Welcome to our guide on UK currency brokers, designed to help you understand the ins and outs of the UK currency transfer industry, and decide on a TRUSTED currency broker. Starting from the top, we begin by presenting who we determine to be the best currency broker, followed by those that round off the top 10 currency brokers to be found in the UK. We deem the best UK currency brokers to be those that offer the best foreign currency exchange rate, a wide range of FX solutions, and a helpful, tailored service.
In total, we have reviewed more than 40 international currency brokers from around the world on this website, and have specifically highlighted those that operate as a UK currency broker on this page. We compare currency brokers professionally and have done so for more than 7 years, so rest assured we have done all the background work for you.
Compare Best Currency Brokers in UK – Top 10
- #1 Rated on MTC
- Industry Leader with £10bn in Annual Turnover
- No Transfer Fees, Great Rates
- 20+ Global Offices
- Top Notch Guidance with Expertise in Transfers to Europe
- 4.9/5 on TrustPilot (5,500 Reviews True for April 2021)
- Personal, Friendly Service
- High TrustPilot Rating
- Regular Market Updates
- Expert Guidance by Veteran Dealers
- Excellent Hedging Offering for Businesses
- Property Transaction Specialists
- Best Money Transfer Service on TrustPilot
- Smaller and More Personable than Others
- High Proficiency by Traders
- Vast Hedging Offering
- Operating Since 1970 - First Commercial FX Firm
- Corporate FX Specialists
- Great Online Platform
- Many Consumer and Business Awards
- Feefo 2020 Platinum Trusted Provider
- Excellent Website and Online Flow
- Highly Professional
- 15+ Years of Experience
- Spot-On Currency Predictions
- 99% of its Past Clients Gave the Firm a Positive Review
- Strong Global Reach with Offices in UK, Europe, and Canada
- More than Two Decades of Experience
- Excellent Website
- Award Winning Client Technology
- High Level of FX Expertise and Guidance
- Operating for 15+ Years
- Does not Accept USA-Based Clients
- Traded Publicly
- £20bn Turnover per Year
- Ultra Professional
- Very Tight Margins
- Receive Money in 32 Currencies including Exotic Currencies
- New Business, Experienced FX Team
- A Managed, Bespoke Currency Brokerage
- Premium Service
- Streamline Currency Transfers
Compare Additional Currency Brokers in UK
Money Transfer Comparison prides itself in the most extensive and comprehensive currency broker reviews. To be able to provide truly comparative information, we have covered a significant number of UK currency brokers. These are some of the better-known ones that were not included in our best currency brokers list for May 2021.
- Specialist in Online Transfers
- Processes £4bn a month
- Transfers Possible in a Few Clicks
- Huge Number of Positive Client Reviews
- Revolutionised the Industry
- Strong Client Testimonials
- Regular Transfers
- British Bank Awards Winner
- No Payment Fees
- Feefo Gold Trusted Provider
- Over 20 Years Experience
- Dedicated Account Manager
- Refer a Friend Scheme
- UK-based, UK-banked & UK Regulated
- Experienced Account Managers
- No Commission or Hidden Fees
- Privately Owned, Personal Business
- 100+ Currencies
- Friendly, UK-based Customer Service
- Travel Money
- Multi-currency Card
- Great Option for European-Based Transfers
- Offices in Spain & Portugal
- Live Rates & Charts
- Excellent TrustPilot Reviews
- Wide-range of Business Solutions
- Extensive Licensing & Regulation
- Technology Focus
- Handles Over 140 Currencies
- Financial Times Award-winner
- Overseas Travel Card
- Make Payments Within Minutes
- Online Payments Capped at £100,000
- Full-suite Financial Services Solution
- Designated Account Managers
- Financially Secure FTSE100 Company
- Bank-beating Exchange Rates
- Free Risk Management Consultation
- Customised Global Payment Solutions since 1979
- Corporate Solutions
- 24/7 Access to Online Platform
- Rated Excellent on TrustPilot
- Personal & Business Currency Services
- Regular Currency News
- Refer a Friend £50 Amazon Voucher
- Clients Always Have One Point of Contact
- Facilitates Large Transfers
- Award-winning Best Emerging Currency Brokerage
- Handles Complex Currency Transactions
- Suitable for Investment Banks & Hedge Funds
- Almost 20 Years Experience
- Unique Solutions to Pay Countries in Africa
- Free Daily FX Reports
- Forex, Tax & Accounting Advice
- Experienced in Immigration and Citizenship
- UK Currency Transfers
- UK, South Africa and Australia Focus
- Send to Over 200+ Countries
- Remittance Provider Adding Currency Brokerage Services
- Reliable International Money Transfers
- Complete Range of Private & Business Solutions
With the exception of Wise.com (previously TransferWise) who we feel deserve a mention, we have resisted including purely online money transfer companies on this page. The same goes for remittance companies. We consider traditional currency brokers to be non-banking financial institutions that provide a wide array of currency hedging solutions paired with a team of dedicated FX experts with whom you can speak to in order to build your own personalised currency strategy. Currency brokers should be able to provide added value to your currency transfer and will be best suited to those who need to make one-off large transfers or frequent foreign exchange transfers.
