Before making a money transfer you must do your homework in order to decide which option is best in terms of service, security, promptness and fees. When it is necessary to make an even larger money transfer, the research task steps up a level very quickly. You cannot rush it when you’re considering acquiring a new property or sending the down payment for your new business office.
Many individuals, including business owners, investors and corporate CFO’s, will consider banks to be their sole option, simply because they are used to associating these archaic financial institutions with anything that has to do with money. The sad truth is that High Street banks are arguably the worst option for an international money transfer because of their high wire fees, long delivery time and most importantly, their sub-par exchange rates. In addition to that, banks would not allow SME’s or individual clients a direct access to their trading room. With our recommended FX companies you have a dedicated dealer whom you may speak to, and he can offer you a variety of protection (hedging) options.
Exchange Rates for large international transfers
As far as exchange rate goes, this factor alone will diminish the value of your money to a very high extent. For example, let’s assume that you want to buy a property in the beautiful country of Spain that costs 400,000 Euros and the exchange rate between Pound-Euro is 1.40. At this rate you will need £285,417 to buy that property.
But if your bank will provide a slightly worse exchange rate of 1.35, you will end up needing £ 296,296 . That means that a merely 0.05 difference in the exchange rate can represent an additional cost of £ 10,879 to get the same piece of property. These sort of margins (representing a mark-up of just over 6%) are commonplace when dealing with banks.
Similarly to banks, Commercial Foreign Exchange companies also take a mark-up. The “official” inter-bank exchange rate is the rate used for transfers between very large financial institutions which deal with extremely high-volume transfers. If you were to receive this specific rate, they would end up making no money. The difference between FX companies and banks, is that the margins they use are significantly better.
These companies deal on both an online platform (which is often capped, and usually limited at £15,000 – £50,000), and via telephone (after filling an online application form).
Most people dealing with large money exchanges prefer to use the phone option because it enables them to receive better service, increases their trust in the company (they can ask for documentation showing account segregation), and allows them to negotiate better terms for their deal.
Using the online platform, the average margins for medium-sized transfers of £X,XXX are in the region of 1-1.2% for popular currency pairs and at around 1.6-2% for exotic currency pairs. These are far better than banks, and the saving is at least 50% compared to their average margins.
Using the phone options, you can definitely ask for a discount. Especially if you are transferring £25,000, £50,000, £100,000 or (best for you) £1,000,000 abroad. How much of a discount you can get depends on certain factors, including how much service you need (more on that below), which currency pairs are involved and, most importantly, how much money you need to transfer internationally and which company have you chosen to work with.
When you transfer tens of thousands you might be able to haggle your way to as low as 0.7% in some situations. But when you are transferring hundreds of thousands, in some situations, you can get a rate as low as 0.25% (though a 0.5-0.6% margin is definitely considered good in these situations). When transferring millions or more, the sky is the limit. Even a mere 0.15% margin can enable the FX company to make profit.
Here are our choices for best companies for large currency transfers. They are large currency brokers with strong phone support that can definitely offer you the best prices in the market.
Large Money Transfers: The Service
The second important factor to take into consideration would be the type and quality of service you should receive when interacting with a currency broker. Good companies offer dedicated assistance to aid and help you optimize the transfer. Each client is assigned with a dedicated dealer to escort him through his transfers. That person becomes more of a business partner who understands the specific requirements and needs each client has, which helps to provide a tailored advice.
One service which is provided online, or by your dedicated dealer, could be tracking the exchange rates. You can give an order for a transfer or an exchange to be executed when an exchange rate hits a certain point. If you envision the EUR-USD will lower in the near future, you can ask to execute only when it reaches a certain rate. You can also secure your transfer and decide on a range (meaning that the transfer will also execute if the EUR-USD increases over a certain point).
Another option which is widely used when transferring large amounts would be forward contracts. This instrument allows you to exchange a certain amount of money at a pre-agreed rate for a future date. Basically, you can exchange 100,000 pounds at today’s currency exchange rate but the transfer will be made after 3 months.
This can be a huge game changer if you know what you want or have specific payments to be made in the future, considering how volatile economy is. Maybe you need to pay the loan for an overseas real estate property and don’t want to worry about the currency fluctuation over time. Today you have a good exchange rate and you want to keep it for the next 3 payments. Just use this option and you can rest at ease for the future.
This is what many real estate investors are working with, considering the recent fluctuation of the Euro and US dollar currency and the growth of the European real estate market. So, if you really want that gorgeous, sea-side apartment in Italy, this is the way to do it. But be sure to act soon so you can benefit from the best currency exchange rates possible.
Another thing FX companies offer behind the scenes is knowledge and optimisation of different international payment systems. By transferring money in the correct format using different batching systems, they can save costs for both you, and the receiving end of the payment or transfer. Again, this service is tailored to your specific requirements.
One of the biggest considerations leading people to deal exclusively with banks with large international wires is the fact that they view bank as a highly secure and regulated facility. That is, of course, true. But it does not mean that commercial companies aren’t.
With commercial money transfer companies (particularly the ones we work with) there’s a regulating body supervising over them. The largest and most well known regulator is the British FCA. Others include the USA SEC, or the Australian ASIC. These regulatory bodies verify that client accounts are segregated from;company funds, that there are enough securities, that the transfer is conducted in a fair manner and also verify that the documentation is appropriate to ensure no money laundering is involved. The payment systems and sign-up forms these companies used are similar to ones provided by banks.
Tip of the day: Avoid companies that have been involved in controversies or scams; Even though they might be safe there enough reputation companies to choose from.
Which countries are popular with larger money transfers from the UK?
These are the countries that people sending larger amounts of money to. Australia is pretty common for emigration from the UK (read more about it on our Australia money transfer page). Property purchase is very popular mostly in Europe in locations like Spain, France, Germany (read about sending money to Spain, transferring money to France, and transferring funds to Germany). Another popular location is Switzerland with their developed banking system (read further about Switzerland currency transfers here).
The United Arab Emirates, on the other hand, is a very popular originating country for large transfers to the UK (read about International Transfers from UAE here)
Added perk: Short Delivery time
The short delivery time of payments is another advantage for which these companies are known. Because you can initiate and complete the transfers online or by the phone, the delay is kept to a minimum and you can expect the money to be wired in 1-2 days.
*Depending on the amount and the destination, it can be completed on the same day.
Dealing with specialised Foreign Exchange (FX) companies can save you money, particularly with large international money transfers. Sign up is free of charge, and it is always advisable to sign up with a few companies (which will require the same forms you have already filled in), and test them in practice.