Travel Money Vs. International Money Transfer
The “international money transfer” industry is almost a sister 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 relate to buying foreign currency by conducting 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 essence, the level of service and reliability is only secondary to the price you’ll be paying. The amount of money which are in stake (if the company collapses or messes up your transfer) is relatively small, and it’s very instantaneous 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 consider when comparing. 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 company’s current accounts, so if the payment fails, they are sure to be returned to the client.
- The service requires a thorough sign-up process with a comprehensive KYC, including some sensitive information. Almost as if you were to use a bank.
- The service isn’t always straightforward. Many clients choose to use options other 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 offerings. 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 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 scan through reviews for any company you are considering using. Based on our industry knowledge, we have listed the largest money transfer companies in the UK. 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: