Looking to transfer money overseas but at a loss at where to start? Not many of us are finance gurus, so get the help of the experts! We chat with Alon Rajic, managing director of Finofin Ltd (which owns MoneyTransferComparison.com), about what they have to offer and all you need to know about international money transfers.
What is Finofin Ltd?
Finofin Ltd offers comparison of financial services and products across the globe. Its popular website MoneyTransferComparison.com provides reviews of 30 international money transfer companies across the world, giving access to helpful information about services offered, rates and customer feedback.
10 questions you should consider before transferring money
How does the transfer process work?
There are four general steps to go through.
- 1: Sign up with an international money transfer company.
- 2: Speak to a dealer, find out about the fees and see if they match your requirements.
- 3: If you like the rates at any particular moment, book a trade through the company’s online system or via telephone.
- 4: Fund the transfer.
How do I sign up?
Depending on the company and the amount you plan to transfer, you will either get a call or an email inviting you to complete your sign-up online. Back up your details with official documents.
What type of fees can I expect?
Good companies do not charge transfer fees. The only fees you should pay are in the form of exchange rate mark-ups (the difference between the official interbank rate and the rate you will be getting). Fees depend on how much money you transfer, currency, negotiation, from where and your destination. The markup ranges from 0.3 to 1.5%.
There are sometimes also receiving bank fees, but global companies with global bank accounts can avoid them. They debit one branch and credit another branch, and then transfer the money from a local bank account. (See diagram below)
Is there a minimum transaction?
Each company has set its own minimum, but that is usually relevant to the first deposit. On your initial transfer, you may have to send a larger amount, but can transfer smaller amounts from then on.
Is there a forward exchange contract?
Most large companies offer a Forward Contract, which allows you to fix today’s rate for a period. Private clients will likely need to pay 10% of the amount upfront for security reasons and book a Forward for up to 12 months. Business clients can use companies that pass on the 10% upfront deposit (based on credit checks) and book longer Forwards for up to 24 months.
What types of transfers can I make?
- Payments for property abroad
- Payments for any other big-ticket item you buy abroad
- Transfer of pension (regular automated transfers)
- Transfer of mortgage (regular automated transfers)
- Sending of money to a relative
- Donations of money to a charity
- Transfer of money to your own bank account in foreign currency (locally or abroad)
- Receipt of cheques from abroad
- Repatriation of funds from abroad (whether they’re your funds, inheritance or other)
How long does it take?
The length of transfer is usually similar to a bank. Some companies offer priority transfer for a fee, but they could still be delayed on the receiving end.
Can I get updates about the transfer?
You can get updates based on your specifications. You’ll be assigned with a currency dealer who will escort you in the process, and you can choose to be notified by telephone or email or to check the online system yourself.
How safe is my money?
Your money is safe as long as the company is regulated as an Authorised Payment Provider by the Financial Conduct Authority (or E-Money provider). Double check that the company is authorised and not just registered with the FCA. Authorisation means it must adhere to strict rules or else its license will be revoked. Companies also undergo annual inspections.
The money you send goes to a segregated sub-account. The money transfer service provider cannot use it for any other purpose. If the firm goes bust before the transfer begins, you will get your money back directly from the bank it was stored in.
What should I look out for?
- Be aware of how much money your recipient will get.
- Know your rights – if you’ve booked a deal, the rate should be fixed at that instance.
- If you’re moving a large amount, don’t settle for the initial price; try to haggle.
- Beware of honeymoon rates. Companies tend to give great rates on the first transfer and then widen margins over time, so check how much you’re paying for each transfer!
- Don’t fall into the “fees and cost” trap. You may be tempted to pay less for your transfer, but it’s better to pay more and use a credible provider.
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