onto their currency exchange rates. This begins at 3.2%, and reduces with bigger transfer amounts – but, rather confusingly “can change at any time”.
CurrencyFair provides more certainty and superior value at just £2.50 per transfer, with no more than 0.6% of a mark-up on the exchange rate.
MoneyGram are an American international money transfer company who operate online and through a number of agents all over the world, including the UK Post Office and other retailers.
While they are easy-to-access and have many sending and receiving options, their pricing value-for-money in comparison to CurrencyFair really speaks for itself:
|£ to €||MoneyGram||CurrencyFair|
|£10,000||N/A - Conversions stop at £6,000||€11,620|
Comparison made on November 13th, 2019 at 15:11
Notably, they do not transfer amounts in excess of £6,000 either – this isn’t very convenient for customers looking to pay for a big purchase, move savings to another country, or take care of other substantial payments.
MoneyCorp is an international company which provides several foreign exchange services, including bureaux de change. They also operate an online global payments platform, which has a questionable pricing structure:
Fees: Customers can choose to send their money online via MoneyCorp’s “Standard” (2-4 days) or “Express” (0-2 days) service, priced at £5 and £9 respectively.
Foreign Exchange: MoneyCorp does not offer any indication of the margin applied to the exchange rates given to their customers. Instead, they vaguely mention that “the current exchange rate, the amount transacted” as well as a “the currency purchased” will play a part in the resulting exchange.
CurrencyFair, on the other hand, offers a faster, more fairly priced service. Our calculator allows users to get a true indication of the platform’s exchange rate, and our standard transfer, occurring in real-time, is half the price of MoneyCorp’s four-day transfer.
Monzo is a relatively new challenger bank that is trying to build “the best current account on the planet”, with over 2.5 million users. The UK-based digital bank offers international transfers with TransferWise.
N26 is another popular digital bank hailing from Germany. Claiming to be the “first bank you’ll love”, N26 too outsources its global payments to TransferWise.
Nationwide is the largest building society in the world with over 15 million members.
Again, despite their impressive size, Nationwide are unable to offer customers a good deal on foreign payments. Their set of charges is as follows:
Fees: Sending funds within Europe will cost £9, while transferring further afield will incur a fee of £20.
Exchange rates: Nationwide admirably publish their exchange rates. What is not so admirable is their unfairness in comparison to the currency market rate. On November 13th, 2019 at 16:33, their GBP-EUR rate was 2.67% more expensive than that available on Google.
Taking these notes into consideration, CurrencyFair carried out a small comparison:
|£ to €||Nationwide||CurrencyFair|
Comparison made on November 13th, 2019 at 16:42
NatWest, short for National Westminster, has been part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group since 2000.
The traditional banking company’s charges are as follows:
Fees: NatWest charge £10 to £30 on each transfer, depending on when you would like the money to arrive, and its destination. While they are up-front about the fee, a similar amount of money could get a CurrencyFair customer as many as 4-12 transfers!
Foreign Exchange: This is the less certain portion of the transaction. NatWest do offer a page with the latest exchange rates, but take care to include the infamous caveat: “These rates exclude any commission or other associated charges which may apply”.
CurrencyFair could offer NatWest customers a truthful, convenient and cheap alternative when it comes to foreign exchange and sending money abroad.
Neteller is an e-transfer service, originally from Canada. It is powered by Paysafe and has become the go-to e-payments service within the betting industry. It offers a wealth of options for ‘uploading’ and ‘withdrawing’ funds, but how do they measure up to CurrencyFair?
Fees:Sending funds with Neteller incurs a cost of 1.45% of the amount sent, where the customer has already deposited money to their Neteller account (which costs another 2.5% via bank transfer). Otherwise, a fee of 20% could be incurred!
Foreign Exchange: Neteller adds 3.99% onto the currency market rate where currency exchange is required.
Here, the value of sending GBP into an EUR country with Neteller is compared to that of CurrencyFair:
|£ to €||Neteller (with deposit)||Neteller (wihtout deposit||CurrencyFair|
Comparison carried out on November 14th, 2019 at 10:29
This foreign exchange and payments company was previously known as OzForex, due to its country of origin.
