Transferring Money to the UK
When transferring money to the UK either to purchase an investment home, invest in a company or make a small overseas payment there are a handful of ways to increase your chances of getting a great pound exchange rate, enhance service, and ensure you send money to Britain safely.
Ways to Send Money to the UK
- Bank Transfer – You can choose to transfer your money directly to the UK from your overseas bank account. Typically the foreign currency rate to transfer money to the UK will less competitive than the foreign exchange rates on offer by a foreign exchange broker and you may have to drop by your bank to transfer a significant amount. When sending money to the UK via a bank you will be charged a transfer fee or charge of around £10-30 or foreign currency equivalent.
- Debit Card – when paying for items on the web or via an E-tailer you might have the freedom to pay using a bank debit card but are unlikely to be offered a competitive currency exchange rate when sending money to the UK. You may also be charged an administration fee from your bank to process the payment. Those needing to send money to the UK to invest in a property or pay a legal bill for a business purchase might be obliged to transfer money to the UK, meaning they will need to use their bank or ideally a foreign exchange broker. typically a currency exchange broker will accept debit cards as payment, meaning you to enjoy the convenience, avoid being charged a transfer fee, and benefit from a better pound exchange rate.
- Credit Card – Ideal for renting accommodation in London or other UK cities to financial recourse and potential reimbursement from your card provider. credit cards normally offer uncompetitive exchange rates but this can be offset by air miles or points.
- Swift – Swift payments are relevant to money transfers outside to or from outside the EU. Within the EU SEPA payments are applicable when transferring money to the UK from Europe. Meaning transfers are faster and cheaper when being sent to the UK.
Required Bank Details to Transfer Money
Identification –when you send money via a banking institution you will need 1-2 forms of photo Identification and will need to have your bank card close by. Transfers to the UK normally will have to be made in the branch. If you have the option to send out money to the UK using your online current account, you could need your debit card reader to hand and relevant logins, etc to access the account.
When opting to use of a foreign exchange broker, your documents will all have been kept when you opened the account, your account manager will ask you a few easy questions to verify the account over the phone. Their online systems are similar to those of retail banks just with far better online currency exchange rates pricing.
IBAN – a UK IBAN will begin with GB and be followed by 20 further characters. You’ll also need the name of the individual or UK company you are sending the money to credit their bank account.
Time taken to send money to the UK
- Typical time –for a foreign exchange broker to receive your foreign currency, convert to GB Pounds, and move your cash to a UK bank account or UK beneficiary you need to allow between 1-2 working days. Occasionally the beneficiary bank may take some time to assign funds transferred from overseas. If using a bank to transfer you should allow for 1-2 days more as there processing is normally slower.
- Same-day transfer – if funds are in your foreign exchange brokers account you have a good chance of transferring your money to the UK, and pounds clearing on the same day. A currency exchange broker will typically quote 1-2 days as it might take the beneficiary bank account 1 day or more to process funds. Banks will take longer, typically 2-4 days working days.
Cost to Transfer Money to the UK
- Commission – Commission taken by international banks differs from one institution to another. However, one commonality is they remain uncompetitive when compared to foreign exchange brokers. A foreign exchange broker will typically be able to save their clients between 1-4% when sending money to the UK.
- Transfer Fees – An overseas bank will typically charge anywhere between £10 -£40, or currency equivalent to transfer your money to the UK. The majority of foreign exchange brokers don’t charge fees. None featured on Foreign Exchange Live charge do.
- Exchange Rate – A bank will work using a ‘day FX rate’ which will be set when the branch opens. To mitigate any currency market fluctuations in GBP a margin or spread will be added to cover any daytime GBP volatility. Foreign exchange brokers, contrarily, work from live pound exchange rates meaning you benefit from positive movements and receive guidance if the rate moves against you.
Fees for Receive Money in the UK
The United Kingdom is part of the SEPA payments service meaning if you are sending money from Europe you are unlikely to be charged an intermediary fee or charge. If you are charged a fee this is one taken by your UK bank and you can normally address this with them, it is however highly uncommon.
Limits on Money Transfers to the UK
You shouldn’t be limited on how much you can transfer to the UK providing you or your business can explain the payment and your foreign exchange broker is happy to make the transfer, there is no written restriction on how much you can trade.
