The British diaspora currently stands at 4.27 million. Britons are scattered in different regions all across the world. These include investors, expats, retirees, or people running charities abroad. They send money back home to pay bills, invest in alternative assets, pay for shipments, and much more. Sending money to the UK is relatively safe due to banks and providers being regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Whether or not you fall into this category, it is essential to understand the different ways you can send money back home. This guide has a collection of all the relevant information you need before you decide how to send money to the UK. We also share some of the top money transfer companies you can use today.
The UK has the 5th biggest economy globally with a highly developed social market. The countries that make up the UK include England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The total population of these countries is 67 million, and the GDP is $3.2 trillion.
Pound Sterling GBP is the UK’s national currency, and at the time of writing, 1 GBP is equal to 1.36 USD. London has one of the top stock exchanges in the world, and it was founded in 1801. The stock exchange is a significant contributor to the national GDP because the total value of all companies trading at the end of 2021 was £3.9 trillion. Furthermore, the value of goods traded was in the region of $5 trillion. Overall, the UK’s money transfer sector is reputable because of the excellent regulatory bodies. For example, the Financial Conduct Authority oversees money transfer companies and checks for safe practices. They set the rules and monitor companies for compliance. As a result, top-tier money transfer companies like Wise have the seal of approval from regulatory bodies like the FCA.
How to send money to UK is simple and easy process. Follow these steps to get started.
There are multiple ways to find out the best ways to send money to the UK, but these will largely depend on the provider you decide to use. Below you will find everything you need to know about sending and receiving money.
How to send money to the UK from any country in the world is not just simple, but full of options as well. You can use two main channels to send: inter-bank transfers or money transfer service providers. Let us look at how they stack up against each other.
The United Kingdom has some of the biggest banks in the world. Banks such as HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays, and NatWest are well-capitalized, with assets running into billions of pounds.
These and other banks in the U.K. have been the backbone of international wire transfers in and out of the country. The Australia-United Kingdom remittance corridor being the busiest, transfers are mostly inter-bank and involve businesses.
Despite high transfer fees, unfavourable exchange rates, and slow transfer speeds, banks are still the people’s choice for large transfers. For instance, the British diaspora uses inter-bank transfers for sending pension earnings to the U.K.
There are lots of factors that influence inter-bank transfers. For example, when sending from the United States to the U.K., time zone differences are a significant factor. New York is on GMT-5, and London is on British Summer Time (BST), equivalent to GMT+1.
With that said, correspondent banks have come up with a way to speed up the arrival of funds by “back-valuing” the transfer. However, to compensate for the transaction speed, they revise the fees upwards.
An increasing number of people are sending money to the United Kingdom using money transfer service providers. The speed, low transfer costs, high exchange rates, and other factors make this mode of transfer one of the best for non-business transactions.
Money transfer operators (MTOs) such as SendFX, TransferWise, MoneyGram, Western Union, WorldRemit, and World First are popular on most transfer corridors to the U.K. Setting up on these platforms is very simple. All you need is to sign up for an online account, pay for your transfer using a debit card, credit card, or bank transfer and send!
Western Union and MoneyGram allow you to send money to the UK from a physical store or begin the process online and complete it instore. In terms of support, providers like Currencyfair and SendFx have both online and phone support.
There are two main ways you can send money to the UK. Through money transfer service providers: bank transfers and cash pickups.
The money is deposited directly to the recipient bank in the United Kingdom. The advantage of this method over the traditional bank transfer is that the recipient doesn’t need to have a bank account. Instead, they can send from a credit card or debit card. Depending on where you are sending from, the transfer can take minutes.
This mode of sending money to the UK allows the recipient to collect it in cash from a nearby agent within the payout network. It is convenient for sending small amounts of money. Every provider limits how much money you can transfer to the United Kingdom. Western Union allows up to GBP 4,000.00 per transfer. Cash pickup transfers are instant.
When you pay for your transfer using a credit card, you’ll pay more because of third-party fees. The best way to send money to the UK in this option is a debit card; it charges low fees and guarantees you a faster transfer. To find out more, you can check our money transfer fees guide.
International money orders have been used in the United Kingdom for a long time. Still, their acceptability at banks, post offices, and private fund transfer organizations like Western Union is now debatable. The best advice is to avoid them if you have an alternative transfer option you could use.
Sending money to the United Kingdom, whether through banks or money transfer service providers, isn’t as complicated as sending it from the United Kingdom to other countries. The reason is that Anti Money Laundering regulations tend to be tougher when sent from the U.K. You’ll need to provide the following information in order to send money to the UK.
In some cases, you may be asked to provide information on the source and purpose of the funds. This requirement is one of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulations to help counter money laundering.
If you are in the United Kingdom and looking for a faster and more convenient way of receiving money from your loved one overseas, there are two main ways you could do so. First, you can choose a bank deposit or cash collection.
The sender can deposit money directly into your U.K. bank account. In this way, you can access it anytime based on your urgency or needs. In addition, MTOs such as Western Union, Moneycorp, Xoom, MoneyGram, and WorldRemit, have signed agreements with banks to allow for faster movement of funds.
