Travel Money Vs. International Money Transfer
The “international money transfer” industry is almost sister company to the travel money industry. Whereas travel money refers to the purchase of foreign cash from a certified provider (whether by home delivery, pickup, or on-the-spot exchange of cash), money transfers relates buying foreign currency conduct international bank wire transfers, i.e. you will buy foreign currency for your domestic currency from a provider who will send the funds after exchanging them back to you or a third party of your choice, through a bank wire.
While money transfer companies never handle cash exchanges, some companies “wear both hats”, for example Fairfx. Usually, if you require travel money, a money transfer company would refer you to a company they’re working with and mark you off their qualified clients list.
Comparing Money Transfer Companies
Travel money is a very price-sensitive industry. In an essence, the level of service and reliability is only secondary to the price you’ll be paying. The amounts of money which are in stake (if the company collapses or messes up your transfer) is relatively small, and it’s very instantaneous also i.e. you should be receiving your funds within 24 of payment. In addition to that the service is rather straightforward, and the regulatory requirements and required KYC processes are much softer .
- The international money transfer industry isn’t like this and it’s an important factor to considering upon creating a comparison. The intentional money transfer, in our opinion, is far more service and trust oriented:
- The service requires enough trust to move significant amounts of funds to an intermediary account before exchanging it. The accounts must be properly segregated from the companies current accounts so if the payment fails they are surely to return to the client.
- The service requires a thorough sign-up process with a comprehensive KYC which includes provision of some sensitive information. Almost as if you were to use a bank.
- The service isn’t always straightforward. A lot of clients choose to use other options than a spot payment at market price. So they can place other types of orders like limit and Forwards Contracts. That means using an international money transfer company is a long term relationship.
Due to the above, we thought that in order to compare money transfer companies properly we should be looking at information about the company and its offering. In addition to that, comparing prices is pretty tricky. They are constantly changing and more so are pretty much bespoke based on requirements (and negotiation). In fact, some of the companies have a Best Rate Guarantee in place which means they will match any competing offer, which means that someone who is price sensitive and has a large transfer to make can probably negotiate his rates to beat the default rates by a lot.
There are very few currency transfer companies which we know of who are completely transparent about their prices – Transferwise, Currencyfair, WorldRemit and only a handful more.
Money Transfer Reviews & Summary
We recommend you to scan through reviews for any company you are considering to use. We have listed the largest money transfer companies in the UK based on our industry knowledge. There could be more companies we missed out on, so we will be sure to update this page later on in the future.
List of money transfer companies: