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Five more ways to transfer money abroad

Neil Faulkner
by Lovemoney Staff Neil Faulkner on 19 April 2012  |  Comments 19 comments

We look at another five ways to transfer money from the UK to foreign bank accounts in another currency.

Five more ways to transfer money abroad

I'm continuing my series of ten different ways to transfer money overseas. You can read the first part in Five ways to transfer money abroad.

So what are the other ways you can send your cash to different countries?

6. Brokers

Using foreign exchange specialists is probably the second cheapest way to transfer money behind Currency Fair. Brokers like Moneybookers, CurrencyUK, XE.com, HiFX and Tranzfers.com all offer services that intend to undercut the bank, and usually do.

Their fees can be similar, often charging around £10, but you get significantly better exchange rates that can easily knock pounds off the total cost. You still might be looking at £30 or more for a £1,500 transfer, however.

7. “Free” transfers to Spain

Halifax claims that if existing customers set up an account with Lloyds Banking International, then they can transfer money there and back for free.

By “free”, the bank means it will not charge a fee. Expect loading on the exchange rate to still weigh heavily on your purse.

8. Posting prepaid cards

Here's an intriguing idea: post out an empty prepaid card and then load money onto it through the internet. These cards do not compete on price or simplicity with exchanging foreign currency in the UK at many high-street exchange bureaux, but you're not going to want to post cash overseas.

It would not surprise me if this was cheaper than using banks and, in some cases, cheaper than using brokers too.

Three things make this method unattractive, however. You could pay too much in on-going fees if you just want to use it irregularly in this way. The cards are not as flexible as having a bank account overseas, since they usually make it expensive for certain transactions, such as cash withdrawals. Finally, you'll have to be careful not to fall foul of the terms and conditions when using the card in this unusual way.

9. Do you need to transfer the money at all?

Some current accounts and credit cards, such as those from Nationwide and Saga, come with free or very cheap card use overseas, even when taking into account both fees and the exchange rate.

If you can get away with using these cards (while paying off your bill extremely quickly if you're using the credit card), you might be better off than actually transferring the money in any other way. Except, perhaps, Currency Fair.

10. A bank transfer across the pond

Smile is one of the banks to offer so-called “structured payments” to the US. This is yet another money transfer system. It costs smile customers just £8 in fees, but then we have smile's exchange rate to contend with.

Since it doesn't deign to reveal to us what that is, we can expect it to charge typically expensive bank exchange rates that'll add at least another £30 to the cost of a £1,500 transfer.

Structured payments take five to seven working days to complete.

This is a lovemoney.com classic article, updated for 2012

More on travel:

Compare current accounts through lovemoney.com

Santander Zero account axed: what to do now for overseas spending

How to beat sneaky budget airline charges

How British banks rip us off abroad

A new way to compare airline charges

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Comments (19)

  • joe turner
    Love rating 3
    joe turner said

    I'm an Amrican living in england. I have a current acct with LLoyds. Each month I write a personal check on an American bank for approx $4000. Lloyds exchanges that for sterling and deposits it into my checking acct. They add approx three pence more per pound than the spot rate in the exchange plus an £8 fee for the right to exchange.

    When I get upset at Lloyds for one thing or another and search for another bank that provides the same service, I can never find one. Is it possible that Barclay's or Santander do not provide current accts tht begin with a foreign personal check that do not charge tourists' rates for the exchange and do not send the dollar check back to the US BEFORE they provide funds in sterling? The exchange with Lloyds usually takes only two days.

    Report on 08 July 2009  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • whufc48
    Love rating 1
    whufc48 said

    check out www.sendmoneyhome.org it is an 'independent' money transfer comparison site..

    Report on 29 September 2009  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • freddielove
    Love rating 0
    freddielove said

    yes prepaid cards a good way to transfer money, you just have to get second card and send to who you sending money to - good because as they have card they don't have to take all cash out at once, can spend on card too if want, take out cash when need it. i use the cashplus card ( www.cashplus.co.uk ). used to use western union but the working out much cheaper, quicer and easier for me.fl.

    Report on 21 October 2009  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • theptinstall
    Love rating 0
    theptinstall said

    Thanks to whufc48 I went on to www.sendmonyhome.org and found www.orbitremit.co.uk for sedning smaller amount to New Zealand and Australia.

    They charge very low fees and have competitive rates. Best of all is the time the money takes to hit my account, I had been using Paypal and sometimes waited up to a week. With this compnay it is usually there within a day.

    Report on 18 November 2009  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • pimpkin
    Love rating 0
    pimpkin said

    Ive tried the banks and found barclays ok, for sums larger than a few thousand I use www.transfermate.com , rates are better, payments are fast and they can order rates for me when i want to get a better rate than the market today.

