If you want to send money overseas, Orbit Remit is just one way to do this, there are banks, money transfer firms and foreign exchange (FX) brokers. Read on to find out more about using Orbit Remit and the other options available to you, so that you can make the right choice to suit your needs.

Orbit Remit

Orbit money transfers are available to all popular countries such as the USA, UK, India, and Australia. The company offers a fixed fee regardless of the amount of money that is being sent. OrbitRemit is registered and regulated in the UK.

Exchanging Money – What You Need to Know

Before you decide on the best option to use for money transfer, you need to consider these points:

  • the total value of money you are sending
  • the cost, including fees and other charges
  • the frequency of the payments – are you doing a one off transaction, or setting up regular payments?
  • the way in which the person at the other end wants to receive the funds
  • how urgent the payment is – can they wait or do they need it urgently?

These are some steps to follow to enable you to find the best deal to suit your needs:

Step 1 – Look at the options available

These are the main ways you can send money overseas:

  • via your bank or building society
  • using a foreign exchange (FX) broker (like Orbit Remit)
  • high street transfer firms are another option (such as Western Union).

If you are making regular payments, banks and building societies are the safest option.

You may want to use FX brokers, if you plan to send large amounts, £3,000 or more.

Although money transfer firms will take care of the transaction quickly, they can be more expensive if you plan to send small amounts of money.

Step 2 – Find out the total cost

When you use Orbit Remit, there are a range of possibilities when it comes to the fees and exchange rates, this can make it a bit confusing when you are trying to work out the total costs.

The first thing to do is to establish what foreign currency you will get when you exchange your pounds, after you have paid any associated fees for sending/receiving the funds. This will give you a figure which you can use to compare with other offers.

The costs are comprised of three parts:

  • Foreign exchange rates – these tend to fluctuate, so don’t leave much time in-between checking, as they are likely to be different, even within 24 hours.
  • Sending fees – the charge for sending the money. Every firm will offer something different.
  • Receiving fees – ask about receiver fees, as some companies charge at the other end of the transaction. It is important to be aware of these, as you may need to cover them for the recipient.

With regards to the fees, you will usually benefit more if you are sending large sums of money. If you send £5,000 for example, the fees will probably be lower than if you are sending £500.

You may want to start by getting a quote from your bank and compare this with the others, including quotes you may get from FX brokers sites like FX Compared.

Step 3 – Seek confirmation

When you have the best value option, you will want to ensure that the company are able to deal with your transfer, including the amount you want to send and the time frame. You should ask them to provide you with confirmation in writing, either email or post.

Keep your paperwork and receipts in a safe place, as you may need them in the event that something goes wrong with the transfer.

Is Orbit Remit a safe way to send money overseas?

When you send money via your bank, you have the assurance that the money is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) 

When you use a foreign exchange money transfer firm to send money overseas, you do not have this safety net, as there is nothing in place to protect you, in the event that the firm goes bust.

When companies like Orbit Remit are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) though, they have specific rules they need to follow, and this increases your chance of getting the money back, if the firm faces financial problems.

Read our page on checking the authorisation of a firm and what to do if something goes wrong.

It is particularly important to use an FCA authorised firm if you are sending large sums of money overseas, as this will increase the likelihood of your money being protected, should the worst happen.

Money Transfer with your bank or building society

You can send money overseas using your bank account. This is the safest way to send money overseas, and it is also a convenient way to do it. You already deal with your bank on a regular basis, even if it is just online, so you are familiar with the process.

These are some of the advantages of using your bank or building society:

  • Easy Process – if you are unsure how to set up an overseas transfer, your bank will assist you with it. You can even do it online, just through your phone.
  • Convenience – banks and building societies exist on the high street, and you can also do the transaction from your mobile. It is a convenient way to manage overseas payments.
  • Safety and security – your money is protected when you use your bank or building society. This means that even if the bank goes bust, you will get your money back. The same doesn’t apply to the other methods of transferring money.

