For much of its history, Ireland was one of the poorer economies in Europe. Then, starting in the 1980s, the Celtic Tiger rose. The Global Financial Crisis temporarily took the wind out of this nation’s sails. But today, it has rebounded nicely, with GDP growth of 8.3% and 5.5% in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
Most impressively, Ireland is the sixth most economically free nation in the world, and first in FDI (foreign direct investment) flows. Yet, despite having such a vibrant economy, many Irish citizens and businesses still use banks to transfer money from Ireland to UK.
Here are the fees you can expect to pay by using these top Irish banks:
|Bank||International Wire Transfer Fee|
|Allied Irish Bank (AIB)||12.70 EUR – 32 EUR|
|Bank of Ireland||5 EUR – 12 EUR|
|Ulster Bank||0.50 EUR – 24.50 EUR|
|KBC Bank Ireland||25.40 EUR|
These fees are just the beginning. After deducting them, these institutions then move your money at their exchange rate. This price isn’t the real rate of exchange – it’s often 2 to 5% off the interbank rate (or more). The interbank rate is the price banks & brokers use to trade currency.
So, by charging a rate well off interbank, they make money from you twice. It’s far too much – so much so, that online money transfer companies thrive while charging way less.
In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the three best money transfer companies in Ireland.
Our Top 3 Money Transfer Companies for Ireland Transfers
Have to transfer money from Ireland to UK, (or transfer money from UK to Ireland)? Don’t pay a pence more than you have to. Below, we outline the top three best money transfer companies Ireland.
Money Transfer Providers – Your Low-Cost Alternative to the Banks
Given the above, it’s hard to imagine anyone would use a bank these days. Yet, scores of Irish citizens and businesses still run money transfers through their financial institution. Why? Human nature, for the most part, is to blame. It’s hard to fill in forms and do web research. Even if they are paying more, the convenience is worth it to them.
To overcome this built-in inertia, they need to realise how badly they’re getting soaked. So, here’s how much money people are giving up. Imagine you work in Dublin. However, you’ve yet to sell your property in Manchester, so you’re still making a monthly mortgage payment.
Every 30 days, you send 1,500 GBP back home (or ~1,680 EUR). By using AIB, they’ll hit you with a fee as high as 32 EUR. That’s 2% of the transfer immediately, by the way. After that, your cash gets converted at the EUR/GBP rate of 0.8837. At this rate, you’ll have to cough up 1721.91 EUR.
Compare that to the interbank rate – at review time, the EUR/GBP interbank rate was 0.8938. In the absence of fees, you’d only pay 1678.23 EUR. While these trades aren’t possible, you can get within spitting distance. For instance, online money transfer providers like Currencies Direct offer exchange rates within 0.5% of interbank.
According to this mark, you’d get a EUR/GBP rate of 0.8893. With a fee-free transfer, you’d only send 1686.72 EUR across the Irish Sea. Every month, you’d save 34 EUR, or 408 EUR yearly.
But, how do firms like TorFX, Moneycorp, and Currencies Direct make money? All three of these firms lack the overhead of companies in the financial establishment. They have shareholders to please and have grown accustomed to fat margins.
Online money transfer companies don’t suffer from these problems. This advantage gives them the mobility needed to cut deep into bank margins. Rather than rely on margins and fees, firms like TorFX use scale to make healthy profits.
However, this argument might not be enough for some. These people know they’re getting screwed – but they fear using online alternatives. They’ve rather keep getting skimmed by the banks than risk getting cleaned out by a cybercriminal.
However, these folks needn’t be afraid. Online money transfer providers have to abide by the same rules as banks. Should things go wrong, the same mechanisms that protect bank customers from malpractice will safeguard transfer provider customers.
Why People Transfer Money From Ireland
Every day in Ireland, millions of EUR changes hands. However, businesses and individuals have many reasons for moving their money. Below, we’ll address the main reasons for doing so.
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Buying Overseas Property
The Irish property market has gotten back much of its mojo. After bottoming out in 2012, it has recovered 80% of its Post-Financial Crisis losses. Over that time, people from around the world invested (and continue to invest) in profitable deals.
