Can you use Venmo in the UK? Alternatives to send money abroad.

Hannah Conway

If you have American friends, or are a US citizen visiting the UK, you’ll definitely know about popular digital wallet, Venmo. Venmo is a PayPal service that lets you send money online and via an app, making it easy to split the bill for drinks, or share the cost of buying a birthday present for a mate.

Unfortunately, though, Venmo isn’t available in the UK just yet. If you need to pay back your friend for dinner, you’ll need to choose an alternative. Here are a few to consider.

What is Venmo?

Venmo allows users to make easy money transfers to family and friends via an app. You just need to know the email address or phone number for the person you want to pay.¹ Venmo can also be used to make purchases in mobile apps.²

Venmo International Payments: Are they an option?

At the moment Venmo is only available in the US, and can only be used to make domestic payments. To make international payments - or if you’re based in another country - you’ll need an alternative.³

The good news is that there are a few options out there to consider. However, all have pros and cons, so it’s worth checking the fine print before you decide which to use. Here are some points to consider.

Always check the exchange rate

If you’re sending money internationally, you’ll need to look at the fees applied, as well as the exchange rate.

The only exchange rate that really matters is the mid-market exchange rate - that’s the one that you’ll see on Google.

The exchange rate can be tricky because payment providers might add an extra charge, rolled up into the rate they offer - also known as a markup. This isn’t transparent and can mean you may pay more than you expect.

Compare this with the rate you’re being offered by different payment providers, to see if there’s a markup or extra fee added. Exchange rates change all the time, so the easiest way to keep up to date is to use an online currency converter. This will show you the mid-market exchange rate for your currency pairing.

While adding a markup is common, it's good to know that there are providers like Wise which choose to offer the mid-market exchange rate - one you’ll see on Google.

Let’s take a look at a few examples of the exchange rates and fees available when sending a payment of £1,000 to the US:

Provider Exchange rate (1GBP-USD) Transfer fee Recipient gets
Wise 1.30115 £4.44 $1,295.37
Monzo 1.30115 £4.44 $1,295.37
Barclays 1.26513 £0.00 $1,265.13
Nationwide 1.27210 £20.00 $1,246.65⁴

*Rates and fees correct at time of research - 14-February 2020.

International money transfer alternatives

Take a little time to compare the price of making an international transfer with your bank, against a modern online alternative. You could find you save money, and avoid the hassle of visiting your bank branch in person.

Using your bank

Traditional banks can be fairly expensive for international payments, with high fees and administrative charges. You may also find there’s a markup added to the exchange rate used. This means that, although your high street bank might be a familiar and easy option, it could also cost you more than choosing an online payment provider.

Here are some of the alternative payment options, and some points to consider when deciding which to use.

Send and receive money internationally with Wise

Wise is a specialist payment provider, offering international transfers at a mid-market exchange rate. Payments are made online or using an app, to make life a little easier.

  • Payments use the mid-market exchange rate with no markup - pay just a transparent low fee.
  • Arrange transfers online or using the Wise app for ease
  • Get a free Transferwise multi-currency account to send, receive, hold and spend dozens of currencies easily.
  • Strictly regulated, with bank level security to protect your money.

PayPal international payments

PayPal is a digital payment platform you can use to shop online, pay bills, and send money all over the world. Although sending domestic payments with PayPal can be cost effective, the fees applied to international payments can be relatively high. Read all the small print before you get started.⁵

  • Accounts are free to open.
  • International payments are available, but fees are relatively complex to understand. Don’t worry though, there may be ways to avoid them.
  • Secure payments and fraud protection available.
  • Online and phone based customer support when you need it.

Send money abroad with Monzo

Monzo is a relatively new challenger bank - offering a different banking experience to customers, based on transparency and convenience. Over 3 million people use Monzo’s accounts already - and the numbers are growing fast.

Monzo Bank offers international payments powered by Wise, in a broad range of currencies.

  • Payments use the mid-market exchange rate and transparent, low fees.
  • Monzo accounts are operated online, so you can manage your money and make international payments using just your phone or laptop.
  • Secure payments from a regulated provider.
  • Get immediate customer support if you need a little help.

You can learn more about international payments with Monzo, here.

World Remit international money transfer

With World Remit you can send money online or using an app, with options including having the payment delivered direct to your recipient’s bank or collected in cash.

  • Depending on where you’re sending money, you could make a direct bank payment, have money collected in cash, sent as mobile money or used for airtime top up.
  • If you’re sending money for cash collection it can be available almost immediately.
  • You can send in a variety of currencies, but the fees and exchange rates vary according to the destination. Learn more about World remit exchange rates and fees.
  • Payments are secure, and World Remit is regulated in the countries it operates in all around the world.

Sending money with MoneyGram

There are over 350,000 MoneyGram agent locations around the world, allowing you to send and receive money in person if you want to. You can also arrange payments online, and have them delivered into a recipient’s bank account for ease.

  • Send money online or in person.
  • Have your recipient receive payments directly in their bank account, or by cash collection at an agent location near them.
  • Fees vary according to the method of payment and receipt - you’ll need to look carefully at both the charges and exchange rates before you start the transaction.
  • Face to face customer service available at MoneyGram agent locations.

Sending money abroad from the UK? Save with Wise

Don’t pay more than you need to for international payments. Wise offers fast, secure transfers all over the world - with the mid-market exchange rate and no hidden fees to worry about.

Get a free Wise account and start saving when you send money to friends and family abroad.

Sources used:

  1. Venmo: What is Venmo?
  2. Venmo: About the product
  3. Venmo: Signing-up FAQ
  4. Wise: Currency Comparison
  5. PayPal: Fees

Sources checked: 14-February 2020.

*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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