Use our currency broker comparison table to compare exchange rates from currency transfer providers. Read our guide below on how to get the best exchange rates, execute transactions properly and prepare for sending or receiving large amounts of money to or from abroad.

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Currency BrokerAccount TypesKey InformationMore Info

TorFX
Personal Transfers: ✔️
Business Transfers: ✔️
Currency Forwards: ✔️
Currency Options: ❌
Personal Service: ✔️
Phone Dealing: ✔️
Online Platform: ✔️
Total Currencies: 40
Min Transfer: £100
Max Transfer: None
Customers: 325,000
Founded: 2004
Transfers: £7.5 billion a year
HQ: Cornwall, UK
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Currencies Direct
Personal Transfers: ✔️
Business Transfers: ✔️
Currency Forwards: ✔️
Currency Options: ❌
Personal Service: ✔️
Phone Dealing: ✔️
Online Platform: ✔️
Total Currencies: 40
Min Transfer: £100
Max Transfer: None
Customers: 325,000
Founded: 1996
Transfers: £7.5 billion a year
HQ: London, UK
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OFX
Personal Transfers: ✔️
Business Transfers: ✔️
Currency Forwards: ✔️
Currency Options: ❌
Personal Service: ✔️
Phone Dealing: ✔️
Online Platform: ✔️
Total Currencies: 55
Min Transfer: £250
Max Transfer: None
Customers: +1 million
Founded: 1998
Transfers: £82 billion
HQ: Sydney, Australia
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Key Currency
Personal Transfers: ✔️
Business Transfers: ✔️
Currency Forwards: ✔️
Currency Options: ❌
Personal Service: ✔️
Phone Dealing: ✔️
Online Platform: ✔️
Total Currencies: 42
Min Transfer: £1,000
Max Transfer: None
Customers: 50,000+
Founded: 2015
Transfers: £2 billion a year
HQ: Cornwall, UK
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Global Reach
Personal Transfers: ✔️
Business Transfers: ✔️
Currency Forwards: ✔️
Currency Options: ✔️
Personal Service: ✔️
Phone Dealing: ✔️
Online Platform: ✔️
Total Currencies: 30+
Min Transfer: £3,000
Max Transfer: No limit
Customers: 30,000+
Founded: 2001
Transfers: £6 billion pa
HQ: London, UK
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Compare Currency Brokers Side-By-Side

Use our side-by-side currency broker account comparison to compare the best currency brokers by pricing, market access, account types and services.

What is a Currency Broker?

A currency broker converts large amounts of money into foreign currency and transfers it abroad. Currency brokers enable customers to save money on foreign exchange transfers, especially when compared to standard bank accounts.

Specialist currency brokers also offer added value services such as same-day international transfers, forward contracts to lock in a currency exchange rate for a transaction in the future, and advice on how and when to convert currency at the best price.

Early currency brokers like Currencies Direct (est. 1996) and OFX (est. 1998) were some of the first firms to offer currency brokerage to business and private clients. But in recent years, with the advances in fintech, currency brokers have become more popular. Private clients are now more aware that high street banks can charge up to 4% of currency conversion in fees for international money transfers. This is because high street bank accounts such as NatWest and Barclays do not differentiate between small currency conversions and large ones, and give the “tourist exchange rate” for all transactions.

As currency brokers specialise in larger transactions and buy and sell currency at or very near to the interbank rate, they can offer much more competitive exchange rates than “normal” banks. For example, sending £100,000 to Euros through a high street bank account may cost £4,000 in fees built into the exchange rate, whereas a currency broker would be able to facilitate the transaction for less than £300 in fees.

Currency brokers are often confused with money transfer companies, foreign exchange brokers and currency exchange specialists. The key differences between the different types of service are:

  • Currency brokers – large international transfers
  • Money transfer firms – small international transfers
  • Foreign exchange brokers – speculation on currency movements
  • Currency exchange specialists – converting physical cash currency

The key services that currency brokers offer are:

  • Better exchange rates than bank accounts
  • Same day international payments for sending money abroad
  • Lock in exchange rates with currency forward contracts
  • Personal service and advice on market timing

Why use a currency broker instead of your bank?

