International Money Transfer Regulations – UK

Is My Money Safe and Secure with FCA Authorised Money Transfer Providers?

If you are looking to find the safest international money transfers, then understanding the international money transfer regulations in the UK is critical. The UK’s financial services regulator, known as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), ensures that any money transfer provider it authorises, upholds certain standards to qualify as a safe and secure money transfers.

UK International Money Transfer Regulations FAQ

 Is the FCA actually the FSA?

Yes, but not exactly. The FCA, which stands for Financial Conduct Authority, was previously part of the FSA. The FSA (Financial Services Authority) was a UK self-funded authority, founded under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA). It ceased to exist in 2012, splitting into two authorities – one being the PRA and the other the FCA.

 How does the FCA supervises over payment providers?

The FCA ensures the legal framework for financial services businesses, constructed by the UK treasury and Houses of Parliament (and at one time the EU), is adopted correctly by financial services companies across the UK. Their remit covers a wide range of areas to ensure a payment service business operates as it should, including; financial crime & anti-money laundering, know your customer requirements, operational risks and control, and the segregation and safeguarding of client funds. Virtually all areas of compliance are covered by the FCA except for sanctions and complaint handling, although they do set the framework for the rules around dispute resolution. Customer complaints are reported through the Financial Ombudsman Service (with the escalation of issues to the Upper Tribunal if needed) and the Commissioner of Complaints.

 Which authorisation do international money transfer provider have?

Companies will need to be authorised as either an Electronic Money Institution or Authorised Payment Institution. If a business has an average turnover in payment transactions not exceeding €3 million per month, it can choose to be registered as a small payment institution (SPI). Money transfer firms who are only REGISTERED with the FCA are not authorised for any of the titles above, meaning the protection for the customer is less – we recommend dealing with only FCA authorised money transfer companies.

  Which are the best-rated authorised companies for safe money transfers?

The following list of companies are authorised by the FCA and have an extensive track record of upholding international money transfer regulations in the UK. Given this, we believe they are your best bet if you’re seeking secure money transfers:

Company Companies House # PSD Status
Currencies Direct Ltd900669Authorised Electronic Money Institution
World First Limited UK900508Authorised Electronic Money Institution
Tor Currency Exchange Limited900706Authorised Electronic Money Institution
TTT Moneycorp Ltd00738837Authorised Payment Institution
Currency Solutions Limited4864491Authorised Payment Institution
UKForex Ltd. (Now OFX)902028Authorised Electronic Money Institution
Global Reach Partners Limited04344764Authorised Payment Institution

How the UK Financial Conduct Authority regulates international money transfers

TheFCAOffices
View Of The FCA Offices in Canary Wharf

What is the FCA? The FCA, which stands for Financial Conduct Authority, was previously a part of the FSA. The FSA (Financial Services Authority) was a UK self-funded authority, founded under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA). It ceased to exist in 2012, and split into two authorities, one is the PRA and the second is the FCA (all detailed in our money transfer history timeline).

The FCA is the regulatory body for a wide number of financial services, including but not limited to; insurance firms, financial advisers, banks and of course i money transfer companies who both transfer money internationally and repatriate it from overseas. Every company that wishes to engage in the transfer of funds across borders (over the value of €3 million per month), needs to be authorised under the Payment Services Regulations 2017 and the electronic money regulations 2011, laws set by the UK government but implemented by the FCA. It’s also worth noting the FCA is responsible for enforcing the EU’s payment services directive (PSD2). Money Transfer Regulations the UK still complies with following its exit from the European Union. Ultimately, the FCA exists to ensure firms are  legitimate and safe international money transfer providers that are secured to a necessary degree and should be able to provide secure money transfers.

The latest payment services regulations are available on the government website here and how the FCA implements this within FCA authorised payment provider’s is available here.

The authority is governed by a board appointed by the treasury and supervises the activity of over 50,000 UK-facing financial services firms.

Official website: https://www.fca.org.uk/

Offices: The Financial Conduct Authority UK office headquarters is at: 25 The North Colonnade, London E14 5HS. Here’s a unique photograph we took of the impressive building.

Core responsibilities of the FCA to allow safe money transfers 

  • Ensure firms are correctly adopting the Payment Services Regulations of 2017, the electronic money regulations of 2011 and PSD2 2019 (i.e. all international money transfer regulations in UK).
  • Business conduct requirements
  • Capital resources and requirements
  • Segregation and safeguarding of client funds
  • Reporting and notifications (firms must report to the FCA if they breach FCA guidelines)
  • Setting the guidance and rules for customer disputes (investigating  customer complaints falls to the Financial Ombudsman Service to do that)
  •  Regulation committees and periodical FCA checks
  •  Issue warnings and remove licenses of unsafe providers
  •  Escalating issues to Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber) and the Commissioner of Complaints
  • Supervision over Financial Crime
  •  Supervision over Anti Money Laundering

FCA Approved & Authorised Secure Money Transfer Firms

The following list of companies are authorised as either a Payment Institution or Electronic Money Institution; these are firms that the Financial Conduct Authority UK approves to offer safe international money transfers and adhere to the UK’s international money transfer regulations.

