How To Save With Cheap Money Transfers | Western Union UK

United Kingdom By Linas Janulevicius Oct 20, 2023

How to save money on international money transfers

Sending money abroad? You’ll want to get the most bang for your buck.  

If you regularly send money to loved ones overseas, you’ll know that international money transfers aren’t as simple as domestic ones. There are exchange rates to contend with, not to mention transfer fees.  

So, where can you find a cheap money transfer? Is there such a thing as a free money transfer? If you’re looking for the best deal, don’t just head to your bank. It’s often cheaper (and easier) to use a different service to send money abroad. 

Here are some top tips for savvy money-senders to help you save on international transfers. 


1. Compare transfer providers

Often, the best way to find a cheap money transfer is to shop around. Transfer providers have different fees, exchange rates, and transfer times, so check out a range of companies to find the best deal. 

How much you’ll pay for a transfer also depends on the amount of money you’re sending, how you’re paying for it, and how the transfer will be received. 

You can send money abroad with both traditional banks and online money transfer services. Some service providers have tools to calculate how much a transfer might cost you before you begin, like Western Union’s free price estimator. 


2. Use online money transfer services

If you’re hunting for the best deal, online money transfer services tend to offer better rates than traditional banks. Online transfer services like Western Union offer cheap international money transfers. 

Better exchange rates and lower transfer fees often make these providers a cheaper way to send a transfer than using a big bank. 


3. Look for fixed fees

If you’re sending a large amount of money, fixed transfer fees might cost you less.  

Some providers charge a percentage of the transfer amount as their fee, which can add up if you’re sending a big sum. Instead, look for providers that offer fixed fees. You’re more likely to get a low-cost money transfer with fixed fees than with variable fees for larger transfer amounts. 


4. Watch out for hidden fees

Beware of hidden fees. Some providers will entice you with low transfer rates and competitive exchange rates, then add on extra fees further along the transfer process. 

Common hidden fees include correspondent bank fees or receiving fees for the recipient. Hidden fees can have a significant impact on the total cost of your transfer. 

If you’re hunting for a cheap money transfer, make sure you use a provider with transparent pricing so there are no unpleasant surprises later. 


5. Choose a low-cost payment method

How you pay for your transfer can impact the total cost. It’s often cheaper to pay by bank transfer than by credit card, for example. 

Credit card transactions can incur extra fees, like higher fees upfront or extra charges from your credit card provider. To transfer money cheaply, choose another way to pay. 


6. Look at exchange rates

You might think the exchange rate is the same however you send money, but it’s not. Most money transfer providers mark up the exchange rate. 

Check the exchange rate for each provider before you make a transfer. The higher the final amount in foreign currency, the lower the markup is. Some providers let you check exchange rates before you begin a transfer, like Western Union’s currency converter tool. 

Looking at exchange rates is important to find a cheap money transfer, but don’t forget to look at the fees, too. Some providers offer low exchange rates but high fees, so the transfer will end up costing you more. 


7. Monitor exchange rates

If your transfer isn’t an emergency, it can be cheaper to wait for a good exchange rate to send the money. Exchange rates fluctuate every day, so waiting to make a transfer can save you money. 

You can even set up exchange rate alerts with some providers. When your desired exchange rate is matched, you’ll be alerted to send your low-cost money transfer. 


8. Check for promotions and discounts

Some providers offer great deals on money transfers, especially for new customers. Promotions are the most common way you’ll find a free money transfer. 

For example, Western Union offer fee-free money transfers for your first online transfer. This means you can send a free international money transfer – that’s a £0 transfer fee. Pretty good, right? 


9. Check transfer limits and processing times

So, you’ve found a cheap money transfer provider. But can they get your transfer where it needs to go in time? And can you send as much money as you need to? 

Make sure you check the transfer limits and processing times for each provider. If you need to get money to your loved ones fast, choose a speedy provider that can send your money across the world quickly. This can vary depending on the payment method and receiving method. For example, cash pickup is often a faster way to receive the money than a bank transfer. 

Providers will also have limits on how much money you can send at once. If you need to send a large amount, not every provider can facilitate this. 


10. Use peer-to-peer (P2P) money services

Some money transfer service providers use a peer-to-peer (P2P) model. P2P models work by matching transfers leaving one country and entering another in reverse. This allows service providers to offer more competitive exchange rates. 

For example, Tom wants to send money from the UK to Mia in India. He is looking for a cheap money transfer to India from the UK, so he chooses a P2P money transfer service. The transfer service matches his UK money (GBP) to Indian rupees (INR) with senders who want to transfer money in the opposite direction, from India to the UK. Mia receives the money transfer locally, peer-to-peer. The money never left India, so the fees are reduced. 

It might sound a little complicated, but the provider will take care of everything for you. Western Union uses a P2P model to offer a cheap way to send money abroad. 


What’s the best way to send a cheap money transfer?

Looking for a cheap international money transfer? There are lots of providers out there offering low-cost money transfers – but which one is best? 

There’s no right answer. The most cost-effective method can vary depending on: 

  • The amount you’re sending. 
  • The currencies involved. 
  • Your payment method. 
  • Your receiving method. 
  • How fast you need to send money.  

To find the best deal, shop around, read reviews, and choose a reputable provider that suits your requirements while offering competitive rates and low fees. 

Western Union makes international money transfers easy. With competitive rates and a choice of ways to send money, it’s no surprise we’re trusted by our users to make millions of transfers worldwide every year. 

Make your first online transfer with Western Union for £0 transfer fee. 

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