International personal regular transfers
Lots of people need to make regular international money transfers overseas, perhaps because they support friends or family, or because they own a holiday home and have ongoing costs to meet.
These payments can be for small or large amounts, and may need to be made weekly, or monthly. Usually payments are collected in sterling from your account by direct debit, and foreign currency is sent automatically abroad.
As a general rule, you can opt to have a set amount of sterling deducted from your account for each transfer, or you can fix the amount of foreign currency that arrives at the other end. If you opt for the latter, the amount of sterling that comes out of your account will vary depending on the exchange rate, while if you fix the sterling amount, the amount of foreign currency received overseas will vary.
Where can I set up regular transfers?
Many people simply opt to use their high street bank to make international money transfers, but it’s also worth investigating specialist currency brokers too, if you want to keep transfer costs to a minimum.
Fees can take add a significant chunk out of the amount you are transferring, so it’s vital to check exactly how much you will be paying. As a general rule, high street banks charge around £15 to £25 per transfer, while currency brokers can typically arrange fee-free or low cost money transfers for £3 to 10 per transfer.
Certain banks, particularly those with branches overseas where you can hold accounts in two countries, will also allow fee-free money transfers, which could save you hundreds or even thousands of pounds if you are making regular transfers over a long period of time.
In addition to transfer fees, you will also have to pay a foreign exchange rate and a fee from the bank which receives the funds. This is usually about 0.5% but will depend on which bank you use.
Check exchange rates
If you need to make regular international money transfers, it’s vital to check the currency rates on offer, as these can have a significant impact on the amount that ends up being transferred.
If you are relying on a high street bank to arrange your transfer, you will have to specify the day on which you want to make the transfer, and hope that you don’t end up transferring your money at a time when the exchange rate is working against you.
Some specialist currency brokers can help avoid exchange rate volatility by allowing customers to lock into favourable exchange rates months, or in some cases a year or more, in advance.
Of course, there are risks involved if you do this, as if the exchange rate moves in your favour, you won’t be able to take advantage as you will already have locked into a particular rate.
Will my money be safe?
If you are making regular international money transfers via a high street bank, then you have peace of mind that your money is protected by the Financial Conduct Authority. However, if you move money using a currency broker, then not all of these - particularly when it comes to smaller companies - are regulated by the FCA, so you’ll need to do plenty of checks to ensure your money is protected.
Find out how long the currency broker has been established and search on the internet for any customer reviews so that you can get an idea of how they rate from a customer service perspective.