Our aim is to help our readers discover best business FX service for their needs. Whether it’s just international FX payments, recurring business payments, receiving b2b payments from abroad, a one-off Forward Contract, currency hedging, or a full-on treasury management, we have compared the best and most well-known service providers in the foreign exchange space, and focused on their corporate foreign exchange capabilities.
Our corporate FX ranking focused on the following aspects 📋
✅ Safety and security: All featured providers must be FCA authorised (and authorised in other jurisdictions as per requirements).
✅ Repuation: All business FX specialists must be operating for at least 15 years with 90%+ positive customer reviews.
✅ Wholesale rates: All companies recommended on this section offer competitive exchange rates which can save 50% or more against banks.
✅ Hedging capabilities: All corporate foreign exchange services must have a variety of currency hedging tools to lock today’s business fx rate.
✅ Guidance: Dedicated corporate FX dealer per customer, providing assistance and follow ups, guidance on hedging, and best timing to trade.
✅ Strong banking relationships and global reach: : Local bank accounts in multiple countries can process payments faster and easier.
✅ Online international business payment platform: Fully functional payment platform.
✅ Multi-Currency Account: Functionality of having a multiple bank accounts in different countries and currencies (to receive payments).
Choosing the right provider for your business
We make a concise effort to review as many providers as possible. The majority of currency brokers in UK offer business foreign exchagne services at one level or another (some will just do international business payments and multi-currency accounts like Wise). There are also very big providers like Afex which cater to corporate customers but isn’t included in our currency brokerages list because it’s more than a brokerage (and is not UK headquartered).
How can business foreign exchange services help your business?
Here are some of the more common usages business currency brokerages can handle successfully:
- Make one-off business payments overseas, exchange your base currency to the currency you need, while being able to avoid a SWIFT (meaning it gets there quicker and easier).
- Make transfers to suppliers, providers, employees, affiliated companies or any other b2b overseas payment – online or via phone.
- Do payroll payments in an automated or non-automated manner.
- Hedge currency risks by offering sophisticated FX hedging derivatives (most importantly a Currency Forward Contract).
- Get guidance about the best timing to make large currency exchange for your business.
In a post-COVID globalised village, there are many small and medium businesses who can use a business foreign exchange service, as well as corporations who can benefit from the rates and added values in corporate foreign foreign exchange. Even the smallest business, as long as it has suppliers, employees, or business partners abroad – can benefit from using the service, and avoid the cumbersomeness and archaism that banks still encompass within their internaitonal business payments experience.
In fact, the majority of the UK currency services businesses started off as strictly corporation-facing and have expanded over time into smaller businesses and private clients, understanding that the service gap and dissatisfaction with traditional high-street banking can appeal to more than just corporate customers.
For corporations, the value add versus traditional banks is easy to comprehend and convey. Some banks, even posh and trendy banks like Virgin Money, don’t even have international business payments enabled as a part of their online system. That means that corporations which are making constant international b2b payments in foreign currency are going to suffer through a lot of hassle. In addition to that, unless your corporation is big enough to meet the requirements to have direct access to the FX trading floor, you are likely to be serviced by a banker rather than an FX specialist or a coprorate FX dealer, which means you are going to have far less guidance than with speicalised business FX services, and not have access to FX hedging tools. In fact, the larger and more specialised brokerages offer a full on FX treasury management service.
For small businsses, the main thing is savings. Getting a much better exchagne rate (in addition to all of the above i.e. great service and access to hedging) is pivotal and can have a serious impact on their foreign exchange. If you look at our best foreign exchange rate comparison you could see how Worldfirst rates moves between margins of 0.15% and 0.5% of each transaction without any transfer fee, whereas Natwest Bank or Lloyd’s or even challenger bank Monese would be significantly more expensive. Virgin Bank would take a 2.5% off each transaction below £25,000 for example.
