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The Post Office does much more than deliver your mail, bills, and birthday cards. Through Post Office Money, you can also access a wide range of financial services, including banking, credit cards, and foreign exchange. You can buy your travel money before you go on holiday, get a travel money card, and even arrange international payments to friends and family, or for your business, through Post Office Money’s partnership with Moneycorp¹.
You can find out more about the Post Office’s additional services - and their features and fees - online or by calling into your local branch². Or for everything you need to know about the Post Office Money international payment services, simply read on.
If you want to send money overseas using the Post Office you have a couple of different choices. You can send a direct bank transfer, either to friends and family, or as a business payment via Post Office Money’s association with Moneycorp¹. Or you can use the Post Office Money service, operated through MoneyGram, to make a cash payment to someone overseas³.
Post Office Money offers an international bank transfer service, aimed at personal payments being made to friends and family abroad⁴. You can transfer money online up to the value of £70,000 using your UK registered credit or debit card, or if you want to make a payment for a higher amount you can do so via a bank transfer for up to £300,000⁶. There's no upfront fee for an international transfer with the Post Office, but you’ll want to make sure you’re happy with the exchange rate being used before you decide to go ahead. The exchange rate changes depending on how much you’re sending, with better rates available for larger transfers¹. More on that point in a moment.
When you’re deciding which provider to use for your international payment, it’s wise to check out a few alternatives to compare the travel money on offer. As well as looking at the prices available at Post Office Money, why not see how much your transfer would cost you through a provider like Wise.
International payments through Wise are always made using the real exchange rate, with no hidden fees. There’s just a low transparent cost, which is listed upfront, and can work out to be much cheaper than using a regular bank or other international transfer service.
You could make life even easier, if you make regular international payments, by getting yourself a multi-currency borderless account from Wise. This smart account lets you hold your money in any of dozens of different currencies, send international payments at a low cost, and receive international payments in major currencies like euros, pounds, US, New Zealand and Australian dollars, for free using local bank details. You can also get a Wise travel money card that is linked to the borderless account.
Post Office Money also offers a service for international payments made by business clients⁵. Similar to the personal payments described above, you can arrange your business transfer online, with no upfront fee to pay. However, it’s wise to check the exchange rate is fair before agreeing to a payment, as many banks and international payment services add a markup to the exchange rate they use, which they keep for themselves as profit. We’ll cover this - and how to avoid it - later.
If you want to send money to someone overseas, and have the recipient collect the payment in local cash, you can do so via the Post Office’s partnership with MoneyGram³.
You’ll need to visit a Post Office near you - some 8,000 branches across the UK offer this service - and take along a photo ID. Complete the sender form, and hand it in at the counter, along with your payment. You can pay in cash or by debit card, and the money will be delivered to an agent location near to your recipient. There are 350,000 agents around the world who can hand over the payment almost instantly, in local cash wherever your recipient might be. You just need to give them a unique reference number so they can collect their money³. There are also other MoneyGram branches in the UK, if you don't want to use it via the Post Office's partnership.
If you’re thinking of using the Post Office Money international payment service, you’ll want to compare the fees with other providers to make sure it works for your needs. Here’s what you need to know.
|Fee type||Post Office Money charges|
|International transaction commission (direct to bank transfers)||There's no upfront commission charged for an international payment¹. However, there may be an exchange rate markup - see below|
|Exchange rate markup||The exchange rate used for your international payment will vary depending on how much you send. Rates improve for larger payments¹. Post Office Money, and their partners in offering international bank transfers and cash payments choose the exchange rate they offer customers. This may include a markup on the rate which you’d find if you googled the currency pair, which can make the transaction more expensive that it needs to be⁷. More on that later.|
|Other fees (direct to bank transfers)||If you pay for your transfer using a card, your card provider might impose additional charges. It’s also good to know that some payments - including international business payments - are made using the SWIFT system, which may result in further fees⁵.|
|MoneyGram charges||There are charges made for international cash payments, which vary depending on how much you’re sending, and where your recipient is. You can model the payment on the Post Office Money website to see the price for your particular transaction.|
Many international payments - including business payments made through Post Office Money - are made using the SWIFT network.
