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Money Transfer

Sending funds overseas? Check out these money transfer options

Get great rates on international money transfers

  • Compare exchange rates
  • Move your money safely and securely
  • A small step towards Money Calm

What is a money transfer?

An international money transfer is a safe and secure way to make international payments, either as a gift or as a purchase, which may be better value and faster than using your bank. It can also be used to collect regular salary or pension payments if you’re moving abroad.

You can use an international money transfer company to make both one-off and regular international payments. You can also use them to send a larger sum, for instance to cover the deposit if you’re buying a foreign property.

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How does a money transfer work?

There are three main ways to transfer your money internationally. Bear in mind that to use any of these options, you will have to sign up with an international money transfer company and create an account beforehand.

You’ll then be able to book a rate online or over the phone, pay by debit card or bank transfer into the account you’ve created. Once they’ve received the money, the broker will then transfer the sum to your recipient on the best day for you.

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Spot deals

The most straightforward option: you simply agree a deal with the broker to transfer your funds immediately between currencies at the current exchange rate – with no frills

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Forward contract

This lets you lock in today’s exchange rate if you think it’s particularly good, and then you’re able to transfer money at this rate on a date you choose up to 12 months in the future

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Limit order

Pick an ideal exchange rate. The funds are transferred when that rate is reached. There’s a minimum transaction – often around £30,000, and you can set an expiry date for the order

What are the benefits of money transfers?

International money transfers have a number of inherent advantages for sending money overseas that other options tend to lack. These are the benefits:

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    Safe and secure

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    Better exchange rates

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    Cheaper transfer fees

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    Quick transfer speeds

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    Lock exchange rates for up to 12 months

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    One-off and regular payments

Compare money transfers with MoneySuperMarket

The cost of international money transfers varies from broker to broker. MoneySuperMarket has teamed up with to show you competitive money transfers from a range of currency brokers. This will help you compare transfer costs quickly and easily, so you can make the most of your money.

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Give us the details

Select the countries you want to send the money from and to, as well as the amount you want to transfer and when

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We calculate the cost

We’ll work out the cost of your international money transfer for each provider, to help you compare deals and pick the right one

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Compare money transfers

You can sort the results on according to price, user rating and their own score, so you can get the best deal

You can either send money to someone in another country using an international money transfer company (an online broker), or you can set up an international money transfer through your bank or building society.

International money transfer companies support payments to almost any country in the world, but there may be limitations.

With some countries, a provider may be able to send money to the country but not from the country.

A provider may also process personal payments to and from a country, but it may not be able to offer this service for business payments.

There may be limits to the amount of money you can deposit as a debit payment. Any larger payments may need to be sent via domestic wire.

There may also be limits to the currency they can send.

You will need to read the provider’s list of supported countries and restrictions to know if your international money transfer is possible.

When it comes to transferring money international and paying tax, it’s a good idea to seek the advice of an independent financial adviser (for instance an accountant).

Different countries have different rules on how much tax you should pay on any money received, and this will depend on the nature of the money – for example, whether the money is a financial gift, a pension or a regular salary.

An international money transfer can be paid directly into your bank account, just like with a regular bank transfer. The international sender will need to provide the international money transfer company with your:

  • Name (the account holder’s name)
  • IBAN
  • SWIFT/BIC code

Depending on the location of the receiving country, you may also need to provide details relevant to your country’s banking system, including:

  • Your bank’s name and address
  • Your routing code (Australia/ New Zealand/ South Africa)
  • ABA number (USA)

IFSC code (India)

Your international money transfer company should give you a confirmation number for your transaction, which you’ll then be able to use to track your money transfer online or over the phone. 

The international money transfer limit will depend on where you’re sending the money from and to, and the provider’s security limits.

It’s a good idea to read the provider’s terms and conditions so you know if it’s possible to send that sum of money abroad through them, or whether you need to approach a different provider.

International money transfer companies might have a minimum limit for how much you can send per overseas transaction – if the amount you need to send doesn’t reach the minimum then an international transfer through your bank might be more suited.

Foreign exchange brokers typically do not charge a fee for transfers of more than £3,000. They also generally offer better exchange rates than the high-street banks.

It’s common for banks to charge a fee on top of an international bank transfer, which could be as high as £40.

If you tally up how much you can save by avoiding fees, plus any money you save thanks to a better exchange rate, you might find that a currency broker is the more affordable option.

A forward contract can seem appealing if you don’t want to have to worry about exchange rate movements, or if you expect the rate to get worse. Remember, however, that currencies can be volatile and there is the risk that the rate could move against you.

The exchange rate on a forward contract is calculated by adjusting the current rate for so-called “forward points”, so it’s not the same as the current exchange rate. Your broker should explain the terms and conditions of the contract, but it’s worth making sure you understand the cost before you go ahead.

You do not have to pay the full price of a forward contract up front, though you will normally have to put down a deposit, with the rest due on the transfer date.

Foreign currency brokers can usually arrange regular payments to whoever is receiving money from abroad, perhaps to cover a foreign mortgage or school fees, for example. The minimum payment tends to be about £500.

You should always check that your broker is authorised or regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for peace of mind that your money transfer will be secure. The firm must then operate within certain guidelines to safeguard consumers and keep your money separate from the money transfer company’s own money.

Ideally, the firm should offer the protection of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), so you are guaranteed to get your money back if something should go wrong. The FSCS covers deposits of up to £85,000. Some money transfer companies won’t offer FSCS protection.

It can be a good idea to keep an eye on fluctuations in currency pair exchange rates, and secure a favourable rate for your future transfer when you see it – this can help you save money on larger transfers.

Popular (major currency pairs) typically include:

  • EUR/USD (euro/US dollar)
  • USD/JPY (US dollar/Japanese yen)
  • GBP/USD (Great British Pound)
  • USD/CHF (US dollar/Swiss franc)

Other major currencies that are often included against the USD include AUD, CAD and NZD.

Minor currency pairs (cross pairs) do not include the US dollar but can still be frequently traded, and against major currencies (excluding US dollars) and other minor currencies. Exotic currency pairs are made up of a currency from an emerging market.

In a currency pair the first currency (shown left) is the base currency and the second (right) is the quote currency. The figures indicates the amount of the quote (second) currency is required to buy one unit of the first currency (base).

MoneySuperMarket gives you lots of clever ways to save a lot, by doing very little.

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So how do we make our money? In a nutshell, when you use us to buy a product, we get a reward from the company you’re buying from.

But you might have other questions. Do we provide access to all the companies operating in a given market? Do we have commercial relationships or ownership ties that might make us feature one company above another?

We commit to providing you with clear and informative answers on all points such as this, so we have gathered the relevant information on this page.