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Send Money To United Kingdom

The British diaspora currently stands at 4.27 million. Australia hosts 29.53 per cent of this population, the United States16.75 per cent, Spain 7.06 per cent, Ireland 6.86 per cent, and  New Zealand 6.37 per cent. The rest of the Britons in the diaspora are in different regions around the world.

In 2017, the United Kingdom received $4,374 million in remittances. Australia contributes over 25 per cent of this inflow, followed by the United States, Canada, Spain, and South Africa.

The British diaspora mostly comprises investors, expats, retirees, or people running charities abroad. From time to time, they send money back home to pay bills, invest in alternative assets, pay for shipments of charity items and many other obligations.

Whether or not you fall into this category, you need to understand the different ways you can send money back home, the merits and demerits of each channel, and what it takes to send the money. This guide has a collection of all this and other relevant information you wouldn’t want to miss. So, let’s dig in!

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How To Send Money To United Kingdom

Sending money to the United Kingdom is simple and easy. Follow these steps to get started.

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Sign Up and Deposit

Sign up with the provider and deposit the amount you want to transfer.

Transfer Money

As soon as you're ready, you can start sending money online.

Ways To Send And Receive Money In United Kingdom

There are multiple ways to easily send and receive money in the United Kingdom 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. 

Sending Money To United Kingdom
Receiving Money In United Kingdom

Ways to Send Money to the United Kingdom

Sending money to the United Kingdom from any country in the world is not just simple, but full of options as well. There are two main channels you can use to send: inter-bank transfers or money transfer service providers. Let us look at how they stack up against each other.

Inter-Bank Transfers

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-capitalised 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, 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., timezone differences are a major 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.

Money Transfer Service

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 U.K. 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 U.K. through money transfer service providers: bank transfers and cash pickups.

Bank Transfer

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. They can send from a credit card or debit card. Depending on where you are sending from, the transfer can take minutes.

Cash Pickup

This mode of sending money to the U.K. 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 gives a limit on 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 end up paying more because of third party fees. The best 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 but their acceptability at banks, post offices, and private fund transfer organisations like Western Union is now debatable. The best advice is to avoid them if you have an alternative transfer option you could use.

What’s Needed to Send Money to the United Kingdom

Sending money to the United Kingdom whether through banks or money transfer service providers, isn’t as hard as sending from the United Kingdom to other countries. The reason is that Anti Money Laundering regulations tend to be tougher when sending from the U.K. You’ll need to provide the following information when sending to the United Kingdom.

  • A government-issued identity document. If you are sending from the United States, Canada or Australia, a passport, social security card or driving licence could also be accepted.
  • The amount of money you would like to send and currency
  • The recipient name as it appears on official documents
  • The recipient’s physical address and telephone number
  • If you are sending the money to a bank account, you should provide the SWIFT code, bank name, branch name, and account number of the recipient

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.

Best Ways To Send Money To The UK

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£764.07
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Rate: 0.76791*
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Minutes
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Minutes
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First 3 Transfers Free
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Low Costs
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£766.75
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Rate: 0.76675*
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£748.57
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3-5 Days
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3-5 Days
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Internationally renowned bank
Current Mid-Market Rate: 1 USD = 0.773715 GBP
* Some rates may be indicative.

Common Reasons for Sending Money to the United Kingdom

As pointed out earlier, most Britons in the diaspora are either investors, pensioners, expats, or people working for international charity organisations. 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.

Education

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 kind of costs to foot, many Britons send money regularly to the U.K.

Living Expenses

While most Britons prefer travelling with their families, some of them leave their loved ones behind. Depending on whether their loved ones back at home are working on not, it is common to find Britons in the diaspora sending money home to support their families.

Medical Care

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.

Housing Expenses and Mortgages

It is not uncommon to find Britons in the diaspora owning houses or renting spaces back at home for safe storage of their property. Whether they are containers or formal homes, such spaces attract rent which some Britons pay from abroad.

Savings and Investments

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 common in the U.K.

Other reasons may include sending money for charity and social causes such as weddings and festivals.

Why Send Money with a Money Transfer Service?

Banks have been the traditional channels for sending money to the U.K. However, the tide is changing fast and money transfer service providers are dominating most transfer corridors. Here are some of the reasons behind the shift in preference.

Faster Transfer Speeds

MTOs provide the fastest transfer speeds for people sending money to the U.K. For instance, Xoom, WorldRemit, and Western Union take less than a minute for cash pickups. Bank transfers may take a day or hours depending on the country of origin and time zone differences.

Favourable Exchange Rates

Compared to banks, money transfer providers give their customers some of the most favourable rates against the pound. Providers such as TransferWise use mid-market rates which are midway between Buy and Sell rates. You get more of the pound sterling per unit of the source currency.

Geographical Coverage

Unlike banks, MTOs have extensive payout networks. Your family and relatives in the United Kingdom can collect their money from any agent countrywide depending on the provider used. MoneyGram has 8,000+ agent locations in the U.K.

Low Transfer Fees

Thanks for the peer-to-peer (P2P) technology, transfers to the U.K. are not only fast, but also cost less. Sending an equivalent amount of money costs up to 50 per cent more on the inter-bank platform than on the money transfer providers platforms. Most of the additional fees charged by MTOs usually originate from third-parties such as credit card companies and banks.

Multi-currency Support

Irrespective of your source currency, MTOs will help you send to the United Kingdom. Western Union and MoneyGram operate in 200+ countries and territories. Xoom is present in 140+ countries and supports over 40 currencies. This flexibility is crucial in a global economy where trade and payments are liberalised.

Simple to Set Up

Signing up for an online money transfer account takes about 5 minutes on providers such as WorldRemit. In less than 30 minutes depending on the method used to pay for your transfer, the money should be off to your recipient.

Things to Consider When Sending Money to the United Kingdom

When sending to the United Kingdom, there are certain factors you need to bear in mind. Aspects such as taxation, exchange rate fluctuations and cash withdrawal limits need to be carefully considered.

  • Taxation – In the U.K. remittance and gifts are not taxed as long as they fall under the 3,000 sterling pounds exemption limit per year. Wedding gifts are also exempted from taxes but have limits. For instance, you can receive up to 5,000 sterling pounds as a wedding gift from your parents tax-free. However, if the person who gifts you dies in the same year, the gifts may be treated as inheritance income. Talk to your accountant on this for further clarification.
  • Exchange Rate Fluctuations – The fact that the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union, has created a lot of uncertainty.  The sterling pound has been tumbling against major currencies. When sending to the United Kingdom, you’ve got to know how the pound rate stacks up against the source currency. 
  • Cash Withdrawal Limits – In the U.K. ATM cash withdrawals have a limit of 500 pounds while over the counter withdrawals have a 2,500 pounds daily limit. Therefore when you send your loved one 5,000 pounds through a bank transfer, just know that it will take them two days to withdraw the whole amount.

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.

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Looking to Send Money Somewhere Else? 

Sending money anywhere else in the world is as easy as sending money to the United Kingdom. If you’re looking to send money to another country, here is the list of the most popular destinations.

Jonathan Merry

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