Currency Transfers: Top Solutions
For many expats living in Spain, it’s sometimes necessary to make currency transfers. Even if you have no assets “back home” you may want to send a cash birthday gift or even clear your son/daughter’s overdraft. We’ve looked at the cheapest and best ways to make an international transfer.
Depending on why you want to make a currency transfer, the method you decide to use should vary. Don’t stick with the same provider every time.
We’ve taken a look at online-only currency transfers websites, prepaid currency cards, dedicated currency transfer companies and the fallback solution (your bank).
#1 Online-only Currency Transfers
The number of people using money transfer websites has increased exponentially in the last couple of years. Main sites are TransferWise, Transfer Go and World Remit.
All multilingual sites offer an online-only currency transfer service with low fees. The websites are really easy to use, you’ll need to upload photo ID for security reasons, so make sure to have it scanned beforehand.
With all companies register first and before finalising your transfer details check your email – you may receive a discount code to send your first transfer for free.
All three companies are registered with the UK Financial Conduct Authority; company accounts are totally separate to clients’ money, meaning that if any company goes bankrupt your money is safe.
#2 Multi Currency Accounts and Cards
If you travel often between countries with different currencies, then a good options would be to open a multi currency account and request a debit card that is normally free for basic account holders.
Take a look at our dedicated post on Multi Currency Accounts and Cards.
#3 Xoom (by PayPal)
A new service launched in 2019, Xoom offers international money transfers. Their online fees and exchange rate calculator will help you see how much you will pay in commission; this will depend on your payment method, how much you send, the country of destination, and whether the money is to be deposited in an account or collected in cash.
#4 Specialist Currency Transfer Companies
There are a multitude of currency transfer companies. Many are specialists in UK-Spain-UK transfers with offices in several coastal towns in Spain.
The advantage of using a specialist company is that you’ll have access to an account manager who you’ll be able to speak to directly and ask for advice. This is especially useful when you have to carry out large transfers (for example to purchase a house or car).
Currency transfer companies can offer better rates than a bank. The latter offers many services, currencies being a very minor one, so banks don’t tend to be competitive.
#5 Use Your Bank
Of course, the easy solution is to use your bank but it will nearly always be a lot more expensive than any of the options above.
Beware of banks that state that their transfers are commission free. If the exchange rate is poor you’ll actually end up getting less for your money.
Each solution has its merits; for the majority of people using their local bank is not going to be the most favourable. It’s up to you to compare and decide which is best for your own personal circumstances.
Remember that all these companies have to comply with international laws to avoid money laundering. You’ll have to provide at least a copy of your photo ID/passport, and possibly more documentation.
Tip: where possible set up two-factor authentication: when you log in a code will be sent to your mobile and helps avoid fraudulent use of your account and personal data.