Their way of charging customers is laid out as follows:
Fees: OFX UK does not charge a transfer fee.
Foreign Exchange: Although OFX have a sophisticated “market rate converter” on their site, they apply a “customer rate” to all instances of currency exchange. This rate is “an estimate rate that is based off the current Market Rate and includes our margin but excludes any fees.” The customer-tailored rate depends on factors like how often the user transfers, the currency pairing, or the value of the transfer – so it is very difficult to get an accurate indication before sending money.
Although CurrencyFair does charge a transfer fee of £2.50, there is great value in knowing the cost of a transfer before setting up an account ‘send’ – this is where CurrencyFair can make up the difference. CurrencyFair’s website has an in-built calculator which gives you a precise estimation of how much customers can get for their transfer. CurrencyFair also proudly keeps its margins on exchange rates below 0.6%, ensuring value for money.
PayPal has been at the forefront of spreading online commerce, but leaves much to be desired as a way of transferring money all over the world. Here’s how PayPal’s charges are unfair to their customers:
Fees: All inter-currency transfers incur a fixed fee ranging from £1.99-£3.99. Costs can compound even further where a customer transfers the money directly from their debit or credit card, rather than using an existing PayPal balance or a bank transfer.
Foreign Exchange: PayPal charges a ‘Currency Conversion Fee’ which is calculated as 3-4% of the exchange rate.
Worse still, these expenses are often hidden in reams of meticulous terms and conditions. The following is a summation of why switching from PayPal to CurrencyFair could help with savings:
|£ to €||PayPal||CurrencyFair|
Comparison made on November 13th, 2019 at 16:53
Like many postal services around the world, the UK post office has evolved to cater for more than handling letters. Complete with their own mortgage, credit card and motor insurance offerings, they also offer global remittance.
The UK Post Office’s money transfer service is outsourced to
Revolut is a pre-paid card and app that is building a “21st century banking alternative designed for a global lifestyle”. So while ideal to use for transferring small amounts abroad, it might be unsuitable for some of life’s bigger transactions. Revolut’s charges for global payments from the UK are as follows:
Fees: Global transfers are free of charge until a customer converts over £5,000 within a month. Thereafter, they will be charged 0.5% of the amount being sent.
Foreign Exchange: Revolut exchanges currency at the “interbank rate”.
Transfer times with Revolut can also be particularly slow, usually taking 1-3 days, unless you decide to pay for a premium ‘turbo-transfer’. When making transfers with CurrencyFair, your money moves faster. Most importantly, that service is offered at no extra cost – just our standard CurrencyFair transfer fee of £2.50, and an exchange rate mark-up of no more than 0.6%.
Royal Bank of Scotland
The Royal Bank of Scotland – or RBS – serves approximately 18.9 million members all over the world, and offers those customers the chance to send money abroad as one of their many “Ways to Bank”. Unfortunately, costs associated with the service are not incredibly than enticing:
Fees: The charge for sending money abroad can range from £10 to £30 with RBS, depending on the destination and urgency of the transfer.
Foreign Exchange: While the fee for sending money abroad is easy to find on the RBS website, their true foreign exchange rates are a little more cryptic: “The exchange rate provided is an indicative exchange rate which helps provide an estimate of what the rate will be when you make a payment”.
CurrencyFair prefers to be more direct and honest when it comes to money transfers, to ensure the best deal for our customers. Anyone looking to send money abroad can find out the cost of their transfer within seconds, using the CurrencyFair calculator. After all, it’s only fair.
Skrill is an online payments platform that has been in operation since 2001.
The platform offers a money transfer trial to their customers, with no fees. Following that, these are the charges which are applied to international payments:
Fees: Starting in January 2020, payments which require a currency conversion are charged at up to 3.99% of the amount transacted.
Foreign Exchange: Skrill’s site states that “exchange rates vary and will be applied immediately without notice to you”, which sounds a quite unpredictable.
CurrencyFair provides better value on global money transfers - we charge a fixed fee of only £2.50 on every transfer, and the margin between the currency market rate and the one offered to customers is, on average, 0.45%.
