Best Online Currency Exchange Services 2024

Exchanging money online or through an app is quick and convenient - and increasingly popular. There are many different services available in the UK market, depending on whether you need online currency conversion to send a payment to someone, to hold a foreign currency balance, to get money for yourself from an ATM, or to send money to someone else to collect in cash near their home.

The range of services available means that the right provider is out there for you - but it also means that you’ll need to do a bit of homework to pick the perfect provider for your specific needs. This guide to the best online currency exchange services in the UK has you covered.

Online currency exchange providers:

Here are the providers we’ll explore in this article, and a quick word on why we picked them:

  1. Wise - convert 40+ currencies with the mid market exchange rate

  2. OFX - no fees for transfers in 50+ currencies

  3. TorFX - award winning service for international payments

  4. Remitly - convert money online for cash collection

  5. Revolut - 5 different account types, all with some no-fee conversion of major currencies

Wise

Wise is a global financial provider which allows UK personal and business customers to open accounts online to hold and exchange 40+ currencies. You can use your Wise account to send foreign currency payments, to convert a balance you hold, to make overseas ATM withdrawals to get cash in foreign currencies, to pay for things abroad with your Wise debit card.

Go to Wise

When you convert money with Wise you get the mid-market exchange rate and low fees from 0.39%. There are no fees to maintain your Wise account and the exchange process can be entirely managed online or with your smartphone app, making this a low cost and convenient option, for people who travel, send and receive foreign currency payments, or shop online with international e-commerce stores.

How to exchange money online with Wise

Set up a Wise account online or in app by entering your personal and contact information, and getting verified with a snap of your ID and address documents. You can then add money to your account in GBP, and convert within your account by following the on screen prompts. You can also get instant currency conversion when you tap to pay with your card, make a withdrawal or send a payment to someone else overseas.

  • Exchange rates: Mid-market rate

  • Card availability:  Available

  • Safety: Regulated by the FCA in the UK, and globally by a range of other bodies

  • Speed: Conversion can be instant - if you’re sending a payment to someone else, it can often arrive instantly, or within 24 hours

  • Customer reviews: 4.6 out of 5 stars on Google Play, from 868k+ ratings; 4.7 out of 5 stars on Apple App Store, from 67k+ ratings

Read more: Wise debit card review

Wise pros and cons

ProsCons

✅ Mid-market exchange rate

✅ Hold and exchange 40+ currencies - both business and personal accounts available

✅ Debit card for international payment and withdrawals

✅ Send money to 160+ countries

✅ No ongoing account fees

❌ Variable currency conversion fee

❌ Transfer delivery times are usually quick - but can vary

❌ No cash delivery option

Go to Wise

OFX

OFX offers UK personal customers ways to convert GBP to 50+ currencies to send to 170+ countries. With OFX you’ll need to fund your payment in GBP and then send it for deposit to a bank account overseas. There’s no OFX transfer fee, and no fee to set up your account in the first place. Instead, OFX adds a small mark up to the exchange rate used to convert your GBP to the currency you need. This is a fee - but it’s often smaller than the mark up you’ll find used by UK banks.

If you’re an OFX business customer you’ll also get other options including ways to receive business payments from others in foreign currencies, to a Global Currency Account. OFX has strong customer service, and offers 24/7 phone support, as well as digital transfers.

How to exchange money online with OFX

To exchange money with OFX you’ll need to register an account which you can do online or by phone. You may find you need to make your first transfer by phone so a member of the team can talk you through your options. You’ll be notified of the exchange rate being used and your available payment methods - usually bank transfer and card. Fund your transfer and the money is on the way.

