International Currency Transfer

Delving into the foreign currency transfer industry

Welcome to your guide that will help you figure out the ins and outs of the currency transfer industry. Our goal is to give newcomers to the industry who have never conducted a foreign currency transfer with a provider before a chance to learn what should he do, and what should he avoid, in order to get the optimal currency transfer rate (or in other words get himself a cheap currency transfer).

Starting from the top, we will start by presenting our favorite, best, currency transfer services. We have reviewed more than 43 currency transfer companies on this website, and have picked the 3 that offer the best foreign currency exchange rate, paired with attentive and helpful service. If you prefer to view our selection by destination view our best way to send money abroad guide.

Best Currency Transfer Service 2020

  • Min Transfer: £/€/$ 100
  • Currencies Supported: 39
  • Offices : UK, EU, USA, India, UAE and South Africa.
  • Client Satisfaction Rating (Aggregated):
  • Most Worldwide Offices
    Great Rates
    Highest Editorial Rating
  • Min Transfer: £/€ 1,000
  • Currencies Supported: 138
  • Offices : UK, Cyprus, and South Africa.
  • Client Satisfaction Rating (Aggregated):
  • Service Oriented
    Loved by Clients
    No Fees on Transfers
  • Min Transfer: £/€ 1,000
  • Currencies Supported: 121
  • Offices : UK, EU, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore.
  • Client Satisfaction Rating (Aggregated):
  • Large Trading Volumes
    Easy to Sign Up
    Transparent Exchange Rates

Which additional currency transfer services and apps are on the market?

There is an abundance of banks, commercial companies, websites, and mobile applications that enable you to conduct foreign currency transfers across the internet. Some of them boast in cheap currency transfers with preferable rates, some of them pride themselves on the comfort and ease of transactions (for example Paypal), some offer a smooth mobile experience, and some rely on the fact they are reputable and big. On MoneyTransferComparison, we tried to cover the best of all worlds.

Below, you can find our different lists reflecting the different aspects of the international currency transfer comparison we have been conducting over the past 5 years.

  1. Best business money transfer
  2. Best remittances providers
  3. Best online money transfer websites
  4. Best money transfer apps for mobile
  5. Best eWallets (like Paypal)
  6. Best P2P money transfers
  7. All money transfer reviews (43 providers)

Why did we pick these currency transfer services over others?

As reflected on the section above, it is evident that our goal is to provide a detailed coverage of the currency transfer industry. Not only provider currency transfer reviews, but supply the reader with a comparative overview laying out the pros and cons of each company against its peers. The truth of the matter is that there are a lot of better alternatives to banks which seem to lag behind the best currency transfer services when it comes to exchange rates/fees, level of service, and overall attention.

For us the list of the best currency transfer abroad services that we have compiled focuses on companies which have strong history and reputation over anything else. The concept of trust and security is, based on our market research, the most decisive factor for our target audience who are mostly interested in large-amount currency transfers. If you were to send an amount of £10,000 or more to a third party bank account (more on how currency transfers work below) you would want to know the risks of that money disappearing or the transfer being delayed are close to none.

State of the art security and stellar reputation help prospective clients trust the service more than anything else.

Additional considerations are definitely applied when we create foreign currency company reviews. Our reviews are composed of the following parameters which are taken into consideration upon assigning ratings.

  1. Fees and exchange rates offered: often difficult to accurately measure, as it’s a competitive market – most of the larger foreign currency specialists are going to have negotiable rates, the more foreign currency transferred, the better the rates.
  2. Global reach – offices and bank accounts across the globe: transfers are made easier and all intermediary fees are reduced when currency servicing companies have a good spread of local bank accounts in many countries. A local office is also important in terms of support and service – clients always like to be handled by locals, in local hours, with a physical office address to attend if needed.
  3. Hedging offering: for high-volume or repeating transactions, hedging (such as Forward Contracts) is oftentimes needed.
  4. Functional and easy online platform to make transactions online.
  5. Functional and easy mobile application that can run on any telephone and enables to send and receive foreign currency on the go.
  6. Client feedback: we aggregate all the client feedback we can find online to inspect whether clients were satisfied with the level of service and rates they have been given.

Hence, our decision in regards to the best currency transfer companies is well-thought and dynamic, based on the most recent data we have for each company, as we continuously update our reviews, and compare currency transfer options.

How do international foreign currency transfers work?

