How to Send Money Overseas Safely

By: Chris Haycock | Posted on: 26 June 2015

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As a British citizen, it is likely that at some point in life you might have come across the need to send money overseas.

There a number of reliable and convenient ways to send money abroad with a number of firms willing to do business with you including foreign exchange brokers and commercial banks.

We look at the different ways of sending money abroad with a well detailed overview of the options that will help you choose what's best for you in future.

Credit and Debit Cards

Of the many alternatives available, the first available option is the use of a credit or debit card for convenient money transfers.

Depending on the services and the platform used, using a credit or debit card can help speed up the process and save on time as compared to using banks.

Using either of these will however still cost you more than when paying in cash. Using the example of Transferwise, a platform available for all British nationals, the process of sending money using a debit card on this platform is fast and secure.

Cards accepted by Transferwise are Maestro, Master card and Visa and the most commonly used currencies are the British Sterling Pound and the Euro.

Transferwise will offer you a market rate for the currency in which you are looking to transfer and then add a small transfer fee on top.

A nominal flat fee is charged on smaller amounts whereas a percentage rate is charged on a certain threshold. When using a debit card, what is of importance is for the name on your debit card to match with that on your account.

Money transfer operators

There are a number of money transfer operators in the UK. It is important for one to choose the right money transfer operator in order to save money and secure payments.

Some of the operators available in Britain include; Transferwise, Azimo International money transfer, Fast Global Currency exchange and Western Union.

The cost of sending money overseas using these platforms will largely depend on the exchange rates and transfer fees. Most of these transfer operators will offer a better deal when transferring larger sums of money.

You will need to compare providers in order to see the providers with the best offers. The amount that you pay usually includes the sum that you intend to transfer as well as the provider's fee for putting it through.

It normally takes 3 to 5 working days for the international transfer to be complete.


The advantage of using a bank to send money overseas is that the transfer is easy to arrange, secure and good for small payments.

A standard transfer normally takes around 5 working days but you can be able to cut the transfer time to 1 or 2 days at an extra cost. Most of the high end street banks in the United Kingdom have branches of their banks overseas or special arrangements with overseas banks.

This translates to a lower or no charge on overseas payment as well as better competitive exchange rates. It is best to ask your bank to cover all the charges as well as your payment so that the recipient receives the full amount that they expected.

You will often need the international bank account number and bank account code for the account you are making payment to.

It is expected that your bank will always guide you on the process of sending the money abroad.

Prepaid Cards

Prepaid cards can be used to make safe and convenient money transfer overseas. Prepaid cards are not linked to any bank account or credit facility and there is therefore no risk of being run up in debt.

Prepaid cards can be a safe alternative to carrying foreign currency when you travel overseas.

These cards can also be used to send money to those overseas. This is made possible by providers issuing multiple cards for one prepaid account.

Foreign Exchange Broker

Foreign exchange brokers are specialists in currency transactions and are an alternative to sending money overseas.

The brokers usually deal with huge transfers and normally don't charge a fee for sending money. All you need to do is to open and transfer money to an account with the broker.

Before using a broker, it is important to first check out their firm before making any commitment and confirm their credibility as there is no compensation scheme available to cover any of your losses.


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