Why are Most UK Brokers Based in London?
Of the 25 UK currency brokers listed on this page, 20 of the currency brokers are based in London. As the capital of the UK, one might naturally expect a higher concentration of currency brokers in London as you would any industry, but the history of finance and FX in the City of London goes a little deeper than that.
London’s role as the world’s centre of finance has long historical roots. By the end of the 19th century more than half of the world’s trade was conducted in pounds sterling but the main currency trading hubs in the early 20th century were actually Paris, New York and Berlin. London really started to regain its global presence in currency trading thanks to the relaxation of exchange controls in 1958. By the 1990’s London’s most significant revenue-earning function was to provide a centre for the international banking market. The unique collection of banks from all over the globe allowed for an exceptional range of currencies to be traded.
In 2019, global daily trading of FX volumes peaked at $6.6 trillion (making it easily the largest financial market in the world) with London accounting for $2.86 trillion of this (the most of any city in the world by some fair distance). COVID has impacted volumes more recently, but in the Bank of England’s most recent release (Jan 2021), it was confirmed London was still processing $2.58 trillion a day in 2020.
Whilst the usual reasons for being based in London would apply – its reputation as a business epicentre, the diverse and skilled workforce it attracts and the vast transport connections to the rest of the UK and the world – the fact it has a rich history of and is the current leader in global finance has made it a particularly popular choice of currency brokers in London. The same applies to the rise of FinTech’s joining the large number of currency brokers found in London.
Can UK Currency Transfer Specialists Onboard non-UK Based Clients?
Until recently, when the UK was still a member of the EU, FX firms operating from the UK were able to offer international payment services to all EU member states. However, whilst the UK and EU were able to agree a trade deal just days before the 31 December 2020 Brexit deadline, an arrangement for financial services was not made. . As a result, firms based in the UK lost access to the EU financial services ‘passport’. The EU passport gives financial services firms authorised in their home state the right to conduct business in the EEA based on their home state authorisations.
Virtually all of the major currency brokers in London, such as Currencies Direct, have a long history of working in Europe and hold at least one other European office (in Currencies Direct’s case in Spain), meaning they still gain access to the EU passport through their Spanish operations. . Few currency brokers were actually caught out by the move as it had been widely publicised that the EU and UK were unlikely to strike a financial services arrangement, so even the smaller currency brokers in London made adequate preparations and opened a European office specifically for the purpose of continuing to service EU-based clients.
Now that Britain has left the EU, being a currency broker in London or the UK gains no further rights to onboard clients from other jurisdictions. However, as many of the UK currency brokers in London are some of the largest currency brokers in the world, they often have an extensive global footprint allowing them to onboard non-UK based clients in many of the major territories around the world, including; Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand. The firms then have to be regulated by the local regulatory bodies in those countries.
The nature of how the UK currency brokerage market has developed means different currency brokers have focused on different locales to expand their international footprint. To see where each of the UK currency brokers is best suited for transfers around the world see our best way to transfer money abroad page.
Why is UK the Global Hub for Currency Brokers?
Across the world, big banks remain king of the currency markets. JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank and Citi trade the highest volumes with the majority of FX traded by financial institutions such as hedge funds and pension funds. Banks still remain the go-to option for large corporates and financial institutions as the volume in which these companies trade is so vast that banks offer competitive spreads and a huge variety of hedging solutions including forwards, swaps and options.