For online sellers, the key thing woudl have to be multi-currency accounts supplied by the best business FX providers, such USD accounts, EUR accounts, JPY accounts or AUD accounts (there are more options!) will made available to qualified businsses and sole-traders who sell online and they could send and RECEIVE payments into them. That means that they won’t have to receive payments from partners like Amazon or eBay through their own highly expensive currency exchange payment programme (Amazon can charge 4% on currency exchanges, PayPal can charge close to 5%).
Are UK businesses getting the hang of foreign exchange?
Key findings from a UK-facing survey conducted in 2016 by WorldFirst about corporate FX are available below. A lot has changed in the world over this time span. There are definitely a lot more UK corporations and small businesses who are using various money transfer services nowadays than back then, but it goes to show that even as early as then, prior to Wise going on an IPO, British businesses has a good grasp of the value added offered by specialist foreign exchange services and were happy with using them.
Of the businesses using a currency specialist would recommend other businesses to use its services, against 35% of SMEs using banks who would recommend it.
Less than one-quarter of UK-based companies are aware that they have a bank alternative in the form of a corporate currency brokerage. This is why 8 out of 10 businesses still use banks.
Of all small business clients claim that their foreign exchange payment provider is cheaper than their bank.
Of the property businesses in the UK have been let down by their banks’ FX services at least once.
Annual Awards – Best Foreign Exchange Services for Businesses 🏆
- 🏆 Best Business FX Service, Established 1979: Moneycorp
- Best Corporate FX Dealers: TorFX
- Best Diversity for Business Clients: OFX
- Best Online Business Payment System: Currencies Direct
- Best by Client Feedback: Global Reach
- Best FX Predictions: Halo Financial
- Best for a MultiCurrency Account: WorldFirst
- Operating Since 1979 - First Commercial FX Firm
- Corporate FX Specialists
- Great Online Platform, Tailored for SMEs
- Many Consumer and Business Awards
- Widest Selection of FX Hedging Tools
- Best Credit Score by D&B
- Large Transfers and Bespoke Business Transfer Specialists with 4.5/5 Rating on TrustPilot (5,000+ Reviews)
- Industry Leader with £10bn in Annual Turnover
- Batch Payments and Forward Contracts Online
- Risk Management including Rate Alerts and Forwards
- Most Global Offices in the Industry
- Easy On-Boarding Process
- No Transfer Fees and Great Rates
- Accepts Private Clients and Business Clients of Any Requirement
- Smooth Online and System
- 99% Positive Customer Feedback
- Known for Great Currency Guidanc
- Highly Usable and Friendly Website
- Operating for 15+ Years
- Result of a Merger of two Leading Companies in the Money Transfer Space, One was Fully Dedicated to Corporate Foreign Exchange
- Traded Publicly on the Australian Stock Exchange
- Massive Staff
- Spotless Reputation for 20 Years
- Ultra Professional System with High Level of Functionality
- Very Tight Margins
- Transparent Rates on the Online System
- Best Rates: Fixed FX Spreads of 0.1% – 0.5%.
- Authorized by 6 Global Regulators
- Asian Currency Specialists
- Excellent Multi-Currency Offering for Online Sellers
- Operating for 15+ Years
- Owned by Ant Financial, a Global Payments Giant
- Courteous Staff
- Largest Selection of Currencies
- Does not Accept USA-Based Clients
All Inclusive List of All Currency Services with Foreign Exchange Functionalities
This is a list updated for August 2021 of all the providers we have reviewed who which offer a business foreign exchange service.
