How to Transfer Large Amounts of Money Internationally

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August 23, 2023
6 min read
Too many people are still using their bank for large international transfers. Not only are they the most expensive, but they provide the worst service too.

There are a few ways you can transfer money abroad:

  • Your bank
  • Remittance companies
  • Transfer apps
  • Currency brokers

However, for large transfers, I’d only recommend one.

Which is, a specialised money transfer firm. More specifically, a currency broker.

Currency brokers were purpose made for large transfers.

In this article, I’ll tell you how to transfer large amounts of money internationally and how a currency broker can help.

(and why you definitely shouldn’t use your bank)

A plane taking off.
Transferring money abroad can be a stressful process

How to transfer large amounts of money internationally

The process is a lot simpler than most think:

1. Pick your provider

Pick the company which you think will do the best job for you.

As I explain further down, it comes down to:

  • Cost
  • Safety
  • Speed

Keep reading to learn about what kind of company to choose, and how to choose them.

2. Sign up and get verified

Fill in the form, and get ready to send in your documents.

This will usually be:

  • Government ID (passport, drivers licence, etc.)
  • Proof of address (utility bill, bank statement, etc.)
  • Source of funds (where the money is coming from)
  • Source of wealth (how you obtained this money)
  • Recipient ID (if you aren’t the recipient)

You will usually always be asked for the first two.

This is simply to open your account, and verify that you are who you say you are.

The other three usually come with larger transfers, as there are more questions to be asked.

By supplying documents you are asked for, you are aiding the prevention of financial crime.

You might feel like it violates your privacy, but it is necessary.

Especially for large transfers.

3. Send your funds

Next, it’s time to send your money to the provider.

With larger amounts, you’ll probably have to perform a bank transfer.

It’s usually the quickest and cheapest option, anyway.

Simply pop into a branch and arrange the transfer.

Your bank may charge a small fee for transferring large sums.

4. Lock in the exchange rate

This part is important, as it determines how much money you’ll get on the other side.

You can either:

  1. Lock in the rate straight away
  2. Keep the money there and lock in the rate another time
  3. Set a limit order to trigger an exchange at a target rate
  4. Book a forward contract to lock in a rate now, for a future date

Most people opt for the first option and convert the funds right away.

It’s always best to have a discussion with your account manager.

They’ll give you an outlook on the rate in the future, and if there might be a better time to convert.

A forex graph.
With exchange rates moving every 3 seconds, it's important to time your transfer correct

5. Receive your funds

Once converted, you need to provide the company with your recipient details.

This will usually be an IBAN and BIC, however it varies from country to country.

Again, your account manager will be able to help with that.

Your provider will then dispatch your funds.

With most currencies and countries, you should receive the funds the same day if not the next day.

However, some payments can take a few days.

Best way to transfer large amounts of money overseas

As I said before, you’ll want to use a specialised money transfer firm for large amounts.

In my opinion, a large amount of money (in the context of money transfers) is anything over £5000.

You’ll find that a lot of currency brokers won’t transfer less than £5k.

They are better suited for transferring £100k, £250k, even up to millions abroad.

This could be for things like house purchases or repatriating a large inheritance.

Using any other method opens you up to extortionate costs and poor customer service.

Why is that?

  • Currency brokers have small FX spreads (better exchange rates)
  • They don’t charge fees
  • They specialise in high volume money transfers (their bread and butter)
  • You’ll receive excellent customer service (over the phone)
  • You can get help timing your transfer to maximise your exchange

While a money transfer app would provide similar costs, you just won’t get the same level of service.

It’s so important to have someone guiding and helping you when transferring a large amount.

If you have any problems, you can have your account manager on the line in no time.

Or, if your transfer is under £5k, you should have a read of our article on Money Transfer Apps instead.

Why you shouldn’t use your bank

Usually, when you think of money transfers, you think of banks.

Using your bank is the worst idea.

The big London banks.
The big banks will often charge up to 6% on your transfer

They are the most expensive method by a country mile.

Transferring £100k abroad is likely to cost you around £5000 more than a currency broker.

This is because of their terrible exchange rates and transfer fees.

On top of that, their customer service isn’t the best and they don’t specialise in currency exchange.

