9 min read

Are you looking for a quick and secure method of sending money overseas? It’s not only the security of your transfer method you should be considering, but also if they charge hidden fees or add on a mark-up for facilitating the exchange. This guide will explain how to transfer large sums of money internationally so that you can keep more of your funds for the things that matter.

Your options for transferring large sums of money internationally

If you’re planning on transferring large sums of money from abroad to the UK, you need to be clued up on the pros and cons of the different financial institutions out there. Below we’ve covered the three main options for an international money transfer and what you can expect to pay in fees and exchange rates for your transfer.

Option 1 – your high street bank

Your high street bank can send large amounts of money internationally to another bank account. This can be done online, over the phone or in person, provided you have the following information:

  • The recipient’s name and ID
  • Their IBAN
  • SWIFT (a code that identifies specific banks and financial institutions) or BIC code
  • National Clearing Code or routing code (for countries that don’t use SWIFT or BIC)

Some banks offer wire transfers, which is a way of sending money electronically from one bank account to another. You may have to pay a fee to send or receive money through a wire transfer, and it can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to process and complete. If you live in the United States and want to do a wire transfer, it must be executed before 5pm EST for the money to arrive on the same day.

Here are some factors to bear in mind if you’re considering sending the money via your high street bank:

  • Minimum spending limits – while there’s no legal limit to what you send, some banks don’t accommodate transferring large sums of money and have a minimum spending limit (e.g. Natwest sets a £25,000 limit, while at Lloyds it’s £30,000). If you exceed the service provider’s limit, you’ll have to complete your transaction in separate intervals, which will cost you more in transaction fees.
  • Fluctuating and inflated exchange rates – when conducting an international money transfer, banks tend to levy unfavourable exchange rates to increase their own profits. Together with hidden bank fees, these charges can run into the thousands on large exchanges.
  • Getting the right timing to maximise exchange rates – do you have a specific deadline for your international money transfer? Check whether your bank can process your transfer within that time frame, as sometimes it can take longer for them to process a large amount of money due to additional verification checks needing to take place.

Option 2 – a specialist money transfer service

Instead of sending the money through your bank, you can use a specialist money transfer company, such as Clear Currency. Going through these providers is often the best way to transfer large sums of money internationally because:

  • They specialise in international transfers – a money transfer company will have the expertise to help you take advantage of the ever-fluctuating foreign exchange rates and choose the best time to transfer your money. Using Clear Currency’s platform, you can transfer any amount of money up to £50,000 on the same day. For larger amounts, you can speak to a member of our expert team.
  • They’re secure and reliable – many transfer partners like Clear Currency are registered and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the conduct regulator for around 51,000 financial services firms and financial markets in the UK.
  • They offer huge savings in hidden transfer fees – the majority of specialist transfer services avoid the SWIFT network and its third-party payments. This results in cheaper fees, so you get to keep more of your money.

Other ways to transfer money internationally

Prepaid debit card

As the sender, you can load a prepaid debit card with cash, and the receiver can withdraw the money using this card. It sounds simple enough, but this method comes with hefty activation and monthly fees, and it’s unlikely you’d be able to transfer a large amount of money.

Cash-to-cash transfers

If you have physical cash that you need to send abroad, you can deposit it at a domestic, walk-in money transfer centre such as Western Union. The domestic currency is converted to the local currency of the destination country and can be picked up by the recipient at a participating money transfer centre.

How to choose a bank or foreign payment provider?

Security

When your international money transfer involves a large amount, your method of transfer needs to be as safe and secure as possible. Whichever firm you choose, ensure it’s registered and regulated by the FCA so you know your money is in safe hands. This means that the FCA will regularly ‘review how the firm engages with customers to check that they are being treated fairly during their relationship with the firm’.

Fees

Before choosing any bank or foreign payment provider, do some research on the costs and fees of sending the money. If you plan on transferring money via one of your credit cards, check the terms and conditions so you know exactly what fees you could incur.

Dedicated foreign exchange specialists tend to be the cheapest way to transfer large sums of money internationally. At Clear Currency, we provide a complete service to make sure you keep more of your money when you transfer with us. You’ll get full transparency on our rates and fees, a better exchange rate, and an expert team to back it up.

Exchange rates

The mid-market rate is the midpoint between the buy and sell prices of any two currencies at any time. It's used across the world and regarded as the fairest and most transparent exchange rate.

While you can find the mid-market exchange rate between two currencies on Google, banks and brokers may not always offer you this. Instead, they add a mark-up that they keep as profit for facilitating the exchange – but without showing you the true rate. Red flags to look out for are claims of zero commission, no fees or what they describe as their best day rates.

Instead, money transfer services like Clear Currency help you avoid these fees entirely by giving you the genuine mid-market rate you’ll get for your pounds if you exchange on the same day.

Key takeaway

  • The best way to transfer large amounts of money internationally is through a money transfer service such as Clear Currency. Ultimately it’s cheaper and more convenient than a bank as we don’t restrict how much money you can transfer.
  • For peace of mind that your money is safe, choose a reliable FCA regulated entity for sending large amounts.
  • Benefit from huge savings in hidden fees, charges and inflated exchange rates when you exchange with a money transfer company.
  • By using a dedicated foreign exchange specialist, you'll get the most competitive exchange rate available based on the mid-market rate.

Make fast, simple and secure international payments with Clear Currency

At Clear Currency, we’ve helped thousands of people and businesses to send money overseas quickly, painlessly and with market-leading rates that save you money.

Our easy-to-use, online platform lets you transfer between 35 currencies around the world. It’s available 24/7, so you can make your exchanges whenever you want. Or if you’d prefer to speak to someone about a certain aspect of your exchange, our dedicated team is only ever a phone call away. You’ll be assigned a dedicated account manager who can answer your questions and guide you on the right time to exchange based on current and predicted future rates.

Simply sign up for a free, no obligation account and we’ll handle your international transactions in a smooth, speedy and affordable manner.

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