How to send money abroad from the UK

All the things you need to know before sending money abroad from the United Kingdom.

Written for you by the experts at Monito

Moving countries is never easy. When embarking on a new adventure, like starting a new job or a dream-come-true course at the university, we also challenge ourselves by leaving the loved-ones behind. We are moving forward, but our ties with our homeland remain strong. Sometimes there might be bills that still need to be paid or rent for our flats. How we can support our family and pay bills back home? The harder we work, the more we respect what we earn. We don’t want to waste either time or money. So how can we choose the best way to send money overseas?

International money transfers are easy to make, but a little bit harder to grasp. Some of the companies on the market lack transparency, luring customers in with various offers and even fee-free international transfers. It’s not surprising, as the industry is huge: in the UK alone, migrants have sent £25 billion in 2014! If you think that’s a lot, try imagining that senders could have saved around £1.25 billion. How many of their loved ones back home could have benefited from that? That is why we, at Monito, want to offer you the ultimate answer; a “how to send money abroad from the United Kingdom” guide that will lead your way to the best money transfers that will meet all of your needs.

We will make a comparison and introduce you to all of the companies on the British market, comparing the nature of their services. We will explain all of the different types of international remittances (pay-in: bank, cash, digital wallet, credit or debit card / location: online, at a branch, via a call center), so you can understand the mechanics behind each one. Last, but not least, we will tell you exactly how much the service costs and which company is the safest one to trust your money with.

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Chapter 1

Sending money home from the UK? How many ways are there?

If you value time and are online 24/7 on your smartphone, you might take advantage of online money transfer companies, like TransferWise, Azimo, Tranfergo, WorldRemit, Xendpay or even Western Union Online services. Sending money overseas with them is just a few clicks away. Once you have initiated the transaction on their website, you simply log into your online banking and make a local transfer to the company’s account in your country, or use a debit/credit card to pay. It’s fast and hassle-free.

If you prefer dealing with cash and more traditional solutions, you might be keen on using agent-based operators that offer “cash to cash” international money transfer services. What are the benefits? You don’t need a bank account to send money this way and you have an agent next to you to assist you along the way. On the flip side, usually you need to wait in lines.

It’s great for emergencies and smaller amounts, but remember, you usually need to pay extra for this comfort. The most popular companies in this category are MoneyGram, Western Union and Ria.

While making bigger international money transfers, it’s good to consult a currency specialist, also known as an FX broker. Their knowledge on forex and individual approach will help you to make the best decision. Sounds like you? Visit The FX Firm or CurrencyFair.

Last but not least, you can also wire money back home via your bank. You make an online transfer but also offline by visiting your nearest branch, which is pretty convenient. Some of the most popular banks in the UK are HSBC, Barclays, RBS and Lloyds. Depending on where you are sending money to, country specific banks like the State Bank of India or the Philippines National Bank might be of interest for you.

The question remains the same, how do you choose the best option? Of course, it all breaks down to your priorities and expectations, like how much are you willing to pay or wait, the quality of service, trustworthiness, kind of payment (for you and the recipient), the amount you’re sending, or your destination country. There are a lot of elements to take into account. But no worries, that’s exactly why we have crafted our country-specific guidelines, especially for you.

Chapter 2

What are the types of transfer available in the UK?

The first thing that comes to mind naturally to transfer money from the UK is a bank transfer. At the moment almost all companies that offer international money transfers will accept a bank transfer, too.

How does it work? If you’re making a local transfer, it will be finalized usually during one business day. You will be sending money directly into a company’s account in your country so you usually won’t be charged for this service. If, for example, you want to send money to Poland, you will transfer your money from your bank account in the UK into the money transfer operator’s bank account in the UK. The company will then move money from their Polish account to your recipient’s bank.

What about cash payment? Just take a look around you and you will instantly realize that there are lots and lots of agents networks spread across the country. The biggest operators are MoneyGram, Western Union and Ria, all with multiple branches.

Still, there might be a card upon one’s sleeve. For example a debit one. Transferring money with a debit card can be done physically, at the kiosk, or online. It doesn’t cost a penny and, icing on the top, is that sending money with your debit card is instant. What you need to provide is the card number (16 digits), expiry date (MM/YYYY), and CVV/CVC Number. There are also limits of the amount sent, on average between £2000-5000 per transfer.

Looking now into your wallet? Maybe you have found another card, this time the credit one. If you want to send money with this one, the same conditions apply, but… you need to remember that you will be charged up to 3% extra.

Chapter 3

What is the price of sending money abroad from the UK?

Well, let’s get down to business. The price of international money transfers from the UK may vary and it depends on a couple of different factors. First of all, you’ll need to pay a transfer fee. It’s not ultimately flat, because it might depend on the speed, too. The rule of thumb is, the faster the service is, the more you need to pay. Want details? We’ve broken it down to you on our blog.

But the transfer fee is not all. The essential thing is to be aware of is the currency exchange rate, usually hidden and represents on average 50% of the fees you’ll have to pay. You can read more about currency exchange fee and how to avoid it  here. Good to remember that the official exchange rate is called “mid-market rate”, so when choosing a service to send your money with, always compare the offered rate with the mid-market listed on Monito.

Note, that additional fees may apply by paying with a credit card or cash.


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