If you are transferring money abroad and you are using your regular bank account, credit card or exchange service, you are probably being ripped off! Our UK FOREX review shows that you can transfer money abroad for much less.
I have been living in France for over a year, but plan to move back to the UK at some point soon. Whilst I have been away, I have kept a lot of my financial affairs active in the UK. This means that I regularly transfer money abroad.
As you may have experienced when you are on holiday abroad, to transfer money abroad between two currencies can be an expensive affair. This is especially the case if you do not plan. However, I use UK FOREX to transfer my money back to the UK with free transfers over certain limits and very competitive exchange rates. Check out our UK Forex Review below, additional UKForex reviews on professional review sites, and the comparison to alternative methods to see why we recommend them.
How much does it cost to transfer money abroad?
Before we delve into our UK FOREX review, it might be a good idea to have a look at the traditional options to transfer money abroad. I’ll give you a quick heads up: they are pretty expensive. In descending order of expense:
Exchange before you travel – What about buying €200 into Euros with Travelex at their online rate? At the time of writing, to buy €200 online would cost you £169.92. This is based on an exchange rate of €1.177/£. The actual current rate is €1.20288/£. Using this rate, €200 would cost us £166.27. This £3.65 difference represents a fee of 2.2%.
Exchange cash at the airport – Imagine we wanted to buy €200 at the airport and we rock up to the desk at Travelex today. Firstly, we would be charged a 1.5% fee, making the above fee up to 3.7% in total. Furthermore, the rate at the airport is even worse than the online rate, meaning that you could be losing up to 5% on your transfer.
Pay on UK credit card – You could also pay for items on your credit card. Here is a real life example from using my Lloyds TSB credit card:
ATM withdrawal – Alternatively, you could withdraw cash when you are abroad. Here is a real life example from using a Nationwide current account:
Bank transfer – A better option would be to plan ahead and make a transfer via your bank account to an account in Euros (if you already have one – for example in my situation) or a friend/relative in that country has an account.
Lloyds, for example, have the following charges:
If you choose the cheapest option and transfer £4000, for example, the rate will be 0.25%. However, once again, the exchange rate that the bank will use will not be the actual exchange rate, but rather the banks “buy” rate. All financial institutions offer a different rate whether they are buying or selling foreign currency. This is where they make their profits and is known as the “spread”. Lloyds doesn’t publish this rate. I’m not sure they want to make it obvious that they are ripping you off! However, the HSBC rate today is 1.1780, against the actual rate of 1.20288.
Whilst the £10 fee against £4000 seems cheap, you actually lost another £70.23 in the rate difference. This is the sneaky way that the banks end up charging you to transfer money abroad and here this charge would be around 2.0%.
Therefore, the cheapest traditional option is around 2.0% fee.
2.0% may not seem like a lot. However, in the current low interest rate environment, you would have to have your money in a savings account for a whole year to get anywhere near that rate. Therefore, to lose 2.0% in 5 minutes when transferring your cash is a terrible way to undo all that hard work.
UK FOREX Review – The best way to transfer money abroad
In my experience, the cheapest way to transfer money abroad is to use a specialized service, which performs only this business. Banks, credit cards and the exchange bureau in airports are all designed to make a significant margin from this added service. It is not their core business, and hence they do not offer the lowest prices.
Instead, I recommend that you look towards specific online services out there whose business is to offer low cost currency exchanges.
Let’s have a look at transferring £4000 as per the banking example above.
With UK Forex, the fees are as follows:
Therefore, there would be 0% fee.
Moreover, the current rate offered by UK Forex on my transfer is:
When I transfer money abroad using UK Forex, my £4,000 becomes €4,818.40 in return. When I do the same via a bank transfer, I would have €4,702.00. Therefore, we could be saving up to €116 on a £4,000 transfer.
So, stop getting your cash at the airport, don’t transfer via your bank and don’t put it on your debit/credit card abroad. Plan ahead and use a specialist site.
I personally use UK Forex and, as you can see from this UK Forex Review, I highly recommend them. You, too, can sign up to UK Forex via this link, or by clicking the banner below. That way you will be fully prepared for the next time that you need to transfer money abroad at the best rates.