  • Exchange rates: Mid-market rate + a small markup

  • Card availability:  Not available

  • Safety: Safe, trusted and highly rated on customer service

  • Speed: Transfers can take 1 - 5 days depending on the currency

  • Customer reviews: 4 out of 5 stars on Google Play, from 3k+ ratings; 4.8 out of 5 stars on Apple App Store, from 2k+ ratings

OFX pros and cons

ProsCons

✅ Transact digitally and by phone, 24/7

✅ Send payments in 50 currencies to 170+ countries

✅ Transfers in major currencies are usually available in 1 - 2 days

✅ No transfer fee

✅ Currency risk management and business services available

❌ Exchange rates include a markup

❌More exotic currencies can take 5 days to arrive

❌ No cash payment options

Go to OFX

TorFX

TorFX is a currency specialist which mainly offers international transfers - although if you’re looking for travel money in cash they can also refer you to a cash provider. If you’re sending an international payment you’ll be able to do so 24/7 online or through your account manager, who you’ll be able to contact by phone. Transfers are deposited into your recipient’s bank account, and your GBP will be converted to the required currency using an exchange rate that includes a small mark up.

There’s no transfer fee to pay with TorFX, and it’s viewed as a safe and reliable service, with a high credit rating and very good customer feedback. However, as a provider which offers phone account management services, its smartphone apps are either not yet rated, or have very few ratings. That can make it difficult to gauge how the service performs if you prefer to transact digitally.

How to exchange money online with TorFX

To use TorFX to make an international transfer you’ll need to register your account - usually by phone, through an account manager. You can then secure your exchange rate either via your account manager or online, and fund your payment. Your money will be converted and passed on to the recipient as a direct bank deposit.

  • Exchange rates: Mid-market rate + a small markup

  • Card availability:  Not available

  • Safety: Award winning customer service, fully regulated where it offers service

  • Speed: Transfers can take 1 - 2 days depending on the currency

  • Customer reviews: Not yet rated on Google Play; 4.4 out of 5 stars on Apple App Store, from 41 ratings

TorFX pros and cons

ProsCons

✅ No transfer fee

✅ Send online, in app or through your personal account manager

✅ TorFX can refer you to a provider if you need travel cash rather than a digital payment

✅ Known for extremely strong customer service

✅ Highest possible credit rating in the UK

❌ Exchange rate includes a mark up

❌ Very few app ratings available

❌ Variable transfer times depending on currencies involved

Go to TorFX

Remitly

Remitly can be a strong option for an online currency exchange service if you want to send money to someone who doesn’t have easy access to a bank or ATM. You can send money to 170+ countries and choose a variety of delivery options including sending money to a bank or mobile money account, or for cash collection. Cash collection payments are often fast or instant and can be very handy if you need to get money to someone in a foreign currency quickly.

Remitly transfers have variable fees, depending on where you’re sending money to. Delivery times can also vary, but it’s often very fast or instant to send for cash collection or to a mobile money wallet. Deposits to bank accounts may take a little longer. Remitly calculates its exchange rate based on the live mid-market rate plus a mark up.

How to exchange money online with Remitly

Exchange money online by registering a Remitly account - you can send low value payments with little verification required, but to send more, or more frequently, you’ll need to provide some ID documents. Once you have an account you can easily enter the details of your payment and pick your preferred funding and delivery method, from those available at your destination.

  • Exchange rates: Mid-market rate + a mark up

  • Card availability:  Not available

  • Safety: Regulated in the countries it serves - safe to send to people you now and trust

  • Speed: Payments for cash collection and mobile wallets can arrive in minutes - bank transfers may take a little longer

  • Customer reviews: 4.8 out of 5 stars on Google Play, from 816k+ ratings; 4.9 out of 5 stars on Apple App Store, from 1.5 million+ ratings

    Remitly pros and cons

ProsCons

✅ Send to bank and mobile money accounts or as cash

✅ Payments to 170+ countries available

✅ Transfers for cash collection can arrive in minutes

✅ Extremely well rated apps

✅ Regulated service that’s safe to use

❌ Exchange rates include a markup

❌ Transfers can have very low limits

❌ Variable delivery times

Go to Remitly

Revolut

Revolut is a digital service which offers 5 different personal accounts in the UK, all of which have their own features, fees and benefits. All accounts let you hold and exchange a range of foreign currencies, spend with a linked debit card, and get some no fee weekday currency exchange and ATM withdrawals. Accounts have varying no-fee transaction limits, and you’ll pay a fair usage fee if you exceed your plan’s limit - or you can upgrade to a higher tier account to access more features and higher no-fee transaction limits.