|#||Business FX Service||Short Description|
|1||Currencies Direct||Currencies Direct is a known money transfer company with headquarters in the UK and with more than 20 offices worldwide, offering private and business currency transfers online, via telephone and through a mobile app.|
|2||TorFX||TorFX is a Cornwall-based award-winning company that prides itself in its traders high level of professionalism and bespoke currency service.|
|3||Moneycorp||Moneycorp is perhaps the most trusted name in currencies – operating since 1979, and transferring as much as £20bn annually, with the most diverse offering for businesses clients (hedging and payments).|
|4||Global Reach Group||Global Reach Group is a merger of two of the most famous names in currencies – FCE Exchange (private customers) and Global Reach Partners (corporate FX). The outcome is a larger with a very diverse offering, which has remained customer-friendly.|
|5||Currency Solutions||Currency Solutions is a smaller UK-based brokerage, with offices domestically and in Cyprus, holding a 99% client satisfaction rating on TrustPilot reviews.|
|6||OFX||OFX is Headquartered in Australia and publicly traded on the ASX. It’s one of the best known names in the business and has a pristine reputation and transparent pricing.|
|7||Halo Financial||Halo Financial is another top-rated smaller brokerage with excellent service and very high satisfaction rating to attest for that.|
|8||WorldFirst||WorldFirst offers the best international money transfer rates bar none, but it’s offering is limited to online sellers and businesses. It’s a well known company with a lot of built in functions such as a multi-currency account, which is owned by Ant Financial (Chinese Conglomerate).|
|9||Wise (TransferWise)||Wise (TransferWise) is the most recognisable name today in the money transfer business. The company has recently went on an IPO reaching more than £10bn in market cap. Wise is the biggest international money transfers provider in the world (which offers strictly bank to bank transfers, not including large remittances providers).|
|10||CurrencyFair||CurrencyFair is an innovative money transfer provider with a unique online system that can reach razor-sharp rates. The company has won multiple industry awards and is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.|
|11||Payoneer||Payoneer truly comprehensive and unique solution for b2b and b2c payments, which includes a branded MasterCard and a multi-currency account (along many other business-oriented functions).|
|12||Airwallex||AirWallex is a cross border business payments startup with focus on payments API which has been won a unicorn status.|
|13||SpartanFX||Spartan FX is a boutique firm – Currency Cloud based, which focuses on a solid service and online trading system. With SpartanFX you can also get a “private Iban account” to receive payments.|
|14||Key Currency||Key Currency is one of the most well known up-and-coming international money transfer services in the UK. It boasts a clean website, good user reviews and growing recognition.|
|15||Kantox||Kantox is a smaller foreign exchange company which is focused strictly on businesses. Its main selling point is transparent, tight, margins.|
|16||CurrencyUK||CurrencyUK has been award the Best Money Transfer Provider by the British Bank Awards in 2018, and is a prominent money transfer company / brokerage in the UK.|
|17||Privalgo||Privalgo is a relatively small and new UK money transfer service. Its early indications are positive and it appears trustworthy.|
|18||Hargreaves Lansdown International Payments||Publicly traded Hargreaves Lansdown is one of the most recognisable non-bank financial providers in the US. As a part of its array of financial services, it also offers cross-country cross-currency payments.|
|19||FairFX||FairFX is a publicly traded company which is best known for its prepaid travel money cards, but also offers an international money transfer service.|
|20||Smart Currency Exchange||Smart Currency Exchange is a veteran UK money transfer service. It has great feedback across the board by clients that have used it, good rates, and an overall good level of reputation in the industry.|
|21||Azimo||Azimo is a leading remittances providers in the UK and Europe which boasts a new competitive pricing plan and 90% satisfaction from customers across tens of thousands of reviews online.|
|22||PureFX||PureFX is a standard UK-based money transfer company offering all the “plain vanilla” functions you could expect. PureFX is smaller in trading volumes and staff than many competitors.|
|23||Currencies.co.uk (Foreign Currency Direct)||Foreign Currency Direct is a well known UK currency transfer firm with both a private and corporate desk. The company has been set up by ex-directors and ex-managers at rival Currencies Direct.|
|24||FlashFX||FlashFX is an innovative Ripple-network money transfers company based in Australia with good user reviews but sub-par rates which is still relatively small and unknown.|