Starling joins the legion of phone-only challenger banks mentioned in this article. Although their transparency is admirable, their value for money on international transfers isn’t optimal:
Fees:Starling takes 0.4% of the transfer’s amount for themselves. If the payment is made with SWIFT, there is an additional flat fee of £5.50.
Foreign Exchange:According to Starling’s website, their last transfer comparison what carried out on July 9th, 2019. Given currency volatility, this doesn’t at all seem like a fair indication of FX rates.
CurrencyFair’s calculator is well and truly live, so customers are never misled on how much they can send.
The Co-Operative Bank
This UK bank takes a strong stance on being a “bank for people with a purpose” by making ethical business and practice a priority. While this is highly admirable, they may not be the best option for making international transfers.
Fees: Fees can range from £8 to £35 when sending money overseas with the Co-Operative Bank, depending on the customer’s destination and desired transfer time.
Foreign Exchange: To get an “indication” of what the exchange rate will be on a transfer with the Co-Operative Bank, it is required to call the local branch. Even so, they may adjust rates “if there are significant movements in the market”.
As a result, it could be difficult to gauge how much a transfer with this bank could cost.
The minimum fee of £8 with the Co-Operative Bank could get a CurrencyFair customer almost four transfers for the same price.
TransferGo is a digital remittance solution serving those living within the EU. Here’s how their global payments are priced:
Fees: TransferGo’s fees vary depending on delivery times and the amount being transferred. For example, sending £500 to arrive in Ireland tomorrow would cost £0.99. Sending the same amount to arrive within 30 minutes would cost £2.99.
Foreign Exchange: TransferGo usually adds a margin of up to 3.3% onto the exchange rate offered to customers.
CurrencyFair’s exchange margin is never more than 0.6%, making the FX rate five times cheaper than TransferGo’s. We also don’t charge extra for the service of sending money quickly.
Like CurrnecyFair, TransferWise are paving the way to fairer foreign exchange for all. However, there are some important differences between the two platforms.
TransferWise charge their customers with…
Fees: The money transfer site’s fees are dependent on the transfer amount, the payment method and the exchange rate. As a result, they are highly changeable.
Foreign Exchange: TransferWise likes to keep their foreign exchange rate as close to the currency market rate as possible. This is available to see on their website before carrying out an exchange.
CurrencyFair prefers to keep fees fixed and stable at £2.50 per transfer. Our exchange rates incorporate a margin of no more than 0.6%, and we prefer not to hide that in a live-calculated fee.
As a borderless alternative to Transferwise, CurrencyFair gives you the opportunity to try and beat the currency market rate. Simply request an exchange rate on our peer-to-peer marketplace and wait to match with others who have a corresponding currency need.
Like MoneyCorp, Travelex also provides cash currency exchange with bureaux de change all over the world. The fees on their international payments service, Travelex Wire, can be broken down as follows:
Fees: To send money within two days of the transfer being completed, a ‘Standard’ transfer is free of charge. For next day delivery, a SWIFT transfer will cost £8.95 with Travelex.
Foreign Exchange: Travelex’s calculator operates with ‘indicative exchange rates’. That means, when actually placing an order, the exchange rate could change.
Despite Travelex’s calculator only being ‘indicative’ of transfer costs, we carried out a comparison of their SWIFT, next-day service against to our real-time transfers. CurrencyFair offers the better deal, despite the Travelex rate only being an optimistic estimate.
£ to € Travelex CurrencyFair £2,500 €2,901.25 €2,911.50 £5,0000 €5,819.90 €5,826.00 £10,000 €11,639.29 €11,655.00
Comparison made on November 18th, 2019 at 12:31
Western Union have been carrying out offline remittance services for decades. Now, they also offer an online service that adheres to the fees and charges described below.
Fees: Bank transfers are free of charge with the global remittances company.
Foreign Exchange: Western Union states that the margin placed on the currency market rate is how they make profit, and that these are “subject to change without notice”.
CurrencyFair’s calculator accurately indicates the exchange rate to be used on a transfer, and is comparatively better value to Western Union:
£ to € Western Union CurrencyFair £2,500 €2,911.79 €2,913.86 £5,0000 €5,823.58 €5,829.36 £10,000 €11,647.16 €11,660.36
Comparison made on November 18th, 2019 at 14:25
World First is an online foreign exchange broker that has been in operation since 2004.