    Report on 02 February 2010  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • simple3456
    Love rating 1
    simple3456 said

    ive always used a company called www.currencyuk.co.uk. the service is really good, the rates are better then the banks and they are FSA regulated so your money is as safe as it can be.

    People tend to place too much importance on charges, all brokers should be cheaper then your banks and coupled with better rates will save you money

    Report on 18 February 2010  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • freegreenbeans
    Love rating 0
    freegreenbeans said

    A good summary of different options available. I have been using hifx.co.uk via the internet to complete my money transfers. I have been impressed with their service and rates.

    Report on 26 July 2010  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • nanchan
    Love rating 2
    nanchan said

    I have used moneybookers.com for years without any problem. It is cheap, operates worldwide, and is used by over 13 million customers. Money can be sent to anyone who has an e-mail address.

    Report on 28 July 2010  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • vickik
    Love rating 0
    vickik said

    I was looking for a better way of transferring money abroad as I found using my bank rather costly and found the website www.comparecurrency.co.uk which is a money transfer comparison site. It allowed me to compare the different fees charged by each money transfer provider including some of the banks.

    Report on 15 October 2010  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Maverick2097
    Love rating 0
    Maverick2097 said

    For me i use http://www.rationalfx.com for transfering money.

    They offer close to market rate exchanges with no transfer fees. They are the only company i've seen that offer that at the moment and have no problems with their services whatsoever. The last i've heard, they've also introduced a brand new online system thats easy to use and has a very intuitive user interface.

    I would definitely have a look.

    Report on 21 April 2011  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • tanwar
    Love rating 0
    tanwar said

    I am currently using : http://www.lebara-mobile.co.uk/money

    Excellent product with great facilities - provides gold debit card facility on both ends - offers interbank FX rate with no padding - instant transfer - very safe - you can put money on the card and actually wait to withdraw until you get a favourable rate -

    there is a 50% discount if you use promotion code - 58218453

    Very unique and interesting !!

    Report on 01 June 2011  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • hodman-29
    Love rating 1
    hodman-29 said

    I have used http://www.currencyfair.com - it's great cos it's peer to peer currency exchange and you can get some great rates. You have to have access to bank account in both countries but as I have a property abroad this is no problem for me. I save around £1,000 a year on transfers. It's a bit of faff setting the account up but once up it's really easy to transfer currency. I don't think you'll find better rates on the internet so I'm really happy with them.

    Report on 17 June 2011  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • waluty
    Love rating 0
    waluty said

    In Poland there is very interesting website which compares all of major p2p currency exchange sites and money exchange offices http://strefawalut.pl porownywarka walut, owing to the such sites we have more competetive currency market

    Report on 20 April 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • ash007
    Love rating 9
    ash007 said

    Surprised they didnt mention www.CurrencyFair.com on this article - especially as the last time they posted the article I mentioned it in the comments.

    Couldnt agree more with hodman29 and his review. Bit faffy but the best rates around... Dont believe me? Compare their website with this http://travelmoney.moneysavingexpert.com/ (a good sight in itself if currencyfair isnt for you)

    Report on 30 April 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • John Fitzsimons
    Love rating 43
    John Fitzsimons said

    Hi Ash

    This article is a sequel to five ways to transfer money abroad (http://www.lovemoney.com/news/money-saving-tips-bargains-and-freebies/money-saving-tips/651/five-ways-to-transfer-money-abroad) in which Currency Fair is recommended as the cheapest way to move money overseas

    John

    Editor

    Report on 30 April 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • raydibble
    Love rating 0
    raydibble said

    You don't appear to have looked at Transferwise?

    Report on 30 April 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Neil Faulkner
    Love rating 32
    Neil Faulkner said

    In addition to John's reply, Ash, I did repeat that CurrencyFair is the cheapest in this article too. I use CurrencyFair myself, as the prequel to this article will tell you.

    Neil

    Report on 04 May 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • financial observer
    Love rating 0
    financial observer said

    How would you advise my US friend who is living in Madrid and who opened a bank account there to cheaply transfer/wire money back to her bank account in the US? When she checked the bank's Website she saw a charge of 10 percent or so of the transfer sum involved-- I think she wants to transfer 4,000 euro to her US bank account at the best possible exchange rate and keep the money in dollars. The euro is strengthenign against the dollar so this would seem like an opportune time! Perhaps she should just electronically transfer the money to some third party provider who charges a nominal fee (not bandit rates!)-- and then have them move the dollars to her US bank account. Thanks Neil.

    Report on 10 September 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • financial observer
    Love rating 0
    financial observer said

    Neil -- Just to clarify, it is my friend's bank in Madrid that wants to charge her 10 percent or so to transfer the euros from her account in this bank to a bank in the US. 10 percent -- is that legal?

    Report on 10 September 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

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