Welcome to our thorough overview discussing the best way to transfer money abroad, with a focus on transferring a large amount of money abroad. Every single service recommended on this page has been carefully and inspected by our staff, and comes from years of experience dealing with cheap non-bank international money transfers.
So what’s the absolute best way to send money abroad? how much can I expect to pay? why not use easier alternatives such as banks or digital wallets? how much money exactly, is a large transfer abroad, and what does it mean for me? what is a cheap overseas transfer in that regard?
Our guide is focused on the best way to transfer money abroad from the UK but these services are happy to accept clients in the EU, Non-EU Europe, Australia, NZ, Canada and some of them – USA.
Top 3 Best Ways to Transfer your Money Abroad Today
- Min Transfer: £/€/$ 100
- Currencies Supported: 39
- Offices : UK, EU, USA, India, South Africa.
- Our Rating : 97.8%
- Most Global Offices and Reach
No Fees from Anywhere
96% Client Satisfaction
- Min Transfer: £/€ 100
- Currencies Supported: 40
- Offices : UK, EU, Singapore, and Australia.
- Our Rating : 93.4%
- Extremely Tailored Service
MoneyFact's Best Provider Award
Diverse Hedging Options
- Min Transfer: £/€/$ 50
- Currencies Supported: 120
- Offices : UK, EU, Australia, USA, HK, UAE, and South America.
- Our Rating : 92.8%
- Extremely Tailored Service
Industry Veteran since 1979
Diverse Hedging Options
Transferring large amount of money abroad vs small amount
In the quest to discovering the best way to transfer money overseas, the first thing to consider is one’s individuals requirements. Sending money abroad could vary between buying a $2 pack of gums from an online store through an instant payment to something more drastic – for example sending an ample amount of money abroad to buy property, make a business transaction, for inheritance / estate, or simply making a large international payment.
In our book, we consider transfers of £5,000 or more (or equivalent in other currencies) as a large amount overseas money transfer, and this is what we are focused on.
For smaller amounts than this amount there are several recommended services which may not be our #1 best way to transfer funds abroad overall, but they sure do offer great rates and no fees and hence, are cheap. Notable mentions – Currencyfair, Wise (formerly TransferWise), and WorldFirst (which only accept business clients and online sellers). The thing about all of these three companies is that they offer a fixed margin which means you get a great rate regardless of the amount you are transferring abroad.
Instant large amount money transfers?
Most people would want to have their transfer abroad happen within minutes so they can just move on to the next thing. That’s why banks can be so bloody annoying – it may take them a long time to transfer money abroad, and their response can be delayed so the client would be hanging in the dark not understanding whether the money has reached its destination. This is a nerve-wracking process but designated large transfer specialists make it easier:
- Each customer is assigned with a dedicated dealer whom he can reach by email or phone and inquire about the transfer’s progress.
- Each customer can log into the online system and see the current transfer status.
- If there was any error in the transaction, the dedicated dealer will help you retrieve the funds faster than with banks.
On the other hand, transfers through an international money transfer company are not instant! You can read more about how long does an international money transfer takes here. We have a dedicated article for that about are is sending money abroad instant. The fastest way is to use debit card for money transfers but it’s more expensive and only applicable for small transfers.
Which is the best way to transfer large amounts of money internationally – online, or via phone?
There is not right and wrong when it comes to one’s personal comfort and preferences. Some people feel savvy enough to input all the details correctly through an online money transfer system, look at the exchange rates and determine if those are the best foreign exchange rates at the moment, and go through with the transfer online. Whether it’s a large money transfer of £100,000 or a smaller one, everything can be done online.
With that being said, the majority of people prefer to speak directly to a dedicated dealer when opting to transfer a large amount of money overseas from the UK or anywhere else. That gives them the sense of reassurance they require, and also gives them to opportunity to haggle in regards to the pricing.
All of our top recommended services for transferring large amounts of money internationally have both options available, though. Readily available dedicated dealers over the phone and on email, with state-of-the-art online systems and apps. Below is the short list.