Normally if a transfer surpasses ₤ 500,000+ or currency equivalent your foreign currency broker could ask for a copy of a bank statement to prove the availability of currency funds or a document explaining the reason for transfer (e.g investment home purchase agreement).
Transfer a Deposit to Open a UK Bank Account
An overseas bank or foreign exchange broker will help transfer funds to a new UK Bank account. Just make sure any required paperwork and your UK current account info to hand and your bank or broker can assist with your bank deposit transfer to the UK.
Normally a new UK bank account provider will expect you to credit your account with £50 or more once the account is opened. This naturally relies on the account and also bank account provider you choose.
Safely Send Money to the UK
When dealing with sums of money you are correct to be prudent and do your research. Fortunately, foreign exchange brokers and transfer providers are extremely conscious of money transfers fraud. On top of being diligent on your behalf, they will cross-check questionable beneficiaries through their systems as well as flag any kind of suspect transfers.
- FCA – Always confirm your foreign exchange broker is financial conduct authority (FCA) authorised. A foreign exchange broker should never be reluctant to share their FCA number or send a link to its reference on the FCA’s register as well as publicise it on their website.
- Guarantees –Whilst no reputable foreign exchange broker will have the ability to supply money guarantees their accounts must be held with tier 1 financial partners. All client funds transferred to these ringfenced accounts must be set apart from their own capital, if something was to happen to the foreign currency broker you can redeem the funds directly from the tier 1 bank.
- Protection – Reputable foreign exchange businesses adhere to strict anti-money laundering protocol to ensure they are just dealing with legitimate customers as well as companies. This is continued when convert and transfer funds to the UK, Currency exchange brokers might request additional information on transfers whose beneficiaries look dubious. Broker’s currency trading systems are digitally encrypted as well, they apply high levels of online security to avoid the possibility of their data being corrupted.
- Fraud – Despite these safety measures, fraud can occur within the international payments sector. You can however take some simple measures to dramatically reduce your chances of becoming a victim. Never send your security login over e-mail or be pressurised to make an international transfer by a foreign exchange provider. Ensure written communication with your broker is from a correct email address. If you are contacted by an unfamiliar member of the team or new currency account manager agree to call them back to guarantee they are an employee of the currency exchange broker you use.
Reasons to send money to the UK
- Bills – Your UK rental property or investment home will have ongoing prices. These might include UK council tax, property repair costs, or regular utility bills. A foreign exchange broker will be happy to help arrange payments to top up your UK bank account to manage these ongoing payments.
- Loans – If you have been lent money from a family member in the UK you may wish clear the loan. Additionally, if the GBP rate is in your favor you might consider sending money to the UK to clear a portion of your mortgage.
- Family – Birthday celebrations and other seasonal holidays are always just around the corner. Your foreign exchange broker can be used to send small financial presents to family members in the UK.
- Property – When the GBP currency exchange rate moves to your benefit, you might consider capitalising and make home improvements.
- Inheritance – Sadly many encounter relatives dying overseas. You might at some stage need to transfer overseas inheritance money back to the UK. A broker can sensitively deal with the process
- Car – If relocating the United Kingdom you may want lease or buy a vehicle to commute or travel around the UK
- Holiday – If renting an apartment in London or property elsewhere in the UK your foreign exchange broker will get a better price than your bank or bank card.
- International wholesales – When buying UK products or items can enlist the services of a foreign exchange broker to manage the currency risks associated with purchasing good from worldwide wholesalers that trade in a foreign currency.
Foreign Exchange Brokers
Considering the services of a credible foreign exchange broker is the best way of guaranteeing to save money when sending money abroad. Savings between 1-4% are feasible which will be significant on regular transfers and a UK property purchase money transfers. They can also provide you with several solutions to maximise the amount of currency you receive in the UK.
Finding a reputable Foreign Exchange Broker
Clients can compare the offerings of transfer services and foreign exchange brokers in many ways when they need to transfer money to the UK.
- Regulation – always ensure the foreign exchange broker you use is regulated, in the UK, for example, brokers must be authorised by the FCA (financial conduct authority)
- Length of time in business – typically indicating knowledge of the market, number of clients they’ve helped, stability in the market. They are most likely to have helped many other clients transfer money to the UK and dealt with many different scenarios.
