Currency transfer: how to make the most of your money
Not too long ago, if you wanted to move a large sum of money overseas virtually your only option was to use your high-street bank.
And while using a bank remains an option, today there is plenty of choice if you want to transfer a sizeable sum overseas. There are currency brokers and peer-to-peer services, which together have transformed the way we transfer money. Now you can make transactions 24 hours of the day from the comfort of your home computer, smart phone or tablet if you wish.
But how do you choose between providers, let alone the type of service you use? And how much will it cost? Can you compare exchange rates easily? And how safe is your money – how do you make sure your hard-earned cash will actually arrive where it is meant to? Here is our guide to the ever-changing currency market.
Over the past decade, currency brokers have established themselves firmly in the market. The service they offer used to be limited to individuals with very large sums of money or to companies. Today, anyone can use a currency broker – but they are really best if you are moving at least a few thousand pounds or there might be (admittedly small) charges to pay.
Currency brokers tend to work in roughly the same way. You set up an account with the broker and transfer money from your bank account into it. Then you either go online or phone to find the exchange rate you want and set up the transfer to the overseas bank account. Your money then arrives in the overseas account in your chosen currency – possibly within a few hours of making the transfer.
There are two important factors to take into account with currency transfers: the exchange rates on offer and the speed of the transfers. But what differentiates brokers from each other? A comparison site such as fxcompared.com will help show the best deal for you.
Currency brokers will often offer you the chance to fix at the current exchange rate for delivery in the future – known as a future contract. This can be useful if you are concerned that exchange rates could move against you in the following months – say, if you are buying a property abroad and there’s a long period between when you make the offer and complete on the deal.
Many also offer regular payment plans that allow you to move sums abroad at whatever frequency you wish. These can be useful if you have to pay a property maintenance company every month for upkeep of your overseas home.
Safety is vital if you are sending money abroad. If you use a currency broker regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, it means that if you have a complaint you will have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service. It’s worth checking the credit rating of a currency broker too if you are concerned. Client money should also always be held in segregated accounts so you know it’s always protected.
A more recent development has been the arrival of peer-to-peer currency exchange services. With these, you are “matched” with someone else who wants your currency.
Taavet Hinrikus co-founded TransferWise when he realised how expensive it was to move money between London and his (and his co-founder Kristo Käärmann’s) home country of Estonia. Hinrikus, the chief executive officer, says: “I was paid in euros from my job in Estonia but needed pounds to pay for living costs in London. Kristo was paid in pounds from his job in London but needed euros to pay the mortgage on his house in Estonia.
“We both had what the other needed, so every month I put euros into his account in Estonia and he put pounds in my account in London. We saved thousands by cutting out the banks and realised this was a much fairer way of doing things.” CurrencyFair’s Adam Davidson says that it is price that attracts custom. “We are cheaper and generally faster than other ways of moving money abroad. We charge on average 0.35 per cent in the exchange rate and a £2.50, €3 or A$4 transfer fee compared with brokers who generally charge between 1-2 per cent in the exchange rate and banks which charge 3-5 per cent plus a transfer fee of £20/€25/A$30.”
TransferWise’s Hinrikus says: “We’re always completely transparent about the fee we charge and the exchange rate that our customers get. Costs vary between currencies, but we’re usually around 10 times cheaper and five times faster than banks.” The minimum transfer is £1; the maximum £1 million. Currently, CurrencyFair operates in 18 currencies and TransferWise in 30. TransferWise is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority while CurrencyFair is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland which Davidson says means it meets “the same European-wide requirements as companies regulated in the UK”.
Banks tend to offer less attractive exchange rates for personal customers than those used by the currency brokers or peer-to-peer services. They also charge fees (apart from some services on offer to those with packaged current accounts) and these could be high for a fast service.
Yet still banks remain popular. The convenience offered by a branch service plays a part as, importantly, does trust. The image of our high-street banks might have been damaged in past years but they are well-known names which many feel happy to trust.
Costs vary depending on the bank; type of account; where you are sending money and how fast you want the transfer. Do compare exchange rates: for larger sums this is more important than charges.
Why you should use the money transfer service
Our money transfer service has helped thousands of Telegraph readers to save money and time.
Our service will take the hassle out of transferring money overseas and ensure you get the best exchange rates around.