Most popular large transfer routes
MoneyTransferComparison has helped tens of thousands of clients find matching money transfer services since 2014. Baesd on our data, the below are the most popular money transfer routes. Transferring money abroad from the UK constitutes to approximately 50% of our overall traffic, and the majority of other transactions are made by British expats who live elsewhere than the UK.
* Approximate figures
** There are a lot more countries/ currencies which compose the remaining 15%
** We did not list how long it will take a transfer to reach its destination, for that we have created a specific guide on the speed of international money transfers. For Additional Information on the topic, including examples, view our FX Companies VS Banks comparison.
Transfer money abroad from UK to Spain
The most common reason to make a money transfer from UK to Spain is to buy property. The UK has long been the biggest foreign market for buying Spanish properties, and despite a slowdown due to COVID, Britains are still leading demand. In Q2, 2020 there were 1,003 Spanish homes acquired by British buyers. Despite being a 54% drop on the same period in 2019, the UK was still the biggest national market by a wide margin, almost double the French and German markets combined. 30% of British buyers are opting for the province of Alicante, while 23% have decided on Malaga and 10% of the British market is in Murcia.
Why is Currencies Direct the best way to transfer money from UK to Spain?
Founded in 1996, Currencies Direct has held a Spanish branch since 1999. With multilingual capabilities, the firm offers local support for customers both prior to and after they emigrate from the UK to Spain. A range of products including forward contracts and regular transfers (great for house deposits and overseas mortgage payments) makes Currencies Direct the complete solution for money transfers from UK to Spain.
Transfer money internationally from UK to USA
The GBPUSD currency pair, nicknamed cable (due to the old transatlantic cable that used to run under sea in the 1800s), is one of the most heavily traded currency pairs in the world today. Daily trading volumes are estimated to be $431 billion, with a large portion of trading for speculative purposes only. That’s not to say it isn’t a popular route for deliverable FX either with huge volumes coming from businesses who pay for items in USD and individuals emigrating between the countries, making one-off large transfers for high-value items.
Why is OFX the best way to transfer money from UK to USA?
OFX holds offices in both the UK & USA and has a number of foreign exchange solutions for individuals moving between the two countries. Impressively, OFX can onboard clients from virtually all US states (all bar just two) – no mean feat considering you need a separate money transmitter license for each state.
Transfer money abroad from UK to France
Just as with money transfers from UK to Spain, property purchases contribute to a large number of money transfers from UK to France. British house-hunters are still the most active non-resident foreign buyers in France despite numbers falling since the 2016 Brexit referendum. Between 2007 and 2017, Britons bought a whopping 67% of property sold to foreign nationals. Nowadays, Britons make up 26% of all non-resident buyers.
Why is Currencies Direct the best way to transfer money from UK to France?
Currencies Direct has been helping clients transfer money from UK to France since its inception in 1996. With English and French speaking support staff, the website is available in both languages too.
Transfer money internationally from UK to UAE
The UAE (primarily Abu Dhabi and Dubai) have long been a hotspot for British expats. With no income tax, and no tax implications on transferring money to UK, many see the reward in emigrating as a short to mid term plan for saving cash. In 2008, it was estimated there were 20,000 Britons living in the UAE, with that figure increasing tenfold and 200,000 Brits now estimated to be living in Dubai. Virtually all money transfers from UK to UAE involve British expats. Flows in the opposite direction will see money transfers from UAE to UK in order to repatriate salary.
Why is Currencies Direct the best way to transfer money from UK to UAE?
Moneycorp specialises in middle Eastern transfers with offices in the gulf. The company has been offering currency services since 1979.
Transfer money abroad from UK to Canada
The English have been emigrating to Canada since colonisation of the country began in the 16th century. According to the UN, Canada is the third most popular destination for British expats. Ontario is by far the most popular destination, with almost 265,000 British residents. British Columbia is home to 33,600 Britons, Alberta is home to 19,700 Britons and Quebec is home to 12,900 Britons.
Why is Global Reach the best way to transfer money from UK to Canada?
Having recently acquired the canadian based EncoreFX, London-headquartered Global Reach is well served to offer international money transfers in both the UK and Canada. With eight offices in Canada the firm is well placed to handle money transfers from Canada to UK as well as money transfers from UK to Canada.
