How to transfer large amounts of money from the UK?

Gert Svaiko

Need to send a large sum of money overseas from the UK? Perhaps you’re planning on sending money home to a loved one in another country, or need to cover the deposit on a new home abroad.

Whatever your reason, you’ll need to know the best, safest and cheapest way to make your international transfer from the UK.

This handy guide covers all you need to know, including info on fees, exchange rates, security, transfer limits and how to get started on initiating your payment.

And, if you’re looking for a specialist money transfer provider with low, transparent fees, fair exchange rates, and dedicated security measures, consider looking into Wise and the Wise account.

Learn more about large transfers with Wise

Please see the Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise fees & pricing for the most up-to-date information on pricing and fees.

Table of contents

How much money can you send abroad from the UK?

The UK government doesn’t limit the amount of money that can be sent abroad from the UK.

However, official bodies like the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) do monitor international money transfers to check for illegal activity such as fraud and money laundering.

Your bank or money transfer provider will be asked to collect some details about both the sender and the recipient of many international payments. Usually you’ll just have to follow the service provider’s process, and everything will be in order.

If the FCA or HMRC have any concerns about transfers they're informed of - about money laundering or tax avoidance for example - they can investigate further, which may lead to civil or criminal action if the transfer is found to break the law.

Are there any legal transfer limits?

There aren’t any legal transfer limits in the UK. This means that in theory, you can send as much money as you want overseas.

However, the transfer provider you use may set a limit on how much you can send per day, month or year. For example, banks tend to have international transfer limits of around £25,000 to £50,000 (depending on the bank).

How to transfer large amounts of money from the UK?

You have a choice of ways to send large payments overseas, with the most commonly used options being banks and specialist money transfer providers. But the process to send a transfer is similar, whichever method you choose.

Here’s how to send money overseas from the UK:

  1. Get your recipient’s details - including their name, address, bank account number and sort code, international bank account number (IBAN) and SWIFT/BIC code for their bank
  2. Agree a payment method with the recipient, along with who will pay any fees if applicable
  3. Check the transfer limits with the bank or transfer provider
  4. Take the time to research the provider, to make sure they are legitimate, reputable and use appropriate security measures. You’re sending a large sum, so you need to make sure you and your money are protected
  5. Enter the details of the transfer if carrying out the transfer online (through a transfer website or your bank’s online banking portal). This includes the amount to be sent, the currency and other bank details for making an international transfer
  6. Check the fees and exchange rates carefully, to calculate the true cost of the transfer. It could be worth comparing a few options to see which is the cheapest
  7. Check the details of your transfer carefully
  8. Once you’re happy, confirm the transfer and get tracking details (if offered by the provider)

Documents needed for sending a large transfer

Because the laws governing international money transfers vary in different countries, you might be asked for documents related to your transfer, to satisfy local requirements. For example, some large amount transfers might involve proving your identity, or the source of the funds.

Here’s what you may need to prove the source of funds for a few different scenarios:

Source of fundsDocuments need to show:Supporting documents
Property sale- Amount received

- Date you received the money

- Property address and description

- How long you owned the property

- Signatures of both parties

- Final signed sales contract

- Solicitor letter

- Bank statements

- Property register extract

Salary- Job title

- Employer’s name and address

- Dates of employment

- Annual salary

- Dates of salary payments

- Recent payslips

- Employment contract

- Employer letter

- Recent bank statements

- Recent tax return

Investments- Date you received the money

- Amount received

- Type of investment

- Investment certificates

- Confirmation from bank or investment company

- Bank statements

Inheritance- Date you received the money

- Amount received

- Name and signature of testator

- Your relationship to the testator

- Signed copy of the will

- Grant of probate or court document

- Solicitor letter

- Bank statements

Loan- Amount borrowed

- Date you received the money

- Name and address of lender

- Loan purpose

- Loan agreement

- 3 months of loan statements

- Bank statements

Different banks may have their own requirements for international transfers, so it’s worth checking in advance to see which documents you’ll need to provide.


What are the best ways to transfer a large amount of money overseas?

If you’re sending a large amount of money overseas, you have a few options available to you. You might choose your high street bank, or a specialist money transfer service, for example.

Each option comes with its own process and costs which you’ll need to compare, to get the best available deal. Below, we’ll run through the most important things to think about when deciding how to set up your international transfer.


One of the most crucial things to consider is how safe your chosen method of transfer is. Simple common sense is enough to know that sending a large sum of money in cash through the post isn’t really safe. But how do you know your bank or money transfer service is any more secure?

You may also want to read up on the provider’s security measures, and find out if they offer a tracking feature for payments.


How much will it cost to make your international transfer? This is the next key question to answer.

To find out the true cost of a transfer, you’ll need to factor in the following:

  • Upfront transfer fees. These can vary widely between international transfer providers, so doing some research and price comparisons is recommended. It could potentially save you a lot of money.
  • Intermediary and receiving bank fees. Most banks, and some international transfer providers, use the SWIFT network to transfer your money to the recipient. What this means is that your transfer will pass through several (up to 3) intermediary banks. They may all charge their own fee. Plus, the recipient’s bank may charge a fee for receiving the payment as well.
  • Exchange rate mark-up. Some banks and providers add a margin to the mid-market exchange rate that’ll make the transfer more costly. More about it in a bit.
  • Other hidden fees. These could be tracking charges, cancellation fees, return fees, or other fees.

Exchange rates

As well as looking at the upfront fees, you’ll want to check and compare the exchange rates used by different international payment providers. However, it can sometimes be hard to know if you’re getting a good deal on the exchange rate for your transfer, because rates change all the time.

The best way to make sure the exchange rate you’ve been offered is fair, is to compare it withthe mid-market exchange rate using a reputable currency converter that follows this rate.

This is the rate that banks use to trade currencies between themselves, and the one you’ll find if you search online for the currency pairing you’re interested in.

However, many banks and international transfer services don’t offer retail customers the mid-market exchange rate when they’re making a transfer.

Instead, they add a markup to the mid-market rate, which they then keep as their profit. This could mean you end up paying more than you have to. And if you’re sending larger amounts, it can quickly add up to a significant chunk of the total.

What other things should you keep in mind when transferring a large amount of money abroad?

Before hitting ‘send’ on your transfer, here’s a handy checklist of tips and key things to consider:

  • Double-check the recipient info to avoid errors.
  • Only use reputable providers - make sure they’re FCA-regulated, and check reviews on sites like TrustPilot. If in doubt, stick to a name you know.
  • Calculate the true cost of the transfer, including ‘hidden’ fees like the mark-up on the exchange rate. If unsure how much it’ll cost, contact the bank or provider.
  • Make a small transfer first as a test (although bear in mind that the process for large transfers may be longer and require more documents).
  • Be extra vigilant against scams, especially when you feel pressured into sending an urgent transfer or you’re dealing with someone you don’t know.

Wise – Secure, low-cost transfers with no hidden fees

Looking for a secure, transparent and low-cost way to send large sums of money internationally? Consider looking at the Wise account from the money services provider Wise. It’s not a bank account but offers many similar features.

You can send large amount transfers worldwide for low, transparent fees. Best of all, you’re guaranteed the mid-market exchange rate with no markup added – only a small, upfront conversion fee. This means that more of your money reaches your recipient, and the transfer costs you less.

Wise uses sophisticated security measures to keep your money safe. This includes 2-factor authentication, a dedicated anti-fraud team and your money safeguarded with leading banks. If you need to send large sums overseas as a business, Wise has a dedicated service for that too.

Sign up with Wise today

Please see the Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise fees & pricing for the most up-to-date information on pricing and fees.

*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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