We base our price comparisons on data we’ve taken from other providers’ websites, on specific dates.
Some providers don’t make their fees and exchange rates publically available. In those cases, we use their service for bank-to-bank transfers - just as if we were customers - right until the point of paying. We do this multiple times, and we enter different amounts of money.
The comparison table shows how much it costs a customer to send money internationally, between the currencies specified, using each of the providers we’ve listed. It also shows the amount the recipient gets.
In case you want to know more, we’ve explained what all the different bits of our comparison table mean - and how we work them out.
1. The transfer fee
The ‘transfer fee’ is simply how much the provider says it costs to use their service online. We only compare costs for online transfers from bank to bank. Telephone banking, paying from a branch or paying for a transfer via credit card are usually more expensive.
2. The exchange rate
The ‘exchange rate’ represents the estimated exchange rate for each provider. It isn’t the exact exchange rate we saw on the day we used that provider’s service. It wouldn’t be fair to providers to show these collected rates - simply because we don’t collect all of our data at exactly the same time. Instead, we estimate what each provider’s exchange rate would be right now. Here’s how we work out that estimate.
First, we work out the markup on each provider’s exchange rate.
To do this, we record the exchange rate each provider is offering on their website. At the same time, we check the mid-market rate from Reuters. Then, we calculate the difference between those two figures. For instance, if a provider’s rate was 1.4, and the mid-market rate on Reuters was 1.6, we’d record a difference of 0.2 (12.5%). We call this difference the ‘markup’.
Then, we subtract each provider’s markup from the mid-market rate
When you see the comparison table - which might be on the same day for most providers, but could be later for others - we check the mid-market rate from Reuters again. Then, we estimate each provider’s exchange rate by subtracting their markup we previously recorded, from the latest mid-market rate. Using our last example, if the mid-market rate has moved to 2.0 when you see the table, we’d show that particular provider’s exchange rate as 1.75. That’s because we recorded their markup as 12.5%.
3. How we work out a comparison for exact amounts that we haven’t collected
When we collect data from providers, we do it using different “amounts”. So, pretending we’re a customer again, we might go through the transfer process with £100, £500 and £2000. What that means, is that for some providers, the amount(s) we entered when we used their service might not be the same as the one you’ve just seen in the comparison table.
The data is collected in specific thresholds (see table for more detail) and if the amount of transfer is in between these thresholds, we used the provider's rate applicable for the higher transfer threshold. For example, if a provider's has a threshold of 5000 EUR and 10000 EUR, and we want to calculate the total cost of sending 5500 EUR, then we will use the exchange rate and fee for sending 10000 EUR. Generally, providers give better exchange rates and charge smaller fees for higher-value transfers, this approach helps to reduce the risk of inflating the cost of using the relevant provider, in fact it may show a better rate for the relevant providers than what they may actually be.
What all this means for you
This means that the ‘transfer fee’ and ‘rate’ you see in the comparison table might be slightly different to the ones each provider currently has on their website. In fact, the comparison table might show a better transfer fee and a better exchange rate for all the providers.