|25||Natwest Bank’s International Payments||NatWest is one of the 4 large UK clearing banks. It has bad customer reviews online, and its international money transfer service is expensive.|
|26||Foremost Currency Group||The Foremost Cuyrrency Group is a relatively small, UK oriented, FX money transer provider. Great reviews by clients, but very limited reach and selection of currencies.|
|27||XE Money Transfer||XE Money Transfer is XE.com’s money transfer services. XE is a known brand with strong presence in both the UK and the USA, and positive responses from customers. The firm is owned by EuroNet WorldWide and is a merger of XE’s money transfer services and HiFX’s.|
|28||Voltrex FX (VFX)||VFX Financial is a rather large provider of international money transfers and business foreign exchange services. Its previous name was VoltrexFX. The company has won multiple awards.|
|29||EasyFX||EasyFX was a small and unknown currency transfer firm which is now focused on travel money cards.|
|30||Vorto Trading Money Transfers||Vorto Trading offers a particular focus on business clients, a slick online platform, and many options for business customers.|
|31||Frontierpay||FrontierFX is a relatively small size FX company with 50 employees and expertise on both corporate and private clients.|
|32||FinGlobal Forex||FinGlobal of the biggest South-African money transfer companies.|
|33||Cambridge FX||Cambridge FX is a known company particularly in the business money transfers space, with 25 years of strong reputation.|
|34||Caxton FX||Catxton FX is a smaller money transfers specialist with overwhelmingly positive feedback from clients|
|35||Collinson & Co FX||Collison & Co is a NZ based financial service provider which also offers a money transfer service.|
|36||Sable International FX||Sable International FX is one of the few South-Africa focused, and based money transfer companies in the world.|
|37||Lloyds Bank International Payments||Lloyd’s Bank is one of the “Big Four” UK banks, founded in 1765 with more than 45,000 employees. Its international money transfer rates are higher than of those of a specialist foreign currency exchange specialist.|
|38||Starling Bank Money Transfer||Starling Bank is one of the most hyped challenger banks in the UK. It has an amazing online website and app and has secured hundreds of millions of pounds in investments. Its currency transfer services are limited and more expensive than those of a broker.|
|39||Currency Index||Currency Index Boutique firm with limited functionality but an excellent service.|
|40||kbr FX||kbr FX is a UK based money transfer company with little information about it online, and no customer reviews to attest for its service.|
🔥 6 Tips to Maximise your Business Foreign Exchange & International Business Payments 🔥
Here are 6 absolutely critical factors to consider before making a contractual commitment to exchange one currency for another, based on the experience of George Tchetvertakov, a 10-year veteran in the foreign exchange space. His diverse experience includes editorial and writing roles in publications such as Finance Magnets, alongside roles in FX firms like Head of Market Research at Alpari UK and Business Development Executive at Moneycorp UK.
Know who you are dealing with
Before getting overexcited about the ultra-competitive currency transaction rate you are being offered, you may want to ask the question, ‘With whom am I doing business?’.
In the corporate foreign exchange world, this question carries a lot more traction and will take you a lot further in search of a reliable corporate FX broker. The not-so-often-spoken truth about foreign exchange at all levels is that entities often do business under the financial authorisation of another entity, under so-called ‘affiliate’ or ‘white-label’ agreements, depending on the FX niche in question.
To ensure that you know the full story of the company to whom you will be potentially transferring millions of dollars with the expectation of a currency exchange, make sure you carry out a full due diligence check on the company you have earmarked and check its financial market status through our website.
Each business money transfer provider will also have their own banking partners whom they hold their accounts with, purchase currency and use for business payment delivery. It’s important to understand which bank partners your FX provider works with and if these are reliable too, before making a call on the best business FX service.
Timing is everything
This is an obvious one that’s often forgotten. Many corporations jump into conducting a currency transaction with a spot transfer when needs demand it, rather than when it’s most advantageous to do so and utilising a forward contract.
This usually comes down to an oversight or simply being faced with unforeseen circumstances, or merely being ignorant that better rates even exist. This can be simply removed from the equation by having a reliable and proactive fx provider already waiting, having completed the account-opening process beforehand.
