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Transferring a large sum of money internationally

The best way to transfer large amounts of currency internationally

Victoria Russell
Written by  Victoria Russell
5 min read
Updated: 04 Mar 2024

Find out how to transfer large sums abroad – and what you should look out for in fees, exchange rates and more

Transferring large sums of money across international borders can be a daunting task.

Whether you're buying property overseas, making significant purchases abroad, or conducting business transactions, the process requires careful consideration to ensure you get the best deal possible.

High street banks and specialist currency brokers are the go-to options for such transfers, but how do you decide which is right for you?

Let's dive into the intricacies of international money transfers and how to navigate them effectively.

How to transfer money internationally

When the need arises to transfer a hefty amount overseas, you're faced with a choice: should you go through a traditional bank or seek out a currency broker?

Both options have their merits, but the decision ultimately hinges on factors such as fees, exchange rates, and the level of service provided.

It's not just about moving money from point A to point B; it's about doing so efficiently, securely, and economically.

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Methods to send money overseas

Sending large sums internationally can be done in two primary ways:

  • High street banks: They facilitate transfers between bank accounts and are a familiar option for many. However, they often come with higher fees, typically ranging from £15 to £25 per transfer

  • Specialist money transfer firms: These firms usually offer more competitive fees, from about £3 to £10, and sometimes even waive these fees depending on the deal and provider

Choosing between these methods requires a careful comparison of the costs involved and the services offered.

Choosing a bank or currency broker

When selecting a provider for your international money transfer, it's crucial to be mindful of the fees charged.

While some banks may offer fee-free transfers, especially if they have branches in the destination country, hidden charges can still apply.

The receiving bank may impose a fee, which is often a percentage of the transfer amount, and the exchange rates can significantly influence the overall cost.

Remember too that the exchange rate you are offered when you make a large international money transfer can affect the cost of the transaction.

Some currency brokers use special financial tools to protect against sudden exchange rate movements. These allow you to lock into favourable exchange rates before you make the transfer.

Fee-free transfers and hidden charges

The allure of fee-free transfers can be tempting, but it's essential to scrutinize the fine print for any hidden charges.

Exchange rates are a critical aspect of the cost, and it's advisable to compare rates from various providers against the mid-market rate.

Currency brokers may offer the option to lock in exchange rates, which can be a double-edged sword. While it can save you money if the rates go up, you could miss out on savings if rates improve after you've locked in.

Risks of locking in exchange rates

Locking in an exchange rate can be a strategic move, but it comes with its risks. If the market shifts in your favour after you've secured a rate, you won't benefit from the improved conditions. It's a gamble that requires careful timing and a bit of luck.

Limits on money transfers abroad

In the UK, there's no official cap on the amount you can send abroad, but regulatory bodies like the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) keep a watchful eye on transactions to prevent illegal activities such as money laundering or tax evasion.

It's another layer of security that underscores the importance of using reputable transfer services.

Best practices for money transfers

When making international transfers, consider what matters most to you: cost, security, or convenience. Using an FCA-protected provider is advisable for peace of mind.

While minimizing fees is important, remember that various charges are part and parcel of international transfers.

Monitoring exchange rates and comparing them across providers can help you find the most cost-effective solution.

Documentation required for large transfers

Transferring substantial amounts across borders isn't just a matter of clicking a button. You'll need to provide various documents, which can vary depending on the countries and currencies involved. Typically, you'll be asked for:

  • Proof of ID (such as a passport or driving license) for both the sender and the recipient

  • Proof of the source of funds, which could include bank statements, payslips, employment contracts, or certificates for investments or savings

Popular countries for large money transfers

Certain countries are hotspots for large money transfers, with the USA, Spain, Australia, France, and India topping the list.

Each destination has its own set of regulations and market conditions, making it all the more important to choose your transfer service wisely.

Comparing money transfer deals

With the MoneySuperMarket comparison tool, you can compare competitive business money transfer using our partner FXcompared to find the cheapest way to transfer money internationally.

This tool allows you to tailor your search with details of your transfer, ensuring you get a list of quotes that match your specific needs. It also confirms whether providers are FCA-regulated and offers free quotes to help you make an informed decision.

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