Transfer money abroad from UK to Singapore
It goes without saying that Britain and Singapore have a deep history. As a former British Crown colony, trade remains strong between the nations and Singapore remains a popular living destination among people from the UK. Currently, around 50,000 British expats are living in Singapore. Similar to money transfers from UK to UAE and money transfers from UK to Canada, expats contribute a lot to the bank-to-bank money transfers from UK to Singapore. A typical reader of ours will look to repatriate their salary home from Singapore to UK.
Why is WorldFirst the best way to transfer money from UK to Singapore?
Headquartered in London, WorldFirst has a strong presence throughout Asia and can easily onboard clients in both the UK and Singapore. In Singapore, there are a few onboarding procedures to be aware of when registering for a new financial services company which WorldFirst are long familiar with so they can ensure the registration process is still smooth and quick.
Transfer money internationally from UK to Australia
There are a significant number of Australian expats living in the UK – around 140,000 – with many looking to repatriate their salary home. British expats living in Australia will also need to transfer their savings or make high-value purchases when in Australia such as a new car or house. Money Transfers from UK to Australia are a popular corridor and a number of the companies we have reviewed on MoneyTransferComparison have opened an Australian office.
Why is WorldFirst the best way to transfer money from UK to Australia?
WorldFirst has been operating in Australia for over 10 years. With offices in London and Sydney and local bank accounts in both the UK and Australia it means money transfers from UK to Australia are easy and fast.
Transfer money abroad from USA to UK
There are a similar number of British expats living in America as there are in Canada – roughly 600,000. Around 24% of Brits in the USA are thought to be pensioners and may initiate money transfers from UK to USA in order to transfer their pension or savings. Many of the Brits working in the US repatriate their USD salary back to the UK and contribute to the significant volume of money transfers from USA to UK.
Why is OFX the best way to transfer money from USA to UK?
The process to register as a money transfer provider in the US is costly from both a money and time point of view. Firms are required to register with each state individually and this is exactly what OFX has done, making it a great option for money transfers from USA to UK.
Transfer money abroad from Australia to UK
Around 1.2 million Britons live in Australia – making it the most popular destination in the world for UK expats. To put that into perspective there are more Britons living in Australia then there are living in the US and Canada combined. Britons earning their salary in AUD can repatriate their earnings with money transfers from Australia to UK.
Why is WorldFirst the best way to transfer money from UK to Australia?
Just as with money transfers from UK to Australia, WorldFirst is the best option for money transfers from Australia to UK. The local accounts in both countries benefit transfers in both directions and the Sydney office is a benefit for expats wanting to interact with a firm in the same time zone.
Transfer money abroad from Australia to USA
Money Transfers from Australia to USA are largely driven on the private side by expats – just as with money transfers from Australia to UK. There are slightly less Aussies living in the US than the UK – estimated to be around 106,000 Australian citizens residing in the USA. The major hubs include 25,000 Aussies living in Los Angeles, 17,000 in San Francisco, 17,000 in Washington and 15,000 in New York. Business transfers will play a significant role in money transfers from Australia to USA with many Aussie importers paying suppliers in USD.
Why is OFX the best way to transfer money from Australia to USA?
Not only does OFX hold offices in the UK and USA, it holds offices in Sydney too. In fact the firm is Australian-headquartered and listed on the Sydney stock exchange – making OFX a very sound choice for money transfers from Australia to USA.
Transfer money overseas from Australia to NZ
Australia and New Zealand have a rich history. In fact, New Zealand and Australia’s economic and trading relationship is recognised as one of the closest, broadest and mutually compatible in the world. The Australia – New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement was also the first free trade agreement to cover services as well as products. As a result of these close trading ties, business payments account for a significant volume of the money transfers from Australia to NZ.
Why is WorldFirst the best way to transfer money from Australia to NZ?
OFX is another great option for money transfers from Australia to New Zealand but given WorldFirst has committed to transparent pricing between 0.15% – 0.5% and is available in both Australia and New Zealand they just make it as our most recommended provider for money transfers from Australia to NZ.
