International Money Transfer Services
There are a number of things to consider before deciding how and when to transfer money. Most importantly, you will need to enroll with bank or reliable service that won’t charge you a small fortune in currency exchange rates. Below are profiles of all the major international money transfer companies, including their services, policies, and fees, so you can better determine who to trust for your transfer needs.
When you think about transferring money abroad, there are a lot of things for you to consider. You will obviously want to use a bank or something that is reliable and one that will not want to charge you a small fortune in currency exchange rates. To help, here is a comparison of all the large international money transfer companies available. This will perhaps help you to gain an understanding of which is better, which is more expensive, and ultimately, which one to trust for your transfer needs.
- 1 Top Exchange Companies
- 1.1 AIB
- 1.2 Azimo
- 1.3 Bank of Ireland
- 1.4 Barclays
- 1.5 Halifax
- 1.6 HiFX
- 1.7 HSBC
- 1.8 Lloyds Bank
- 1.9 MoneyCorp
- 1.10 Nationwide
- 1.11 Natwest
- 1.12 OFX
- 1.13 PayPal
- 1.14 Permanent TSB
- 1.15 RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland)
- 1.16 Skrill
- 1.17 The Co-operative Bank
- 1.18 Transferwise
- 1.19 Travelex
- 1.20 Western Union
- 1.21 UK Forex
- 1.22 Ulster Bank
- 1.23 XE.com
Top Exchange Companies
The Allied Irish Bank does not give you an actual number regarding international money transfer fees when you send or receive money. The company website says simply that it is “variable” and “subject to change at any time”. There is also the possibility that you will be charged twice for the transfer because it clearly states on the AIB website that they will charge you a fee and that you may be charged a fee from the other bank you are using as well. On the upside though, they do provide a Currency Deposit Account which can help you to avoid converting your cash into euros.
Azimo is an online bank that allows you to send money abroad for a fraction of the cost of other banks. One of the main things they point out on their website is that they are a “low-cost, fast, and safe way to send money” They can send cash straight to a bank account in over 195 countries. It is easy to use and shows you immediately what will be received on the other end of your transfer. Meaning if you transfer €100 to USD you will end up with $111.52. There is a fee of € 2.99.
Bank of Ireland
The Bank of Ireland promises to make it easy to send or receive money abroad. To transfer from the USD to Euros, the current rate is 1.0999. This means that $100 USD becomes 90.92 EUR. If you read the small print, it says that the rate information is purely for informational purposes and you need to check and make sure that the currency price is still the same. When using Bank of Ireland, if you have a currency deposit account, there are several fees that may be acquired. You should read about the fees before you decide to apply.
Barclays is a big bank and they are well known. They allow you to have an international bank with three of the major currencies including the USD, Euros (the currency of France and all European member states), and Sterling. To qualify for international banking, you must maintain a balance of £25,000 or more across all of your Barclays International banking accounts. There is a detailed list of fees that may be charged to you for using their international bank and what may happen if your accounts cannot maintain the suggested balances.
Halifax is not an international banking company at this time. They use Lloyds Bank International services to provide you with banking options when you work or travel abroad. The key is that you must make an annual income of at least £50,000 or an equivalent currency amount and you must invest at least £25,000. There is also a monthly fee of approximately $10 or £7.50 for using the service.
The HiFX online banking system takes on larger banks and promises to save you money with a flat rate fee. Their currency converter proves that based on interbank rates the conversion of $100 USD to Euros is 89.1 at a rate of 0.8910. However, upon reading the disclaimer, it is a rate that is not available to private individuals. It is purely there for your information. The good news is that a personal or business account is free and you can make international money transfers in minutes, though it does admittedly take a couple days for it to actually show up in another account.
The HSBC is an international bank that gives you access to all of your money regardless of where you are located. The key to success with it is that you must at first maintain an account that holds $100,000 dollars. This amount must be reached within 90 days of you opening an account with them. If you do not meet this minimum requirement, it will cost you $50 a month in maintenance fees. It is free to transfer money from one HSBC bank to another account abroad, however, if you read the small print, it does state that foreign currency exchange rates may apply.
This international banking option allows you to easily set up an account overseas and they claim that they will not charge you for making international transfers. However, it does warn that you may lose money if you transfer from one currency to another and then revert back to the original currency. This is because of the foreign exchange rates and other factors. The website also warns that you should be aware of the potential risk for exchange rates changing. You must qualify to bank with them. This means that you should be able to invest a good bit if you hope to use Lloyds bank.
For a minimal fee, you can transfer money using MoneyCorp. If you want your money within two days, it will cost you £9. If you do not mind waiting four days, it will cost you about £5. To transfer via phone, you pay slightly more at £15. They are unique in the way that they handle your money, though, because you have the option to track currency exchange rates to know when the time to transfer will be most beneficial to you. At this current time, $100 USD will equal £88.68 euros.