These are some of the disadvantages of using your bank or building society:

  • Lower Exchange Rates – It is quite often the case that you will get lower exchange rates if you use your bank or building society. Foreign exchange brokers specialist in this, so they often give you the better deals.
  • Slower option – it can take as long as 6 business days to complete an overseas money transfer via your bank or building society, unlike other options which can be done on the same day. You can sometimes pay extra for an express service though.

Making regular payments using your bank

There are many UK high street banks who have branches overseas in different countries, or at least have special arrangements with banks in these countries. If you are using your bank to send money overseas, it may be worth checking if they have such arrangements.

The good thing about this is that you can usually benefit from lower charges, or even no charges in some cases, and the exchange rates tend to be more competitive.

If you are planning to send frequent payments abroad, this can be hugely beneficial, so it is always worth finding out. Some people have second homes abroad, and the frequent payments are necessary, or you may be sending money to family members.

In order to get the benefit of these reduced fees, you would usually be required to have a bank account in the UK and it’s counterpart abroad.

What you need to do the transfer

In order to do the money transfer, you will need these:

  • International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and Bank Identifier Code (BIC) for the account you will be sending the money transfer into. This can be found easily on the bank statement of the recipient, or if they are struggling, they can contact the bank, who will provide this information.
  • You will be required to have a note of the IBAN and BIC from the bank account you are sending the money from. Although, this usually won’t be necessary if it is another branch of the same bank.

Money transfer with online or high street money transfer firm

it is relatively easy to find a money transfer firm to send your money overseas.

There are those like Western Union, who have high street branches, and you can also find others like MoneyGram in Post Office branches. Many of these also provide online services to use.

The advantages of using money transfer firms

  • Variety of services– you can sometimes have the option of sending instant cash to the recipient, or with others, you may be able to transfer money straight into a bank account.
  • Simple set-up – you may not need an account to set up the transfer. If you are sending small amounts, you may not even be required to provide identification.
  • Get cash quickly – you can complete a cash transfer quickly, sometimes within minutes. Unlike sending with a bank account, which can often take days.

The disadvantages of using money transfer firms

  • Varying fees – The fees can vary when you use a money transfer firm. They can often be high if you are sending small amounts. In some cases, you might pay as much as £10 to transfer £50. Find out what the fees will be prior to signing up for the transaction.
  • Exchange rates change quickly– the exchange rate can fluctuate so much that on one day you could have a great deal, and it could be gone the next day. Keep an eye out for these changes.
  • Less safety– as the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) does not cover money transfer firms, you have less safety and security than if you chose a bank to transfer the funds.

Money transfer with a high street money transfer service

How it works:

  • Money transfer services are available by using a high street agent, which can usually be found in newsagents or the Post Office.
  • You may not need to open an account. It can be as simple as just handing over the cash, and they will deal with the transfer for you.
  • After the transfer, the high street money transfer service will give you a reference number, which should be passed to the recipient. This will be used to pick up the money at the other end.

What to do before handing over cash

  • Make sure you check the fees being charged, as quite often these services can be fast, but they may also be expensive.
  • If you are planning to send ‘instant cash’ abroad, you should find out where to collect the cash and ensure the recipient will be able to pick it up. There is also the option of sending it to the mobile-phone ‘wallet’, if they would rather receive it electronically.

Money transfer with an online money transfer service

How it works:

  • Online transfers are not ideal for urgent transfers, as it can take a few days for the transfer to be completed.
  • You can make international money transfers through the use of online services, although you may need to pay a small fee.
  • You will need to register your bank account to sign up to online money transfer services, as well as your credit card details. This means you need both an email address, and internet access.

What to do before sending money overseas:

  • Make sure you find out what the recipient will need to bring when they are collecting the cash. For example, a bank account or email address. Check with the recipient before you sign up to this method of money transfer.
  • You should set up a password to protect the money, and ensure it is difficult to guess. You should never share it with anyone else.