Transfer money abroad from NZ to Australia
Australia is New Zealand’s largest trading partner in terms of both imports and exports of goods and services. Australia is also the primary destination and source for foreign direct investment. 54% of New Zealand’s foreign direct investment is in Australia, and 36% of all foreign direct investment in New Zealand comes from Australia. Just as with money transfers from Australia to New Zealand, businesses are responsible for a lot of the money transfers from New Zealand to Australia. Due to the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement, individuals moving between the two countries also contribute a lot to money transfers from NZ to Australia.
Why is OFX the best way to transfer money from NZ to Australia?
The fact OFX holds a local New Zealand office and WorldFirst doesn’t, means OFX just pips WorldFirst as the best way to transfer money from NZ to Australia.
Transfer money abroad from Singapore to USA
Money transfers from Singapore to USA are largely business related. Bilateral relations between the United States and Singapore have existed for a long time with the United States first opening a consulate in Singapore in 1836. In 2003, the United States and Singapore signed a free trade agreement, to come into force from 1st January 2004. Since the agreement was signed, the growth of US investment in Singapore has grown as has the large number of Americans living there.
Why is WorldFirst the best way to transfer money from Singapore to USA?
As we have mentioned before, WorldFirst‘s local office in Singapore is well versed in the heavy compliance procedures that are involved in operating in Singapore. Their expertise will make money transfers from Singapore to USA drastically easier.
How Did We Determine The Best Way to Transfer Money Abroad Per Location?
The way the international money transfer industry has developed has seen different money transfer providers focus their efforts around different parts of the world. Currencies Direct is very strong throughout Europe and South Africa, WorldFirst has a strong presence in Asia, whilst OFX has Australia and the US well covered. Moneycorp is global and can be found around the world – of all money transfer providers it covers South America the best. When a company holds an office in a certain country it is usually with the intention to offer money transfer services to citizens of that country.
THE EXCEPTION IS THE USA:
Sending money overseas from the US requires the payment company to be regulated on a state-by-state level. Many of the companies don’t handle USA-based clients at all. The companies we have selected for sending money from the USA and Canada are the ones that handle most states. Still, there are some variations in our company selection between different areas.
THINGS WE HAVE PUT INTO CONSIDERATION INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:
- Whether company is dealing with local currency
- Whether the company has local offices in the country or nearby
- Whether the site is translated to the local language
- Whether we have received a clear verification from the company they have a client base in that country
- Whether there are promotions/offers specific to a locale
For instance, our recommended company to move money from the UK is Currencies DirectWorld First, which is headquartered in London, and able to move money abroad to 120 different regions including sending money to Australia, Europe, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand and many more locations. The majority of its clients are UK-based or Brits abroad, and it also offers a price rate guarantee for this audience.
How does it work really?
Sending money to a bank through an international wire is something a licensed payment facility can do. In the UK, the regulatory authority is the HM Revenue & Customs, and the Financial Conduct Authority. We, of course, only recommended companies which specialise at transferring money across borders, and are authorised with the FCA as such. Many of which are also registered with other powerful regulators like the Australian ASIC, or the Central Bank of Ireland.
The way the process works is as following:1. CHOOSE A COMPANY. Get to its website by clicking on the “Get Free Quote” button. You can choose several companies if you have a large transfer, and compare the costs. You will get quoted once you provide preliminary details about your identity, and before you have completely registered with the company.
2. REGISTER. You will have to supply documentation (quite similar to the one you provide when you open a new bank account).
3. EXECUTE. Execute the transfer via an online platform (recommended for smaller transfers of up to £5,000), or via telephone (recommended for larger transfers)
4. TRANSFER FUNDS DOMESTICALLY. You will now have to send the money in your local currency to a secured, segregated clients-only account, owned by the company you have chosen to work with.
5. MONEY EXCHANGED AND SENT ABROAD. Most transfers will happen in up to 48 hours, and money will be executed on the same day. The amount of money received will reflect the exact quote you were provided with, unless the recipient bank decides to charge incoming funds (won’t happen in UK, EU, Australia or the USA, but can happen if you send money overseas to Asia).It also works the other way around with repatriation of funds, of course.
