Find the best way to send money from the UK to the US

What is the cheapest way to transfer money internationally?

The cheapest way to transfer money from the UK to the USA is dependent on getting the best exchange rate. In the UK, there are dozens of online money transfer services that offer the "best exchange rate."

With so many online money transfer companies offering the same service, it can be confusing to check which one gives you the best rate. Our comparison table helps you find the cheapest company to send money to the US in a matter of seconds.

Get the
best exchange rate

Use our comparison table to find the best money transfer service for you and get the most out of your British pounds.

How to transfer money to a bank account in the USA?

Using a money transfer service

Sign up online to transfer money to the US from UK

1

Sign up online They will accept one off transfers so you don’t need to be a regular customer. Take photos of your id and send. It usually takes 5 - 10 minutes to type in your personal details, verify your identity and set your account with passwords and preferences in their online platform.
Provide details to transfer money to the US from UK

2

Provide international money transfer details Tell them how much USD you want to send. You will need to include the routing or SWIFT number and bank account number in the US. Send the funds requested, normally through a bank transfer, but some accept credit cards and debit cards.
Make payment to transfer money to the US from UK

3

Delivery of money Money is delivered to the US bank account and you are kept up to date regularly with the transfer via phone or email. They are very good at keeping you informed of where you money is at any point in time.

What are the costs to make a money transfer online?

How to choose who to use when transferring money to the US from the United Kingdom

These are the transfer fees plus the exchange rates and any additional fee (normally charged by banks, not money transfer services).

  1. Exchange rates - The better the exchange rate, the more money you get in the US. Money transfer services that offer better rates will usually charge you a separate transfer fee.
  2. Transfer fees - These can range anywhere between GBP £3 to £10. Some online transfer companies like OFX even offer fee-free transfers for sending larger amounts. Banks can charge up to £50 per money transfer.
Total costs are lower with money transfer companies than banks.

Get the best exchange rate from your money transfer service

To get the best exchange rate when transferring money to the United States from the United Kingdom, it's always better to use a money transfer service.

We recommend the following 4 money transfer companies:

  1. Wise (formerly known as TransferWise): Best for smaller amounts
  2. OFX: Best for large money transfers
  3. Currencies Direct: Best for business transfers
  4. WorldRemit: Best for cash pickups
Best Money Transfer Service Options

How much money can I send from my UK bank account?

The maximum limits set by the money transfer companies are usually very large. However, they depend on which currencies you send to and from and how you pay.

For example, to send money from the UK to the United States the maximum limit for Wise (formerly known as TransferWise) is GBP £1,000,000. Wise allow you to send more than their limits, but you need to set up more than one transfer.

On the other hand, some money transfer companies have minimum transfer amounts like TorFX (£2,000) or OFX (£200).

 

How long does it take to send money from the United Kingdom to the United States?

A money transfer services can take 0 - 3 business days to convert your GBP to USD and deliver them to a local bank. Quite often the money transfer is delivered in under 2 days.

For example, when using a money transfer service like Wise they tend to quote arrival time in hours not days. They are that fast.

And unlike banks, most money transfer services keep you updated on the movement of your funds. This includes the estimated arrival time of your funds to the account you're sending money to.

How long does it take to transfer money from UK to the US?

What information will you need to make an international payment?

What information do you need to transfer money from the UK to the US?
  • Your personal information. Your full name, address and date of birth. For security reasons they need your photo id scanned or photographed. You can use your phone to take a photo and send
  • How you wish to pay: Your bank details, account numbers and address or debit/credit card details
  • The full name and address of the person you wish to pay
  • US bank account details, the name on the account, the SWIFT / BIC code and ABA routing number of the US bank account. You can also find the routing number from the US online banking service where the account is located, check/bank statement, or Fedwire.
Helpful hints

- Make sure your photo is of a high quality so they can see the picture. Make sure the id is valid and within the expiry date.
- You can't give your work/office address or PO box address.

What is the best way to make an international money transfer?

The best way depends on what is most important to you, frequency of transfers, customer service, reviews or your may have business needs that require forward, lock in or spot contracts.

1. Frequency

How often will you need to make an online money transfer? Being able to make regular and quick payments to family, friends or employees can be important and some mobile apps are better than others provided by money transfer services.

2. Good customer service

Do you need to speak an account manager for assistance? Look for a money transfer provider that works for you, whether you need 24/7 support via phone, email or online chat.

 

How to choose who to use when transferring money from UK to the US
3. Reviews or trustworthiness

Do reviews give you peace of mind when making an international transfer? If so, Trustpilot is a great source of 3rd party reviews. In addition, we have reviews to help you choose the best money transfer service to make your currency exchange from the UK to the US.

4. Cash pick-up

Does your friend or relative need to arrange a cash pick up? If so some money transfer providers offer this service and they can access the cash quickly.

5. Right product or service for your situation

Are you making a personal or business transfer? Business products include spot contracts, forward contracts and lock-in contracts to help you buy foreign currency at the best rate.

What to avoid when you transfer money to a US bank account

Instead of picking the absolute best deal or company to make your overseas money transfer, sometimes you'll save more money by avoiding the worst. Either way, we think it's wise to avoid these 3 things:

What to avoid when you transfer money from the UK to the US
1. Banks

Sending money directly from your bank to a US bank account can be expensive as they don't offer great exchange rates on your foreign exchange. Also banks have hidden costs which can make it difficult if you need to take into account the final amount of US dollars the person will receive.

2. Last minute cash transfers

Money transfer companies like Western Union allow the person you transfer money to in the US to pick up cash instantly from certain locations. This is convenient if you're sending money to the US without a bank account or if you want to transfer cash instantly. However it is expensive.

3. International money orders

You pay your bank or post office in return for an internationally guaranteed cheque. You then post this cheque to the person you're sending money to in the US. International money orders are typically the most inconvenient way to make an overseas money transfer, because they take ages and you run the risk of losing it in the post.

Can I use PayPal to transfer money internationally?

PayPal is good for paying small amounts under £100 and if the person in the United States has a PayPal account. But avoid it for larger transfers as it is more expensive than other options. If the person you're sending money to doesn't have an account, they can wait up to 28 days to receive funds. One of the biggest problems is the sudden freezing of accounts. If your account is frozen, you can't add or withdraw funds.

Will my online money transfer be safe?

One of the main questions people ask us is “will my money be safe online?" The answer is yes.

Money transfer services need to be regulated by Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to send money from the UK. They have very stringent guidelines to be allowed to send money.

These money transfer services implement strict verification processes to ensure they fully identify all of their customers. They also invest in identity protection, fraud prevention and encryption to create a secure connection with your browser when you register and login into their online services.

How do I keep my money safe when I transfer from UK to the US online?

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By Natalie Robertson Updated April 19th, 2021