In our guide, we review some of the best currency brokers and explain how to get the best price, execute transactions properly and prepare for sending or receiving large amounts of money to or from abroad. Currency brokers can save you money when converting and transferring large amounts of money abroad for property purchases or business because they offer better exchange rates than banks and advice on when to convert currency.
Best Currency Brokers Compared & Reviewed
|Currency Broker||Number of Currencies||Min Transfer||Forward Contracts||Same Day||Currency Options||Our Rating||Get Quote|
|42||£1,000||12 months||✔️||❌||Request Quote|
|55+||£250||12 months||✔️||❌||Request Quote|
|30+||£3,000||24 months||✔️||✔️||Request Quote|
|40||£100||24 months||✔️||❌||Request Quote|
|40||£100||12 months||✔️||❌||Request Quote|
❓ Methodology: We have chosen what we think are the best currency brokers based on:
- 20 years in the currency brokerage industry
- Interviews with the currency broker CEOs and senior management
- Over 17,000 votes in our annual awards
- Analysis and testing of the platforms and pricing
You can use our comparison of what we think are the best currency brokers to compare how many currencies they offer, the minimum and maximum transfer, what type of transfers they offer, how much currency they transfer annually, how many customers they have and when they were founded.
Currencies Direct: Best currency broker 2023
Currencies Direct has built up a network of 22 offices (since 1996) around the world and serves more than 325,000 personal, business and online selling clients. You can transfer money online, through the company’s app, in one of its branches or over the phone with the help of an account manager. In our 2023 and 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.
- ✔️Personal service
- ✔️Negotiable exchange rates
- ✔️Part of a large group
- ❌No currency options
TorFX: Best currency broker for large international transfers
- Currencies: 40+
- Minimum transfer: £100
- Forward contract: 24 months
- Annual transfers: £7.5bn
- Number of customers: 325,000
TorFX (founded in 2004) is better suited to those who need to transfer a large amount of money as they provide a personal service where you can ask for price alerts, advice on market timing and also protecting your budget through currency forward contracts.
- ✔️Part of a large group
- ✔️Good exchange rates
- ✔️24-month currency forwards
- ❌No currency options
Key Currency: Excellent exchange rates for large transfers
Key currency has been helping customers with large currency transfers since 2015, is one of the cheapest currency brokers we feature and also won “best currency broker” in our 2022 awards because of their discounted rates. You can send money in 42 currencies around the world, and as well as very large transfers you can send as little as £1,000, and you can lock in an exchange rate for up to a year in advance.
- ✔️Excellent exchange rates
- ✔️Personal service
- ✔️Advice and strategy help
- ❌No currency options
OFX: Best currency broker for zero transaction fees
OFX does not charge any fees on top of the exchange rate you get. Exchange rates are of course bank-beating and are based on size, so the larger your transaction the better the rate you will receive. OFX is also one of the most established currency brokers and have been established since 1998.
- ✔️Bank beating exchange rates
- ✔️Lots of currency available
- ✔️Good app and analysis
- ❌No currency options
Global Reach Partners: Best currency broker for complex transfers
Since 2001 Global Reach has helped individuals and companies to make currency transfers in a wide range of leading currencies as well as a selection of exotics. Using their expert dealing team, you can handle important transfers overseas.
- ✔️Expert advice
- ✔️Currency options
- ✔️Discounted exchange rates
- ❌High minimum transfer
⚠️ FCA Regulation
All currency brokers that operate in the UK must be regulated by the FCA. The FCA is the Financial Conduct Authority and is responsible for ensuring that UK currency brokers are properly capitalised, treat customers fairly and have sufficient compliance systems in place. We only feature currency brokres that are regulated by the FCA, where your funds are protected by the FSCS.
How To Choose A Currency Broker
As well as a currency brokers giving you much better exchange rates, here, we highlight ten reasons why you should use a currency broker compared to your bank and how to choose the best one.
- Better exchange rates on large transfers: You’ll get a better exchange rate with a currency broker than your bank.
- Risk management: Banks generally don’t offer forward contracts to lock in an exchange rate.
- Personal Service: A currency broker will offer phone support from an account manager to hold your hand through the process.
- Advice: You can call up a currency broker almost any time to ask for advice and progress reports.
- Timing: With a currency broker, you have more control over the timing of a transaction.
- Price: You can use limit orders and stop-loss orders to get a better price with a currency broker.
- Hedging: Currency brokers offer a variety of ways to protect your foreign exchange exposure with hedging.
- Options: Some currency brokers offer OTC FX options for buying and selling currency.
- 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.
- 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, you are better off using a money transfer app for those.
- 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.
Best Overall Currency Broker 2023
In our 2023 awards Currencies, Direct won “best currency broker”. They scored very highly in our customer survey, with very high scores in customer satisfaction and pricing. Currencies Direct is also a well-established provider founded in 1996 and has 22 offices around the world.
Best Currency Broker For Exchange Rates
Key Currency consistently offers the best exchange rates in our quote comparison tool. As they are a slightly smaller currency broker, with lower costs and personal service, they are able to offer bank-beating exchange rates for larger currency transfers.
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.
Best Currency Broker For Range Of Currencies
OFX offer over 55 different currencies for large money transfer.
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.
Best Currency Broker For Customer Service
In our 2023 awards Currencies, Direct received the best feedback from their clients for customer service. Over 85% would recommend them to a friend, which was 10% higher than the next currency broker recommendation scores.
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.
Best Currency Broker For Forward Contracts
Global Reach Partners and TorFX will let you do a currency forward contract up to two years into the future. The majority of other currency brokers offer currency forwards up to one year. If you are using currency forwards as part of your overall currency hedging strategy, Global Reach would be the better choice because they also offer currency options.
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.
Most Established Currency Broker
Currencies Direct is the most established currency broker we feature having been founded in 1996.
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.
Best Currency Brokers For Large & Small Transfers
Currencies Direct and TorFX with both let you send as little as £100 abroad. However, it is important to note that if you will only be doing small money transfers you will be better off with a money transfer app. Currency brokers speicalise in transfers above £10,000 so for small deals there may be a fee, some will treat small transfers as a loss leader for larger conversions.
Currency brokers do not have a maximum amount you can send, although the maximum you can convert in one go will depend on the liquidity of the currency pair.
Currency Broker FAQs:
Almost anywhere. Check our currency broker tables to see which currency broker offers the most currency pairs.
OFX is the largest currency broker by client base with over 1 million customers worldwide. Coming second with around 350,000 clients are TorFX and Currencies Direct (which are both part of the same group).
Global Reach sends the most amount of money abroad as an individual entity due to its high net worth and business client base.
Global Reach is the best currency broker we feature that also offers currency options alongside large money transfers for businesses and individuals.
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.
Yes, you can convert and transfer funds over the phone with a currency broker. 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.
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.
Yes, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Use a currency broker.
As with the previous question about the best UK accounts for getting paid in Euros, this is an inquiry that we are seeing more and more often at the Good Money Guide. And it’s exactly the kind of question we want to answer.
Once again picking the right account /provider for you will likely be decided by the amount of money you wish to convert and how frequently you will be converting one currency into another.
For example if it’s going to be a “one off transaction” to purchase a property abroad or repatriate the proceeds of a foreign property sale then that will require a different service, than if we are talking about converting smaller sums on a monthly basis to pay maintenance charges or other fees.
To discover more about moving and converting foreign currencies please see the dedicated currency transfer sections of the Good Money Guide website Which is full of useful information about choosing a currency transfer agent.