GET THE BEST EXCHANGE RATES
Whether you’re making regular international payments, or simply need to make a one-off money transfer, factors like exchange rates and transfer fees can make a big difference to the amount of currency you end up with. Our experts will help you get more for your money – which is why 99% of our customers recommend our services.
WHY USE US INSTEAD OF YOUR BANK?
Because making money transfers with us is faster, more convenient and much more cost-effective. We offer unbeatable exchange rates and we don’t charge commission. What’s more, your first transfer will be completely free of charge.
ENJOY PEACE OF MIND
We use the most secure, reliable methods available to make your international transfers. You can be confident that your money will arrive where you need it, when you need it.
GET A DEDICATED PERSONAL ACCOUNT MANAGER
Your Account Manager will use every day language, not technical jargon, to help you get the best value from your money transfers.
CHOOSE US BECAUSE:
Our market experts will get you the best exchange rate available, making your money go further.
- We can fix an exchange rate today that will be valid in the future, so you will be protected from adverse currency movements, or can lock into favourable exchange rates.
- We use the most reliable payment methods available, ensuring that your funds are transferred as quickly and securely as possible.
- Our approachable, experienced staff are on-hand and accessible to you throughout the day.
- You can be confident that you are dealing with the experts. We have been trading currencies since 1979 and last year we traded over £10.5 billion in currencies.
Telegraph International Money Transfer Service, provided by Moneycorp, offers expert guidance and the best exchange rates available. To find out more or to setup an account, please call 0808 115 8476 or open an account below.
How can you save when sending money overseas?
The euro has strengthened in recent weeks, making it doubly important to get a competitive exchange rate when buying in the eurozone
As widely reported, the euro has had a difficult year. Greek bailouts and large-scale quantitative easing served to weaken the single currency in the first half of 2015, as the pound reached a near eight-year high of €1.44 in mid-July.
In 2014 the GBP/EUR rate hit a low of €1.19. At last year’s low rate, a €250,000 property in the eurozone would have been priced at around £210,000 in sterling terms, while at the 2015 high the same property would have been priced at £174,000 – a reduction of £36,000 simply due the exchange rate.
But since July, sterling has stumbled against the euro. From €1.44 on July 19, the pound fell to €1.35 on September 29 on the back of disappointing retail sales figures and expectations that the Bank of England will not now raise interest rates until late 2016.
So if you are planning to buy property in the eurozone soon the news is still positive when compared against the exchange rates in 2014. But the rates are not quite as advantageous as they were mid-summer. If you are using your bank to make international money transfers, such market information might not be readily explained. If you use a foreign exchange specialist such as moneycorp, which runs the Telegraph International Money Transfer Service, you will be allocated a personal account manager who will provide expert market guidance and assist you with your currency transaction.
With moneycorp you can use a ‘forward contract’ to fix an exchange rate for up to two years ahead. So if you were happy with the rate when sterling was above €1.40 in July you could have secured it and would have been unconcerned when the market began to move towards €1.35. Using a forward contact can give you peace of mind and allows you to budget ahead with confidence.
The Telegraph International Money Transfer Service also offers a better exchange rate than you would get with a high-street bank; the rates are typically 3–4pc more competitive with moneycorp, which could mean a saving of up to £4,000 on a £100,000 transfer.
The transfer fees are also lower. Banks can charge £20-£40 every time you send money overseas. With the Telegraph International Money Transfer Service, transfers are from £4 online up to a maximum of £10 over the phone. What’s more, Telegraph readers get their first transfer free.You will also gain access to moneycorp’s online service.
This allows you to buy or sell currency and transfer money overseas 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Being able to access the service at any time and from anywhere eliminates the need to contact your bank’s call centre if you need to transfer money while abroad. As with any financial transaction, security is important. moneycorp, which provides the Telegraph International Money Transfer Service, has been in business since 1979. Last year moneycorp traded more than £13bn in currency on behalf of its customers and conducted 9.2m transactions. Since the partnership started in 2009, more than 8,000 Telegraph readers have used the service to send money overseas. moneycorp is authorised and regulated for the provision of payment services by the Financial Conduct Authority and customer funds are safeguarded in segregated client accounts.
The Telegraph International Money Transfer Service offers great exchange rates, low fees, expert guidance and a secure service. To receive the Telegraph offer of your FIRST TRANSFER FREE, call 0808 274 3024 today.