Lebara money transfer: Fees, rates and transfer times


There are lots of reasons you might be looking for an international payment service. Maybe you want to send money to friends or loved ones back home. Or perhaps you’re making an international payment to cover the costs of a holiday, or even a major purchase like a new home abroad. Whatever the reason for sending money overseas, you’ll want to find the most cost effective, safe and efficient way of doing so.

There are lots of international payment services out there, so finding one won’t be a problem. However, getting the best service to balance speed and cost - and of course keep your money safe, requires a little research. Lebara offer money transfer services through a partnership with WorldRemit¹, which means you can send money from the UK to over 145 different countries around the world².

Lebara might not be the most affordable way to send money abroad, so do make sure you compare their costs with other providers such as Wise before you make a final decision. Here’s all you need to know about remitting money overseas with Lebara.

A quick comparison between Lebara and Wise. Read on after that for the full information.

Service Lebara (via WorldRemit) Wise
Fees Fees vary, depending on how you send the money to WorldRemit and how your recipient wants to receive the money.⁸⁺⁹ From GBP to EUR the fee is: 0.35% of the GBP amount + £0.80
Exchange rate An exchange rate set by WorldRemit, which includes a (small) profit for them.¹² The mid-market exchange rate
Supported currencies Transfers to 140 countries, and from 50 countries³ Transfers to 48 currenciesTransfers from 22 currenciesMore information on the supported currencies FAQ page

Banks and money transfer providers often give you a bad exchange rate to make extra profits.

Wise is different. Its smart new technology skips hefty international transfer fees by connecting local bank accounts all around the world. Which means you can save by using Wise when you send your money abroad.

Check out how to make your first transfer with Wise. And give it a try.

Oh, and while you’re at it, check out Wise’s borderless multi-currency account. Where you can manage and send dozens of currencies all from the same account.

Now, back to what you came here to read.

How does an international transfer with Lebara work?

Lebara Money used to offer international transfers themselves, but have now entered into a partnership which means that all international payments go through WorldRemit. If you used to have an account with Lebara Money, you can still log into the account to view previous transactions, but you won’t be able to use it in future². Instead, if you choose to send money through Lebara, you’ll be redirected to the WorldRemit site for your payment route, and can place your transfer there.

Worldremit offer international payments to a wide range of countries, with a selection of transfer types. Not all services are available in every country, but depending on where you’re sending money to, you may be able to make a bank transfer, send money for cash collection or delivery to your recipient, or send mobile money to an electronic wallet connected to a phone number³. Here’s what these transfer types mean.

WorldRemit bank transfers

Depending on where your recipient lives, you might be able to send money abroad using a bank transfer⁴. In this case, money is moved from your bank account to the recipient’s account.

WorldRemit cash for collection or delivery

In some regions, you can send money abroad to be collected as cash in person from a Worldremit agent⁵ - or even delivered directly to the door of your recipient⁶. Your recipient will need to show a valid ID to receive the money. When you place the transfer you’ll get a transaction reference number which you’ll also have to give them, so they can verify their identity when they visit the agent to collect the cash.

WorldRemit mobile money

Mobile money is an electronic wallet system, which links payments to mobile phone numbers⁷. It’s not widely used in Europe but is popular in regions of Africa and Asia especially, as an alternative to a bank account. Sending and receiving money is as simple as sending a text message, and the recipient can then either make payments from their electronic wallet, or withdraw cash at agent locations. It’s worth noting that agents may charge a fee for mobile money cash withdrawals.

If you’re looking for a safe and cheap way to send money abroad, it’s good to know that there are lots of alternatives out there. With a little research you’ll be able to find the option that works best for you. Wise offer international payments in a very wide range of currencies, for just a low fee. All international transfers are completed using the real mid-market exchange rate, with no markup, and the service is often quicker and cheaper than using a traditional bank.

If you need to send or receive money from abroad often, you could be even better off with a multi-currency borderless account from Wise. With a borderless account you can hold your money in any of dozens of different currencies in the same account, check your balance at a glance with the app, and switch between currencies using the real exchange rate whenever you need to. You can also generate your own local bank details to receive fee free payments in major currencies such as US and Australian dollars, euros and British pounds.

What are the fees when you want to transfer money overseas with Lebara?

International transfers with Lebara vary widely in cost depending on where you’re sending money to and from, the transfer type, and how you fund the payment. You can find a calculator on the WorldRemit website which will tell you the costs for your payment type, and the exchange rate which will be used.

Here’s an outline of the type of costs you can expect to find for different transfer types.

