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Average Cost of a Money Transfer

Money transfers can cost anywhere from £0 up to £50 or even more if your bank charges a percentage fee and you're transferring a large sum of money. Find out how money transfer fees vary based on factors such as the size of your transfer, whether you make the transfer online or in branch, the type of bank you use, etc. to help you find the cheapest money transfer for your needs.

In addition to considering the fees charged to make your transfer, you'll also want to take into account the exchange rate offered before sending money.

Money Transfer Fees: Traditional Bank vs. Challenger Banks & Apps

Challenger banks and apps (e.g., TransferWise, Revolut and Monese) cost less for money transfers than traditional banks (e.g., a high street bank like HSBC) in many cases, but not always—it depends in large part on what type of account you have and how much money you're transferring. For example, as challenger banks/apps sometimes charge a percentage fee for money transfers and/or limit the amount you can transfer for free, their money transfers can be more expensive when you're transferring larger sums (unless you pay up for a premium account that has lower cost or even free money transfers).

Traditional banks tend to charge a fixed fee for money transfers, which can vary depending on how you're initiating the transfer (e.g., online or in branch). Fixed fees cost the same no matter how much money you send.

Challenger banks and money transfer apps typically either charge no fee (e.g., some premium accounts don't charge for money transactions) or a percentage fee. Percentage fees can mean you'll pay a lot of money to make a transfer if you're sending a larger sum. Below are some sample money transfer fees so you can get an idea of how pricing varies by type of service. Broadly speaking, transfers under £1,000 or so will generally be cheaper from a challenger bank or specialty online service as you'll either get a free transfer (Revolut) or the percentage fee will still work out less than you'd pay on the high street.

Online/App Money Transfer Fees
HSBC£4
Barclays£0 (plus £5 for SEPA payments and £15 for making a payment in Online Banking if you have a Business or Wealth Management account)
Lloyds£9.5
RBS£10 next day for Euros to European Community (SEPA), otherwise £22; £30 same day
Metro£10 for Euro payments to SEPA countries ; £25 from GBP account
N26€0.5-3.0 international transfer fee, plus 0.35-2.00% currency exchange fee
Starling Bank0.4% (e.g., £4 on a £1,000 transfer)
Revolut
  • Standard account: No fee up to free £5,000 foreign exchange allowance per month, then .5%
  • Premium and Metal: unlimited international money transfers for free each month
Monese
  • Simple: 2% fee, £2 min (free to Monese accounts)
  • Classic: 0.5% fee, £2 min (free to Monese accounts)
  • Premium: Free
TransferWise65p + 0.35%-2.85% currency conversion charge (e.g., 0.4% for a £1,000 GBP to EUR transfer)
MonzoSame as TransferWise (they've partnered up)
Western Union£0 fee to limited countries including USA, Poland, Spain, China, etc. up to a limit - but Western Union also makes money from currency exchange (approx 4% when we checked); otherwise fees vary by country, amount and how you're funding the transfer (e.g., £14.90 for a £1,000 bank-to-bank transfer to Germany)
World Remitvariable but generally starting from £2.99
chart comparing costs of money transfers from GBP to EUR

So if you're sending a large amount of money then it can be cheaper to pay a fixed fee (e.g., to a traditional bank) than paying a percentage fee to a challenger bank or money transfer app. For example, transferring £40,000 via a standard Revolut account would cost you £175 (you get £5,000 free each month, then are charged a 0.5% fee after that) versus the £4 fixed fee to HSBC for online money transfers.

Of course, for a sum this large you could save money in the long run by paying up for a premium account at a challenger bank. For example, the Revolut Metal account and the Monese Premium account allow for unlimited free international transfers—but you'll need to pay the monthly account fees of £12.99 and £14.95 a month, respectively.

Cost of Money Transfers: Online vs. Branch

If you're making a money transfer with a traditional bank, you'll usually have the option of initiating the transfer in one of three ways:

  • Online
  • Over the phone
  • In person in a branch

Generally speaking, making an international money transfer is cheapest when you do it online and most expensive in branch. For example, Barclays charges £0 for transfers made online but £25 to £40 for transfers made from a branch (or £15 from branch if you're making a SEPA transfer to Europe).

Cost of Money Transfers: Destination Country

Depending on the bank, the amount you pay in fees may depend on the country you're sending money to. When paying a fixed fee to a traditional bank, euro money transfers to Europe often cost less than transfers in other currencies to other parts of the world. For example RBS charges £10 for next day transfers to the European Community (SEPA) and £22 elsewhere. And percentage fees paid to challenger banks such as N26 and Monese or online/app-based services such as TransferWise also vary depending on the country.

Banks sometimes charge a different amount depending on destination country
RBS£10 next day for Euros to European Community (SEPA), otherwise £22; £30 same day
Metro£10 for SEPA EUR paymment from an USD/EUR account; for SWIFT transfers: £25 from GBP account, $25 from USD account, EUR 25
N26€0.5-3.0 international transfer fee, plus 0.35-2.00% currency exchange fee depending on currency
TransferWise65p + 0.35%-2.85% currency conversion charge (e.g., 0.37% GBP to EUR or GBP to USD, 0.52% GBP to INR)

In part fees vary by destination because SEPA payments (to Single European Payment Area (SEPA) countries) are more efficient and cheaper for banks to implement as they're like domestic payments, but SEPA only works for EUR payments. On the other hand SWIFT payments work internationally but require more human touch and are not as straightforward so it often costs more to send to other non-SEPA/European countries.

Differences in Exchange Rates

Fees aside, another way that challenger banks can help you save money on international money transfers is through a better currency exchange rate. Most of the challenger banks convert your money at what's known as the interbank rate, mid-market rate or spot rate—basically the wholesale price that banks themselves use to trade currencies with each other. Challenger banks tend to give you this "best" interbank rate, not making any profit on the fx.

Traditional banks, on the other hand, may give customers a slightly worse exchange rate to make a bit of profit on the currency exchange. For example, at 3:43 pm on 17 September 2019 we checked live rates and found that our high street bank was offering a worse rate on conversions to USD and EUR than TransferWise, which was offering the interbank rate.

High Street BankInterbank (e.g., Transferwise, Revolut, Monese, etc.)Difference
EUR fx rate1.10651.12982
USD fx rate1.22221.2477
£1,000 transfer to EUR€ 1,106.50€ 1,129.82€ 23.32
£1,000 transfer to USD$1,222.20$1,247.70$25.50

Other Fees

Just because your bank doesn't charge a fee, doesn't mean you won't pay anything to transfer money. Sometimes the bank that is receiving the money charges a fee also—and either you may have to pay this or the recipient will. Unfortunately, the treatment of this fee varies by bank but it's good to be aware of this before you send money—especially if the recipient needs to receive an exact sum (e.g., if you are paying a fixed amount to buy something).

Comments and Questions

The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.