The Top 3 Ways for Expats to Save On Currency


The Top 3 Ways For Expats To Save On Currency

Whether you are just about to make that big move abroad or you are just getting settled into your new home country, transferring money is probably going to be high on your agenda. Don’t be tempted to arrange money transfers with the first company you see in a Google search or even with your own bank. They are simply not going to give you the best deal.  There are many pitfalls to consider when transferring regular payments or large amounts of cash internationally and being aware of these could save you thousands.

When you are in one country and your main bank account is in another, it makes sense to take total control of your money, the currency exchange rates you are paying and any other fees that need to be taken into account.  Being a savvy money transfer consumer will ensure you get the best from the money you have worked hard to accumulate ready for your big life changing move.

1.  Want The Best Money Transfer Rate?  Ditch Your Bank

It might sound like a strange piece of advice, but if you really want to get the most competitive live market exchange rate, you need to forget about arranging money transfers with your bank.  If you really want your money to go further you need to use a money transfer service that is authorised and regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority).

Unlike the banks who use a fixed exchange rate released at the start of the day, these money transfer companies give you 24/7 access to live exchange rates, applying much tighter markups away from the real rate of exchange.  If you are transferring significant sums of money this could give you an excellent return on your currency exchange. Using a non-bank currency broker can often save you up to $3000 on every $100,000 you transfer. They can often be up to 85% cheaper than banks

2.  Don’t Be Blinded By 0% Commission Deals

Whether you are transferring money abroad or changing money up before you travel, it’s easy to be tempted by the many 0% commission deals available online, at the airport and on the high street.  But are they really what they seem?  Put it this way.  Would you work for nothing?  Would you offer a service for 0%?  Nope, and neither would the currency exchange dealers. Whilst they might be advertising 0% fees for exchanging your currency, what they do instead is give you a very poor exchange rate. Whether it’s the bureau de change at the airport, your local bank or an online currency exchange provider, the rule is the same.  0% is merely a marketing gimmick.

3.  Shop Around For The Best Currency Exchange Deal

Now that we’ve got the truth about 0% commission deals out of the way, it’s time to shop around for the best exchange rate.  Never settle for the first company or deal you stumble upon.  This industry really is competitive and there are some great deals to be had if you have your wits about you.   The exchange rate really is the only rate you should be concerned about as it defines how much foreign currency you end up with at the end of the transaction. There are lots of ways you can do this.  First, ask friends and family for currency broker recommendations. Secondly, open an account with more than one currency broker. On each and every trade, get competitive quotes. Thirdly, never be afraid to haggle – you’ll be very surprised the length a currency company will go to win your business.

Good luck!

Aviva Tabachnik is a resident currency expert & head of partnerships at – an OPP award winning foreign exchange comparison website. 

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