Service Lebara/Worldremit fees⁸⁺⁹
International transfer - bank transfer Upfront fees + possible exchange rate markup + possible SWIFT costs Upfront fees depend on the country, currency and amount involved. Sending £1,000 to India or the US, for example, costs £2.99 in upfront fees. The same payment to Australia costs £0.99 Making a payment with a credit, debit or prepaid card may cost more.
International transfer - cash for collection Upfront fees + possible exchange rate markup Upfront fees depend on the country, currency and amount involved. Sending £1,000 to Kenya, for example, costs £2.99 in upfront fees. The same payment to Cambodia could cost £14.99 Making a payment with a credit, debit or prepaid card may cost more.
International transfer - cash for delivery Upfront fees + possible exchange rate markup Upfront fees depend on the country, currency and amount involved. It’s currently only possible to send money to Vietnam with this delivery method⁶. Sending £1,000 to Vietnam, to be delivered in USD, costs £6.99 in upfront fees. Making a payment with a credit, debit or prepaid card may cost more.
International transfer - mobile money Upfront fees + possible exchange rate markup + possible additional costs for cash withdrawal at an agent Upfront fees depend on the country, currency and amount involved. Sending £1,000 to Cambodia, for example, costs £14.99 Making a payment with a credit, debit or prepaid card may cost more.

It's important to note that bank transfers may be made using the SWIFT network, which can mean that there are further fees to pay as your transaction passes through the banking system. Intermediary banks can charge a fee for handling the payment, which might be removed from the transfer amount - meaning your recipient gets less in the end than you had expected.

If you’re worried about hidden fees like this, check out an alternative transfer service like Wise, to avoid the SWIFT network.

You should also be aware that the way you fund the transfer can make a difference - there may be additional fees if you pay for your transfer using a credit, debit or prepaid card, for example.

What are the currencies that Lebara supports?

Lebara, working through their partner WorldRemit, offer international transfers from 50 different countries, including the UK³. The country you’re sending from and to will make a difference to how you can pay, and what payment routes are available to you.

You can make payments through WorldRemit to over 140 countries around the world³. However, not all payment types are available in all regions, so you’ll need to check out the details for the country you’re sending to.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for with Lebara, or if you want to compare their service to check out the value offered, have a look at Wise, to send money to and from a wide range of countries and currencies.

What is the exchange rate you get with Lebara?

When you’re deciding which international payment service is right for you, you’ll need to understand both the upfront costs, and the exchange rate used for the currency conversion.

WorldRemit will most likely not give you the mid-market exchange rate for your payment, and they mark up the exchange rate so they can make a profit on exchanging your money. Here’s what they say about the exchange rate they use¹²:

”...there will be a difference between the exchange rate at which we buy foreign currency and the exchange rate provided to you. WorldRemit and its Service Providers usually make a small profit in these circumstances.”

Exchange rates move up and down all the time, so understanding the real exchange rate for your currency pairing is the only way to compare the rate offered by Lebara, to check it’s fair. You can find the real, mid-market exchange rate simply by googling your currency pairing, checking a website like XE or Reuters, or using an online currency converter.

This will give you the mid-market exchange rate, which is the one that banks use to trade currencies on the global financial markets. It’s the only real exchange rate, but many banks and international transfer services don’t offer this rate to retail customers. Instead, they add a markup, which they then keep as their profit. This isn’t transparent, and it usually means you pay more than you have to.

Check out the exchange rate offered by WorldRemit and Lebara for your currency pairing and then compare it to the real rate. If you don’t like what you see, it could be time to find a new transfer service. Some services, such as Wise, do offer the real exchange rate on international payments, and charge only a small upfront fee.

Are there any limits to the amount that you can transfer with Lebara?

There are limits to how much you can transfer with Lebara, based on the payment method you choose. Here are the limits for payments made from the UK¹⁰.

Payment type Maximum total transfer in 24 hours Maximum per transaction
Bank transfer £50,000 £50,000
Debit, credit or prepaid cards £50,000 £8,000
Apple Pay £50,000 £8,000
Android Pay £50,000 £8,000
Sofort £50,000 £50,000

How long does an international transfer with Lebara take?

This depends on the type of transfer you’re making, and where it's going to and from. Some bank transfers, for example, could happen almost instantly. However, in other cases a bank transfer could take several days depending on the recipient’s bank, the day of the week you place the transaction on, and your own bank’s processes.

Cash for collection, and mobile money is typically available very quickly, and home deliveries can take up to a week to arrive³.

How can you contact Lebara?

If you’re making a money transfer with Lebara, via their partners WorldRemit, you’ll need to contact WorldRemit with any questions, or for customer service enquiries².

  • You can email WorldRemit at customerservice@worldremit.com
  • Or use the WorldRemit customer service number: +44 20 7148 5800

If you had a Lebara Money account and have questions regarding this, you can still contact Lebara Money, although this international payment service is no longer available¹¹.

  • Email Lebara with questions, at moneycare@lebara.com
  • Or get the team on the telephone: 0800 640 6303 (Monday-Friday 10:00-19:00 excluding Bank Holidays)

If you need to send or receive money from abroad, then you don’t want to pay more than you have to in fees. There’s a wide range of costs associated with international payments. You’ll need to consider both the upfront fees charged by different services, and the exchange rates used, which can hide additional fees.

Doing a little research can save you a lot of money, and is well worthwhile, so you know that not only is your transfer being processed safely, it’s also being arranged for a fair fee, with no nasty surprises. Compare the international payment service available from Lebara with Wise, to see if you can save.

*All sources checked on November 13, 2018

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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