Money transfer a foreign exchange broker

If you plan to send a large sum of money overseas, the best deal is usually available from using a foreign exchange (FX) currency broker.

The benefits of a foreign exchange broker

  • Lower fees – if you are transferring over £3,000, FX brokers will usually not charge you any fees, or at least, the fees will lower.
  • Good exchange rate – as FX brokers are specialists in foreign currency exchange, you will usually get a better exchange rate than if you choose a bank or money transfer firm.
  • Quicker – the recipient will be able to receive they money on the same day, or at least within 48 hours.
  • Regular payments – you can use FX brokers to send regular transfers.

The downsides of a foreign exchange broker

  • Account opening takes time – when you make a transfer using an FX broker, you will be required to open a account, as well as pay into an account. It may take one or two days for this to be completed.
  • Not ideal for sending small amounts – if you are sending small amounts via FX brokers, you may not get the best deal, compared to the other options.
  • Less safety – as these firms are not covered by The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), there is less safety than if you do the transfer via your bank.

How to use price comparison sites

it can be a minefield to search for the best deals, and this is why you may want to consider using a price comparison sites. These are some tips for how to use a price comparison site to get the best possible deal.

  • Use more than one comparison site – every price comparison site has different deals, so you might want to check several of these so that you don’t miss out on any great offers.
  • Check it fits your needs – it is not about just finding the best price, you should also check that it fits with your other requirements, such as being FCA authorised, with a branch in a location which is suitable for the recipient. Take all aspects into consideration before you make a decision.
  • Look at filters – filters can sometimes hide deals. Check there is no filter on while you are looking for the best possible offer.

Transfer scams

Just as there are scams with most things, there are also scams with transfers. This means you need to be careful when choosing your dealer or receiving offers.

Orbit Remit may not be a scam, but you should also stay aware and vigilant.

There are various ways to keep aware and reduce your chances of being scammed.

  • If you see a good deal which is completely different to the others, it is probably a scam.
  • If you receive an email and it is not from a company email address or just does not look legitimate, this could be a sign of a scam.
  • Do not give out any personal details unless you are sure that you are dealing with a legitimate company.

Enter into a forward contract

If you are planning to send regular payments and you want to ensure you get a good exchange rate, you can enter into a ‘forward contract’, which means you can lock down an exchange rate for the future.

It is particularly useful if you are planning to send large sums of money.

Large payments may be for putting down on a holiday home, sending money to family, or any other reason, and you might want to ensure you are not affected by a weakening of the pound. You can lock down a great rate by doing this.

What if things go wrong when using Orbit Remit?

Whether you use Orbit Remit, or any other money transfer option, you should always ensure that you keep hold of your receipts and any paperwork, incase anything goes wrong.

This is particularly important if you are using money transfer firms and FX brokers, who are not covered by the compensation scheme.

If the company is registered with the FCA, they do not have a responsibility to safeguard the money, so if they go bust, your money could be lost.

If Orbit Remit, or any other company you choose are authorised by the FCA, it means you have better protection, as they have a responsibility to separate your money from the company funds.

If you wish to check Orbit Remit FCA authorisation, you can do this on the Financial Conduct Authority website, which opens in a new window.

Make sure you always narrow your search, so that you only find deals that are near the recipient, if they need to pick the money up.

What are the other options rather than Orbit Remit for sending money overseas

If you are making purchases online from overseas stores, or payments, it might be a good idea to use a credit or debit card. This is more convenient than money transfers, and it offers good protection.

One thing to bear in mind is to avoid sending cheques, as these can be easily intercepted.

It is also slow and expensive to send money overseas using cheques, as you are required to pay bank charges, as well as handling charges, in some cases.

About the author

Scott Nelson

Scott Nelson is a financial services expert, with over 10 years’ experience in the industry, including 6 years in FCA regulated companies. Read more