Xoom launched in the U.K. in mid- July 2019, bringing its presence in continental Europe to 31 countries.
You can access your money in cash from a number of agents in the U.K. based on the provider you opt for. For instance, Western Union has 5,200+ agent locations across the U.K.
Cash collection as a method is suited for receiving small amounts. Ensure you choose an agent that is at a safer place, and if you can, deposit large amounts immediately in a bank account to avoid unnecessary losses.
You can receive money in the UK with a cash home delivery. This method is convenient for customers that do not have a bank account and do not have time to visit a cash pick-up point. Expect to pay a fee for the delivery service, and the time of arrival depends on demand. The recipient should have identification documents handy to accept the package.
The benefits of money transfer services mean it is the best choice for UK residents and expats. The low fees and competitive FX rates allow customers to get a better deal than banks. Banks charge a markup percentage for currency conversions, whereas many specialist transfer providers offer the best rate possible.
The faster transfer time is another advantage that is ideal for users who need funds quickly in an emergency. Balance transfers enable the recipient to get funds instantly after the transfer has been initiated.
To access money in the U.K., you’ll have to identify yourself and prove that you are the legitimate recipient. The following information will go a long way in helping you claim your money.
If you are collecting the money from a MoneyGram agent, you may be required to fill out a form. This process is purposely done to gather more information for regulatory measures.
As pointed out earlier, most Britons in the diaspora are either investors, pensioners, expats, or people working for international charity organizations. As such, the reasons they send money home differ from person to person. However, the following are the main reasons Britons in the diaspora send money home.
Most Britons in the diaspora send their children to study in the U.K. The main driver is the high quality of education in the U.K. compared to many other regions. On average, undergraduate and graduate studies cost anything from $17,000 – $25,000 in the U.K. Living expenses range from $1,300- $1,600 per month. With such kinds of costs to foot, many Britons send money regularly to the UK.
While most Britons prefer traveling with their families, some of them leave their loved ones behind. Whether their loved ones back at home are working or not, it is common to find Britons in the diaspora sending money home to support their families.
Healthcare in the United Kingdom is one of the best in terms of quality. However, it is costly both to outsiders and even British citizens. To help with medical care for their families and relatives, Britons overseas may send a few pounds through MTOs.
It is not uncommon to find Britons in the diaspora owning houses or renting spaces back home for safe storage of their property. Whether containers or formal homes, such spaces attract rent that some Britons pay from abroad.
Despite the volatility of the British pound and Brexit jitters, some Britons in the diaspora still send money home for investments in financial assets. Savings in fixed-term deposits are also typical in the U.K.
Other reasons may include sending money for charity and social causes such as weddings and festivals.
Banks have been the traditional channels for sending money to the UK. However, the tide is changing fast, and money transfer service providers with mobile apps dominate most transfer corridors. Here are some of the reasons behind the shift in preference.
Before deciding on how to send money to the UK, there are certain factors you need to bear in mind. Aspects such as taxation, exchange rate fluctuations, and cash withdrawal limits must be carefully considered.
With more MTOs coming into the U.K. remittance corridors, sending money is getting simpler and cheaper with time. However, you need to do your homework and pick out the providers offering the best rates, low fees, and quicker delivery times.
Taking advantage of money transfer companies comes with numerous benefits. This section outlines why you may want to use them in the pursuit of getting a better deal. By the end of this section, you may realize that there are excellent alternatives to banks for sending money to the UK.
We understand that it can be overwhelming to choose a good service for sending money with so many options out there. Therefore, this section presents three top-tier money transfer companies you can try today. You cannot go wrong by trying any one of these to send money to the UK.
Formerly known as TransferWise, Wise is an industry-leading money transfer service that is packed with useful features for customers that want to send money to the UK. The ease of use is one of the highlights because the user interface is clean and free of clutter. Also, there is transparency of fees and transfer time at every step of the process.
Wise charges competitive fees and matches the mid-market rate for many currency pairs. This ensures you get the best rates when converting to and from GBP. Finally, the Wise mobile app has good user ratings and provides an intuitive way of sending money on the move.
TorFX can operate as an Electronic Institution as a provisioned under Electronic Money Regulations 2011. TorFX has been trusted by more than 50,000+ private clients and more than 5,000 businesses. Also, additionally to the offices TorFX has in the UK, they have expanded their business by opening up regional offices in Europe, USA, South Africa and Australia
The advantages of Instarem include low, competitive fees, FX rates that match the mid-market rate, and worldwide coverage. This means you will save money using Instarem compared with most banks. Also, you earn reward points when sending money that can be redeemed at the loyalty store. This gives customers an incentive to send money with Instarem compared with alternatives. Additionally, 24/7 support is offered by the customer service department.
Sending money anywhere else in the world is as easy as sending money to the United Kingdom. So if you’re looking to send money to another country, here is the list of the most popular destinations.
Jonathan is the founder and editor of MoneyTransfers.com. Jonathan is highly experienced in the currency transfer market, having previously worked in the FX trading industry, alongside being an avid traveller. Using his knowledge he identified a need for transparency and further education to help people save money on their money transfers, leading to the creation of MoneyTransfers.com