Expat international money transfers made easy

Published:  8 Aug at 6 PM
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Wherever you’re working as an expat and however much you’re earning, you might need to transfer money back home.

If you’re working overseas and supporting your family back in the home country, you’ll need to be able to make regular transfers without their costing you a fortune. The same goes for mortgage payments and savings accounts in your own currency. Currency transfer is very big business for international banks, with transfers from overseas to the UK totalling around a massive four billion sterling in 2015, much of which is believed to have originated from high-income expat locations such as the UAE and Singapore.

Reasons for expat money transfer are many and include overseas mortgage payments, the costs of students’ university fees, the repayment of debts such as student loans and regular family maintenance amounts. Given the high fees and slow speed of money transfers provided by banks, the cheapest and most efficient way is to use specialist online foreign currency transfer websites. Perhaps the best known is Moneycorp, with its exchange rates some four per cent cheaper than the onshore banks.

Those with premium bank accounts linked to offshore branches may well be able to make transfers without having to pay a fee, but exchange rates may not be as favourable and most charge commission plus interest charges. It’s often necessary to set up an IBAN (International Bank Account Number) and a BIC (Bank Identifier Code). If you’re using a UK bank account, the charge for an international transfer can be as high as £40, making spending time online exploring other options a practical idea.

Other necessities include ensuring your chosen money transfer company is authorised by the UK’s Financial Conduct Agency (FCA), meaning your funds are safeguarded. Filing your paperwork where you’re sure you can find it in a hurry is another good tip. Fixing your currency rate at a set period of time is useful if you don’t need an emergency transfer, although a deposit might be requested. Like all banking issues, if you check and double check your currency transfer options, you can save money and, more importantly, be confident your money will arrive promptly.
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