Fees: WorldFirst has quite a unique fee structure, and charges customers according to how much they send overseas each year. Customers that send under £500k in a year are charged 0.5% of the amount transferred, while customers who remit £500k - £5m are charged 0.25%, and so on.
Foreign Exchange: WorldFirst only display the currency market rate (the rate available on Google) on their website, making it difficult to assess the real exchange rate offered to their customers. “Rates are subject to change”, according to the website, although there’s no indication when such happens.
Payments are a lot more levelled out with CurrencyFair, and are made with financial fairness for all in mind. Every customer, no matter what the transfer amount, can expect a fixed fee of £2.50 on each transfer, and a currency margin of no more than 0.6% on each payment. CurrencyFair doesn’t penalise customers for not having enough money to spend.
WorldRemit is another company pushing innovative global payment solutions.
Fees: WorldRemit’s transfer fee varies depending on the destination of the payment. For example, sending funds from the UK to Ireland costs £2.99, while sending funds from the UK to Canada will set customers back only £0.99. It is also worth noting that these fees are charged in addition to the amount being transferred, as an excess charge.
Foreign Exchange: WorldRemit charges a margin on top of the exchange rate, which varies between currency pairings.
Although WorldRemit is all about the financial inclusion that is so important to CurrencyFair, their transfers do not deliver the same amount of value:
£ to € WorldRemit CurrencyFair £2,500 €2,892.45 €2,909.00 £5,0000 €5,784.90 €5,821.00 £10,000 €11,569.80 €11,645.00
Comparison made November 18th, 2019 at 15:14
It was mentioned earlier that transfer fees are charged in excess of the amount being transferred – so the amounts above are not affected by that fee. Therefore, it’s likely that WorldRemit is even more expensive than shown above.
Based in Canada, XE is an online foreign exchange platform dubbed as “The World’s Trusted Currency Authority”. However, their pricing would indicate otherwise:
Fees: XE’s website states: “XE Money Transfer charges no fees whatsoever. It’s free to open an account and there are no monthly charges. We don’t charge fees to receive money and we don’t apply transfer fees to foreign exchange transactions”.
Foreign Exchange: The online remittance service houses a useful calculator on its homepage, but unfortunately, it is accompanied with a caveat: “All figures are live mid-market rates, which are not available to consumers and are for informational purposes only. To see the rates we quote for money transfers, please select Live Money Transfer Rates.” The margin between those two rates can be as much as 0.97%.
CurrencyFair may charge a flat fee of £2.50, but those looking to transfer should look beyond XE’s “fee-free” claim before deciding to use the service. XE charge an FX margin that is over a third more expensive than CurrencyFair’s maximum equivalent. We are never more than 0.6% over the exchange rate available on Google.
Xoom is one of the latest offerings from PayPal offering electronic funds transfers and remittances.
The global payments platform’s cost structure is composed of…
Fees: The fixed fees imposed by Xoom vary according to the destination country of the payment. Sending money to Europe costs £0.99 per transfer; to Australia, £6.99; to America or India, £1.99; and so on.
Foreign Exchange: Xoom’s website states: “In addition to the transaction fee, Xoom also makes money when it changes your send currency into a different currency.” The question is, is that margin bigger than that charged by CurrencyFair?
Let’s see, by making a comparison:
GBP to INR Xoom CurrencyFair £2,500 INR 230,224 INR 231,896 £5,0000 INR 460,449 INR463,792 £10,000 INR 920,898 INR 927,584
Comparison made on November 18th, 2019 at 17:26
If you’re sending money abroad from somewhere else in the world, compare the money transfer providers available in the following countries below:
- Money transfer companies compared: Germany
- Money transfer companies compared: France
- Money transfer companies compared: Switzerland
- Money transfer companies compared: Thailand
- Money transfer companies compared: Australia
- Money transfer companies compared: India
For a more detailed look at sending money abroad, check out our guide: Sending money abroad: a guide to international money transfers.
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