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How to Send Money to The UK

Last updated 23rd Sep 2022
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There are many ways to send money to the UK. But that's both a blessing and a curse because it's not easy to find the right one for you. This detailed UK money transfer guide compares all alternatives and explains the benefits of using international money transfer services. You'll learn why providers like XE Money Transfer, Azimo, and Instarem are better options than wire transfers and other options. Here's a detailed overview of how to send money to the UK!

How to Send Money to the UK Using a Money Transfer Provider?

The process of sending money to the United Kingdom by using an online money transfer service is simple. You only need to follow these three steps to execute a transaction!

Step 1: Compare providers to find the one that best fits you
Step 2: Sign up with the chosen provider
Step 3: Transfer money

How to Send and Receive Money in the UK?

According to The Migration Observatory, the United Kingdom's remittance inflows totaled £4.2 billion in 2018. Remittance outflows, on the other hand, accounted for £7.7 billion. A huge portion of these sums was moved through money transfer services that we'll mention below.

Ways to Send Money to the UK

The most popular way to send money to the United Kingdom is through specialized money transfer services. These are faster than wire transfers and sending money to pickup locations, and below is a rundown of how they compare to other methods.

Money Transfer Services

An international money transfer service is an online-based platform that allows sending funds to different countries. With dozens available to send money to the UK, famous examples include XE Money Transfers, Azimo, and Instarem.

Some money transfer services focus on transaction speed, ensuring funds are available in the UK within minutes of completing the transfers. Others could take more time to process the transaction, but they often have lower fees.

Compared to other methods mentioned below, money transfer services are the fastest, cheapest, and easiest ways to send money to the UK. Most have a fast registration process and allow choosing from different payment methods, ensuring everything goes smoothly.

Wire Transfers

A wire transfer is a reliable but slow way of sending money to the UK. Besides taking up to a week for the receiver to get the funds, transfer charges are also high since both the receiving and intermediary banks often impose fees for their services. Currency exchange rates are also unfavorable, so wire transfers are far from the best option to send money to the UK.

Bank Account Transfers

As the name suggests, these transfers involve sending money from your bank account to someone else’s in the UK. While major names like HSBC, Barclays, and Metro Bank support international transfers in the United Kingdom, this kind of transfer involves a tedious process that could take days to finalize, and exchange rates are often unfavorable for the sender.

Challenger Banks

Challenger banks like Revolut and Monzo are a huge hit in the United Kingdom. They are solvent and provide competitive pricing and personalized services to clients. Despite their innovative approach, challenger banks are an expensive option to send money to the UK. And if you choose less known institutions, they might not have enough investments to secure coverage for large transfers, making them a huge risk to move big funds to the UK.

Mobile Apps and Payment Services

Apple Pay and Google Pay are both available in the UK. While convenient for sending funds from smartphones or tablets, these apps' fees vary greatly. International money transfers don't seem to be the priority for these services, so they don't offer favorable conditions like specialized money transfer providers.

PayPal

PayPal is a safe and trustworthy electronic payment system with millions of users worldwide. You can use it for domestic UK transfers and international transactions. While fast, PayPal is famous for its high fees that could go over 5%. Add the unfavorable exchange rates, and you'll understand why money transfer services are a better option for sending funds to the UK.

Money Transfers to a Pickup Location

Cash pickup providers such as MoneyGram, Western Union, and Xoom are popular because they don't involve the receiver going to the bank. Instead, they can collect funds in any location partnered with the service used. Transfer times could be fast, but picking up cash often comes with limitations and isn’t the safest option for collecting large cash amounts, so using a standard money transfer service is safer and better.

International Money Orders

This method is safer than sending actual cash. It works similar to a cheque – you prepay the desired sum and then send a document the receiver uses to collect the amount. Royal Mail is among the facilities that offer these orders. The maximum amounts are limited and often under £250, and the fees are high, making money transfer services a better and simpler option.

What Do You Need to Send Money to the UK?

Money transfers are subject to strict laws and regulations. Still, service providers are trying to simplify the process as much as possible by usually keeping the requirements to the following:

  • Valid identity document. Issued by official authorities, ID cards are best, and some platforms might accept passports and driving licenses.

  • The amount to be sent. Regardless of the payment method, consider having a bit more to cover any fees associated with the transfer.

  • Recipient's details. Basic identification details are usually mandatory, and depending on the platform, you might need additional info.

Besides the above, if you’re sending large funds to the UK, the FCA requires you to make a statement or explain the source of funding.

What Are the Ways of Receiving Money in the UK?

