By Richard Way
1. Use a currency transfer specialist
When you look at a property online, many websites show the price in the local currency – euros or dollars – as well as that day’s equivalent in pounds. What many buyers don’t realise is that they will not get that rate in pounds, known as the “live rate”. Banks will actually offer a lower rate to allow for their profit. A currency specialist operates by offering the most competitive rate, always better than those offered by high street banks and bureaux de change, often by up to 3-4 per cent. They also offer the easiest procedures for sending money abroad and as a registered client you have direct access to an account manager by phone or email, enabling you to discuss your currency transfer needs. That’s reassuring during periods of currency volatility.
2. Swap some currency early
Buying foreign currency can be nerve-racking right now! It’s understandable – there’s always a chance the rate could improve shortly after you make a transfer, leaving you feeling like you lost out. On the other hand, it could get worse. So if you need to make a transfer and you have time on your side, you could split the amount you need to transfer, agreeing an exchange rate for a future transfer for one half, and waiting for a later date before sending the other half.
3. Plan ahead
On your trips abroad, to your second home or when you’re off on holiday, avoid buying foreign currency over the counter at airport bureaux de change unless it is an emergency. They normally offer the worst rates. For example, in the first week of October, some of these outlets were offering you less than €1 for each £1 you paid them, despite the live rate being in the region £1/€1.10. Just a bit of planning before your departure date is guaranteed to save you money.
4. Set the rate for peace of mind
- If you’re on the verge of buying abroad with an overseas mortgage, think carefully about how you will meet your repayments in the local currency. If you will be exchanging pounds, then your monthly cost will fluctuate with the exchange rate. You will pay more when the pound weakens and less when it strengthens. To help budget, you could fix an exchange rate for a six- or 12-month period with your currency transfer specialist. Thanks to low European Central Bank interest rates, mortgage rates are enticingly low in Europe at the moment, but don’t spoil things by failing to factor in the effects of exchange rate swings.
Get bank beating exchange rates on international Money Transfers with Radio Times Money Transfer provided by Smart Currency Exchange.