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Cheapest Way to Send Money Overseas from the UK

Written by, Marija Petkova

Updated July, 22, 2022

The fastest and cheapest way to send money overseas is usually through money transfer providers, who often provide much better rates than traditional banks. 

Still, not every provider offers the same deals. 

To help you narrow down the search, we compiled a list of the cheapest money transfer providers in the UK.

Let’s dive in.

Top 10 Cheapest Money Transfer Providers


  • Exchange rate: Near mid-market rate
  • Transfer fees: £0
  • Transfer time: 24- 48 hours
  • Pay by: Bank account
  • Receiving options: Bank account, mobile wallet

  • Exchange rate: Updated daily
  • Transfer fees: Amount- and speed-based
  • Transfer time: From a couple of minutes to 3-5 business days
  • Pay by: Bank account, credit/debit card
  • Receiving options: Bank account, mobile wallet, cash pickup

  • Exchange rate: Updated daily
  • Transfer fees: £1
  • Transfer time: From a couple of minutes to up to 3 days.
  • Pay by: Bank account, credit/debit card
  • Receiving options: Bank account, debit card

  • Exchange rate: Typically between 0.5%- 2%
  • Transfer fees: £2 for under £250. No fees for transfers above that amount.
  • Transfer time: 1-4 banking days
  • Pay by: Bank account, credit card
  • Receiving options: Bank account, cash pickup

  • Exchange rate: Updated daily
  • Transfer fees: 0.5%- 2%
  • Transfer time: Instantly to 1-4 business days depending on the type of transfer
  • Pay by: Debit card, bank account
  • Receiving options: Debit card, bank account (in app)

  • Exchange rate: 0.5% – 1.5%
  • Transfer fees: £0.99- £2.99
  • Transfer time: 1-2 banking days
  • Pay by: Bank account, credit/debit card
  • Receiving options: Mobile wallet, prepaid phone, cash pickup

  • Exchange rate: Amount- and payment-method based.
  • Transfer fees: From £0 (Amount-based; around £3.99 for more than £100)
  • Transfer time: 1-3 business days
  • Pay by: Bank transfer, credit/debit card, cash
  • Receiving options: Bank account, mobile wallet, cash pickup

  • Exchange rate: Mid-market rates
  • Transfer fees: From 0.41% (varies by currency)
  • Transfer time: Instant to up to 4 business days
  • Pay by: Credit/debit card, bank account
  • Receiving options: Bank account

  • Exchange rate: Near real-time Interbank exchange rates
  • Transfer fees: From £0
  • Transfer time: 1-3 business days
  • Pay by: Cash, credit/debit card, bank account
  • Receiving options: Bank account, mobile wallet, prepaid phone credit, cash pickup

  • Exchange rate: 0.4-1.5%
  • Transfer fees: From £0
  • Transfer time: 3-5 working days
  • Pay by: Bank transfer, credit/debit card
  • Receiving options: Bank account, mobile wallet 

The Cheapest Way to Send Money Overseas: A Buyer’s Guide

With the number of money transfer providers available today, it can be a time-consuming task to find one that’s right for you. 

Whether a certain money transfer provider is the cheapest way to transfer money internationally for you, depends entirely on your situation. Some providers offer better rates for one-off transfers, while others can work out to be cheaper for regular payments in the long run. 

To find the cheapest way to send money abroad from the UK in the sea of money transfer providers and services, here’s what you should look for:

Transfer limits and speed

Before you decide on a money transfer service, make sure to check how much money you can transfer from one account to another in one go and whether there’s a daily, monthly, or annual limit. You should also consider the speed of the transfer in case of emergencies. 

If you need to transfer money immediately, take a look at providers such as Wise, which offers instant transfers.

Avoid using credit cards for funding

Using a credit card might seem like a more practical way to make international money transfers, but it’s rarely cheap. 

Depending on whether your transaction is processed as a purchase or cash advance, you may face fees, higher interest rates, and higher exchange rates. If you’re looking for a cheap way to send money internationally, a better alternative is a debit card. Transfer providers such as MoneyGram allow you to deposit funds within a few hours by debit card.