In this currency broker interview, we discuss what a currency broker does and why it is cheaper to use a specialist compared to sending currency abroad with your bank.

What do currency brokers do?

Better exchange rates

Currency brokers offer better exchange rates than banks because they buy and sell currency on their client’s behalf closer to the live interbank rate. Fees for converting currency are built into the exchange rate and can be worked out as a percentage from the mid-market. For example, if the GBP EUR exchange rate is 1.20000, a high street bank may let clients sell GBPEUR 4% below the mid-market at 1.1520 and let them buy it at 4% above the exchange rate at 1.248. However, a currency broker may offer rates 0.3% from the mid-market, which is exchange rates selling at 1.1964 and buying at 1.2036.

A currency broker will buy and sell currency through banks, however, as they exclusively deal in currency transfers and executive significant volume, they can negotiate better rates for themselves and their clients than if they were an individual conducting a single transaction.

Same day international payments

Currency brokers can convert currency and send it abroad the same day. Depending on the receiving country and banking system, this means that funds can arrive in foreign bank accounts on the same day they were converted. This is a particular benefit because foreign exchange transactions settle the next day. If you transfer funds internationally with your bank account, it can take several days for the transaction to settle into the foreign currency and then another few days for the funds to be sent and received abroad. Using a currency broker significantly speeds up the transaction cycle of international payments.

Currency forward contracts

Currency brokers can lock in the current exchange rate for transactions that do not need to be done for some time in the future. Most currency brokers offer currency forwards up to a year in advance, but some specialists offer forwards for two to three years. A good example of the use of a currency forward contract is buying a holiday home abroad. If a couple knows they will need to buy EUR 500,000 in six months time and do not want to risk the exchange rate moving against them, they can buy the euros at today’s exchange rate but not have to pay for them until the currency forward settles after six months.

Why use a currency broker for your FX Forward Pricing?

  • Bank beating exchange rates
  • Trade currency forwards online or over the phone
  • Online forwards up to a year in advance
  • Individual or corporate accounts
  • Hedge your currency exposure
  • Protect your budget from adverse currency moves.
  • Read more on what is a currency forward?

Personal service

Currency brokers offer account executives to help with the actual conversion, the process of sending funds abroad and advice on market timing. One of the major concerns clients have when transferring money abroad is the safety of their funds and that they will arrive at the destination. Unlike banks like NatWest or money transfer companies like TransferWise, which almost entirely operate online and have no point of contact to discuss transactions with, personal account executives are available to discuss all aspects of a transaction. Account executives can also help explain the best time to buy and sell a currency, if a currency forward may be appropriate, and how to get the best exchange rate when sending large amounts of currency abroad.

Currency brokers differ from forex brokers

Currency brokers are not the same as forex brokers. Forex trading brokers are used for speculating on the price of currency markets and can be used to hedge currency exposure with derivative contracts like futures, options and swaps. Currency brokers are different because they do not offer speculative services; currency brokers only provide currency conversion for buying and selling foreign currency for international payments. Currency brokers can offer hedging facilities through currency forward contracts, but currency forward transactions settle on a specific date to reduce risk, rather than speculate for profit.

How to get the best deal on a currency transfer

Follow these steps to ensure you get the best exchange rate and service when transferring money abroad through a currency broker:

Compare currency brokers. The currency brokerage market is very competitive, and currency brokers will try and offer the best exchange rates and service to try and win your business.

Check exchange rate prices. Currency broker fees are built into the exchange rate and can be calculated as a percentage from the mid-market. Prices can vary depending on the size, currency pair, and frequency of conversions. You can use our currency broker comparison table to see the standard costs of each provider and what you can expect to pay. It is also worth noting that all prices are negotiable, so it is worth asking if they can reduce their standard exchange rates for you when comparing brokers.