- Transfer fee or no transfer fee – especially worth considering when the payments being transferred to the UK are small. A transfer fee can typically outweigh the advantages of sending the money to the UK via a bank or broker even if the rate offered is competitive. All brokers promoted on Foreign Exchange Live work on a fee-free basis.
- Online transfer, telephone transfers or both – online Apps are great for small transfers to the UK. Recourse can be slow if the money goes astray. Customer service when dealing solely online can vary. Much of this service is via a chat/text box or email. An established foreign exchange broker will operate both an online and telephone dealing service. Meaning you speak directly to an account manager who will be assisted by a back-office team or customer service division.
Find The Right Broker To Transfer Money To Canada
Specialists such as Moneycorp and Rational FX have vast experience in advising and assisting clients all over the globe and saving them thousands of pounds in the process.
- Customer Service – Banks are cumbersome and hard to contact from overseas. Transfer apps can be convenient for smaller payments, but don’t offer prompt customer support if an issue arises. Foreign exchange brokers offer a consistent service. All clients receive a personal account manager with a direct email address and phone number to enable easy contact and customer service if required.
- Safety And Security – All top foreign exchange brokers will hold client funds in segregated accounts. All transactions are conducted following the FCA regulations and guidelines, we strongly advise to check with your broker on the exact details.
- No Expensive Fees Or Charges – Depending on the bank, for each transaction, it could cost anywhere from £10 to £4o or local currency equivalent. A foreign exchange broker will process your transfer to the UK with no transfer fees and narrow margin (or spread).
- Better Exchange Rates – A bank will, as a rule, be making a spread of between 2-6% whereas the rates on offer from leading providers will be around 1%. Once your trade is executed, you will be provided with a deal notification showing clearly the base currency amount and the number of Euros purchased.
Foreign Exchange Contracts
A foreign exchange broker offers several supplementary services not available in banks or on many money transfer apps. These include:
- Spot contracts – Arranging a transfer and agreeing on a rate and sending the money to the UK shortly after
- Forward contracts – fix today’s exchange rate for payment up to 2 years in the future. guaranteeing the cost of your purchase and avoiding foreign exchange volatility.
- Stop-loss – If your currency pair is trending lower a stop-loss protects your currency from depreciating too much, the currency is traded automatically when it hits the agreed level
- Firm order – target a rate superior to the current foreign exchange market rate. Once the desired exchange rate is reached, the currency is purchased automatically day or night.
- Option contract – as with the forward contract but also having the ability to opt for a superior rate is the market rate improves. Typically for businesses rather than private clients.
- Regular international transfers – A payment plan to send money overseas regularly
Documents needed for a foreign exchange broker account
The application to open your foreign exchange account can be completed within minutes. The first step is to apply online giving personal details and a brief overview of transfer needs. Once complete you will typically need to supply the following to get your account approved
- A valid form of photo ID
- Recent utility bill or address proof (less than 3 months old)
List of Foreign Exchange Brokers
- Boutique brokerages such and Newbridge FX offer tailored services to cater to their clients’ needs and work tirelessly to limit their clients’ FX risk.
- Midsize brokerages such as Rational FX operate both corporate and private client operations with a focus being on key markets such as France and Spain.
- Large multi Geographic operations such as Moneycorp operate in multiple jurisdictions and have many local offices to best serve their global clientele.
Banks in the UK
There are over 45 building societies and 300 banks in the UK, making it the largest banking system in Europe and the fourth largest on the planet. The different branches of the UK banking system include:
UK High Street banks services to the public. These can include current accounts, savings accounts and investments
Business banking solutions are offered by High street banks in the UK along with normal accounts. They typically include added services and also fees.
The top 5 UK banks
- Lloyds Banking Group
- Royal Bank of Scotland Group
- Standard Chartered
Opening a bank account in the UK
whether relocating or buying an investment property in one of the UK’s major cities you will need to transfer money and hold rental earnings in a UK bank. Opening a bank account can typically be done either online or face to face when visiting. To open a UK bank account, you’ll need to provide two pieces of documentation: one to prove your identity as well as one to prove your address. This applies both in-branch and also online.
Showing your identification document is easy. You just need your passport, driving licence or identity card (if you’re from the EU ).
