Best method of transferring money from US to UK?
March 6, 2009 10:15 AM   Subscribe

Money transfer from US to UK. Cheapest and most efficient method that isn't wire/SWIFT?

I receive quarterly payments from a US company, and I'm a UK citizen. Paying in US cheques to my bank account is tricky and expensive -- over £2000 in value and they have to be shipped off to the US bank, causing a two month delay and running up charges.

PayPal seems to be expensive but, irritatingly, I can't find out what the exact charges are.
posted by deeper red to Work & Money (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
So what's the problem with wire/SWIFT? I am looking into this at present and the fee is about $30 per transfer. I think you tend to get a pretty good exchange rate here, too. I once inquired and you can get a better rate if you (at that time) moved at least $33,000 per transaction.

Easy things that occur to me:

1) bank the money in the US and pull it out via ATM;

2) bank the money in the US and spend with a US debit card (this probably involves a slack exchange rate).

One thing that might save you some money is if you move the money between sister banks. We did this in Brazil, using affiliates of HSBC. While they're not the same bank everywhere, they recognised group relationship and gave a 50% discount on the wire fee.
posted by sagwalla at 10:20 AM on March 6, 2009

XEtrade is an option. The US company can fund it with wire or EFT in USD, and Xe will send you the money in GBP by wire or a bank draft in GBP. Receiving by draft is free; by wire involves a not-huge fee.
posted by zsazsa at 10:27 AM on March 6, 2009

- Western Union money transfer (they send in USD, you pick it up from their offices in UK in GBP)
- Open a USD dominated bank account in the UK and just deposit the cheques there.
- Open a credit card merchant account and ask for the regular payments by credit card
posted by Xhris at 2:06 PM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Xhris has some great suggestions, but the fees can be a bit high for all of 'em. Most banks have sister banks in other countries. Wells Fargo and Barclays, for example. It doesn't necessarily mean that things are completely without hassle between the two, but it does mean that you're better off than getting the transfer.

Nthing HSBC is going to be your friend in this. They have offices in the US and can probably give both parties a better exchange rate in transferring between countries.

Barring that, you could just go for the wire/SWIFT route. They'll have to go to the bank to send you a payment, which puts the hassle on to them. However, some banks accept faxed/scanned forms from regular customers (who then put the originals in the post to the bank processing centre). Fifteen minutes in a bank isn't too much to ask, compared to a two month delay in you receiving payment.
posted by Grrlscout at 2:21 AM on March 7, 2009

Maybe the Citibank (UK) Dollar current account might be of use?
posted by almostwitty at 4:25 PM on March 11, 2009

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