Small businesses and individuals however were (and still are) being mistreated by the banks, usually by being overcharged in international payment fees and extortionate FX spreads. As many of the major global banks were based in London it was ex-bank staff that identified the opportunity to fill a major whole in the market that their employers were not – providing a premium FX service to individuals and smaller corporates. Offering fair rates and a variety of hedging solutions to these clients too.
Most of the major UK currency brokers in London launched between the mid 90’s to mid 00’s when the barriers to entry were much lower than they are today – regulation in particular was softer, thus making it more accessible for entrepreneurs to launch a currency brokerage. With the UK gaining an early jump-start against other nations it has remained the global hub for currency brokers.
In the past, there’s no doubt firms would have been attracted to the UK by the EU ‘financial passporting’ rights as well. Leaving the EU and losing these rights has presented challenges for the UK but its reputation for world leading technology, regulation and security in financial services continues to comfort both currency brokers and their end clients. Though the transition period only recently expired at the end of 2020, it would appear most currency brokers, for now, are retaining a UK headquarters and opening a subsidiary office in another European locale in order to offer their services to EU member states.
How Many Currency Brokers Actually Exist in the UK?
Exactly how many currency brokers there are in the UK will depend a lot on your definition of a currency broker. For many this could include firms that allow retail trading and speculation on their platform – the likes of IG, CMC Markets and Saxo Bank. As we have previously highlighted our determination of a currency broker, that is relevant to MoneyTransferComparison.com, is a firm that allows bank-to-bank transfers. Currency brokers to us are distinct in that they do not offer speculative trading but rather currency exchange with payments. Also known as deliverable FX.
These companies’ selling point is that usually they can offer better exchange rates and cheaper payments than banks. Currency brokers differ from money transfer/remittance companies in that they generally offer higher-value services.
Back in 2006, it was estimated that in the UK 14% of currency transfers were made via currency brokers and foreign exchange companies. With no further studies conducted recently it is estimated that this could be closer to 25% in 2021.
When currency brokers initially launched back in the 1990’s the only requirement for the firm was to be registered as a money transfer provider with HMRC. It wasn’t until the late 2000’s that regulation changed and firms were required to be either registered or authorised with the Financial Conduct Authority. Prior to this move there were literally hundreds of currency brokers in London and the UK but when the new regulations came in many of these firms either shut or were acquired by the larger currency brokers based in London.
A shift in how money transfer firms were treated by banks – HSBC ceased working with money transfer companies in the early 2010’s due to compliance issues of their own and Barclays closed a number of accounts it had with currency brokers and money transfer firms – meant even more were removed from the market. These days there is a good mix between regulation that protects customers and new entrants joining the market if they are able to carve out their own niche. We have listed 25 UK currency brokers on this page but we are sure there are many more smaller currency brokers offering a bespoke and personal service to clients. We endeavour to continue our research and add new brokers to our site on a regular basis.
In Detail: What Defines a Strong UK Currency Brokerage Over Others?
As reflected in the section above, it is evident that our goal is to provide detailed coverage of the currency transfer industry. Not only compare currency brokers and write thorough reviews describing the nature of their services, 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 UK currency brokers when it comes to exchange rates/fees, level of service, and overall attention. For us the list of the best currency transfer brokers that we have compiled focuses on companies which have a strong trading 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-scale currency transfers. If you were to send an amount of £10,000 or more to a third party bank account belonging to a currency broker you want to know that 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 currency broker reviews.
Our reviews are composed of the following parameters which are taken into consideration upon assigning ratings.
- 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.
- Global reach – offices and bank accounts across the globe: transfers are made easier and all intermediary fees are reduced when currency brokers 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.
- Hedging offering: for high-volume or repeating transactions, hedging (such as Forward Contracts) is oftentimes needed.
- Functional and easy online platform to make transactions online.
- Functional and easy mobile application that can run on any telephone and enables to send and receive foreign currency on the go.
- 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 by the currency broker of their choice.
Hence, our decision in regards to the best currency brokers is well-thought and dynamic.Always based on the most recent data we have for each company, as we continuously update our reviews, and compare currency transfer options.