The receiver could opt for a direct bank deposit and wait until the money gets to their bank account in the UK. Some transfer services also allow collecting money at specific locations, as well as cash home deliveries. Here's an overview of each method's advantages!

Location Pickup

Platforms like Western Union have thousands of locations to collect funds throughout the UK. The process requires going to a nearby branch and providing the necessary info to pick up the money. It's suitable for small amounts but can be risky and expensive for bigger sums.

Direct Bank Deposits

It's the most common, safest, and easiest way to get funds for the receiver. They don't have to do anything but provide account information and wait for the funds to arrive. Many money transfer services will send funds to the receiver's UK bank account.

Cash Delivery

As the name suggests, this involves the cash being delivered to the receiver. Some agents are willing to come to the receiver's address, while others require them to come to a pickup point. It’s not the fastest way to receive money, and the service comes with extra charges.

What Do You Need to Receive Money in the UK?

The majority of money transfer options will request the following documents from receivers before they can collect the money:

  • Valid ID card – necessary for cash deliveries and location pickups, some of which accept passports or driver's licenses to verify your identity;

  • Transaction details – such as a reference number and/or the sender's details and similar info;

  • A completed form – mostly required by services that involve cash pickup, but you can fill it on the spot.

Top Money Transfer Providers to Send Money to the UK

Money Transfer ProviderFeesDeposit MethodsUK RegulatorXE Money Transfer0% over £250; £2 for lower sumsCredit cards, bank transfersFCAAzimoFrom 0%Credit cards, Sofort, bank transfersFCAInstaremFrom 0%Credit and debit cards, bank transfers, ACHFCA

XE Money Transfer – Best for Sending Money to the UK

Enabling money transfers to the UK from over 100 countries, XE Money Transfer has a partnership agreement with EarthPort, which secures over 800 pickup locations throughout the country. You can check the live exchange at mid-market rates, but you'll get the actual rate after registering and asking for transaction details.

Advantages

  • Cash pickup and bank account delivery options

  • A user-friendly interface

  • Favorable rates, especially for bigger sums

Disadvantages

  • Extensive recipient details needed, including BIC/SWIFT code

  • The converter is only for informational purposes

3 Steps to Start Using XE Money Transfer

  • Step 1: Visit the XE Money Transfer page for sending money to the United Kingdom.

  • Step 2: Register an account to initiate a transaction.

  • Step 3: Enter all details, check the rates offered, and complete the transfer.

Best Alternatives

  • Wise, TorFX, Currencies Direct

Azimo – Best for Sending EUR

Azimo supports sending five different currencies to the UK – EUR, USD, JPY, CHF, and GBP, with direct bank transfers taking up to three days. The provider is regulated by FCA and DNB, ensuring everything is up to the latest UK and EU laws and standards.

Advantages

  • The first two transfers are free

  • 24-hour SWIFT transfers

  • Excellent user reviews

Disadvantages

  • Fast transfers come with higher fees

  • You can't send money to the UK from the US

3 Steps to Start Using the Provider

  • Step 1: Go to the dedicated Azimo page to send money to the UK.

  • Step 2: Adjust the parameters, including currencies and amount.

  • Step 3: Complete the registration to finish the transaction.

Best Alternatives

  • VertoFX, TorFX, Ria Money Transfers

Instarem – Best for Frequent Transfers

Besides the frequent first-transfer bonus codes, Instarem offers a reward program through which you can earn InstaPoints for each transaction. You can then redeem them to get discounts on future transfers, making a great way to save money if you frequently transfer funds to the UK.

Advantages

  • Send money to the UK from dozens of countries

  • Use Instarem as a payee to avoid fees from some countries

  • No hidden fees and a clear overview of all charges before executing the transfer

Disadvantages

  • Page loading time could be faster

  • High fees for debit and credit cards

3 Steps to Start Using the Provider

  • Step 1: Head to the Instarem website.

  • Step 2: Pick GBP as the currency to receive, and choose the desired sending currency to see market rates.

  • Step 3: Select the payment method, check the fees, and complete the transaction.

Best Alternatives

  • WorldRemit, KeyCurrency, Western Union

What Are the Fastest Ways to Send Money to the UK?

Many platforms offer almost instant transfers, although the transaction speed depends on the sending location and might impose higher fees. Here's a list of money transfer services ready to process each transaction in the shortest possible timeframe!

Money Transfer ProviderTransfer SpeedFeesWise<24 hoursVaryInstaremAlmost instantFrom 0%WorldRemitSame dayFrom $2.99

The fastest platforms to send money to the UK will ensure the funds are available in less than a day. The sending time is often only a couple of hours, depending on the payment method and the chosen platform.