But, international investment real estate isn’t as simple as it looks. For instance, while there are no restrictions on foreign ownership, you are responsible for stamp duty and withholding taxes. Also, you have to spend time viewing properties. Buying sight unseen is never a good idea, so you’ll have to put boots on the ground.
Choosing the right money transfer provider is another necessary chore. For starters, they ought to offer the currency you need. This isn’t an issue in Ireland, as all money transfer providers offer the EUR. However, in more “exotic” nations abroad, it could become an issue for specific firms. So, take a quick scroll through the currencies that a company offers. This way, you’ll avoid unpleasant surprises.
Second, ensure your provider doesn’t cap transfers. In Dublin, many properties sell for more than a million EUR. Wise has a maximum transfer limit of 1.2 million EUR, so they aren’t best for making a large money transfer to Ireland.
And lastly, money transfer firms should provide the protection that hedging tools offer. Rates can shift on a dime, especially these days. If this happens to you, you can end up paying a lot more than planned. By using a forward contract, you can lock a rate in place days or weeks ahead of time. Sure, you give up a bit of equity, but it will save your hard-earned money should the market move against you.
Every recommended money transfer provider in this guide offers hedging tools. They also offer analysts that can help you make the best use of these offerings. But, when it comes to margins, there’s one clear winner – TorFX.
On average, they offer margins of 0.5% on their exchange rates. Meanwhile, Currencies Direct offers 0.7%-0.9%. Moneycorp brings up the rear with average margins of around 1%.
Because of this, TorFX transfers get better (compared to the competition) the more money you move. And, even if a competitor somehow beats them, TorFX will match their price. Sometimes, though, Moneycorp may be your only top option. They offer 120 currencies, so they work well for lesser-known countries.
Solution – TorFX
Making Mortgage Payments From Abroad
Ireland has a hot property market. Some buyers are in the investment real estate game, while others move to the Emerald Isle for career reasons. No matter their motivation, though, sometimes they need to pay an out-of-country mortgage.
However, the default solution involves using recurring bank wire transfers. When buyers do this, they lose thousands of EUR annually via excessive fees and margins. These folks can prevent these losses by switching to a money transfer company. But, it’s not just about lower fees and spreads – hedging tools protect mortgage holders against currency rate fluctuations.
Overall, when we consider these two qualities, we like TorFX best. Yes, all three money transfer providers lack transaction fees, have excellent customer service, and offer hedging. But, the other two can’t touch TorFX’s margins. At 0.5%, their average spread stands above Currencies Direct and Moneycorp. Extrapolate that number over months and years, and it’s clear they are the top choice.
And in the odd case where someone beats TorFX, they will just match it. Consequently, they win this category.
Solution – TorFX
Recovering Overseas Profits
Ireland is a great place to do business. However, not all enterprises are traditional 9-5 operations. Some pursue online selling and do exceptionally well at it. However, don’t conflate doing well with things being easy. Indeed, various issues fill the life of an online seller with challenges.
For one, online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay offer currency conversion. However, when you move your profits from a foreign shop, changing money comes at a steep markup. On Amazon, you’ll give 3.5% of whatever you convert.
Let’s say you move 20,000 USD from Amazon.com every month. When you do, they take their 3.5% cut. That’s a loss of 700 USD every month. Over a year, you lose 8,400 USD – what would you do with 7,000 EUR (the approximate equivalent)?
By using receiving accounts, you won’t have to wonder anymore. Money transfer companies allow you to make a domestic transfer from marketplace sites to these accounts. Once you have your money, you can then exchange it at far better rates.
If you’re an online seller, Currencies Direct is your top choice. Not only do they offer receiving accounts, but they also provide specialised services for e-commerce clients. Moneycorp is also a good choice for online sellers, but their margins are fatter. Because of this, Currencies Direct wins.
