Sending Money from the UK to the USA: Pitfalls, Tips and Tricks

If there’s one thing we know here at OrbitRemit, it’s that people have been paying far too much to send money from the UK to the United States. The world is getting ever smaller and technology is making virtually everything much cheaper and faster – gone are the days when an international transfer was a complex and difficult thing to complete. These days sending money from the United Kingdom to America is as simple as transferring a few bytes of information to the receiving institution.

Money transfer, UK, USA

As the world continues to shrink, the need for people to transfer money overseas is increasing. That means that more and more people are throwing away their hard earned money on unnecessary fees and charges, just so they can get their cash to where it’s needed. The United Kingdom and the United States, cultural differences aside, remain very close cousins and with the two societies being so closely interlinked (especially in terms of business and trading relationships) the need for cost-effective and fast ways to transfer cash stateside is extremely pressing.

So what are the best options for people in Britain to transfer currency across the Atlantic? How can you make sure that the money you’re sending gets where it’s needed expediently and with minimal expense? As with any transaction you’ve got a plethora of options, however the uncomfortable truth is that not all remittance services are created equal. Here’s a breakdown of the big three: the traditional banking system, specialist remittance firms and online transfers.

The Traditional Banking System

The fat cats in the City of London have been taking money from hard working people who need to send money to the United States for a very long time. There was a time when a telegraphic transfer or money order was your only choice and they did not come cheaply. The banking system has not moved with the times and continues to charge exhorbitantly while delivering lazy service and slow transfer speeds.

The only real advantage of using a traditional bank is that you’ve got a little bit more security that your funds are actually going to get where they need to be, compared to some remittance companies – however online services now make the same security possible without the huge fees. Also, if you have a relationship with an international bank they may well give you a free transfer if it is going between their own branches (they may, however, load the exchange rate accordingly so make sure you get out your calculator).

Smaller Specialist Remittance Services

These will often be more cost effective than the banks in terms of their fees, but the exchange rates in many cases are marked up by several points in order to cover their costs. Another thing worth noting about services like these, is that there is no requirement for them to ringfence (the process of separating client’s funds from their own at the end of the business day) – this means that if they flop, they may take your cash with them. Ringfencing is only enforced by the FCA for operators regularly transacting over 3,000,000 Euro a month.

Online Services – Like us

The big advantage of using an online remittance service to transfer funds to the USA is that because we don’t have the huge overheads that traditional bricks and mortar businesses do, we are able to pass those savings down the line to the people who transfer funds with us. Even in this area not all transfer services are created equal, with some charging percentage fees, taking a long time to remit the funds and not behaving transparently.

OrbitRemit charges a flat fee and will deposit your funds where they need to be in the US within 1-3 working days, depending on the receiving bank. Use our calculator at the top of the home page to see exactly what the amount you plan to send will equal, in the hands of the recipient, at the other end.

At the end of the day, as a consumer, it’s your right and responsibility to shop around. Just make sure when you’re making your choice that you read between the lines and work out what it is actually going to cost you. Also be sure to watch out for services that will also charge the recipient a fee on collection.


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