Why are banks not the way to transfer money abroad?
The case study of globetrotting John.
John can’t get a straight answer on the markups he is expected to pay, especially when the “market is fluctuating”. He gets no guidance or support on the subject, besides being told to re-approach for a quote when the money is to be moved. There are no specific guidelines or tips which are based on John’s individual needs. For the bank, it doesn’t matter whether John needs to move money in Europe to his sister in France, buy an asset in Australia, or move his pension back from Ireland to a bank account in Singapore. It’s a “one-size-fits-all” service by a banker no specalised in foreign exchange.
COMMERCIAL MONEY TRANSFERS : NOT THE TOP WAY TO TRANSFER MONEY OVERSEAS
Commercial money transfer firms: When approaching one of the top-choice companies like Currencies Direct, World First, or Moneycorp with the intent of sending money abroad in the future, John will be offered Forward Contracts: a way to secure the current exchange rate for a period of up to 24 months from the day of the contract. That means, if John has set aside an amount of exactly 105,000 Pounds and signed such a contract with either of the companies, he can focus on finding an asset within a clear budget (in Euros), without spending anything that wasn’t intended for this cause. Not only will the quote be remarkably cheaper, it will also prevent the sorrow of currency fluctuations. Some companies, like Currency Solutions or Global Reach Partners, will allow John to make the currency exchange and transfer on an immediate basis, and save the money exchanged in the companies’ Euro account, until it has an address (for any period of time).
NOT ONLY MONEY MOVING….
John will be in contact with a dedicated dealer who has helped hundreds or thousands of clients invest, or move, abroad. Another set of eyes will never hurt. The dedicated dealer can give guidance on all aspects relating to the transaction, and put John in touch with solicitors, property agents and tax consultants (only the very best). Expanding internationally: Whether John would use these services in the future, he can always call his dealer and make an international payment to almost anywhere in the world. Companies such as World First support 150 currencies. John can move his rent money from France to his bank account in South Africa, to pay for a mortgage and invest in another property in New Zealand without ever going to the bank.
Best Way to Transfer Money Abroad Summarized
There is no one clear choice as to the best way to transfer money abroad, not even for large money transfers. The competitiveness of industry, particularly now in the UK, is such that different money transfer providers will all claim to be the best and cheapest way to transfer money abroad. A lot will depend on your requirements and personal preferences.
Firstly, you will need to be clear about what it is you are looking for from your international payments provider when transferring money abroad. If you are looking for the cheapest way to transfer money abroad, then you have two ways of looking at it. The cheapest way to transfer money abroad from a pure fee and spread perspective is most often Transferwise. If you aren’t fussed about the timing of your transfer or setting a target rate at which your FX trade will be automatically executed then Transferwise is a great option when transferring money abroad.
If you regard the best ways to transfer money abroad as a company that provides flexible payment options, bespoke service, and hedging solutions that can remove a lot of the risk and uncertainty in currency markets then you would certainly like the services of Currencies Direct or Moneycorp, our two choices for the best way to transfer large amounts of money abroad. These two companies are household powers with a lot of diversity as they are apt for both individuals and businesses from almost any country, offer very strong service alongside incredible online platforms and apps, and have been in business for 20+ years with close to pristine reviews from past customers. On top of that they have offices almost globally, enabling them to transfer money faster, cheaper and more efficiently than companies which don’t have multiple global offices and bank accounts.
When we look at the best way to transfer money abroad from UK or any country for that matter, we look at each provider’s global footprint and the experience they have in transferring money overseas from your country of origin to your destination country. We believe this is the best indication of a money transfer fim being able to effortlessly provide an easy and fast service to transfer money overseas and receive money from abroad from the countries it is you require. Remember it is just an indication though and who you deem to be the best way to transfer money abroad will be down to you.
By using MoneyTransferComaprison you can easily understand those that are regulated, safe and have a wealth of positive customer reviews so are a good fit to transfer large amounts of money abroad, and are in fact the bespoke way to transfer money internationally.