Life as an expatriate

Life as an expatriate

- By Melanie Wright

If you’re planning a move abroad, or have already left the UK to start a new life overseas, you’ll appreciate just how much there is to do to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Not only are there often language barriers to contend with, as well as different laws and regulations if you’re buying a property overseas, but there’s also the issue of your finances, and working out how you will make and receive international payments.

For example, you might still have financial commitments in the UK, such as a mortgage, so you will need to transfer money over to pay them. Alternatively, you may take a monthly income from the UK and therefore must move this money across to your new host country.

You first financial priority will obviously be to set up an account in the country you are moving to, but don’t assume the bank you arrange this with will necessarily be the best option when it comes to making any transfers you need.

As a general rule, specialist currency brokers are much cheaper to use for regular international money transfers than banks, which in the UK can charge up to £25 for each and every transfer.

Exchange rates offered by foreign currency brokers tend to be nearer to wholesale market rates than those provided by banks. You may also be able to lock into favourable exchange rates for several months in advance, so that you have peace of mind that any payments won’t be hit by sudden fluctuations just before you make them.

A quick and easy way to compare foreign exchange providers is through the independent comparison site www.fxcompared.com. You simply put in the amount you want to send and where you are sending it from and to and it will come up with the providers offering the best deals.

When researching currency brokers, check the minimum amount they will allow for regular transfers. This will typically be around £150 to £250, although some will allow a minimum amount as low as £100.

You should also find out whether any currency broker you are considering using to make your regular money transfers is regulated by the city regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This will provide you with protection if the company runs into financial problems.

Get bank beating exchange rates on international Money Transfers with Radio Times Money Transfer provided by Smart Currency Exchange. 

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