Nationwide makes it easy to save money in an offshore account. They offer bonds that are six months to a year and they gross quite a bit of interest. If you are looking at exchange rates, this will fluctuate on a daily basis. However, 100.00 euros is equal to 112.24 USD and the USD equals 0.8909797213 euros. The only true catch is that Visa reserves the right to work out the currency exchange rate based on when the charge clears their bank and not when you actually made the purchase. Other fees that may come your way when abroad are dependent upon the card type that you have and Nationwide does encourage you to pay in sterling when possible.
Natwest is an international bank located in the UK. It is recommended that you use sterling with this bank to avoid most fees. Without using sterling, if you withdraw inside the UK you could pay a maximum fee of £5 as well as a Non-Sterling transaction fee of 2.75%. Then you also have to consider the current exchange rates and other stuff. In the end, one transaction could cost you a lot more than you had hoped to spend.
Formerly named, OzForex, you now have OFX, which is an Australian based international banking system. The minimum amount you can transfer is $150 which if changed to Euros leaves you with £130.16. If you are transferring AUD, you can expect to pay AUD 15 when transferring less than AUD 10,000. When transferring more than AUD 10,000, your transfer fee is nothing. There are many different currencies available for you to use.
PayPal is a great bank for many people. It has opened up the door when it comes to online commerce. However, most who have had to deal with PayPal’s conversion rates agree that their fees are quite high. Not only will the fees you are charged be based on the actual conversion rates, which do fluctuate daily, but you will also have a conversion service charge that PayPal sticks you with. This service charge is 4.5%.
Permanent TSB is one of the most expensive options when it comes to international usage. If you want to purchase or sell euros you can expect to pay 1% at a maximum amount of £6.25 with permanent tsb foreign exchange rates. This may not sound like much, but when you look at all of the other international charges, the prices climb steadily. Even more so when you consider how much their regular banking fees are as well.
RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland)
The RBS allows you to exchange most currencies into sterling. The bank buys and sells at various international money transfer rates depending on the currency they are working with. However, this does not mean that you will not be charged fees. The fees you may end up paying are based solely on the branch that you choose to use. It is ideal for business or commercial use because there are no real fees involved with it, but for personal banking options you will be transferred to NatWest.
Skrill gives you the option to pay online merchants who accept it for free. However, uploading funds may cost you a fee and if you are sending to another person, you could expect to pay up to $10. If you are using a global payment method, you could pay 2.90% or 4.95%. When withdrawing funds, you have a fee of $4.99. Once you get into using their currency conversion, you should expect to add a fee that averages between 2.99% and 4.99% above and beyond the wholesale exchange rate that is offered by them. This means that you could end up spending much more than you want to.
The Co-operative Bank
Co-operative Bank puts a lot of effort into showing you what their fees are going to involve. If you choose to not use your debit card as a sterling transaction, you will be charged 2.75% of the value of your transaction. This could total up to a healthy sum if you are not careful. They also warn that other fees may be incurred by the bank, retailer, or the cash machine where you are using your card. You will also be charged up to £2.00 if you use your card outside of the United Kingdom.
Transferwise bank makes it easier to transfer small amounts of cash into foreign currency. With this small international banking system, you can transfer $100 USD into Euros and on the other end, you will have a grand total of £85.95. The fee for it is only $3.00. Can you imagine not having to deal with hidden fees? All of the fees will show up when you select the amounts you want to send.
Travelex is big news among airports. It is one of the easiest ways for travelers to get the correct currency quickly. This unfortunately means you do pay a little more for transaction fees. The service fees, on less than $500 is going to be approximately $9.95. Outside of the airport, if you purchase currency, there is a shipping fee if your order is less than $1,000.00. There are no other rates available in the online store, but there are international money transfer taxes that can apply.
Many people feel that Western Union is a great choice for banking abroad. With it, a single USD translates to £0.89. This is not a bad exchange rate. Beyond that, you will have zero fees when you use their international wire transfer or direct debit options. When you get into the delivery method is where fees may be acquired. If you choose draft, you do not have to pay, but it can take 10-15 days to complete. Standard is 3-5 business days and you pay only $5. If you want expedited, which is one or two days total, you will pay $22 for using their services.
As part of the Oz Forex group (now rebranded OFX) the UK Forex is trying to keep currency exchange rates reasonable compared to larger banks. This is great news for those who want to travel. However, there are more affordable options if you choose to search around for them. Best of all, you do not have to pay fees if you are transferring more than £3,000.
Ulster Bank promises commission free exchanges. However, this does not mean that there are no fees associated with it. Their fees change on a daily basis and it is recommended that you request currency in advance. Other fees could reach up to 10% with a max of 5% from each side of the transaction.
XE.com is the longest standing internet currency conversion company around. They are able to save you big money, otherwise they would not have survived as long as they have. However, they are best used if you want to keep track of the current currency conversion amounts on a daily amount and over long periods of time. This international money transfer option also allows you to make use of an international money transfer app.