Revolut currency exchange uses mid-market rates to your plan limits, with a fair usage fee of 0.5% to 1% applied if you exceed these limits. Some higher tier plans offer unlimited currency exchange which uses the mid-market rate. If you exchange money on a weekend, weekend markups also apply.

How to exchange money online with Revolut

Set up a Revolut account online or in the Revolut app, and add money in GBP to get started. You can then use your account to exchange your balance to foreign currencies, to spend and withdraw with your debit card, or to send payments to others. In all cases you can exchange currency with no fee on weekdays, to your plan limit.

  • Exchange rates: Mid-market rates to your plan limits, fair usage fee of 0.5% to 1% applied after that. Weekend markups also apply

  • Card availability:  Available

  • Safety: Safe, with a huge user base and fully regulated in the UK and many other countries and regions

  • Speed: Currency conversion can be instant, bank transfers have variable delivery times

  • Customer reviews: 4.6 out of 5 stars on Google Play, from 2.7 million+ ratings; 4.7 out of 5 stars on Apple App Store, from 43k ratings

Revolut pros and cons

ProsCons

✅ Choose from 5 different account types

✅ Standard plan has no monthly fee

✅ Some fee free currency conversion Monday to Friday on all account tiers

✅ All accounts have some no fee ATM withdrawals monthly

✅ Lots of other features and perks available

❌ You’ll pay a fairly high monthly fee to get all features

❌ Fair usage and out of hours currency conversion fees may apply

❌ You can’t send cash to others

Go to Revolut

How to exchange currency online?

Quite often, ordering online is the cheapest and easiest way to buy currency if you need travel money and want to get cash before you leave the UK.

Bear in mind that depending on the provider you’ve picked, and how commonly used the currency is, it may take a few business days before the currency is ready, so you can't do it last minute.

You may also find that ordering online on a Thursday or Friday delays your cash as many providers can’t offer weekend collection or delivery.

If you want to exchange currency online for travel, you’ll need to:

  1. Choose your preferred provider and order online for either collection or delivery

  2. Pay by bank transfer or using a card

  3. Your money can be collected at your nominated location, or delivered to your home in a day or two

Things to consider when choosing an online currency exchange service

Different online currency services have their own features, benefits and costs. Often you’ll find that providers have a particular target customer in mind - which may be someone sending money to a friend overseas, someone getting travel cash before a break, someone paying overseas bills, or someone looking for easy ways to spend with a card when they travel.

Picking the right provider for you will need a bit of thought. Depending on what you need to do, one provider may offer significantly better value than another. Here are a few considerations when you’re choosing:

  • Exchange rate - the exchange rate will be important in dictating how far your GBP goes when you’re spending in a foreign currency. Exchange services set their own rates, so looking for one with the mid-market rate or as close as possible to it will usually net you the best deal

  • Fees - depending on why you need to convert funds you may find there are fees to pay. These could be transfer fees, commissions or delivery fees for example. Providers should show these charges transparently, but sometimes costs can be buried in the exchange rates used - so do look at both fees and rates when you pick a service

  • Convenience - if you’re converting currency online you need a provider which is convenient to use, with a good app or website. It’s also worth considering how convenient it’ll be to get your cash. Collection and home delivery services can be a bit of a hassle, but having a digital multi-currency account and card from a provider like Wise or Revolut can be a convenient alternative

  • Speed - currency conversion can often be done instantly, but if you’ve got to wait to have money delivered or prepared for collection this might take some time. Similarly if you’re sending a payment to someone overseas - delivery times can vary widely, so comparing a few is a smart option

Understanding exchange rates

We’ve mentioned that it’s important to check the exchange rate a provider will offer you before you convert currency online. But what does that really mean?

To know if an exchange rate is any good or not you’ll need to know the mid-market currency exchange rate for your currency pair - so for GBP to EUR for example. You can find this on Google or with a currency exchange calculator. What you’ll be shown is the mid-market rate, which is the one that’s used as a benchmark by banks and currency exchange services trading on wholesale markets. However, this rate isn’t usually passed on to customers.