If you’re wondering what exactly the SWIFT network is, we’ve got you covered. The SWIFT network is a common way for banks to process international payments, and involves several banks working together to move money to the right account. Up to 3 banks - known as correspondent or intermediary banks - can be involved in any one payment, and each can deduct a fee as the payment is processed to cover their costs. That means that your recipient may receive less than you expect. What’s more, it’s often impossible to say in advance exactly what the SWIFT fees might be for any transaction, making this a fee that’s tricky to predict.
To avoid fees associated with the SWIFT network, you can choose an alternative provider such as Wise. Wise works with a network of local bank accounts, which means that there’s no need to use the SWIFT network at all, and the fees can be kept low.
You can send MoneyGram cash payments to over 200 countries. To check if there are agents in a convenient location for your recipient, you can check out the agent locator on the Post Office Money website⁸.
If you’re planning on making a direct bank payment, either for personal or business purposes, you can send money in any of the following currencies⁶:
- UAE Dirham
- Australian Dollar
- Bahraini Dinar
- Canadian Dollar
- Swiss Franc
- Czech Koruna
- Danish Krone
- Pound Sterling
- Hong Kong Dollar
- Croatian Kuna
- Hungarian Forint
- Israeli Shekel
- Jordanian Dinar
- Japanese Yen
- Kenyan Shilling
- Kuwaiti Dinar
- Moroccan Dirham
- Mexican Peso
- Norwegian Krone
- New Zealand Dollar
- Omani Rial
- Polish Zloty
- Qatari Rial
- Romanian New Leu
- Saudi Riyal
- Swedish Krona
- Singapore Dollar
- Thai Baht
- Tunisian Dinar
- Turkish Lira
- US Dollar
- South African Rand
If you can’t find what you want, or simply want to check out the exchange rate on offer for your currency, from a different provider, have a look at Wise. You can send payments all over the world, for just a low fee, and using the exchange rate you'll find on google. This can often mean it’s cheaper than using a bank or alternative provider.
Before you decide which provider to use for your international payment, it's well worth understanding the exchange rate that will be used. A poor exchange rate can mean your international transfer is much more expensive than it should be.
The way to see if the exchange rate you’re offered is fair, is to compare it to the mid-market rate. The mid-market rate is the one you’ll get on google, and the one that banks use when trading currency between themselves, which makes it a good benchmark to use when comparing.
It’s useful to check the rate on offer from any international payment provider as there's often a markup added, which the provider can then keep as profit. Post Office Money works with Moneycorp to offer international payments. Here’s what they say about their exchange rates and fees⁷:
“Moneycorp does not charge any commission. Moneycorp may charge a mark-up or mark-down (the difference between the price which Moneycorp agrees with Moneycorp’s Counterparty and the Transaction execution price quoted to the Client).”
In short, this means that you may find a markup added to your exchange rate, depending on which currency you’re sending to. Always compare the rate on offer to the mid-market rate to make sure you get the best deal- and check out Wise for international payments using the real mid-market exchange rate every time.
There’s a minimum transfer level of £250 for transfers made direct to your recipient’s bank account, no matter where you’re sending money.
You can arrange a direct bank transfer worth up to £300,000 through the Post Office Money website, which has to be paid for by bank transfer. If you want to pay by debit/credit card the maximum amount for an online payment is £70,000. If you want to make a payment that exceeds £300,000 you’ll need to call the dedicated phone number to place the transfer with a customer service agent⁶. You may be asked to provide more details and documents related to the transfer, depending on where it’s headed, to comply with the local and destination country laws.
The length of time it will take to send your international payment depends a bit on which service you choose. MoneyGram cash transfers typically only take a few minutes before they're available. However, a direct bank transfer is likely to take a few working days to land in your recipient’s account.
Got a question about an international payment made with the Post Office? Here’s how to get in touch:
- For international personal payments, call Post Office Money⁴ on 0800 1804809, or if you’re abroad you can call +44 2031628080
- For international business payments⁹, or MoneyGram cash payments¹⁰, you can use the online contact form, available on the Post Office website
- For general enquiries, you can call into a branch of the Post Office, or use their social media contacts - all of which are available online
And to learn more about the options available from Wise, including the multi-currency borderless account, contact Wise.
Sending money abroad, for a business payment, or to family and friends, shouldn’t be too much of a headache. However, it pays to do some research before you choose which provider to use, to avoid unnecessary fees, and get the best available exchange rate. Compare the Post Office’s service to that of other international payment providers, to see if it’s the right one for you.
Sources used for this article:
*All sources checked on January 25, 2019
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 Wise Payments 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.
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