Author, Andrew Gibson
An international bank transfer is usually the cheapest way to send money to the UK.
You can use either a bank or a money transfer company.
I’ll explain how the process works, what information you need, and the costs involved.
How to send money to the UK (in 4 simple steps)
You can send money to a UK bank account in just four steps.
Whether you use a bank or money transfer specialist, the steps are pretty much the same.
Step 1 – Identification check
All customers must first have an identification check.
Anti-money laundering regulations require this.
If you have a residential address in the UK, you can often be identified using just a passport number and address.
Sometimes proof of address might be needed for overseas residents.
The registration process is normally pretty quick.
Step 2 – Secure an exchange rate
Once the ID check is done, you are ready to secure an exchange rate.
To send money to the UK, you are buying Pounds (GBP) and selling whatever foreign currency you hold.
Any exchange rate quoted by your bank or a money transfer company will be on a live basis.
You can decide whether to go ahead or not.
If you are happy to proceed, your bank or money transfer specialist will lock-in your rate for you.
You will then be emailed a confirmation of your transaction.
This will show the exchange rate agreed, the amount of currency you have sold, and the amount of Pounds you have bought (will receive in the UK bank account).
Step 3 – Send in your money
Before any money is converted, you need to pay for your money transfer.
A bank will require your funds to be in your account already before securing an exchange rate.
Whereas a money transfer company will allow you to send your funds in a day or two later.
If you use a money transfer company, they will provide you with the bank details of their client account.
Step 4 – Your money is converted to Pounds and sent out
Once your bank or money transfer specialist has received your money, they will convert them into Pounds Sterling at the exchange rate previously agreed.
Your Pounds are then sent to the UK bank account you have requested. This is sometimes called the ‘beneficiary’.
What information do you need to send money to a UK bank account?
To send money to the United Kingdom, you need to provide details of your recipient.
The recipient is also known as the beneficiary.
You’ll need the following information:
- Name on the account
- UK bank sort code (6 numbers)
- Bank account number (8 numbers)
How long does it take to transfer money to the UK?
The time taken largely depends on where the money is coming from.
It usually takes 1-2 working days to send money from the EU to the UK. Transfers from the US normally takes 2-3 working days. From any other country, it can take 3-5 working days.
Most international transfers will be sent via SWIFT.
While SWIFT is highly secure and reliable, transactions take several days to clear.
Is there any limit on how much money I can send to the UK?
There are no legal limits on the amount of money you can send to the United Kingdom.
The UK does not restrict money coming in or out of the country.
However, you may find your bank has set its own daily limits.
The big UK banks tend to set daily online limits of £50,000-£100,000 per day.
Foreign banks tend to have similar policies, so it’s best to check with your bank.
For large money transfers, these daily limits can slow down your payment and result in more fees.
Because money transfer companies don’t tend to have any limits of how much you can send, they are a better option for large transfers.
How much does it cost to transfer money to the UK?
There are two types of charges to look out for when sending money to the UK:
- Wire fees; and
- Exchange rates
Each bank and money transfer service has their own combination of fees and exchange rates.
Most banks will charge you a wire fee (also called a transfer fee) every time you send money to the UK.
Wire fees tend to be a fixed charge regardless of how much you transfer.
I know it can be difficult trying to figure out what your bank will charge you because the fee schedules can be 15-20 pages long!
As a ballpark, expect to pay the equivalent of $20-$50 in wire fees.
One way to get around bank charges is to use a money transfer company.
While some money transfer companies also charge fees, there are others, such as ourselves, who don’t charge you any fees at all.
Most of the big banks we’ve researched charge an exchange rate cost of 2%-5% of the amount you transfer.
As an example, if you transferred $USD50,000 to the UK, the exchange rate costs alone would be $1,000 to $2,500.
In other words, a lot of money!
For most customers, the exchange rate cost will be more important than the transfer fee.
As money transfer companies can normally charge you a lot less, it’s worth getting an alternative quote.
How to get the best exchange rate
When it comes to exchange rates: timing matters.
But because exchange rates change every few seconds, it’s easy to miss the best rates.
That’s a common problem for customers who aren’t overly familiar with foreign exchange.
It’s not their area of expertise.
One option might be to speak to a money transfer specialist.
A money transfer specialist, such as ourselves, can keep you informed of market trends and offer guidance on exchange rates.
It’s something that sets our service apart from banks and online-only platforms.
We work with you to achieve the best exchange rate possible.
In practical terms, that could mean letting you know when the rate moves in your favour, discussing a target rate to aim for, or locking in a rate to remove risk.
- An international bank transfer is usually the best way to transfer money to the UK.
- It can be done through a bank or money transfer specialist.
- There are no legal limits on how much money you can send to a UK bank account.
- The time taken can be anywhere between 1-5 working days depending on what country you send money from.
- There are two costs to be aware of: fees and exchange rates.
Who are we?
Key Currency is a leading money transfer specialist.
We’ve helped thousands of customers send money to the UK at great exchange rates and without any fees.
One thing that separates us from the banks and online-only platforms is that we provide you with a personal service.
We don’t make you download an ‘app’ and do everything yourself.
Instead, we can help you set up your transfer, answer any questions you may have, and guide you on current exchange rates.
As a company, we are open and transparent.
Our company has a 5-star “Excellent” customer rating on Trustpilot; the highest customer rating available for our industry.
Rest assured, Key Currency is an FCA regulated Authorised Payment Institution (No. 753989). All money transfers are conducted through safeguarded client accounts.
Why not request a free quote below and see what you can save.