An international money transfer allows you to send money to a foreign bank account.
These types of transactions can be done with banks like HSBC, transfer operators like Western Union, brokers like HiFX and increasingly peer-to-peer companies like TransferWise.
But when would you ever really need to use one?
Top 10 uses
We asked HiFX what the most popular reasons were to make an international money transfer. These are the top ten reasons its customers need to send money across borders.
Friends and family
International money transfers are useful if you have loved ones abroad and need to wire over some cash on an ad-hoc or regular basis.
Buying or selling property
There will be large sums of money that need to be moved if you're planning on buying or selling a property abroad, so you'll want to ensure fees and exchange rates don't impact too much on the transaction by shopping around for the best deal.
You might have things like school fees or utility expenses that need to be paid abroad. Setting up regular international money transfers and fixing the exchange rate can take the stress out of managing them and ensure they're paid on time.
People that are paid a pension in the UK but live or take extended holidays abroad might need to use an international money transfer to get access to their cash while they're away.
Overseas mortgage payments
Anyone that has taken out a mortgage on a foreign property will have to make regular mortgage repayments to their lender. You can set up a regular transfer and fix the exchange rate with a broker.
If you live and work overseas you may need to send money back home. You can use international money transfers to move salary payments where you need them on a regular basis or just when necessary.
Buying or selling big ticket assets
Again when buying or selling high value assets like boats or cars abroad you'll be dealing with large sums of money, so you'll want to ensure you get the best exchange rate you can when transferring the money you pay or receive into another currency.
If you're planning on moving overseas and leaving the UK behind, you'll probably want to move your money with you. This is likely to be a sizable amount if you've sold property and are cashing in savings, so it's important to secure the very best deal you can get by shopping around.
Planning a wedding abroad will most likely involve dealing with foreign companies for most of the preparations and services for the big day. You'll be working to a tight budget so given that payments will be sporadic and for different amounts it's important to check where you can get the best deal each time.
Topping up a foreign bank account
If you have an overseas bank account that needs topping up, then an international money transfer is the way to do it.
How to save on international money transfers
If you need to make an international money transfer, it's important to get the best deal.
When doing a transfer your lump sum will be diminished by the fee and the exchange rate.
Watch out for companies that claim to offer fee-free transfers as they often dampen the exchange rate to make a profit.
The true cost of the transfer is often hidden, so the best way to tell the deal you're getting is comparing how much euros/yen/dollars you get at the end.
Banks tend to be the most expensive option, but it's the first place people try. A foreign currency broker or peer-to-peer currency exchange can often offer a better deal.
More on AOL Money:
Five ways to transfer money abroad
New low-cost international money transfers
The Fixer: Money transfer charges