Currency Brokers for Business
Virtually all of the factors we have listed above to determine the best UK currency brokers apply when determining the best currency brokers for business. Aspects that are particularly important for businesses, who generally have more complex FX requirements, will be a wide-variety of hedging solutions and an appointed, experienced account manager. The best currency brokers for business will have a dedicated business team that are more familiar with batch payments, payroll and currency options. Products that private clients generally don’t require.
All of the brokers recommended in our top 10 UK currency brokers have dedicated business teams and business solutions. For this reason, these brokers on the whole, can also be regarded as the best currency brokers for business. The exception to this is Transferwise (now Wise money transfer) who provide separate business solutions but do not have an account management team. Currencies Direct, Moneycorp and Global Reach also provide currency options – providing corporate clients with even greater hedging flexibility in the currency markets.Read our guide to business foreign exchange services here.
Are these all UK currency brokers?
Yes, our most recommended currency brokers are UK based.However, due to their international footprint, they serve clients almost internationally. If you are in Australia, Canada, UAE, Singapore, HK or the EU – literally each of our most recommended currency brokers will be able to onboard you quickly and efficiently. If you are USA-based, then some specific UK currency brokers won’t accept you but there are plenty of companies who would. If you live outside of the aforementioned areas, a UK currency broker may not be able to serve your requirements.
Segregated & Safeguarded bank accounts for currency transfers
How can any customer trust an international currency provider to an extent that they will fund a transfer of tens of thousands of pounds (or any other currency) before it is actually taking place? Doesn’t it mean that your currency provider will be holding all that money in their 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 Institutions, and part of their licensing requires that all client accounts are segregated from the firm’s normal bank accounts.
These sub-accounts are owned by both the currency specialist and the client whose money is stored and cannot be put to any use with the exception of transferring it to the clients’ requested destination. Under the provisions, these firms are not allowed to incur interest on client 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” authorisation. Make sure the company you use is authorised as an E-Money or Payment Institution. When your funds are being temporarily held for the purpose of a payment your funds will be safeguarded and protected if the firm goes bust. This is not always the case when you place a deposit for a forward contract or hold money in a digital account (the money will be segregated but not necessarily safeguarded) – check with your provider what their regulations are in these instances.
Foreign Currency Transfer Brokers – Not Just Online
One last point we need to flesh out with regards to currency brokers (and specifically the best foreign currency services) is that they offer multifaceted ways to move your currency to a bank account overseas, not just online. They should certainly boast a comprehensive online platform with many transfer options to choose from (which is available on mobile devices as well) but it should not be not limited to this, at all. Serious currency brokers have dedicated account managers who know clients by name and are able to provide real-time guidance on the timing of the trade, as well as perform trades entirely over the phone or via email.
This is 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.
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.
- Best business money transfer
- Best remittances providers
- Best online money transfer websites
- Best money transfer apps for mobile
- Best eWallets (like Paypal)
- All money transfer reviews (61 providers)
A company we have referred to frequently is Wise (formerly TransferWise). New fintechs such as Wise, with a totally digital focus, pose one of the biggest threats to traditional currency transfer brokers. Originally launched in 2010, the then TransferWise was a company with bold ambitions that you might not have thought possible. Fast forward to 2021 and Wise has firmly taken the international currency transfer industry by storm – boasting millions of customers and transferring billions of pounds every month. Clearly, there is demand for a slick, cheap and digital-only offering. The service, however, is generally favoured by individuals and freelancers (particularly younger generation) with regular but smaller currency transfer requirements. Wise has not looked to expand into more complex FX solutions as they are well aware this requires a completely different business model to succeed (such as the dedicated account managers you are appointed with at specialist currency brokers). The benefit of disruptors like Wise? Traditional currency transfer brokers have had to take note – either by improving their online platform, tightening FX margins or further boosting their levels of service to add value to the currency transfer process.
Final Word – Compare Currency Brokers with MTC.com
If you want to stay up to date with the currency transfer industry and constantly learn about new currency brokers, whether its currency brokers for individuals or currency brokers for business, please check on us from time to time. There is no other website online covering as many currency brokerages with the same level of detail.