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Transfer GBP to USD

Every year thousands of people around the world transfer GBP to USD, for reasons related to travel, trade, goods and services. Many foreign exchange brokers monitor the correlation between the two currencies on a daily basis, but this is not something the average person will do. On this page we will outline everything you need to know to acquire the best rate when transferring GBP to USD.

Updated: 06/05/2021
Read time: 4 minutes
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United Kingdom
United States

A history of the Pound to Dollar rate

As two of the strongest, closely linked economies in the world, converting the British Pound to the US Dollar is a common foreign exchange transfer corridor used by millions on a daily basis. The conversion of Pound sterling (GBP) to US dollar (USD) is presented as GBP/USD. 

Throughout history, the fixed rate for GBP/USD was set by the British Government at £1.00/$5.00. However, things began to change in 1940, when Britain announced a depreciated rate of £1.00/$4.00. The currency pairing continued to fluctuate for many years. Then, in 1971, due to a culmination of socio-economic factors now known as The Sterling Crisis, both GBP and USD became free floating currencies. 

What is a free floating currency?

Free floating currency, also known as “self-correcting” currency, uses a flexible exchange rate system where the value is determined by a private market through supply and demand, rather than by government intervention. Nowadays, the most widely traded currencies in the world are free floating.

Since both GBP and USD became floating currencies in 1971, the strongest Pound to Dollar rate to date has been £1.00/$2.649 recorded on 6th March 1972. The lowest ever Pound to Dollar rate is £1.00/$1.054 recorded on 25th February 1985. This surge in the value of the Dollar was largely due to raised interest rates during the 1980s, and generally speaking, the Pound sterling is stronger than the US Dollar. 

Forecasting the GBP to USD rate

Over the last 50 years, the biggest highs and lows connected to the GBP to USD rate have been a result of major global events. These include the Gulf War, the Global Financial Crisis, Brexit and the Coronavirus pandemic. Foreign exchange trading is popular in both the UK and US but experts in both countries struggle to definitively forecast how the GBP/USD exchange rate will fluctuate in coming years. 

Historically, the GBP to USD rate has been most affected by unforeseen major events such as the aforementioned occasions. This means it is hard to forecast future rates. However, keeping an eye on underlying trends, periods of stability and price patterns will prove beneficial when monitoring any exchange rates.

Many Faces of the Same Coin

Since the introduction of the British Pound in 1694, the UK has called the Pound sterling many different names. Brits typically refer to the given amount, when using nicknames, and colloquial terms include “a quid” (£1.00) “a score” (£20.00) “a ton” (£100.00) and “a grand” (£1,000). As well as these terms, there are also many cockney rhyming slang terms which refer to different sums of money using a code language which originated on the streets of London’s East End.

Finding the best GBP to USD rate

The US Dollar is the world’s most used currency for international transactions. It is also the sole legal tender in many countries and a de facto currency in many others. Add to this the data which reports that 1 in 4 Americans move to Europe, and there are many reasons why transferring Pound sterling to US Dollar is a common international currency trade. 

Many of the best international money transfer companies present the live mid-market rate on their websites or apps, giving customers the chance to review the GBP/USD exchange rate in real-time, ahead of paying for a transfer. 

Although you may be able to review the mid-market rate, this information often misleads customers. Be sure to get a quote reflecting the exact amount your recipient will receive, checking it matches the real exchange rate online. By doing this you can better identify any hidden fees or service charges which may detrimentally impact the value of your international money transfer. 

How to secure the best GBP to USD rate

Most people do not have time to monitor the fluctuation of foreign exchange rates and for this reason, we would recommend utilising an international money transfer service that offers the rate which best suits your needs.

Whether you are transferring small sums on a recurring basis, or need to send one large amount of money as securely as possible, there is an international money transfer company which can offer the most desirable exchange rate for you. Use our comparison tool to find the best GBP/USD rate on the market.

It is virtually impossible to predict the GBP/USD rate months in advance, but understanding atypical price patterns and trends will equip you with a better idea of what to expect from this currency pairing. We recommend finding the most up to date mid-market (or interbank) rate before arranging an international money transfer of GBP to USD. 

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