Sending money abroad can be quicker and cheaper if you use the right provider. Use our exchange rate comparison tool to save up to 4% on large GBP currency transfers versus using your bank.
Compare exchange rates for sending money abroad
Best accounts for sending money abroad
We have reviewed and compared the different types of accounts for sending money abroad for different types of GBP transfers depending on size:
OFX: Best for sending large amounts of money abroad
If you are sending a large amount of money abroad for a personal property purchase or for business OFX are a good choice. As these large money transfers are not regular occurrences and can often be quite daunting, having a personal account execution to help with administration and to ensure the process goes smoothly is a real help.
- Excellent for large transfers
- Bank beating exchange rates
- Personal service and advice
- Not good for small transfers
- No cash or credit card deposits
- Fixed exchange rates
- Transparent fees
- Simple to use
- Expensive for large transfers
- No personal service
Western Union: Best for small transfers & cash
Western Union is one of the oldest money transfer providers in the world. The app has recently rebranded as WU which allows users to send money abroad at excellent rates. This year they have significantly reduced fees for sending money abroad and improved its exchange rates to compete with money transfer startups.
- Established network of branches
- Cash and credit card transfers
- Good app and online platform
- Better for small transfers
- No personal service or advice on large transfers
Compare accounts for sending money abroad
When sending money abroad the main things to compare are:
- Exchange rates – how much money will you receive?
- Transfer sizes – is there a minimum or maximum amount you can transfer?
- Currency forwards – can you buy currency now and pay later?
|Currency Broker||Number of Currencies||Min Transfer||Forward Contracts||Same Day||Currency Options||Year Founded||Annual Transfers||Amount of Customers||Get A Quote|
|Key Currency||42||£1,000||12 months||✔️||❌||2015||£2bn||50,000+||Request Quote|
|OFX||55+||£250||12 months||✔️||❌||1998||£2.4bn||1,000,000||Request Quote|
|Global Reach||30+||£3,000||24 months||✔️||✔️||2001||£6bn||30,000+||Request Quote|
|TorFX||40||£100||24 months||✔️||❌||2004||£7.5bn||325,000||Request Quote|
|Currencies Direct||40||£100||12 months||✔️||❌||1996||£7.5bn||325,000||Request Quote|
History of Pound Sterling (GBP)
The Pound Sterling is one of the oldest currencies in the world. It is the official currency of the United Kingdom and some crown dependencies. Sterling’s FX abbreviation is GBP. Most FX quotations are against one Pound Sterling, e.g., GBPUSD specifies how many US dollars for one pound.
As the currency of one of the largest economies, the British Pound is actively traded in the foreign exchange market. It is the fourth most traded currency behind the Dollar, Euro, and the Japanese Yen. Many central banks hold Sterling as part of their foreign exchange reserves (IMF estimates this to be $550 billion).
The Bank of England, the second oldest central bank in the world, manages the monetary policy and policy rate. These two factors bear heavy influence on the movement of Sterling. More specifically, the nine-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meets eight times a year to debate the economy and to adjust the policy rate if necessary. Currently, the policy rate is set at 10 basis point (0.1%), the lowest level in more than 200 years.
Over the past few years, another factor has emerged to influence to movements of Sterling, namely Brexit. But the impact of Brexit is slowly diminishing due to the conclusion of the separation treaty.
Factors that move the Pound Sterling exchange rate
Foreign exchange is a large and interconnected market place. Billions of dollars are transacted 24/7. Unsurprisingly, many factors can influence exchange rates movements. Most factors can be grouped under the three broad categories: 1) Political, 2) Economic, and 3) Monetary. Because of the myriad of market-moving factors, it is hard to calculate the correct value of a currency at any time. Even if we can compute this value, exchange rates rarely stay at that price.
For Sterling, its value since 2015 has been a roller coaster ride. This is due to the political uncertainty arising from the Brexit referendum (see below). At time, Sterling trades like an emerging market currency. But the conclusion Brexit has diminished the impact of the event.
Source: American Express
Apart from Brexit, other factors that drive the exchange rate include the economic outlook, inflation, and quantitative easing.
- Economic outlook – is determined by dynamic factors, including house prices, post-Brexit trading patterns, and the fight against covid-19. UK is one of the fastest countries to vaccinate its population. This makes investors more positive about its economy, hence the rise in Sterling since late 2020.
- Inflation – is one of key aspects of BoE’s mandate. If inflation overshoots the 2 percent target, the central bank will be prepared to raise interest rate to dampen demand.
- QE – is a key tool in the fight against the deflationary aspect of a financial crisis and the pandemic. During Mar-Nov 2020, the central bank has increased its balance sheet by about £250 billion to £895 billion. This weakened Sterling.
Another crucial factor is expectations. If investors expect an economy to do well – even from a poor starting point – then they are willing to buy the currency. In contrast, if the market anticipates the economy to deteriorate despite if it doing well now, then the exchange rate will have limited upside.
Bottom line – Sterling has been quite volatile over the past few years because of Brexit. Now that event has passed, economic factors may have more influence on its direction. In 2021, one of the most important factors to watch for is inflation. This is due to a constriction of supply and pent-up demand arising from the pandemic.
Live Pound Sterling (GBP) exchange rates
The current best Pound Sterling exchange rate versus other G10 currencies is the mid market price which is:
|Australian Dollar (AUD)||1.742835|
|Canadian Dollar (CAD)||1.548235|
|European Union Euro (EUR)||1.153545|
|Japanese Yen (JPY)||164.927|
|New Zealand Dollar (NZD)||1.981445|
|Norwegian Krone (NOK)||12.0501|
|Swedish Krona (SEK)||12.4308|
|Swiss Franc (CHF)||1.12668|
|United States Dollar (USD)||1.139965|
Sending money to abroad FAQ:
The best way to send large amounts of money abroad is to use a currency broker.
As well as getting the best exchange rates, if you send money abroad with a currency broker you also get:
- Expert help and advice to reduce your risk and exposure
- Dedicated account managers every step of the way
- Convert funds online and platform access 24/7
- Same day and forward currency exchange contracts
- Zero service charge, commission or transfer fees
- Transfer money direct to single or multiple beneficiary accounts
When you convert and transfer money with a currency broker your fixed exchange should be a maximum of 0.5% from the mid-market for currency transfers. To put this in perspective, banks traditionally charge 3-5% which means that if you are sending £100,000 worth of GBP you could save up to £4,500 with a currency broker versus the banks.
Request a quote to see how much you can save – you’ll find a better exchange exchange rate than by using your bank.
Our comparison tables and exchange rate quote request forms will help you find the best GBP exchange rate. Our exchange rate comparison tables highlight the key features of currency transfer providers whereas GBP exchange rate quote request forms will make currency brokers compete for your business by offering the best exchange rate.
Here are a few tips on getting the best GBP exchange rate when sending money abroad
- Always compare (read our guide to comparing exchange rates here)
- Never go with your bank
- Understand the fees
- Use a currency forward to lock in the current exchange rate
If you think the GBP exchange rate is going to go in your favour you should wait. Or, if you are worried the rate will move against you, it is possible to lock in the current rate for up to a year in advance with a currency forward.
Yes, you can send money using PayPal, but it is very expensive. If you are only planning on sending a small amount of money abroad a money transfer app is much cheaper.
Yes, the best way to get the currency exchange rate if you want to send money abroad is to use a currency forward where you buy the currency now by putting down a small deposit and pay the balance when you make the transfer.