In most cases, the cheapest way to transfer money abroad is via a bank transfer. It’s also the cheapest way to receive money from abroad.

Select a fully licensed money transfer service

Companies that are regulated and authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority, or other relevant bodies, have to follow certain rules and regulations to protect their clients’ data and transactions. Transfer services like Wise, Remitly, Western Union are fully licensed and authorized by the FCA.

If you want to check if a company is FCA regulated, you can visit the Financial Services Register and run the company’s name against the FCA’s database.

Looking for ways to transfer money to a specific country? These articles will help you choose the best money transfer service:

Large money transfers

Larger transfers, most of the time, come with lower fees (and sometimes no fees at all) than smaller transactions. So if possible, opt for a larger one instead of several smaller ones to avoid paying double. For instance, XE Money Transfer doesn’t charge fees for sums larger than £250.

Transfer cost

To find the cheapest way to transfer money overseas for you, you’ll have to do your research and compare the costs of different companies. 

Most charge fees and commissions based on the amount and whether you’re funding the transfer from a credit card, debit, card, or a funding account, however there are platforms that impose a flat fee on all transfers.  

Exchange rate

An exchange rate is the value of one currency compared to another and is determined by the demand and supply of currencies at any point in time. 

Since exchange rates fluctuate regularly (and sometimes, dramatically,) to find the cheapest international money transfer, it’s best to look for a provider that operates at a low exchange margin, like OFX, which can help you save on money. Mid-market exchange rates are typically the best rates for sending money abroad and Wise offers excellent mid-market exchange rates for your transferring needs.

Required information

To save yourself time and hassle, you should prepare everything you’ll need to complete the transfer in advance. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • The name and address of the recipient.
  •  The recipient’s bank account details (including bank name and address).
  • The SWIFT code of the bank, also known as BIC.
  • Recipient’s account number or IBAN.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to find cheap ways to transfer money internationally, then your best bet is a money transfer provider. They have competitive exchange rates and low-cost fees, compared to traditional and challenger banks. However, make sure to scout all your options as some international money providers might have hidden fees.

                           

Frequently Asked Questions And Their Answers

Is a cheap international money transfer safe?

Money transfer services that are regulated by the FCA are safe and secure. They’re required to follow certain protocols that protect your data, money, and transactions.  If you’re not sure whether a company is FCA-regulated, you can search its name on the Financial Services Register to find out.

How much can I save on a cheap money transfer?

The amount of money you might save on an international money transfer via a money transfer provider, compared to a traditional bank, depends on a variety of factors including, whether it’s a one-off payment or a regular payment and how you fund the transfer. 

Why shouldn’t I use my bank to send money overseas?

Banks charge higher fees and offer poor exchange rates (compared to mid-market rates) than money transfer providers.

How long does it take to send money to a recipient overseas?

International money transfers can take anywhere between 2-5 business days. Some transfers can even happen within 24 hours. 

What are the main fees I have to pay if I am sending money internationally?

When sending money abroad, you’ll need to pay transfer fees and exchange rates. Both fees and exchange rates can vary from one provider to another. Keep in mind that some platforms have no transfer fees, while others charge a flat fee for all transfers. 

What is the cheapest way to send money internationally?

The cheapest way to send money overseas is to use a money transfer service. To find a money transfer provider that offers good rates and low exchange fees, you’ll have to shop around and compare costs.

My name is Marija, and I'm a financial writer at DontDisappointMe. Although finance might not be everyone's cup of tea, my 10+ years of working in one of the biggest banks in my country, and my interest in extensive research on everything finance/investment-related, have made me somewhat of an expert in the field (if I do say so myself). No longer having the passion to work in a corporate setting, I decided that I couldn't let all of this knowledge go to waste so I started writing. And, here I am! Today I try to share my knowledge with my audience in the hopes of making this topic as simple and interesting as possible. In my leisure time, I like spending time with my family and travelling to new locations.