The United Kingdom, known formally as The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, consists of four countries: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The UK operates as a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy and Queen Elizabeth II has reigned since 1952. Home to 66 million people, it the third-largest country by population in the European Union.
The UK has the world’s fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and is the second- largest in Europe, behind Germany. The service sector, which includes the financial services industry, is overwhelmingly the biggest contributor to UK GDP. London is the capital of the United Kingdom and is considered one of the major global financial centres, along with New York City and Hong Kong.
The official currency of the United Kingdom is pound sterling. The pound is the third-largest reserve currency in the world, behind the US dollar and euro. Interest rate differentials, as set by the Bank of England and the Reserve Bank of Australia, often play a big role in determining the value of the GBP/AUD exchange rate.
In 2016, citizens voted for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. On that day the pound fell by 10% against the US dollar. When considering the exchange rate, keep in mind that Brexit negotiations will have an outsized impact on the value of GBP.
To send money to the UK you’ll need the name on the recipient’s bank account, the Bank Sort Code (BSC) and bank account number. The BSC is a unique 6-digit code that identifies banks and branches throughout the United Kingdom. It is similar to the BSB code that is used in Australia.