The cheapest isn’t always the best. Large currency transfers can be very costly if not done effectively. Some currency brokers offer an online-only service with very cheap fees, however, there is value to be placed on having someone to call to ensure your conversion is timed well and that funds arrive at the destination on time. Also, it can take time to open a currency brokerage account, so make sure you choose a currency broker that offers all the services you need. For example, many of the cheapest currency brokers do not offer a personal service or currency forward contracts.

Faster transfers can cost more. For smaller international money transfers, it can cost more for funds to arrive quicker. These can be additional banking fees rather than costs from a currency broker. A currency broker will consolidate all their fees into the exchange rate they offer their clients, and should not charge more for larger transactions. However, if you are only sending small amounts of foreign currency abroad and want it done quickly, the currency broker will have to pay the banking charges, which may not be covered by the fees they charge built into the exchange rate. These fees may then be passed on to the client. When converting smaller amounts of money, it is worth considering if you need it sent quickly or if you are happy to pay a bit more for a faster transfer. A cost-effective option is to use a money transfer provider for small transactions and a currency broker for larger, more complex conversions.

Currency brokers are not free. When you transfer money with a currency broker, all fees should be included in the exchange rate. Included in this will be banking charges, the difference between where a currency broker buys and sells currency, and the costs the currency broker has of running a business.

Currency forward for hedging. If you have an upcoming large currency conversion or transfer, then using a currency forward can potentially save a lot of money. By locking in the current rate for a future transfer, you can protect yourself from the currency exchange rate moving against you and will not have to pay more than you budgeted for your foreign currency.

How to compare currency brokers

The two key aspects to compare when comparing currency brokers are price and trustworthiness.

  • Price – this is the comparison of exchange rates offered by different currency brokers.
  • Trustworthiness – currency brokers are not covered by the FSCS so you need to ensure that any currency broker you use can be trusted with your funds

There is a plethora of currency brokers in the UK and they all essentially do the same thing, and that is; provide access to better exchange rates and faster international money transfers than banks. So how do you choose between them?

What will the service be like?

Personal service from a currency broker is one of the most important factors. Some may say even more so than pricing.

Large foreign exchange transactions can seem very daunting and as a client, you need to make sure that the firm has experienced dealers who understand the process and markets.

It’s obvious that every transaction is very important and that some cases, such as foreign property purchases, can be the largest single transaction for an individual.

Therefore, having someone to talk to directly before a large foreign exchange trade is helpful, and one thing that currency brokers are particularly good at.

After all, not correctly timing and executing a foreign exchange transaction are arguably the largest costs.

Compare exchange rates

Currency brokers are far cheaper than banks for foreign exchange and international money transfers. A bank can charge an exchange rate mark up of up to 5%, while most established currency brokers aim to charge up to 1%.

However, most currency brokers only display exchange rates on their website rather than the mark-up.

There should also be no additional fees for conversions as everything is included in the exchange rate.

Get quotes from multiple currency brokers here.

Do they offer currency forwards?

Most banks don’t offer currency forwards and they are perhaps the easiest way to reduce risk and protect your money in the foreign exchange markets.

Using a currency broker for a currency forward means you can lock in the current rate for up to one year in advance. You will need to put down a small deposit, but some currencies can move up to 10% a year, so locking in an exchange rate is a very effective way of budgeting.

Here’s more about currency forwards and how they work.

Check how long transfers take

Banks can take a few days, whereas most currency brokers can transfer funds internationally on the same day.

So if you do a conversion in the morning, a currency broker can send the money and have it in your international beneficiaries account that afternoon.

Sometimes, this can take a little longer due to the procedures of the receiving bank and country; they generally aim to get funds sent from your account as soon as possible.

Can you convert and send funds online?

Some customers, especially corporate foreign exchange clients, are quite happy to convert and transfer currency online. So make sure that your broker can provide you with an online platform for desktop and on mobile so you can check exchange rates, execute conversions and track payments wherever you are, 24/7.

How to make sure your money transfer arrives quickly and on time

In most circumstances, it is possible to open a currency broker account online and be ready to transfer funds that day. However, in some cases, it can take longer.