The Ins and Outs
Knowing exactly what has been (or is about to be) contractually agreed is important, as is knowing exactly what the expected currency transaction will look like. Keeping a close eye on the specifics of the deal, such as currency exchange rate, due date, country where nominated bank account is held, and associated bank fees is essential to the deal maintaining legal integrity and for costly clerical mistakes to be avoided.
In modern times, recommended business foreign exchange operators routinely offer online portal functionality, allowing corporate users to log in and track all the details of their transactions. Being able to use and understand these tools can be more difficult than first believed, however, especially if the corporate entity does not routinely engage in financial market transactions. Have an explore through your providers online portal and set-up (but don’t complete!) test payments of varying amounts to better understand the fees involved for say a £10k international business payment vs a £1m payment.
It is easy to forget that currency transactions with some brokers are filled with jargon that may not be easily understood by firms outside of the financial services industry. For this exact reason, we have established MoneyTransferComparison.com, which does all the hard work for its readers.
Mitigating risk, reducing the cost
What a corporate FX B2B payment can cost is not solely limited to the commission fees that have been agreed upon. There are also tangible and intangible costs that all businesses, regardless of size, should consider when conducting a currency transaction.
Of the tangible variety, there is a transaction cost in the form of commissions or flat fees, including as-yet-unseen bank charges. There is also the possibility of interest-bearing charges upon late delivery (particularly in the case of regular international business payments).
In the intangible corner, there is an outside chance of a international currency provider not being able to carry out the transaction, despite the agreement made. This could well mean legal expenses and delays in obtaining the expected funds, or any funds at all.
It cannot be emphasized enough how important due diligence is when opening a currency account — especially corporate accounts where many of the protections afforded to private individuals are not forthcoming. Meanwhile, operators of start-ups and small-sized businesses often make the mistake of acting as a corporate entity, believing they have the commercial rights of an individual.
The larger the expected volume of trading, the larger the risk mitigation should be in the form of professional due diligence.
Relative or absolute
The best business currency rates do not always come from the same fx company. Very often, one provider will have the best rate one day, and another will have it the day after. Therefore, one consideration worth making is asking just how competitive your current rates actually are. This may be routine for financial sector firms, but for real-estate agents, import/export companies and shipping agents, as just a few examples, currency exchange rates are often a late afterthought without forward-planning and taking into account alternative means of obtaining the right currency at the right time.
Banks aren’t always so bad, sometimes
One of the prime reasons many businesses switch their corporate currency exchange solution from their bank to an alternative provider is cost. However, using third parties for currencies carries unforeseen risks, deep considerations and potentially additional steps to obtain the same peace of mind that banks arguably provide. Therefore, to finish this list of things to consider, one consideration may simply be that your existing banking service may not be so bad after all.
It all depends on the type of business you have, transaction size, frequency and currencies required. However, determining which option is best can only be done after some mindful thinking and careful consideration of all the factors surrounding foreign exchange dealings that specifically apply to your business. The rule of thumb will dictate that if your business is large enough, you could potentially get the same rates and fees directly from your bank, and get direct access to the trading room. If you are an SME, a corporate foreign exchange solution is likely to be your best choice especially if you can leverage the technology for payment automation.
Corporate Foreign Exchange: Hedging Tools
A main task for a firm is to minimize (hedge) risks that are not necessary for the performance of the business. Among the different types of risk lies a very important one that can jeopardize the financial health of any global company: Foreign Exchange Risk. As currencies fluctuate and as markets increase in volatility, it becomes very difficult to predict the future and gain stability in terms of inflows and outflows. For this reason, more and more companies are hedging their future cash flows and stabilizing the rate at which they will exchange currencies in the future.
ThisThis short write-up about currency hedging and our full FX hedging guide was composed by Badre Bouarich, a former Trader and Multi Asset Structurer (Forex, Interest Rates) at HSBC bank in London & an expert Financial Writer.