What Is the Cheapest Way to Send Money to the UK?

Fees charged by money transfer providers to send money to the UK largely vary. While some operators are expensive, others don't even charge transaction fees. However, they might earn from unfavorable exchange rates, and it could take them longer to process the transfer. If that's fine, here are the cheapest services to send money to the UK today!

Money Transfer ProviderFeesTransfer SpeedTorFX0%1-4 daysKey Currency0%VariesCurrencies Direct0%Varies

All these services are quote-based. You specify the transaction details and send a message for the provider to contact you. Agents are online 24/7, so you should get an offer quickly. Exchange rates might vary, so it's wise to compare different offers and pick the most favorable.

What Is the Safest Way to Send Money to the UK?

While each platform listed on this page is legit and has the necessary licenses from relevant authorities, some money transfer services take their security to the next level. Establishing a higher trust level with the customer, here are the providers offering additional security options for sending funds to the UK!

Money Transfer ProviderExtra security optionFeesCurrencies DirectFollow the transfer status via their app0%XE Money TransferLive customer support0% above £250; £2 for lesser sumsWestern UnionPCI DSS compliance0% for the first transfer; From £3.9 on the next ones

The additional security options make some platforms more attractive. Receiving real-time updates over the app provides you peace of mind, as well as the option to contact customer support at any moment and no additional cost.

What Are the Best Apps to Send Money to the UK?

Money transfer service apps help send funds almost effortlessly from handheld devices without needing to visit physical locations. Although most money transfer providers have dedicated apps, we picked the best options below!

Money Transfer AppTransfer TimeFeesRia Money TransfersVariesFrom £5TransferGo1-3 working daysFrom £2.99WiseSame dayVary

Each of the above services offers free Android and iOS apps. The fees and transfer speeds don't change compared to using their websites, and some providers might offer incentives for using apps to send money to the UK.

Things to Consider When Sending Money to the UK

The sum you send could affect the transaction fees, and the payment type affects how quickly the transaction arrives. Below are the main considerations when sending money to the UK.

Local Authorities

Two authorities are relevant for international money transfers to the UK:

  • HMRC. HM Revenue & Customers is the UK's payment, tax, and customs authority.

  • FCA. The Financial Conduct Authority is the UK's finance industry regulator.

The local authorities monitor money transfers. Money transfer services could ask for bank statements and additional documents that show how you got the money, especially when moving large amounts. The sources could be property sale, investments, salaries, etc.

How Much You Are Sending Abroad

The local laws don't have any limits on how much money you can send to the United Kingdom. The money laundering regulations indicate transactions valued at €10,000 or higher need to be reported to HMRC. Banks might require additional information on those transactions and even reject them. You can minimize this risk by ensuring you have all the documents regarding the money's origin.

The Cost of Money Transfers

The cost of sending money to the UK could be anywhere from £0 to £100 or more. Some money transfer services encourage bigger transfers by waiving the fees, others increase charges for large sums, and some waive fees for the first several times using the service.

Apart from transaction fees, you need to consider the exchange rates. Third parties, such as credit card services and banks, could also increase the transaction cost, making it almost impossible to find a 100% free service to send money to the UK from abroad. Domestic transfers, however, often come with lower charges.

Payment Type and Reason for the Transfer

International money transfers fall into two categories – personal and business. The general rule is that fees are lower if you are sending money for personal use than doing a business transaction. Business transfers might come with higher costs on some platforms, and the registration process is more demanding. However, you can expect benefits like multi-currency accounts, mass payments, etc.

Safety and Security of the Provider

It's imperative to stick to licensed and reputable money transfer services that allow sending funds to the UK. The platforms mentioned in this guide have FCA and other necessary approvals to send money to the United Kingdom. That makes them as safe as any other alternative, such as using bank transfers or PayPal.

Tax Regulations in the UK

The tax regulations indicate the receiver doesn't have to pay any tax on sums up to £3,000 yearly. Amounts higher than this might require reporting a foreign income via a Self-Assessment tax return.

In the UK, gifts don't always fall under the taxation category. The limits are £5,000 for children, £2,500 for a grandkid, and £1,000 for anyone else. It’s only necessary to pay tax above these amounts.

FAQs

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Aneeca Younas

Aneeca Younas

Combining her Master’s degree in Business Economics and her childhood dream was to become a journalist, Aneeca is now a writer for finance-related websites. Having years of experience with companies doing business in multiple markets, she got to know international money transfers inside and out, gladly sharing that knowledge to help readers make better-informed decisions.