It’s just one of the many things that a bank provides.

With a specialised firm, you’ll have a better customer journey and save a lot of money along the way.

Things to consider when choosing your provider

The larger the transfer, the more critical it is that you take the necessary steps to protect yourself.

With that said, here are the main 3 things you need to look at when choosing your provider.

How much does it cost?

There are two main costs when making an international transfer:

  1. Transfer fees
  2. Exchange rates

Transfer fees are usually charged as a flat fee, per transfer.

However, some providers may charge a % of the volume.

Currency brokers don’t charge a fee for large transfers.

The most important cost for you is in the exchange rate.

Some companies provide better rates than others.

At any one time, there is a central rate of exchange for each currency pair.

This is called the interbank rate.

You will never receive the interbank rate for your transfer.

Instead, companies will offer you roughly between 0.2% and 2% under that rate.

I recommend getting a rate from each provider at the same time to compare them.

This way, you know you’re getting the best possible rate out there.

How safe am I?

I would say that the safety of you and your funds is the most important thing to consider.

Fortunately, it’s really easy to distinguish between the safe and the unsafe.

When considering a provider, look to see if they’re financially regulated.

Usually, they’ll be regulated in their home country and if you’re lucky, other countries too.

If you look towards the bottom of their website, there should be a bit of writing outlining their regulation.

Key Currency regulation snippet.
Always make sure that the company is regulated

As you can see, Key Currency is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK.

But what does this mean for you?

It means that the company’s operations are constantly reviewed, audited and scrutinised to maximise client safety.

The FCA doesn’t just hand out regulations willy-nilly.

To become regulated, you have to show that you were already cautious, safe and reliable.

Over a long period of time, too.

If a company is regulated, you’re in safe hands.

I would avoid any company that isn’t.

To make it easy for you, all companies listed on TopMoneyCompare.com are FCA regulated.

How fast is the transfer?

Let’s say that you’re buying a house abroad.

Completion day is tomorrow, and you’ve left it a little late to transfer the funds.

You need to make the transfer ASAP.

This is one scenario where transfer speed is essential.

However, if there’s no rush then obviously this bit isn’t too important.

For common currencies like GBP, EUR or USD, most companies can do a same-day transfer.

Currencies like AUD and NZD, however, are ‘next-day currencies’ due to the time zone difference.

Before signing up, just ask about transfer times and how long it will take for you to receive your money.

What is the maximum amount of money I can transfer overseas?

There isn’t a set maximum amount.

In theory, you could transfer billions if you wanted.

However, there are some ways you may be limited:

  • Government specific restrictions
  • Bank limits
  • Company limits

Your government / financial body (HMRC, IRS etc.) might ask questions about huge transfers.

If you’re worried, I’d just ask them and be upfront.

With your bank, they might impose a sending limit, for example £25k per day.

You can usually overcome this by visiting your local branch.

As for company limits, there usually aren’t any.

The larger your transfer, the more money they make.

Common reasons for sending large amounts of money abroad

There are a few reasons why you might want to send a large sum overseas:

  • To purchase a property
  • To repatriate proceeds from the sale of a property abroad
  • To repatriate a large inheritance
  • To purchase a boat or vehicle
  • To emigrate to another country
  • To repatriate proceeds from a business sale

All of these scenarios are best suited for a currency broker.

It’s what they do everyday.

Not only are the account managers experts in currency exchange, they’ll also have a good knowledge of property and asset transactions.

I could go on all day about why to use a broker.

Ultimately, the decision is yours.

A house.
You might need to transfer a large amount abroad to buy a property

Summary

With larger transfers, more care has to be taken from both parties.

You’ll have to assess the market and pick a provider that’s good on cost, safety and speed.

Your provider will have to ask questions about your transfer to prevent financial crime.

All in all, the process could take a little longer but is still a relatively simple one.

That’s whether you’re buying a house abroad or even recovering inheritance.

Sign up, send your funds, lock in the rate and receive your money.

And, for one last time, definitely use a currency broker.

You’ll get the best rates and service out there.

Definitely don’t use your bank!

Just below, you can get a quote and compare rates from our recommended currency brokers.

Compare and save on your money transfer

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