Halifax International Transfers: Fees, Exchange Rates, Alternatives, and More

Byron Mühlberg, writer at Monito.com
Jul 16, 2021
Affiliate disclosure

With a long history stretching back to the early nineteenth century, Halifax is among the oldest and most distinguished high-street banks in the UK, today providing financial services of all kinds to around 27 million customers nationwide.

Among its many services, Halifax allows clients to send international money transfers from their online and mobile banking platforms to countries across the globe from the UK. However, while fast and extensive, the service comes at a rather steep cost — especially for payments outside the EU/EEA. In this end, this leaves international transfers of all sizes rather pricey for those looking to make low-cost payments to foreign currencies.

In this guide, we look at the cost of sending money internationally with Halifax, including both its fees and exchange rates, before exploring the best alternatives available to users in the UK.

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Monito's Recommendation

Because of the sheer cost of making a Halifax international transfer, we recommend using a money transfer specialist instead to send abroad more cheaply. Run a search on Monito's real-time comparison engine below to compare the best services from the UK today:

Halifax International Transfer Fees

In most cases, Halifax international payments are processed as international wire transfers. As a client, this means that you'll need to use your Online Banking or Mobile Banking app to instruct a transfer, which can be done in much the same way as you would a domestic CHAPS transfer. Halifax will then wire your funds over SWIFT to reach its destination in a foreign country and currency.

As a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Halifax uses the exact same networks to send money abroad and thus also charges the same fees and exchange rates. These fees, which are charged as fixed fees based on the sending destination, can be broken down as follows:

  • EUR payments: £0.00
  • GBP payments from 'Basic Accounts' to EU: £0.00
  • Other payments: £9.50

In addition, Halifax's correspondent bank partners apply other fees on transfers to various destinations throughout the globe. These fees are known as correspondent bank fees and are charged thusly for Halifax international transfers to the following destinations:

  • EU/EEA: Varies (there will often be no fee)
  • US, Canada, Europe (non-EEA): £12.00
  • Rest of World: £20.00

Halifax Exchange Rates: Beware the Hidden Fees

Over and above the standard set of fees highlighted above, Halifax will also charge another fee called an exchange rate margin on every transfer you send abroad. Although banks tend to hide this fee in their terms and conditions, Halifax is quite clear about its foreign exchange pricing, stating on its international payments page that:

"Payments are processed using our standard exchange rate [which is determined by] the current percentage difference between this rate and the rate at which we buy and sell currency in the foreign exchange markets (the wholesale rate)."

In essence, this means that Halifax offers you its own exchange rate that's slightly poorer than the one that you'll see on Google, for example (known as the mid-market exchange rate.)

These hidden exchange rate margins fees are fairly high at Halifax, often more than 3.00% of the total transfer amount (although never higher than 3.55%.) Take a look at the chart below to get a clearer picture of how these work out for different sending amounts:

Halifax Exchange Rate Calculator

Transfer (GBP)

Exchange Rate Margin (%)

£0 - £25,000

Up to 3.55%

£25,000.01 - £75,000

Up to 2.40%

£75,000.01 - £250,000

Up to 2.00%

£250,000.01 and above

Up to 1.50%

Last updated: 15/07/2021

The Costs Combined

With both fees and exchange rates taken into account, it becomes obvious that Halifax international transfers can be very costly, especially for those destined outside of the EU/EEA. For smaller transfers (i.e. less than £1,000.00) to Asia, for example, the fees can easily come to around 10.00% of the transfer value, and even for larger transfers (i.e. up to £75,000.00) to the EU/EEA, the minimum amount you'll end up paying will be 2.40% — still a considerable amount.

Only for very large transfers of above £250,000.01 does Halifax's pricing become lower as a percentage cost — charging fees of around 1.50% of the transfer value (primarily or entirely made up of exchange rate margins, depending on the destination country.) However, even for these amounts, there are much better deals to be found by comparing specialised foreign exchange brokers, the total fees of which are frequently as low as 0.20% of the transfer amount among services on Monito.

Let's zoom out to get a better picture of just how Halifax's pricing compares. Suppose, for example, you were to use Halifax for a £2,500.00 transfer to a friend in the US. After £109.47 in total fees was deducted from the send amount (£21.50 in service fees plus £87.97 in exchange rate margins), the remaining Pound sterling amount would be converted across to US dollars and leave your friend with US$3,319 at the time of writing.

Contrast that to using Azimo, a London-based global money transfer service, for the same transfer. With Azimo, you'd pay £1.99 in service fees and £3.06 in exchange rate margin fees. Once you've made the transfer, your beneficiary would receive US$3,454 — nearly 4% more than they'd have received had you made your transfer with Halifax.

Take a look at the examples in the graph below to get a better idea of how Halifax's fees are broken up and what you might expect to pay when you send money abroad:

Is Halifax Right for Your International Transfer?

There's no doubt that Halifax is a reputable and top-notch partner when it comes to taking care of your everyday banking needs. However, when it comes to Halifax international payments in particular, their sheer expense means that it could make much more sense for you to use a third-party money transfer service when sending abroad if you're somebody who likes to keep costs down. (This is especially relevant if you're sending money to a country outside of the EU/EEA.)

However, as always, this recommendation is not a one-size-fits-all. For those who already use Halifax and don't mind paying higher fees to stick with the bank, Halifax is a good bet and will likely give you everything you're looking for.

Take a look at how Bank of Scotland (which uses the same foreign exchange pricing as Halifax) compared to Wise, Azimo, and Small World on a £500.00 transfer to various countries:

As such, if you're looking to keep the costs down, we recommend running a search on Monito's real-time comparison engine to find the best rates for transfers abroad from the UK. According to data from our comparison engine, you may also want to look at our in-depth reviews of Wise, Skrill, and Small World, which are, on average, the cheapest three services for transfers abroad from the UK.

To compare Halifax international transfer fees to the most competitive pricing in the money transfer industry, run a search on Monito's real-time comparison engine below:

Find The Best Halifax Alternative

Frequently Asked Questions About Halifax International Transfers

What Fees Do Other UK Banks Charge For Transfers Abroad?

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Image credit: Money Bright (CC BY 2.0, unmodified)

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