The way international currency transfers take place with banks and with currency transfer companies is completely and utterly different. When you make a foreign currency wire transfer from your local bank account to a bank account overseas, it looks like this:

The bank exchanges your local currency to the desired currency (after applying fees and exchange rate markups) wires your funds on SWIFT transfer to the main branch of the bank that should accept your funds, which then transfers the funds to its final destination. Your bank may not be able to transfer the funds directly to the accepting bank directly so it will need to rely on intermediary partner banks that will help facilitate the transfer. We have a comprehensive guide on how international wire transfers work if you want to get to the nitty gritty.

Whereas the very best currency transfer companies have a different system in place. They have bank accounts spread out globally. When customer A from country X wants to transfer currency to customer B in country Y through a specialist provider, he pays a domestic bank account* (or via debit card for small transfers) in domestic currency. Then, the foreign currency transfer takes place by the currency company transferring the money domestically to customer B in country Y. This diagram can help explain the system:


The grand advantage?

  • Can be quicker than a SWIFT transfer.
  • No intermediately bank fees (which do occur with banks, sometimes unexpectedly the amount sent doesn’t match the amount received).
  • Since the money has not moved internationally, taxes can be avoided.
  • Safe and sound.

*Safeguraded bank accounts for currency transfers

How can any customer trust a international currency provider to an extent that he will fund a transfer of tens of thousands of pounds (or other currency) before it is actually taking place? Doesn’t it mean that your currency provider will be holding all that money in his possession and incur interest (hence, wanting to keep it in its possession for as long as possible)? What happens if a currency transfer specialist like that goes bottoms up, is that hard-earned money gone in this scenario?

Currency specialists are regulated by the FCA as E-Money providers or Payment Institution, and a part of their licensing requires that all client accounts will be segregated and separated from the firm’s normal bank accounts. These sub-accounts are owned by both the currency specialist and the client whose money is stored there and cannot be put into any use with the exception of transferring it to its destination. If the company goes bust, the client is entitled to all of his money.

Words of caution by our Managing Director, Alon Rajic:

Not every company registered with the FCA is authorised by the FCA! In international currency transfers, companies not meeting a certain £ threshold can operate without “full” authorization. Make sure the company you use is authorised as E-Money or Payment Institution to verify your account is safeguarded.


How to calculate fees on a foreign currency transaction?

All banks and many currency providers of all sorts boast in a 0% commission policy. Does this really mean anything at all? is the company handling the currency transfer taking 0% into its pocket? of course not.

What does make a difference for international currency transfers?
  1. The fee. This is pretty straightforward to understand apply. Each bank and some currency providers require a fixed fee per transfer (sometimes, you pay more if you want an express transfer). This fee can range between £30 for the most expensive banks and no fees at all (which is the policy all the best-rated currency transfer companies apply). The fee is significant if this is a small transfer or the client is expected to pay on a regular basis.
  2. The exchange rate provided. This is the focal point of anyone who is internationally moving significant volume of currency should be, as it can amount to hundreds and even thousands of pounds in markup. The simple explanation is that there a genuine interbank exchange rate (the rate in which banks move currency between themselves or with the central bank), and there is a “made up” rate provided by banks or specialised currency transfer services. That “made up” rate will be up to 3% worse than the real rate! if on May 29 of 2019 the interbank currency rate of the Sterling vs Euro is 1.138 based on Google’s search results, then a bad rate would be 1.1 (3% lower), and a really good rate will be 1.129 (just under 0.5% lower) – but no provider will ever give you the precise actual rate (unless fees are taken off proportionally, like with Transferwise).

If this whole thing sounds too complicated to check just to make a foreign currency transfer abroad, you could use our customised calculator, which will give you indications on foreign currency bank to bank transfers in the past, or currently.


Foreign currency transfer – not just online

One last point we need to flesh in regards to foreign currency companies (and specifically the best foreign currency services) is that they offer a multi-factual way to move your currency to a bank account overseas, not just online. They boast a comprehensive online platform with many options to choose from which is available on mobile devices as well but it is not limited to it, at all. Serious currency providers have dedicated account managers who know clients by name and able to provide real-time guidance on the timing of the trade, as well as perform it entirely on the phone or via email. This particularly helpful for prospective clients who are not 100% confident in their ability to transfer large amounts of currency on their own through the online platform and fear they may mistype something or insert incorrect details, as well as small businesses and investors who aspire to improve their fx buying and selling strategy.