The money transfer industry has changed tremendously in the past century. While state-backed currencies are still important nowadays, the way we conduct transactions has shifted towards internet-based technologies.
Back in the 1950s, banks started to use credit cards for the first time. About two decades later, in 1973, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) was created, which is a global network for transmitting money transfer instructions.
A few years later, the first electronic payment systems emerged. MoneyCorp, established in 1979, is one of the first money transfer companies in the UK. While it is still a leader in this industry, many other money transfer services have mushroomed on the market. Paypal and OFX were founded in 1998, paving the way for digital wallets, currency exchange convenience, and new and better money transfer services.
The money transfer industry has been growing tremendously in the past years. Essentially, banks have been key players in the financial services industry, but financial engineering breakthroughs now allow many innovative fintech businesses to provide high-quality, fast services to individuals and businesses alike.
While such services used to be available only to large companies, nowadays you can make transfers as low as £1 at very competitive costs. Below, we’ll introduce you to the most popular money transfer companies in the UK.
Money Transfer Companies List
There are hundreds of money transfer companies on the market. Below, we’ll focus on some of the most popular businesses featured on MTC (Money Transfer Comparison), one of the leading websites that cover the international money transfers industry.
1. Currencies Direct
Currencies Direct is a UK-based money transfer provider that caters to the needs of individuals and businesses alike. Founded in 1996, the company now has more than 20 offices around the world. Essentially, the provider offers customized solutions based on each client’s needs regarding amount of money, frequently, local regulations and compliance, and a few other factors.
Transfers using major currencies take place on the same day or the next working day. All transactions are carried out via an online platform available 24/7. The company is regulated by multiple institutions, including the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) in the United Kingdom.
As of this writing, clients can transfer up to £25,000 and carry out a few other operations, such as viewing live quotes, sending money to several payees at the same time, buying currency and holding it, and more. Currencies Direct also allows for better exchange rates for business money transfers from the UK and other countries in case of larger amounts. For more information, check out MTC’s Currency Direct review.
Previously known as TransferWise, Wise is one of the most popular money transfer services around the world. Many people who transfer money from the UK and other countries use this service as it covers approximately 80 countries and takes pride in its competitive rates and flexibility.
Wise boasts cost transparency due to the straightforward website that shows all the fees and rates. Clients enjoy peace of mind knowing that once a transfer is set up, all rates are guaranteed and they can even cancel pending transfers.
Unlike other money transfer providers, Wise’s mobile phone app is highly rated and you can easily sign up using an email address or a social media account. Unlike traditional banks, Wise only charges the midmarket rate on transfers, not an exchange rate markup. This makes it highly competitive compared to traditional financial companies.
Wise positions itself as an innovative, low-cost money transfer provider, but it doesn’t cater to clients who need a personal approach. Since it doesn’t offer personalised services, it may not suit those seeking to make larger transfers, such as large business payments.
OFX is an international money transfer company with a key advantage over its competitors: there’s no maximum transfer amount. It supports transfers to more than 190 countries and clients can use either the website or the user-friendly mobile app to set up transfers.
While OFX is one of the cheapest service providers on the market, transfers are not as quick as other companies such as Currencies Direct. The delivery of your money depends on the standard banking hours and processing methods, so you will have to wait a few days until the transfer is complete. While there is no maximum limit, the service is best suited for larger transfers as the minimum limit is $500.
In terms of security and trustworthiness, OFX enjoys more than 20 years of experience in the industry and more than 100 million happy customers all around the world. Apart from money transfers, OFX also helps its clients understand and manage international money transfers.
Established in 1991, XE is owned by Euronet Worldwide, an industry giant. Some of the main services provided by XE include online international money transfers, receiving money from abroad, dealer assistance, and rate alerts, so you don’t have to monitor exchange rates.
Established in Canada, XE started out as an innovative service: it is one of the first currency exchange rate providers on the Internet. Now, the company expanded into everything related to currencies and has processed billions of dollars since the early 2000s. One of the main reasons behind its popularity include low costs, as there are no fixed fees per transfer, and there are no payment fees.
In 2015, the company was bought by Euronet and has expanded tremendously ever since. The company is regulated in several countries around the world, including the UK and Europe, providing peace of mind and extra security benefits to its clients.
WorldFirst is one of the largest money transfer providers in the world. It is headquartered in the United Kingdom and specialises in international money transfers. WorldFirst ceased servicing private clients in 2020, so only businesses can access its online services.
The company has expanded to four continents since 2004 and ranked among the top UK international money transfer companies in terms of revenues in 2019. The company uses transaction banks, such as Barclays and Citibank, to carry out clients’ transactions.
One main focus of WorldFirst is providing services to online sellers. It is one of the most successful and fastest-growing firms in the UK in this industry, catering to all types of businesses ranging from small companies to MNCs (multinational corporations).
As of this writing, the company deals in approximately 130 currencies, while the minimum amount allowed is 1,000 domestic currency units. For transfers above £5,000, you will be connected to a dedicated deal for a personalized offer.
Sokin is the first money transfer provider that satisfies the needs of clients who make constant transfers abroad. Instead of the traditional cost structure that involves commissions or spreads, Sokin provides its services on a subscription basis.
The innovative fintech was launched in mid-2021, positioning itself as the first money transfer provider to allow unlimited transfers free of charge. The company was established by Vroon Modgill, an immigrant who understood the complications of money exchange, the costs involved, and the time required for such operations. Sokin was founded with the purpose of allowing clients to make fee-free transfers in a safe and transparent environment.
Overall, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to money transfer services. Nonetheless, companies like Currencies Direct, Wise, OFX, XE, WorldFirst, and Sokin bring multiple benefits to their target audience. Some of these include low costs, quick transfers, ease of use, and personalized services.
In the UK, money transfer companies enjoy popularity as they are safe and allow for quicker, cheaper transfers. Trustworthy service providers are closely regulated by the relevant authorities, providing security and peace of mind to their clients. Depending on whether you have a business or not, and the frequency of your international money transfers, one of the top brands discussed above will help you carry out the transactions safely and at a lower cost than traditional banks.