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How to transfer money to USA without IBAN?

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Last editedApr 20232 min read

Transferring money to the USA from the UK can easily be done straight from your bank account using the IBAN number, but doing so often involves being at the mercy of an unfavourable exchange rate. International bank transfers can also incur high fees.

Using a money transfer service instead gives you access to a better exchange rate, which saves you money even if there is a small fee to be paid for the service. There is also the option of an instant cash transfer, so here we’ll look at these alternative methods for sending money to the USA and explain how to do it.

Money transfer services

There are lots of money transfer services around these days and they offer a cost-effective service. They usually provide a variety of options for the recipient of the funds to receive them, such as mobile wallets as well as bank accounts.

Basically what happens is the transfer service has operating accounts in both countries. You transfer the money to their account in your country, where they exchange it into the new currency and transfer it to their account in the other country. They then transfer your money from that account to the recipient’s account, or other chosen method. This allows them to bypass the high fees banks charge for international money transfers between two unconnected accounts, hence the potential for significant savings.

There are four steps to the money transfer process, as follows:

  • Register with the service

  • Select an exchange rate

  • Send the money

  • Recipient receives money

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Register with the service

All first-time customers have to register by identifying themselves with their name, address and passport details. This is a legal requirement for sending money abroad, which is in place to prevent money laundering and other monetary fraud.

Registering is usually a pretty simple process and shouldn’t take too long. Plus if you are going to be sending money to the USA regularly then you will only have to register the first time you use a particular service.

Select an exchange rate

Many money transfer services allow you to lock in an exchange rate. You can always change it to the very latest rate at any point, but if you choose to lock in the current rate then this will be the rate used when you finalise the transfer.

You should receive confirmation of the proposed transfer, typically by email, which is sent along with details of the selected exchange rate.

Send the money

Once the transfer’s exchange rate is confirmed, you send the money in pounds to the money transfer service’s account. This will often be in the form of a simple bank transfer from your bank to the transfer service’s UK recipient account, so there are no international transfer fees due to be paid.

Recipient receives money

Once your transfer has been received by the money transfer service, they convert the pounds amount into US dollars. They then process the money through their system and send it to your chosen recipient. The whole process can take 1-3 working days.

Cash transfers

There are also cash transfer services, which are the fastest way to send money. Services such as Western Union and MoneyGram enable you to send cash instantly, which can be received immediately by the recipient. However, you are unlikely to get the favourable exchange rates available through money transfer services, plus the fees for cash transfers are significantly higher.

To send a cash transfer in person, you will need to visit an agent’s office – these storefronts are often found in high streets. You’ll need your ID, plus the requisite details of the recipient’s bank account or mobile wallet. You then pay the amount to the agent in cash and they send the money to the recipient immediately. 

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If you’re interested in finding out more about international money transfers, or any other aspect of your business finances, then get in touch with our financial experts. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.

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