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International money transfer – points to remember

International money transfer – points to remember

Category: Offshore savings

Updated: 21/11/2014
First Published: 21/11/2014

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This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

International money transfer can be vital to the success of your work or home life abroad, but if you don't go about it the right way, you could spend far more than you need to. So, we've outlined a few points to remember – and a few pitfalls you need to watch out for – to ensure the money transfer process goes as smoothly, and cost-efficiently, as possible.

  • Don't always hit the high street. You may think that going to your local bank, Post Office or currency exchange counter would be all that's necessary to arrange international money transfer, but there's far more to it than that. These places will invariably offer high fees and poor exchange rates, normally on the assumption that their customers won't shop around first or know what current exchange rates are. Which brings us to…
  • Be knowledgeable. Don't come unstuck simply because you didn't do a bit of research first. If you want to be sure that you're getting the best rates possible, head online and see what they should be! The exact rate you'll be offered will depend on a number of different factors, such as the timing of the exchange, the amount of money you're transferring and the provider's own charges, but if you familiarise yourself with the market and with providers themselves, you won't end up paying extortionate rates unnecessarily.
  • Look out for hidden charges. Your provider will undoubtedly have a range of additional fees and charges thrown into the mix, and this will ultimately determine how much you'll pay. Be especially wary of providers that say they're commission-free but then load the exchange rate, and remember that the fees of the overseas receiving bank will make a difference, too.
  • Don't leave it to the last minute. A lot of people don't consider their transfer requirements before the day itself, and as such could end up making a last-minute decision. While this won't have too much of a financial consequence for small, one-off transfers, if you're making a particularly large purchase (such as buying a property or car overseas) or will need to make regular transfers, timing – and therefore the rate – is everything. Get it wrong and you could potentially pay thousands more than you need to, so make sure to do you research, plan things in advance, and even consider fixing the rate beforehand – that way, you can plan your budget and your costs, rather than leaving it to the last minute and opening yourself up to currency fluctuations.
  • Shop around (and consider brokers). Shopping around is the only way you can be confident you're getting the best deal, so make sure to compare the options thoroughly. You may even want to consider using a currency specialist rather than your high street bank – their charges will often be far lower and their exchange rates more favourable, so start the process by checking out our international money transfer partner, HiFX, and see if you could save.

What Next?

Transfer money quickly, easily, securely 24 hours a day, seven days a week with our partner HiFX.

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.

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