Solution – Currencies Direct
Sending Cash Gifts to Loved Ones
Ireland may be home, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have family abroad. For instance, if your children are studying in England, Canada, or Australia, they may occasionally need money. However, if you use your bank, Western Union, or Moneygram, they won’t get nearly as much on their end.
Allow us to illustrate our point with an example. Let’s say your uni-attending daughter needs 300 EUR for books. By using KBC Bank, for instance, you’ll lose 25.40 EUR, or more than 8%, right off the bat. Then, they’ll change your money at a rate that’s 3%-5% off interbank.
Then, take a look at the best money transfer companies in France. They all lack fees and offer low exchange rates. However, we like Moneycorp the most. Of the three, they offer the lowest minimum send (~55 EUR) and over 120 currencies. While their margins are on the bigger side, low remittance amounts are more affected by fees.
With Moneycorp’s lack of fees, low minimum send, and its many currencies, they are our choice for remittances.
Solution – Moneycorp
Sending/Receiving Freelance Payments
Over the past few decades, Ireland has become an excellent place for business. Freelancers have also started to discover this nation, as cities like Cork offer an alternative to expensive Dublin. As they get stuff done, though, they still have to deal with issues like currency exchange.
The primary problem: legacy payment processors like PayPal. Every time they move money for businesses and freelancers, they take a cut of roughly 3%-4%. Furthermore, these services provide no shielding from volatile exchange rates. If the GBP/EUR takes a sudden dive, for example, you take a sudden, substantial pay cut.
The top three best money transfer companies Ireland all offer a superior business model. They lack fees, their margins are razor-thin, and they offer hedging options. By going with them, you’ll make more, and you’ll have greater income security.
Of our top three, Currencies Direct edges out its competitors. Not only can you use forwards, but batch payments, receiving accounts, and dedicated dealers are also available. Because of this, they are the best choice for freelancers.
Solution – Currencies Direct
B2B Money Transfers
Ireland is a beast in the business world. Thanks to its combination of low taxes, government support, and an educated populace, its growth has been stunning. However, as the Global Financial Crisis demonstrated, sudden economic shifts can jeopardise many enterprises.
Like elsewhere, B2B cash inflows and outflows in Ireland are enormous. Business services don’t come cheap – so, when currency rates move by more than 1%, they can cause economic hardship. Because of this, many firms have actively sought out the protection of hedging tools.
Of these options, forward contracts are the most popular. This tool may force companies to give up the best rate, but they offer cost certainty in return. This is huge, as it allows companies to plan for the future.
All three recommended money transfer firms offer hedging. However, TorFX is our choice for B2B large money transfer to Ireland. Why? Because business transfers are much larger than most personal transfers, margins matter.
TorFX offers an average margin of 0.5% off interbank. If you move massive amounts of capital, you can get spreads as tiny as 0.15%. As a result, TorFX is the best money transfer provider for businesses.
Solution – TorFX
State of International Money Transfer in Ireland
Ireland owes its strong economy to direct foreign investment. Of course, when you transfer money from UK to Ireland, you need to use a transfer provider. In the past, the banks, Moneygram, and Western Union dominated the market. Despite a small sea separating Britain and Ireland, these gatekeepers made untold billions of EUR off hardworking individuals.
After a while, finance entrepreneurs sensed the frustration of their fellow businesspeople. Moneycorp started trading in 1979 and became a small but viable alternative to the status quo. As the decades went on, the non-bank transfer revolution began to gain steam. Currencies Direct joined the fray in 1996, followed by TorFX in 2004.
However, by the 2010s, things really began to change. Wise (Formerly TransferWise) debuted their “interbank rate” trades in 2010. The buzz they created drew attention to the money transfer niche and attracted other similar startups. Today, the market online is very competitive, leading to margins as low as 0.15% off interbank.
To be clear, the banks still do a brisk business. Those intimidated by online transfer still use their bank, and it’s unclear if they’ll ever switch. However, as the share of the money transfer market skews younger, the banks will feel increasing pressure.
In other words, lower rates are here to stay. For now, though, the better deals are definitely online.