When transferring large amounts of money abroad, currency brokers have to conduct anti-money laundering checks before any transfer can be made. This usually takes place when you open your account, where a currency broker will ask what type of transfers you will be making, what they are for, and where the funds are from and going to. This may seem intrusive but it is very important to provide any information you are asked for promptly. If you do not, it may cause a delay in your account being opened and your ability to transfer funds abroad.

If you have a particularly complex transaction to an exotic destination, the process can take some time whilst checks are being made. This is one of the rare occasions when you must decide if your bank can make the transfer on time, at a higher cost, or if you can wait for your currency account to be in place and take advantage of their reduced fees.

The best way to ensure that your international money transfer arrives on time is to open a currency brokerage account before you need it and be absolutely upfront about what the transfer is for and provide all the necessary supporting documentation beforehand.

Our guide on preparing for a large currency transfer goes into more details about the process.

How to find a currency broker you can trust

Trust is one of the key factors in choosing a currency broker, as there is a lot of money involved.

The major things to look for when assessing a currency broker’s trustworthiness are:

  • FCA regulation
  • Protection of funds
  • Guides and education
  • How well established they are
  • Reviews and reputation
  • Transfer methods

Check they are FCA registered

All financial service businesses in the UK have to be regulated by the FCA, and currency brokers are no different. You can check to see if a currency broker is regulated on the FCA register here.

Being regulated by the FCA means that the broker has been vetted and adheres to certain compliance and client fund safety rules.

Never open a currency brokerage account (or any other financial services account) with a firm that is not FCA registered.

How well are your funds protected?

When you use a currency broker, your funds are not protected by the FSCS, which guarantees a certain amount of a customer’s account balance, should an investment or savings account provider go into liquidation. When choosing a currency broker, you should ensure that your funds are held in a ring-fenced, segregated account that is separate from the firm’s operational activities. This offers more protection than if your funds were mixed with the brokers, but does not guarantee complete protection. Make sure your money goes in and out of the currency broker as quickly as possible.

Guides and education provided by your currency broker

As currency brokers are the experts on large currency transfers, they should provide easy to understand guides and educational material on how currency transfers work. This is particularly important for people that have never sent a currency transfer before. One of the key aspects of trust in a currency broker is transparency and understanding how the process works, and how much it will cost is one of the key building blocks of building trust between client and broker.

Choosing an established currency broker versus a start-up

Established currency brokers offers are a little more expensive than start-ups because new providers come to market to undercut the established companies. As such, overall prices are driven down, which is good for the consumer. However, currency brokers that charge so little that they do not make any profit present more of a risk than established currency brokers who operate on health margins and are well capitalised. When choosing a currency broker based on how well established they are, you may find that you pay a premium for security versus opportunistic fintech start-ups. Start-ups also tend to either be heavily focussed on technology, which makes the process very quick and cheap, but offers little personal service. Or, a new currency broker may focus only on personal service with commission-based salespeople. However, personal service comes at a cost, as commission-driven currency brokers may not be the cheapest option.

Currency broker reviews and reputations

Before dealing with any currency broker, you should conduct online due diligence checks. This simply means that you should search for reviews, feedback and testimonials online before you open an account or make contact with them. To help with this, you can read the currency broker reviews in our broker review section:

Our currency broker reviews ask clients to compare currency brokers they have used based on the below criteria:

  • Do clients recommend them?
  • Fees & costs
  • Currency pair coverage
  • Online platforms
  • Advice services
  • Ease of use
  • Reliability
  • Safety of funds
  • Customer support
  • Educational material
  • Analysis & tools

You can also read interviews we have done with the CEOs of the currency broker companies we work with. Our CEO interviews are designed to allow company CEO’s an opportunity to talk directly to potential clients and explain the pros and cons of their services, as well as highlight the ethos of their business.

How to get the best currency transfer rate

To get the best exchange rate when sending money through a currency broker, you need to consider the following:

  • How to compare exchange rates
  • When to do the conversion

How to compare currency quotes and avoid getting overcharged by a currency broker

To compare exchange rates, you need to understand how they are calculated. There is very little point in just comparing currency quotes from lots of different brokers. All that happens is you get lots of quotes that mean absolutely nothing and will give you no indication of which currency broker offers the best exchange rate.

