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What are the Best International Money Transfer Options?

Updated 28 Sep 2020

Any move overseas, whether for work or leisure, involves a substantial amount of planning. One factor which needs to be considered is how to manage your international money transfers

Foreign Currency Exchange – Things to Think About 

When planning an emigration you may need to move a large lump sum abroad to fund the move or purchase a foreign property. Alternately, you might need to transfer regular payments (like a pension or wages) once you arrive. Whatever your transfer requirement there are a few things you need to think about. 

For starters, the transfer of one currency for another takes place on the foreign currency exchange market – one of the most volatile trading platforms in the world – with the value of a currency relative to another being its exchange rate. The exchange rate you obtain for your transfer can make a big difference to how much money you receive. So, for example, if you had £100,000 to transfer, a Pound to Euro exchange rate of 1.35 would give you €135,000 whereas a rate of 1.30 would see you achieve €130,000 – €5,000 less. Exchange rates are always fluctuating and can experience substantial movements within days or even hours, so monitoring the currency market is key if you want to move your money at the right time. 

How Exchange Rate Movements Can Affect Your Foreign Currency Transfer 

Exchange rate movements have any number of causes, with political, social, environmental and economic developments all having an impact. While this makes predicting fluctuations with 100% accuracy impossible, if you know what to look out for you can plan your currency transfer more effectively. Monitoring economic releases, such as growth and inflation reports, can give you an insight into what market shifts might be on the horizon, so this is something you may want to look into. Some foreign exchange providers employ industry experts to track exchange rates on your behalf and keep you abreast of the latest developments, a service which can eliminate the hassle for you and ensure you don’t miss out on a favourable rate. 

The exchange rate your transfer is conducted at isn’t the only thing which can affect how much money you receive – moving money abroad can also be subject to charges and fees which it pays to be aware of. 

When planning an international money transfer it’s also worth thinking about the ways in which funds can be moved. During your research into a suitable foreign exchange provider, see what transfer options they’re able to offer. Some services, such as being able to fix a favourable exchange rate up to two years in advance, may serve your needs better than others. 

So, what are your options when it comes to moving money abroad? The two most popular options for managing international money transfers are using a bank and using a specialist currency broker. Below we look into those two options in more detail.

Using Your Bank to Manage International Money Transfers 

Many major banks conduct international money transfers. However, as foreign exchange is just one branch of the services banks offer, most aren’t able to provide the same level of support and guidance as more specialist providers. 

Something you may miss out on if you use a bank to move your money is being able to talk to a currency expert about how exchange rates are performing. Without someone keeping track of market movements on your behalf it’s possible that you’ll fail to benefit from a positive exchange rate shift or leave yourself exposed to a potential downturn in conditions. 

You may also find that the exchange rates offered by banks can be bettered, so your transfer could be worth more if you shop around. Additionally, some banks levy transfer fees and commission, charges which can eat away at how much currency you ultimately receive.  

Using a Currency Broker to Manage International Money Transfers 

The margins some currency brokers work on mean that they’re able to secure their clients better exchange rates than the banks. Additionally, some brokers don’t charge transfer fees or commission, which can save you up to 90% of the usual costs attached to international money transfers. 

These savings could leave you substantially better off, potentially seeing you secure thousands more than if you used an alternate currency transfer service.

As currency brokers are specialists in their field they can also give you a greater range of options than banks when it comes to moving money abroad. From spot transfers (when you need to purchase currency for immediate delivery) to risk management options (which safeguard your funds from exposure to the sometimes erratic movements of the currency market) or the ability to set up an automated regular payments service for recurrent transactions, currency brokers can help you pick the most suitable transfer option for your needs so you get the best return.  

Top Tips for Making the Most of Your International Money Transfers 

Based on the points covered above, here are three top tips for getting the best return on your foreign currency transfers. 

  1. Research your options – as previously outlined, your international money transfer could be worth thousands more depending on the currency exchange provider you choose to manage the exchange. Take the time to look into the options, get exchange rate quotes and seek guidance from market-leading forex experts. 

  2. Take a proactive approach – if you leave organising your foreign currency transfer until the last minute you won’t be able to ensure that you move your money when the exchange rate is most favourable. You’ll also lose out on the option of adopting risk-management solutions to protect your transfer. It pays to be prepared, so consider signing up to a free market update service with a reputable provider before you need to make your trade.

  3. Pick the best transfer solution for your needs – whether you have smaller, regular international payments to manage or a large lump sum to transfer, there will be a service to suit, so explore all the available avenues. With a Regular Overseas Payments service you can arrange for transfers to be conducted automatically on a monthly basis on a pre-set date, eliminating all the hassle, while risk-management solutions like forward contracts mean you can defend larger transactions from exposure to currency market volatility. 

In short, research, planning and expert guidance can help you save up to 90% of the usual international money transfer costs, so if you’re emigrating and have foreign exchange requirements to manage, be sure to take these points on board.

Moving money abroad? Get a quote here. 

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