Company Companies House # PSD Status
Currencies Direct Ltd900669Authorised Electronic Money Institution
Tor Currency Exchange Limited900706Authorised Electronic Money Institution
TTT Moneycorp Ltd00738837Authorised Payment Institution
Currency Solutions Limited4864491Authorised Payment Institution
UKForex Ltd. (Now OFX)902028Authorised Electronic Money Institution
Global Reach Partners Limited04344764Authorised Payment Institution
Currency Index Ltd06586857Authorised Payment Institution
Transferwise Ltd (Wise / Wise.com)900507Authorised Electronic Money Institution
Axia Ltd05762951No longer authorised
FairFX PLC05539698Authorised Payment Institution
Azimo Ltd900220Authorised Electronic Money Institution
CurrencyFair Ltd(registered in Ireland)Regulated by Central Irish Bank
AFEX Markets Plc07061516Authorised
Halo Financial Limited5155787Authorised Payment Institution
World First Limited UK900508Authorised Electronic Money Institution
Foreign Currency Direct PLC902022Authorised Electronic Money Institution
VFX Financial PLC900530Authorised Electronic Money Institution
Ebury Partners UK Limited900797Authorised Electronic Money Institution
Pure FX Limited05990857Authorised Payment Institution
HiFX Europe Limited3517451Authorised Payment Institution
Western Union Payment Services GB Limited11326797Authorised Payment Institution
MoneyGram International Limited03287157Authorised Payment Institution
WorldRemit Ltd7110878Authorised Electronic Money Institution
Kantox Limited900891Authorised Payment Institution
Travelex Europe Limited900537Authorised Electronic Money Institution
Foreign Currency Exchange Limited900205Authorised Electronic Money Institution
CurrencyUK Limited4017212Authorised Payment Institution
Key Currency Limited9603083Authorised Payment Institution
Hargreaves Lansdown Asset Management Limited1896481Authorised Payment Institution
Smart Currency Exchange Limited05282305Authorised Payment Institution
Trans-Fast Remittance Limited4609973Authorised Payment Institution
TransferGo Ltd07914165Authorised Payment Institution
NatWest Markets PlcSC090312Authorised
The Foremost Currency Group Limited900204Authorised Electronic Money Institution
Post Office Management Services Limited08459718Authorised
Virgin Money plc06952311Authorised
Veem(registered in the USA)Regulated by FinCEN
Privalgo Limited900887Authorised Electronic Money Institution
Payoneer (EU) Limited900105EEA Authorised
Xoom(registered in the USA)Regulated by FinCEN
Ria(registered in the USA)Regulated by FinCEN
Lebara Money09753115No longer authorised
Paysend plc900004Authorised Electronic Money Institution
SendFX Pty Ltd(registered in Australia)Regulated by ASIC
Flash Partners Pty Ltd(registered in Australia)Regulated by ASIC
Airwallex (UK) Limited900876Authorised Electronic Money Institution
EasyFX Limited592260Authorised via VFX PLC
Frontierpay Ltd577057Authorised Payment Institution
Revolut Ltd900562Authorised Electronic Money Institution

Global Currency Exchange Network Ltd

(now trading as GC Partners Ltd)

04675786Authorised Payment Institution

All authorised Electronic Money Institutions and Payment Institutions are required to appoint a chief compliance officer (CCO) and money laundering reporting officer (MLRO).

KYC Issues from the consumer side

When we look at reviews of the likes of Wise and XE money transfers, even though the majority of customer reviews are positive describing a smooth process, the disgruntled customers oftentimes focus on KYC issues. By KYC issues we mean that money transfer service providers – for the most part those entertaining large transfers but also remittances companies (geared at low-value remittances), are requesting more documents about the origins of the money, its recipient, and the reason in which the money is being transferred. The reason the aforementioned companies and any other currency broker would be asking for more documents is AML laws.

To learn more about the requirements that you will be requiring to sign up with an international money transfer service, as per UK international money transfer regulations, view this guide about KYC documents required to sign up with a money transfer service.

What does a well-regulated, safe, money transfer provider look like?

Global Reach Group

Global Reach Group is demonstrating an incredible level of transparency and clearness to its customers in regards to what it is regulated to do and not regulated to do. Every single bit of its policies page is coherent, clear to understand, and provides sufficient and up to date information which demonstrates how it adheres to UK international money transfer regulations. Global Reach also adheres to the highest level of internet security in order to facilitate safe online money transfers.

As part of the senior leadership team, the chief compliance officer has extensive financial services experience. Including roles at WorldFirst, HSBC and AXA insurance.

 

Why Stick To FCA-Authorised Payment Providers in the money transfer space?

In simple terms, if you want to have the same level of confidence when issuing overseas payments via a specialised payment provider, as you would with a full-scale bank, then the payment provider should be an FCA authorised firm that undergoes the scrutinization of the UK’s leading regulatory body. An independent body, with no vested interest in the firm, makes sure things are happening as they should be. A firm simply stating they offer safe money transfers or that they have a secure website is insufficient without a third party public body verifying this is the case.

Think of a money transfer company as a mediator. You s