This is mainly because the underlying exchange rate moves all the time. If a currency broker sends you a quote, it will be indicative and have changed completely by the time your account is open.

The only way to compare currency quotes for large transactions is to ask this very simple question:

“How far from the mid-market are your exchange rates?”

That is it.

Anything more than 0.5% from the mid-market for a conversion between £50,000 and £250,000 is too expensive. Aim for 0.4% for between £250,000 and £500,000 and 0.3% for over £500,000.

To clarify, the “mid-market” is the live currency rate between which the banks buy and sell.

You may have noticed that currency brokers do not publish this. That is because most currency brokers’ standard rates are 1% from the mid-market. Whilst this is a significant discount from the banks who have historically charged around 3-5% for currency conversions then add fees for international transfers, it is possible to get a much better rate.

So when you compare money transfer services, always go with a broker that is prepared to offer fixed and transparent exchange rates.

If you want to compare currency broker exchange rates, you need to know what a broker’s markup is.

You can find this out by asking these two simple questions:

  1. How far is my price from the mid-market?
  2. Is that rate fixed?

You will get an answer as a percentage, i.e. “Our rates are 0.5% from the mid-market.” What this means is that the broker’s fees are 0.5% of the transaction value. So if you are converting £100,000, it will cost you £500 in fees. You won’t see this on a statement because it will be built into the exchange rate, which the broker widens from the mid-market.

For example:

  • If the broker’s percentage from the mid-market was 0.5%, your price would be a little better.
  • You would be selling 100,000.00 Pound Sterling (GBP)
  • You would be buying 125,690 Euros (EUR)
  • Your exchange rate 1.2569
  • Mid-market exchange rate 1.2632
  • The broker has charged you EUR 630 (£500)

So, why don’t banks and some brokers just show you what percentage from the mid-market a broker charges?

Probably because they are overcharging you. After all, exchange rates can move around 1% in a day, so the exchange rate you are given by a currency comparison site is at best a guide. By the time you get round to opening an account and arranging the transfer, the price will have moved.

You also need to ask if that percentage is fixed. It’s all very well a broker saying they will charge you 0.5% then changing the rate after your initial deal.

The importance of timing a large currency transfer

You should also consider the right time to do the actual transaction. Currency prices can move over 1% in a day, so if you are spending too much time on negotiating rates, the actual price may move against you, negating any saving you would have made by using a cheaper provider.

You can use a currency forward to entry stop loss to mitigate this. A currency forward will allow you to lock in an exchange rate for payment later. The benefit of this is that buying currency won’t cost you any more in the future. The downside is that if the price moves in your favour, you will not benefit from the price reduction.

Using a stop-loss entry order gives you some opportunity to let the rate move in your favour, by allowing it to move against you a bit before doing the deal. However, it stops the price moving a lot against you, protecting most of your downside.

How to check the exchange rates you have been given:

We have the below tools that will help you determine who is giving you the best exchange rates:

Where do you want to send the money to?

This is another point where currency brokers differ. Some currency brokers can only send money to major destinations, whilst others offer a more comprehensive service and you can send currency to almost anywhere.

It’s important to note that the more obscure the currency or destination, the higher costs and the length of time the currency transfer takes will be.

Major currency routes like euros to Europe of Dollars to American will be cheaper and quicker than sending large amounts of funds to India or China, for example. The banking networks are different and there are additional anti-money laundering rules for different regions.

Why use a currency broker?

It’s no secret that you should use a currency broker instead of your bank. But why? Here, we highlight ten reasons why you should use a currency broker compared to your bank.