You’ll likewise have to prove your address by providing one of the following.
Every bank has its list of address proof examples that are acceptable as evidence. Generally speaking, these consist of:
- a rental contract or mortgage declaration;
- an up to date electricity or gas expense (less than 3 months old);.
- a recent (less than 3 months old) financial institution or debit card statement that’s not copied off the web.
- a current UK council tax receipt.
UK bank details
In most cases, you can find your UK bank account details and sort code on your UK debit card. The sort code is six digits long and the bank account number is eight.
- SORT CODE – 12-34-56
- ACCOUNT NUMBER – 87654321
GB relates the United Kingdoms IBAN which will be required for international money transfer or receiving funds from overseas locations. The GB code covers the Channel islands and Isle of Man.
Investing In Real Estate In The UK
The UK real property market has been one of the most popular for foreign investors that are looking to achieve steady capital appreciation and know their investment is easily rentable. Last year (2019) saw huge interest in the UK’s property market from Asia, US and Europe as investors capitalised on a weak GBP and a Brexit induced softening in residential property prices.
Data showed that buy to let foreign investors in 2019 increased from 7% to 11% of the total buy to let market. In London it is now believed that foreign buy to let owners make up 18% of the market a number which will surely continue if GBP exchange rates remain attractive.
Despite political challenges and the soon to be concluded Brexit, rental and property markets remain buoyant and have shown resilience to lower consumer confidence.
The trend of UK citizens renting property is only increasing with 25% of under 40’s now renting. In turn property prices in the UK remain stable and in some cases are increasing in value.
Checklist For Foreign Property Buyers
- Know your budget and how you plan on financing the project – if you are a cash buyer and don’t require a mortgage this is more straight forward. If finance isn’t required it might still be worth considering, interest rates remain at historic lows and if you plan to buy to let or renovate and sell, financing could allow you to retain some capital for property improvements. Many specialist mortgage brokers will offer an array of ways to finance your property, you should expect to provide a deposit of between 10-25% at minimum. Don’t forget stamp duty, legal fees and surveyor costs which all begin to add up.
- Now you have your budget know your area – whilst many will immediately flock to the capital, prices in popular areas can be unattainable for many. If the property is purely a vehicle for investment you may wish to consider the suburbs or other UK cities. Prices tend to be more achievable and in many areas rental demand is still oversubscribed. Once an area is selected perform the necessary research on the socioeconomics situation of that area to ensure resale will be feasible and quick tenancy likely. This will allow you to define your budget and transfer money to the UK to embark on your project.
- New build choosing correctly – before committing ensure that the location of your newbuild investment is appropriate for its job. Is the neighbourhood suitable for your prospective tenant? Are transport links adequate? Whilst its hard to know as a foreign investor whether you’d be happy to live there try and put yourself in the place of the potential tenant and understand if the property fulfils their requirements.
- Once you have selected a property get a legal expert – remember there are no silly questions, expect those that aren’t asked! Getting a helpful legal representative can be key as you may encounter terminology and unplanned expense if the correct research isn’t done. Before committing to a solicitor, talk them through your project and your goals and ensure you are on the same page. They will also be able to provide you with an overview of all the costings involved in the process and when payment will be expected.
- Ensure you optimise your currency payment – Once you have selected a new build and have your tranche payment schedule, or have agreed a price for an existing property you’ll need to contact a foreign exchange broker. They will discuss a number of options in order for you to maximise your base currency and easily transfer money to the UK. Those located in the US will have to get in touch with a US regulated currency transfer specialist who can assist with money transfers from the US . Once your account is activated and approved you can typically send money to the UK the same day, although we always advise opening an account within a timely fashion.
- Sourcing a competent lettings agent- as an overseas property investor you will be ill advised to manage your investments yourself if you aren’t in the country. Typically, a credible lettings agent will charge between 10-25% of the rental income. Its worth checking exactly what is covered for that fee and if the fee quoted is at higher end of the scale comb through the agreement to decipher whether it represents good value. Also feel free to negotiate both on price and the length of contract.
Why Start A Business In The UK?
Whilst the UK for many years has proved popular with property investors and developers its also a sought-after location for entrepreneurs and business investors. Despite the uncertainty which has been created by the UK imminent departure from the EU foreign investment still remains high. FDO or foreign direct investment in the UK remained the highest in Europe.
