There are a number of companies offering to transfer money online but the cost can vary significantly.
Whether you need to pay the mortgage on a holiday home abroad, carry out cross-border business or pay for personal goods or services, these variations in fees and exchange rates can add thousands of pounds to your overall costs.
Here we look at the best international money transfer options and how to access them.
Types of international money transfer services
With a range of services available to you, an international money transfer comparison helps narrow down the choices.
For years, high street banks were thought to offer the best international money transfer services. Most people had an existing relationship with at least one high street bank and the alternative options were limited. But banks are not generally the cheapest way to transfer money internationally.
Most charge a fee of up to £30 to transfer money abroad, and they often inflate their exchange rates so transfers cost you more. On top of these expenses, the receiving bank abroad can take a cut too – an added cost that often is not fully disclosed before the transfer.
• Money transfer companies
There are a number of companies offering to send your money abroad and many have physical stores on the high street or in airport terminals, plus an online money transfer service.
Not all these companies are created equal. Some claim to offer “commission-free” transfers, but make a profit by factoring a sizeable margin into the exchange rate, which means higher costs for you.
If you need to make an international money transfer online, consider using a currency specialist. Look for one that does not charge transfer fees and offers competitive rates that closely track the market. Many specialist money transfer companies conduct large volumes of business so can afford to offer the most competitive rates, saving you money. Some currency specialists also offer access to experts who can help guide you through the process.
How much money can you transfer online?
There are no official international money transfer limits, but care should be taken when sending large sums abroad. There is no compensation scheme for online money transfers, so if you send money through a company and it collapses before completing your payment, you may not get it back.
So what is a safe way to transfer money internationally? When choosing an international money transfer company, look at how it is regulated. Firms that are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) are required to separate your relevant funds from their own in segregated client bank accounts. This provides a level of protection for your money in the event of a collapse. Other smaller firms are simply registered with the FCA and are not required to put the same safeguards in place.
How long does it take to transfer money online?
One of the most common questions people ask is how long does an international money transfer take. The answer can range anywhere from a few minutes to five or more days, depending on the service you choose and where you are sending your money.
In most cases a foreign currency transfer will take a few days to clear, but if you need to meet a payment deadline always check with your firm first. You may be able to pay a fee to move your money faster if necessary.
Instant transfers are available but they come with a hefty price tag, so are best used only in emergencies. Similarly a same day international money transfer may be convenient, but the added cost could outweigh the benefit, particularly if you are moving small sums.
Using an international money transfer app could speed up the process, particularly if you send money regularly. Some firms allow you to schedule payments in advance, which makes it easier to plan for payment deadlines.
How much does it cost to transfer money abroad?
International money transfer fees vary widely. Some services offer fee-free transfers, while others charge for every transaction. In some cases, the bank or transfer service receiving the money charges a fee on top. Hidden charges can also be added into the exchange rate calculation, meaning you get less foreign currency for your pound.
When you move your money, look for fee-free transfers and the best exchange rate you can find. This will help you get the maximum amount of foreign currency after all fees and charges are taken out.
Reasons for transferring money online
There are countless reasons you may need to transfer money internationally, including:
- International property purchase
- Overseas mortgage repayments
- Timeshare commitments
- Destination wedding or other events
- Expenses for children studying abroad
- International purchases
- Cross-border business payments
How to transfer money online
The Telegraph Media Group International Money Transfer Service allows you to send money in more than 120 currencies worldwide without any transfer fees and at great exchange rates.
Our partnership with currency specialist moneycorp keeps your costs low and gives you access to foreign exchange experts who can offer guidance on how to get the most value out of your transfers.
You will benefit from:
- Zero transfer fees
- Fast online money transfer available 24/7
- Segregated client bank accounts to keep your money safe
- Personalised guidance from currency experts
Get fee-free transfers with the Telegraph Media Group International Money Transfer Service
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The above article was created for Telegraph Financial Solutions, a member of The Telegraph Media Group. For more information on Telegraph Financial Solutions click here.
moneycorp is a trading name of TTT Moneycorp Limited which is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Payment Service Regulations 2017 (reference number 308919) for the provision of payment services. All customer funds are safeguarded in segregated client bank accounts.
Information correct at date of publication.