HP Forums

Full Version: How to pay in UK pounds?
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.

I'm in the US. I won an auction from someone in the UK who wants a money order or cashiers check, but requires it to be in pounds, not US dollars. The usual places I get international money orders don't do that. Any suggestions?

Western Union Auction Payments (formerly BidPay) can do it, but only if the recipient signs up for their service, which I don't think he will do.

People I've dealt with in most countries seem to be able to accept US dollars just fine, but it always seems to be a problem when I try to pay people in the UK. Do the banks in the UK charge higher fees for that than banks in other countries?

Hi there,

I have had the same problem but the other way around in the past. The way I have found to get around the issue is to go get the required amount of cash in the required currency and to send it by a carrier like UPS. Worked like a dream and is just as secure as a money order. :)


I won an auction once from the UK and though the seller said he wanted a money order or cashiers check in pounds i found he would except cash in dollars. I guess it is a large fee on that end (like in Australia too) to cash a forign currency check but no problen to convert cash. I sent cash $ by the US mail. The insurance was less than half of any check/money order method and covered the cash sent. The guy at the Post Office walked me through it and it was painless. It was a lot of paperwork but i had to mail it there anyway so it was only one trip. UPS may do it but after being stiffed once on their "insurance" i will not use their "service".

hi eric,

its the height of madness here that its not easy to electronically transfer funds across boundaries. i am in the uk and would very much like to bid on german and french auctions which, quite often, ask for their domestic currency and accept only cheques or electronic transfer. you would think banks, ie people in this exact business, to be on the case but they are not. to wire money, uk banks charge a fee (~$25) because the customer manually writes out a mandate and it gets handled manually. how bad is that? cash in an envelope is my best option for europe!

can you persuade this guy to accept western union auction payments? it would involve you having to pay an extra $5, but they convert into UKP and send out a uk cheque that he can present to his bank.

best of luck,
-- hugh.

I ran across this situation myself a while back. If I remember correctly, I went to the U.S. Post Office. They had international money orders issuable in any currency desired.

The last time I checked with the post office, about six months ago, they no longer offered international money orders in ANY currency, even US dollars. I suppose I should check again.

Did you ask him if you could send hard cash (£) in a registered and insured letter?
You also can use an international money order.
Then he will recover hard cash in £ at home.
Another solution is to make an international money transfer to his bank account from yours.
Thus you need first name, family name, bank name & address and IBAN.
Hope that helps you to complete the deal.

Edited: 22 Feb 2004, 12:12 p.m.

If you do a fair amount of these transaction types you may consider signing up with American Express at:


I have been using them for several years and find their fees are reasonable. Actually, I do not pay any fees as they take their fee between the bid / ask. The exchange rates they use are very close to those seen on http://www.oanda.com/ so I believe they are fair.

Good luck.


I have won a few auctions on Ebay Germany and normally the sellers are not familiar with Paypal, and when I state that I can pay with Paypal as an option, they are a bit suspicious, so I end up doing a bank transfer as they have requested (I live in Sweden). It used to cost around $9 to transfer funds but now there is a new kind of electronic transfer where you only need the name of the person, his account number in international format (IBAN), and his bank sort code (Bic), and it costs around $1.50. It goes fast, and I haven't had any problems with it. I would imagine it could be done in the UK also, but going by this thread, it seems not to be the case.

For US and UK auctions, I normally prefer to use Paypal anyway (buying and selling). It is so straightforward and convenient that if I see a US/UK auction that doesn't offer it as a method to pay, I skip it.

USPS IMO's are very strange. Easy to get for places like Canada, Mexico, and Trinidad.

Very weird for Europe. You fill out an application and give them money (but only some post offices have them... very few). They send it to New York, them they send it to Timbuktu, then they send you your IMO. Takes about three months. Forget it.

I have done a fair number of international transactions. Certainly the Euro has made it easier for me. Here is a summary of my UK experience, followed by other countries. As an ebay seller I accept PayPal (easiest but about 4% fee for international, %3 domestic) and CASH in US DOllars, UK Pounds and EUROs. I think I was paid once in UK Pounds, but have bought many more, in part ue to my fondness for the British Z88 computer. Some sellers have accepted PayPal. One insisted on a UK Money order (refused cash, fearful of loss or appearance of irregularity buy customs officials). I think that insistance wasted about $30 in fees at my local commercial bank. AAA Motor Club carries American Express Travelers Checks in UK Pounds. You may wish to check at AAA or your local bank for the American Express Travelers Checks in UK Pounds option. Buying UK Pounds in cash at your local bank is a choice. Their buy/sell exchange rate may beat you out of 8-10%. I have also sent CASH in US Dollars. I have a friend in Germany and we have mutually facilitated US-Germany and Germany-US ebay sales.

I accept foreign currency, because I know enough people who travel Europe, that I can exchange with them for US Dollars (anything to help a buyer avoid excessive fees).

Last thought . . . when sending CASH or NEGOTIABLE INSTRUMENTS (I think that is the phrase), many countries prohibit sending cash. Nonetheless, if you send a letter REGISTERED MAIL, it is virtually impossible (short of catastrophic loss of the plane) to lose the envelope. EVERY SINGLE PERSON THAT TOUCHES YOUR ENVELOPE, HAS TO SIGN FOR IT. With such an audit trail, no one will steal it.

AAA Motor Club carries American Express Travelers Checks in UK Pounds. You may wish to check at AAA

Thanks! I'm a AAA member, but it hadn't even occurred to me that they might be able to solve this problem for me.

>> its the height of madness here that its not easy to
electronically transfer funds across boundaries. i am in
the uk and would very much like to bid on german and french
auctions which, quite often, ask for their domestic
currency and accept only cheques or electronic transfer.

I guess that's the price to pay for the UK people for refusing to attend the Euro currency. Splendid isolation! You asked for it - you got it.

I haven't had any problems concerning payments in the EURO
community at all since day one of the EURO. And meanwhile
with the current exchange rate it is quite fun buying abroad.

Surely this is salt into the wounds for some people who wanted to be cleverer, but that's the way it is.


I know this is off-topic but I'd like to comment nevertheless.

The UK people did not refuse to join the euro. There has never been a referendum on the subject in the UK. It's a government decision to defer joining. I would hazard a guess that the majority are in favour of the euro.

Personally, I want nothing to do with europe and occasionally I'm reminded why.

[12345 to delete]

Unfortunately USPS sends money to a very small number of countries (less than 40). More details from:


I am not at all surprised that they do not send money orders to the UK, given the way the UK Post Office issues money orders. These are like money, not checks (i.e. they are of a fixed denomination), so to send GBP 54.95 you need 2 twenties, one ten, one five, and for the rest you have to buy normal postage stamps which you stick on the money orders. Insane!

I have only purchased two items from the UK, in both cases the "obvious" means for sending money (international money order, bank transfer, Western Union, etc) were either unavailable or too expensive (smth like 20% of the amount).

In one case I just sent bank notes using registered post, on another occasion I sent a money order from within the UK because I happened to be stopping over. While everything went smothly, its just too much hassle.

So, in the future, I would be very hesitant to buy again from the UK unless the seller accepted payment via PayPal.