The British diaspora currently stands at 4.27 million. Australia hosts 29.53 per cent of this population, the United States 16.75 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.
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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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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The fastest way to transfer money to the UK is through Ria Money Transfer’s fast option. With Ria Money Transfer’s fast option, your money should reach its British destination in a matter of minutes. When it comes to cost efficiency, Ria Money Transfer’s fast option is far superior to much of its slower competition. In the end, their fast option is quite a good deal.
The cheapest way to send funds to the UK is through OFX. With OFX, you and the recipient get to keep the largest portion of the money. OFX is an international currency conversion service that also sends money. As such, they don’t charge any upfront, stated fees, and their currency conversion rates are the best on the market.
OFX carries a minimum transfer size requirement which is much higher than the competition. This is the only catch you can expect from OFX, however, The company charges you a small percentage based on the amount of money you send in a single transaction. The more money you send at once, the smaller the percentage OFX takes from the transaction.
The easiest way to send money to the UK is through TransferWise. TransferWise is a peer-to-peer money transfer service that makes sending money easy. Their platform is very easy to use, and the process by which you send money can be broken down into simple steps:
The current exchange rate for the British Pound (GBP) is 0.7683 GBP per American Dollar (USD) as of now. The GBP reached a high of 0.7828 GBP per USD and a low of 0.7422 GBP per USD during the last 90 days. The average exchange rate for the last 90 days was 0.7694 GBP per USD.
The GBP had an average volatility rate of 0.47% for the last 90 days. This is a fairly high volatility rate, and the GBP has been fluctuating significantly for some time now. Fluctuations have slowed down during the last month, but you can reasonably expect moderate fluctuations to continue going forward, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
What do we mean by the top provider?
The top provider is the money transfer service that we believe is the most suitable for the country you’re sending money to. In order to keep our service free we factor in the commercial agreements we have with partners into this ranking.
How do we choose providers to display?
We make sure that each table displays the most relevant brands to the country you are sending money to and from. We consider many factors when choosing the providers to display in the table.All of the providers we display are fully regulated to provide money transfer services in the jurisdiction you are searching, relevant regulatory authorities are the FCA, ASIC, Fincen, FINTRAC & AMF. Alongside being regulated the services are manually checked by our team for both quality of service and online trust from such platforms like Trustpilot and Google reviews.We base our rankings primarily on the quality of the service provided, the benefit to the consumer and to keep our service free - the commercial agreements we have.
How do we order our comparisons?
We are affiliated with some of the partners displayed in the tables. However, the order of the providers is based on the quality of the service for the particular country corridor followed by the commercial agreement in place. You don’t pay any extra and the deal you get isn’t affected by our commercial agreement with the money transfer provider. We may receive a commission when you click through to a listing or when you make a transaction.We aim to find the balance between the quality of the service, customer satisfaction and the commercial agreements we have, and continue comparing services in a transparent way.If you have any questions about our listings, please don’t hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.