  1. Better exchange rates on large transfers: You’ll get a better exchange rate with a currency broker as opposed to your bank.
  2. Risk management: Banks generally don’t offer forward contracts to lock in an exchange rate.
  3. Personal Service: A currency broker will offer phone support from an account manager to hold your hand through the process.
  4. Advice: You can call up a currency broker almost any time to ask for advice and progress reports.
  5. Timing: With a currency broker, you have more control over the timing of a transaction.
  6. Price: You can use limit orders and stop-loss orders to get a better price with a currency broker.
  7. Hedging: Currency brokers offer a variety of ways to protect your foreign exchange exposure with hedging.
  8. Options: Some currency brokers offer OTC FX options for buying and selling currency.
  9. Receiving foreign currency: If you receive a foreign currency into a UK bank, they will generally convert it automatically, giving you no control over costs and pricing.
  10. Transparency: Currency brokers can give you a fixed percentage mark-up on your conversions.

Of course, there are sometimes occasions when a currency broker is not better than your bank. Here are a few reasons why a bank may be more appropriate than a currency broker.

  • Small transactions: Sometimes currency brokers will only convert £1,000 upwards.
  • Convenience: You’ll need to open an account with a currency broker, but you will already have one with your bank.
  • Pricing: It will be more expensive to send money through your bank, but if it is just a one-off small amount, the price may not matter, versus the time it takes to open a currency broker account.
  • FSCS protection: Currency brokers are not covered by the FSCS (Financial Services Compensation Scheme), so your money is safer at the bank as they have enhanced protection on customer balances.

How does a currency broker make money?

Currency brokers make money by widening the spread between the price at which they buy currency and the price you buy it from. Banks can charge a spread of up to 4% for currency transfers. Currency brokers charge around 0.5% for transactions above £10,000. Currency brokers will charge a smaller spread margin for larger currency conversions.

In the past, currency brokers would charge a commission on top of the fees included in the exchange rate. However, as the market has become more competitive, this is no longer commonplace.

Money transfers versus currency brokers

Money transfer providers are generally better for small regular transfers and currency brokers for large currency conversions. Some currency brokers will offer the facility for their clients to make small regular currency transfers as part of their overall service, but would not generally accept clients that only do small transactions.

Often, the minimum transfer a currency broker would expect a client to do would be upwards of £10,000. This is because it is not cost-effective for them to onboard clients that would not generate enough revenue to cover the cost of maintaining the account. On the contrary, money transfer providers can provide quicker onboarding and lower fees for small transfers because as the amounts transferred are generally less than £10,000, they do not have to conduct such stringent anti-money laundering checks.

Who offers the best currency broker platform?

In our 2020 currency broker awards Currencies Direct won best overall currency broker. This was based on the feedback of clients asked to rank currency brokers relative to their peers. Clients voted on ease of use, speed and reliability of transactions, and extra features like mobile apps, customer service and added value.

Currency Broker FAQs

Can I send money anywhere in the world?

Almost anywhere. Check our currency broker tables to see which currency broker offers the most currency pairs.

What is the minimum I can transfer with a currency broker?

In theory, £1, but a currency broker will expect clients to transfer a minimum of £10,000 at some point to make their services cost-effective.

Do currency brokers offer telephone support?

Dealing online is easier, faster and safer than ever, but you may find having a broker at the end of the phone beneficial, especially for larger currency transfers. However, this may cost you a little more. Pricing is the same as fixed-rate brokers. There are many advantages to doing large currency transfers online, as you can keep an eye on the exchange rate and do the conversion at the exact second the price is right for you. However, for one-off, large, personal transactions, having a dealer taking all the risk or making a mistake on the other end of the phone can make life a lot easier. You can see which brokers offer telephone support in our comparison table above.

Do you pay tax on international money transfers?

Tax is a complex issue and you will need to discuss this directly with your currency broker and financial advisor based on where you are sending currency and what it is for.

Do currency brokers offer multi-currency transfers?

Currency brokers will let you transfer and convert money in any currency they offer. So, for example, you can convert GBP to EUR, then EUR to USD, and then USD to JPY.

Do currency brokers offer OTC (over the counter) trading?

Yes, currency brokers can offer OTC trading products like FX options, however, FX options are sophisticated financial products that are generally reserved for business hedging. However, firms like Assure Hedge offer a simple options product for private clients.

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