Whatever comes of Brexit its hard to imagine that the UK will lose significant rank when it comes to attracting global capital and overseas investors. Here are just a few reasons why the UK is viewed so favourably.
- Ease of use – the UK is one of the easiest places to do business and typically a company can be created in just two weeks.
- Weak pound – compared to pre Brexit it levels the pound is low, meaning the money you send to the UK goes further.
- Tax efficient – completive for local and international investors top rate tax sits at 40% and corporation tax at just 28%
- Employment law– employment law in Europe can be a challenge and, in many cases, prohibits a company’s growth when combined with tax. The UK ranks highly when it comes to easy employment of workers yet remains fair to employees.
- Stable political environments – Corruption in the UK remains low at all levels and the government has been stable for many years.
- Sound regulatory situation – the UK follows expert consultant when making regulatory changes. Its financial regulation is sound and financial systems amongst the safest in the world.
- Sourcing talent – levels of higher education are good and relatively accessible. The UK prides itself on its talent pool and boast 6 universities amongst the ranking institutes in Europe.
- Top transport links – whilst road networks can prove busy, the UK posses a number of major airports, Train rotes and ports to facilitate distribution and delivery
Best ways to send money to the UK?
The best payment method when sending money to the UK will depend on your scenario. If you are sending money to top up the same bank account in the UK, a transfer app or foreign exchange broker platform could be ideal. Their online trading solutions will allow you to send regular small amounts at your convenience, achieve a competitive exchange rate and transfer your money to the UK quickly. If however you are looking at a more significant longer term transfer, the consultancy offered by a foreign exchange broker can be invaluable. Foreign exchange brokers can keep you up to speed with significant exchange rate changes and provide a number of currency exchange solutions to maximise your money transfer to the UK. They are also up to speed with critical financial data which could impact your exchange rate. Foreign exchange brokers offer even more advanced solutions for businesses who regularly send money to the UK and need to mitigate risk and protect their bottom lines.
How long does a money transfer take to the UK?
If you have already set up an account with a money transfer application or foreign exchange broker you will only require your UK beneficiary details of your bank account or the person or company you are transferring money to. If you haven’t as yet opened an account with a foreign exchange broker or transfer app to send money to the UK, don’t worry, the process should only take 5-10 minutes and once approved will allow you to transfer money to the UK immediately. In many cases you will require little or no paperwork to get you foreign exchange broker account set up. If you do however require paperwork, the foreign exchange broker will typically request the following: 1 – Valid passport or photo Identification (drivers license or ID card are typically accepted). 2 – Recent utility bill or bank statement (must be at most 3 months old). Larger money transfers of £500,000 or more may require supporting documentation e.g property purchase contract or commercial invoice. Once the account is set up you will then just need the IBAN number or swift code to transfer money to the UK.
What are the cost of transferring money to the UK?
The time taken for your foreign exchange to process, convert funds and funds to clear in an international bank account will depend on whether you use a bank or a specialist foreign exchange broker. A broker will typically be able to complete the process in a maximum of 2 days. If however you have already credited your foreign exchange account, funds can clear in the UK on the same day. If for some reason your funds are delayed, a foreign exchange broker can create a trace and provide a document to prove when funds left the brokerage. You can then forward this on to the beneficiary bank to locate funds if they’re unable to. If you decide to transfer your money to the UK via your bank rather than a foreign exchange broker or money transfer app, expect the transfer to take a while longer, sometimes up to 4 working days.
Is it safe to send money to the UK online?
The money transfer cost or fee when sending money to the UK will vary from bank to bank or foreign exchange broker to another. Banks will typically charge between £10 to 30 to transfer money to the UK, however transfers within the EU using the SEPA system should not incur a reception fee. Those outside of Europe could be liable, however many foreign exchange brokers will kindly absorb the charge. The vast majority of foreign exchange brokers wont charge a money transfer fee and generate their profit between the buy and sell rate. The foreign exchange brokers featured on this site don’t charge a fee to transfer money to the UK. If you are charged a reception fee by your UK bank, you should quiz why a charge has been taken. The SEPA payments system should ensure that reception fees are avoided.