High street banks making mint from expat currency transfers

Published:  26 Dec at 6 PM
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International banks with UK high street branches are forcing expats and their home country families to pay through the nose for bank-to-overseas branch money transfers.

International banks with branches in the UK make much advertising capital from their overseas branches and so-called advantages for expat customers, but are making a fortune from bank-to-bank transfers. One of the worst offenders is HSBC, calling itself the ‘world’s local bank’, which charges up to £30 to send a payment from an HSBC account in the UK to one of the bank’s Spanish branches.

In a similar vein, giant Spanish bank Santander offers no discount for the service of sending money from its UK branches to its own branches in Spain. According to a spokesman from HSBC, the charge for the service is the charge, typically adding that banking isn’t free.

Nowadays, overseas transfers are far more common owing to a greater number of migrants to warmer climes, retirees seeking more affordable locations and those working abroad. At the present time, most people use bank transfers without realising that selected alternatives are just as safe, much cheaper and will almost always result in a more favourable exchange rate.

A massive £150 million is grabbed by banks every year in charges for overseas transfers, according to currency exchange company Travelex, with British second home owners the worst affected. A few banks, including HSBC, give wealthier expat free transfers, happily ignoring those who need to get the most out of their money and leading the majority of online money-sense websites to recommend transferring via your debit card by using an online international money transfer specialist.
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Comments » There are 2 comments

Ashley wrote 10 years ago:

This is such a frustrating topic! After a year or so of being screwed over when making transfers from the UK to the USA(we used to use paypal to avoid the bank fees) my husband and I have now started using a service called TransferWise. It's only been a month or so, but with two separate transfers we saved over £40, so it's a success as far as I'm concerned:)banks suck.

ExpatsBlog.com wrote 10 years ago:

Very true Ashley! Almost always pays to use a foreign exchange broker over the banks.

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