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13 Jun 2016

5 Pro Secrets for Currency Exchange Success

Every day more people are learning that they can save money by avoiding their banks when they transfer money. Holidaymakers and those purchasing property abroad as well as businesses sending payments overseas, know that using a specialist company to make a transfer always saves money over using banks.

In the currency exchange market, the options for which company to transfer money with are as plentiful as the reasons for making a currency exchange. There are transfer companies that make it easy to send a quick one-off small transfer through facebook that wouldn’t be appropriate for those conducting a property purchase. Since the choices of currency companies can be confusing to consumers,  we have compiled a quick guide for those who may be new to the wonderful world of currency exchange.

  1. Do your research. Use a currency calculator to determine what the current mid-market rate of exchange is. Especially when sending money through a company that offers on online transfer option, find out what the ‘real time rate’ is in order to calculate the fees that are being charged. The reasons for needing to exchange currency will determine the best company to use. For those sending large amounts or making regular or business payments, select a company that has a high review score on a trusted review site, such as
  2. Understand the costs. Just as any business does, foreign exchange companies charge a fee for their services. Bank fees are often not transparent, so compare them carefully to the amounts that are quoted by specialist firms. You can’t expect to receive the mid-market rate which is exclusively available to banks when they purchase currency from one another. The fees you pay will come in the form of a commission for making the exchange, a flat fee (especially for online platforms), or a minimum amount charge. The best savings are often made with companies that have a minimum amount they handle as well as a dedicated dealer because this provides a flexibility in the quote offered. This is known as a ‘tight margin’, which is the rate that delivers the best exchange.
  3. Consolidate smaller transactions into large ones. The best exchange rates are seen in larger transfers with companies that have a dedicated dealer. This isn’t the case with firms that have a flat fee, so avoid using them to make large transfers especially if they charge a percentage based fee. Plan ahead and send larger amounts through a specialist company that has a dedicated broker in order to reap the best rates.
  4. Open an overseas bank if staying abroad. For those studying, working or staying for extended periods of time abroad, a foreign bank account will be a money saving necessity. It will be possible to transfer money from a UK bank directly to the foreign bank account rather than using an agency (like Western Union or MoneyGram) which charge high fees. Also having a bank account can help safeguard against currency fluctuations when the value of a ‘home currency’ is weakened since the account will be in the local currency.
  5. Plan ahead and buy travel money when you book your trip. Most people shop carefully for the best deals on flights and hotels, forgetting to consider how much more they pay in fees when they exchange currency at the airport or their destination. The last thing to leave to the last minute is travel money. Companies that have good travel money exchange rates offer free delivery for larger purchases of currency. Purchase travel money cards that allow you to preload them and save money that would otherwise be spent in credit card exchange fees each time you pay for meals. The cards have the additional benefit of being safer than carrying large amounts of currency when traveling.