As the derivatives market has developed and as counterparty risk became mitigated through clearinghouses, hedging possibilities have widened, making it possible to reasonably hedge cash flows due in the next 1-3 years horizon. Now, there are different instruments that will enable you to achieve your desired objectives – although a thorough understanding of the products involved is necessary.
There are additional tools to the vanilla 4 orders presented here, such as a Time Option, which is fully hedged. And participating forwards, which allow some upside vs your standard forward contract. Again, commercial corporate FX companies will make tremendous efforts in order to inform you about market developments, along with the most adapted instruments to use. Moreover, they will give you access to a set of hedging instruments that banks will provide only for the largest corporations. It’s very important to understand each hedging tool so you are completely aware of any potential downside risk and why you are required to pay a premium when agreeing to an option, if indeed it incurs a fee.
Should You Go for Large or Boutique?
Here on MoneyTransferComparison, we have tested and rated a variety of business FX solutions. Some of these had a significant amount of customer complaints (like Western Union), some aren’t specifically geared for businsses (like Azimo), and some offer some strong offering for for businesses, including diverse multi-currency accounts, but don’t offer the type of service we recommend services to get (like Transferwise which more of an online service than a currency brokerage).
Even so, there are more than 10 other companies that provide corporate foreign exchange management services that we do recommend. The main differentiation between them is their size.
Larger Service Providers
Higher trading volumes, more employees (both sales, marketing and dealers), and more offices across the globe. These typically are headquartered in London.
Advantages: Get better rates than smaller companies and thus the haggling space on the spreads they take could be smaller. These companies have a lot of experience dealing with thousands of businesses in varying sizes in different markets. They usually have higher global reach than smaller firms, and local presence in countries which enables them to handle complicated transactions better. Plenty of testimonials to attest for their quality of service from fellow business owners.
Disadvantages: Though the staff is professional, as a small business you are not likely to be dealing with the head dealer.
“Boutique” Currency Services
Lower trading volumes, fewer employees, and usually fewer than 5 offices (where oftentimes there’s only a single UK office).
Advantages: Often provides a higher level of expertise from currency dealers. Extremely service oriented. They need your business to work with them, and are therefore willing to offer tighter spreads.
Disadvantages: Usually don’t accept US-based businesses. Have fewer corporate clients, so some scenarios could be unprecedented. Lower global reach (dealing with fewer currencies, less likely to circumvent SWIFT). Less testimonials to their services than with larger firms – less reputable even if they have a clean history and properly regulated.
Why do we prefer the major competitors in the business FX space?
We suggest that larger multinational corporations stick to the larger business fx companies (preferably, one from the 10 best money transfer for businesses list). After all, they need a company that can handle these large transactions efficiently and have been doing so for a long while. The risk with large transactions does exist – as currency transfers are not insured – and if a company goes bankrupt, you could be getting hurt (although client accounts are separated from the company’s accounts by FCA instruction).
For smaller businesses, if you prefer to manage FX yourself and just require a good online platform than a larger broker could also be suitable for you. However if you prefer to receive dedicated dealer guidance and further understand your hedging strategies we suggest trying one of the smaller firms. They could be more willing to give you better rates and more tailored services than larger firms. Smaller businesses can also get direct access to the head dealer and even the Managing Director / Senior Associate of the company, if required.
The Conclusion – Business FX and Payments Overview 2021
Within a global macro-economic conjuncture that is characterized by transition and instability, businesses have been facing a growing number of risk-bearing factors. Nevertheless, this climate has also created a tremendous number of opportunities for businesses willing to open up, take the extra step and explore global marketplaces.
As a consequence, business fx payment flows have sky-rocketed and it has become critical for business owners and managers to optimise their cross-border transactions, while turning potential risks into value-adding elements. An international business to business payment conducted via one of the best business fx providers, which specialises in those type of clients, is a superb choice that a small business owner or a company’s money manager, can make.