Generally providers will add a markup - a fee - to the mid-market rate to calculate their rate for currency exchange. This is hard to spot, and can mean you’re paying fees you weren’t expecting. Looking for a provider which offers the mid-market rate with no or low markup is the best bet.

Where to avoid exchanging currency

As tempting as it may be, it’s usually best to avoid exchanging currency at the airport. Airport currency exchange desks tend to have little competition, and know that travellers just want to get their money sorted, and won’t be scrutinising the costs at this stage. That can lead to a high markup fee being added to the exchange rate, which ultimately means you pay more than you need to for your travel cash.

When should I use my bank to exchange currency?

Some UK banks offer travel money currency exchange. Usually though, you’ll need to have an account with that bank, and there will be a minimum order value to consider.

Bank exchange rates tend not to be the very best available, particularly for commonly traded currencies. Alternative specialist online services trade high volumes of currencies - it's their core business - and so they’re willing to take a smaller fee per trade, keeping costs down for consumers.

Ultimately whether your bank is the best bet depends on the other available options - so you’ll need to shop around to decide whether it’s a good deal. One place banks may be able to help out is if you need a more exotic currency. While they may not have it in stock, your bank might be able to order unusual currencies more easily than a neighbourhood exchange service can.

Alternatives to online currency exchange providers

If you don’t want to exchange your money online, some alternative options for currency conversion include:

Banks

✅Easy and familiar, with face to face service

✅You may be able to exchange instantly if you want a common currency

❌Exchange rates may not be the best available

❌You’ll often need an account with your preferred bank to make an exchange

Exchange stores

Exchange in cash, or pay by card, and get your money instantly

Rates can be driven down in areas where there are lots of similar services

Exchange rates may not be the best available

Exchange stores often do not stock a big range of currencies

Conclusion - Best Online Currency Exchange Services

Exchanging currency online is convenient and fast. You’ll often find you need to register an account before you can make an online exchange, but this can be done with just your laptop or phone. There are lots of different online currency exchange services which could work for you depending on what you need.

If you want convenient ways to exchange a foreign currency balance, spend on card, and make cash withdrawals as you travel, consider Wise or Revolut. If your priority is sending a payment to someone that they can get in cash, Remitly may be right for you - and for bank deposit transfers you can arrange by phone as well as online, check out OFX. By comparing a few options, you’ll find the right service for your unique needs.

FAQ - Best Online Currency Exchange Services

1. What is the cheapest way to get foreign currency in the UK?

The cheapest way to exchange currency really depends on what currency you are buying, how much and where you are. If you need cash instantly, a physical bank or currency exchange store is your best bet - choose one in a city centre where there’s lots of competition if you can. If you have more time, get a digital account from a provider like Wise or Revolut for great exchange rates and low cost ways to spend and withdraw overseas.

2. How to exchange money online?

As a broad outline, if you want to exchange currency online for travel cash, you’ll need to:

  1. Choose your preferred provider and order online for either collection or delivery

  2. Pay by bank transfer or using a card

  3. Your money can be collected at your nominated location, or delivered to your home in a day or two

3. Where can I get money exchanged at the best exchange rate?

There’s no single right answer here - so shopping around is your best bet. It’s easy to research the exchange rates for online exchange services with a simple Google search - so you can compare them against the rates offered locally to you by physical exchange offices. That way you’ll know you’re getting the best available deal for you.

4. Where is the best place to exchange money overseas?

If you need to carry and exchange cash abroad, look out for exchange offices in city centres where there’s a lot of competition. This can help you get a better rate and lower overall costs. Alternatively, if you’re still planning your break, order a card from a provider like Wise or Revolut for great exchange rates and more convenient ways to spend and withdraw overseas.

5. What is the best travel card?

Getting a travel card from a provider like Wise or Revolut can be more convenient than standing in line in a currency exchange store, and offers cheap and secure ways to spend and withdraw overseas.

5. What currencies can I buy online?

You’ll find you can buy most major currencies online, through specialist currency services and banks. However, not all providers have all currencies covered, so you’ll still need to shop around a little to pick the right one. Wise supports 40+ currencies for holding and exchange, while OFX offers digital payments in 50 currencies - both good places to start your research.