Other Money Transfer Options in Ireland
We won’t restrict you to our three favourite ways to transfer money from UK to Ireland. There are dozens of choices you can make if you need to move cash in/out of Ireland. Here are some other services Irish citizens and expats can use to move capital to this country.
Everybody knows who Western Union (WU) is. There’s a good reason for that – back in 1872, they invented the cash transfer. To do this, they sent this maiden transaction via their telegraph wires. That’s why many of us call money transfers “wire transfers” to this day.
Thanks to their first-mover status, Western Union dominated money transfer until after the Second World War. Consequently, they felt no pressure to take on the banks by lowering their rates. Even with dozens of competitors today, they still have some of the highest rates and margins in the industry.
And yet, because of their omnipresent network of cash pickup offices in 200 countries, they are still the world’s top money transfer provider. But, trust us – you don’t want to rely on them.
Here’s a brief example of why you shouldn’t: let’s assume to need to send 100 EUR to Thailand. Right from the get-go, they charge a fee of 1.90 EUR – or 1.9% of your send amount. After that, they convert your cash at the EUR/THB rate of 33.5298. However, a quick look at the EUR/MAD interbank rate reveals a rate of 36.1356 – a stunningly bad margin of 7.2%.
Don’t bother with WU – you’re better off moving cash through Moneycorp. However, this option does lack a cash pickup option. If you need that functionality, we would choose WorldRemit. Since its founding a decade ago, their cash agent network is quickly catching up to Western Union.
Overall, PayPal has a good reputation. It’s easy to understand why, as they had a big hand in birthing online commerce in the 2000s. These days, though, just about every payment alternative has better rates than they do.
Their brand name masks the alarming fees and margins they impose on customers. Whenever you transfer money from UK to Ireland, they ding you with fees of 0.35 EUR + 3.4% of the send amount. Then, they convert your money at an exchange rate of 3-4% off interbank. The more you send/receive, the worse it gets.
The online money transfer space wouldn’t be where it is without Wise. In 2010, they launched in response to unfair bank exchange rates. However, they differed from their competition in one profound way – they made trades at the interbank rate.
But how? Wise makes money by charging a percentage-based transfer fee. While this amount can get significant on bigger trades, this company often has the best (or second-best) rate in many currency pairings.
So, why aren’t they in our top three? In short, their business services don’t compare favourably to the other money transfer providers in this guide. Firstly, they cap transfers at 1.2 million EUR. Many real estate purchases and business transfers exceed that amount – so, that’s a problem.
Second, their business tools aren’t as developed. Wise has batch payment capabilities, but no hedging tools. In the current economic environment, that’s just not good enough.
Should this change, we’ll reevaluate Wise. Drawbacks aside, they are an excellent money transfer company.
Since 2004, World First has offered its 300,000 business clients a better way to move money abroad. With an annual throughput of 70 billion GBP (~78.6 billion EUR), it’s obvious they have advantages not just over the banks, but other money transfer provider as well.
World First offers some of the thinnest margins in the industry (as low as 0.15%). But, that’s not the only way they’ve attracted and retained customers. This business employs some of the sharpest minds in finance. As a result, they offer timely advice that has saved their clients untold amounts of capital.
However, all that isn’t enough for them to rank in our top three. As good as World First is for business clients, they are unsuitable for most individuals. And as of Feb 2021, they stopped working with private clients.
That said, World First gets top-shelf results for medium and big enterprises or e-sellers.
Concluding Thoughts – Ireland Money Transfers
Ireland’s rise to prominence over the past generation has been nothing short of inspiring. Their tax advantages have drawn corporations from all over the world, but its supports and smart people have kept the momentum going.
Nonetheless, Ireland is a small place. As such, viable money transfer solutions are vital to this nation’s ongoing success. More and more, startup founders and ordinary Irish citizens alike are discovering the savings that money transfer providers offer.
From fee-free transfers to elaborate financial security tools, these firms are winning scores of customers. And, as if that wasn’t enough, they offer customer care that blows the banks away. By partnering with these money transfer providers, you could start saving today.