In this guide, we will explain the best ways to send money to America using currency brokers for large amounts and money transfer apps for smaller amounts. Use our comparison of what we think are the best accounts for sending money to America to compare how many currencies they offer, what the minimum and maximum transfer sizes are, or if they offer currency forwards and currency options. You can also see how established a company is by comparing when they were founded, how many customers they have and how much money they transfer abroad.
Best ways to send money to America from the UK
Best accounts for sending money to America
Currencies Direct: Best for sending large amounts of money to America
If you are sending a large amount of money to America for a personal property purchase or for business Currencies Direct 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 USD exchange rates
- Personal service and advice
- £25k max transfers on the app
- No cash or credit card deposits
TorFX: Best for US Dollar currency forwards
If you want to buy a large amount of US Dollars now for a purchase in the future, then TorFX offers currency forward contracts up to 24 months into the future. You can use these to lock in the current USD exchange rate to protect yourself from the price moving against you.
- 24 month USD forwards
- Buy now, pay later
- Dedicated account executive
- Better for larger transfers
- No currency options
Wise: Best for medium US Dollar money transfers
Wise offer a very low-cost way to send money to Switzerland. There is an excellent tool for getting live quotes on the website and is most suitable for small and medium-sized transfers.
- Fixed exchange rates
- Transparent fees
- Simple to use
- Expensive for large transfers
- No personal service
Western Union: Best for small USD 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 to America at excellent rates. This year they have significantly reduced fees for sending money to America 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 exchange rates for sending money to America
Use our US Dollar exchange rate comparison tool to request quotes from multiple providers and see how you could save up to 4% on large USD currency transfers versus using your bank when you send money to America.
We have chosen what we think are the best ways to send money to America based on:
- over 17,000 votes in our annual awards
- our own experiences testing the currency brokers
- an in-depth comparison of the money transfer app features that make them stand out compared to alternatives.
- interviews with the international payment company CEOs and senior management
History of the US Dollar (USD)
The US Dollar is the currency of the United States of America. Its FX abbreviation is USD.
Due to America’s unique status in 1945, the US Dollar was bequeathed a special position in global monetary system. It acted as the anchor currency in the Bretton Woods system. Once that system phased out in early 1970s, the US Dollar became the reserve currency of the world. And because the US economy is the largest economy in the world, its trade and monetary policies are amplified through the entire global financial system via the US Dollar.
Apart from a few special currencies (Euro and Pound Sterling), most FX pairs are quoted against one US Dollar. For example, USDJPY at 110 means it takes 110 Japanese Yen to exchange for one US Dollar.
Because most FX pairs are quoted against the US Dollar, it is the most actively traded currency in the world. The Bank of International Settlement survey shows that in 2019 $5.8 trillion US dollars are traded per day.
The US Dollar is highly sensitive to the US monetary policy. The institution in charge of the US monetary system is the US Federal Reserve. It supervises the nation’s banking and financial system and in times of crisis acts as the ‘Lender of the last resort’. Within the Fed, the 12-member Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) sets the policy rate and determines the overall monetary direction. Any unexpected change in the policy rate causes volatile movements in the US Dollar.
Factors that move the US Dollar (USD) exchange rate
The US Dollar is a huge currency. It is like a supertanker, which takes a lot of effort to change its direction. Moreover, the USD is held by many central banks as the reserve currency. According to a recent IMF survey, 59% percent of all reserves are in the US Dollars valued at about US$7 trillion.
This raises two points. First, the US Dollar is a reserve currency, meaning that it acts as a ‘safe haven’ asset in times of market turbulence. For example, in the early days of the pandemic (Mar 2020), the US Dollar soared in value as investors dumped risky assets and sought safety in the US Dollar (see below).
Second, when the value of USD overshoots, central banks around the world may act together to reverse this trend. One famous intervention is the Plaza Accord in 1985, whereby five major central banks acted to devalue the dollar. Thus traders should pay attention when the Dollar moves to extreme levels.
But multi-lateral interventions in the currency market are rare. These days, one of the most important factors in gauging the US Dollar is quantitative easing (QE). Broadly speaking, the larger the QE, the weaker the currency. This is because QE is a form of monetary easing, which floods the market with liquidity and dollars.
Did you know that 20 percent of all US Dollars were printed in 2020? In the past 18 months, the Fed printed about $4 trillion dollars (see below). No wonder the US Dollar is weak.
Source: US Fed
What else impacts the Dollar? On the day to day basis, GDP figures, inflation data, and unemployment rate are closely watched. Speeches by the Fed chair are scrutinised at real time – any hint of an impending change in the rate policy will cause an immediate move in the US Dollar.
The most important issue this year (2021) is whether the US Fed will taper and stop increasing the size of its balance sheet. Right now, the world is still recovering from the pandemic and this may cause the Fed to extend its accommodative policy for the moment.
Bottom Line – The US Dollar is a special currency. It is the benchmark currency in the world and a safe haven asset. In times of rising risk appetite, the value of the dollar typically fall as traders sell dollars and buy risky assets. This trend reverses during a crisis.
Live US Dollar (USD) Exchange Rates
The current best US Dollar (USD) exchange rate versus other G10 currencies is the mid-market price which is:
|Australian Dollar (AUD)||1.582654|
|Canadian Dollar (CAD)||1.37053|
|European Union Euro (EUR)||0.95393|
|Japanese Yen (JPY)||149.768|
|New Zealand Dollar (NZD)||1.69344|
|Norwegian Krone (NOK)||10.88098|
|United Kingdom Pound Sterling (GBP)||0.8276|
|Swedish Krona (SEK)||11.04788|
|Swiss Franc (CHF)||0.9213|
Sending money to America FAQ:
The best way to send large amounts of money to America is to use a currency broker.
As well as getting the best exchange rates, if you send money to America 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 US Dollars (USD) 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 USD 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 USD exchange rate than by using your bank.
Our comparison tables and USD exchange rate quote request forms will help you find the best US Dollar exchange rate. Our exchange rate comparison tables highlight the key features of currency transfer providers whereas USD 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 USD exchange rate when sending money to America
- 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 US Dollar 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 to America a money transfer app is much cheaper.
Yes, the best way to get the currency exchange rate if you want to send money to America 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.