The technology industry is sometimes guilty of over-hyping its influence over the world, and over-exaggerating the usefulness of its products. Is a restaurant food ordering app really so very different from a takeaway menu leaflet? Was a taxi-cab rank genuinely the inconvenience that it is made out to be today? And remember when dating meant face-to-face contact over dinner or a drink, rather than swiping left or right in a couple of milliseconds?
In the case of money transfer, you could be forgiven for concluding that, despite the hype about mobile wallets, blockchain remittance services, superior exchange rates offered and fees reduced to all-time lows, you’d rather stick with the tried and tested.
At The Money Cloud we’re not here to tell you you’d be wrong to do that, but we do want to make sure you have all the facts in front of you before you make a decision about what service to use. That’s why we built our international money transfer price comparison engine. In our experience, price comparison sites work; they inspire companies to treat their prospective customers better, offer better deals, and innovate as much and as often as possible.
It’s likely you compare the prices of competing insurance companies before deciding who you are going to insure your car with – and it’s likely you will save a serious amount of money by doing so. In our view, it’s the same if you are regularly sending money overseas, or even making a one-off transfer. If nothing else, using a comparison site will reinforce your view that you are choosing the best possible option for you. In other cases, you might find yourself a broker that offers you a better overall relationship as well as saving you a large chunk on fees.
Maybe you’ll recognise yourself in one of three scenarios below and be inspired to try one of our suggested alternative methods.
If You Are Sending Small Amounts Overseas On A Regular Basis
Perhaps you are living overseas and sending money back home to friends and family on a weekly, monthly or annual basis. Or maybe you are frequently travelling and sending money to friends to settle restaurant bills, nights out, or small short term loans.
Best option? an app-based service could be the right choice for you; if you are wasting hours queueing at a Western Union or Ria money transfer, just to send a few dollars, baht, or pounds, then you should definitely consider switching to an app, and there are plenty of good ones out there. Revolut, TransferWise, WorldRemit; even the likes of Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, and, across Asia Pacific and the subcontinent, WeChat, or Alipay are entering the market for international payments. Just beware of excessive fees and charges, and think about bundling your transfers so you are sending larger amounts, less frequently. That said, Alipay has recently launched a blockchain based service that, they claim, will make all transfers, even of just one cent, instant, and free. How? Using blockchain, or distributed ledger technology, they say. Watch this space.
If You Are Sending Larger, But Less Than Five Figure Amounts On A Frequent Basis
This might be your experience if you are paying a mortgage on an overseas property, or paying somebody’s overseas tuition fees on their behalf, or perhaps if you are small business paying an overseas supplier. You might be tempted to let your bank look after these transactions for you, but generally, banks offer a poor service when it comes to overseas money transfer.
The issue is, sending money overseas represents a complex process for most major banks, often involving correspondent banks that act as intermediaries, lengthy transaction times, and since banks make their profits elsewhere, they neglect to offer competitive exchange rates or bring their fees down in line with the competition.
Best Option? Many banks are doing their best to improve, but if you want our advice, consider choosing a money transfer broker to partner with on a longer-term basis. They have the experience to know when to buy and sell currencies – in fact, it is all they do, so you can count on them to consistently find you the best deal going, and offer you advice about things like currency hedging, or forward contracts. Use our comparison site to view a selection of highly rated and fully authorised brokers. It might seem like a big step at first but it is also an invaluable one that will pay off considerably in the long term.
If You Are Sending A Large, One-Off Payment
Buying a house, a car, or moving some savings. Paying for a dream overseas wedding, luxury honeymoon, or family holiday. Or purchasing an asset for your business that can be sourced or built for cheaper overseas. These are examples of when you can save big – up to 80% on fees associated with international money transfers.
Best Option? First, search for the best deals using our comparison engine. Then, when you have selected your broker, speak to them, at length if you need to, about the options available. Don’t be afraid – brokers love talking about exchange rates, money transfer, and the currency markets! They may well have some great advice for you that can help you save your hard-earned cash.
These are your savings after all, and you don’t have to put up with poor service, or poor deals. Do some homework, listen to all the advice, and if you can’t make up your mind, just keep jumping back onto the price comparison engine to see who consistently delivers market leading rates.
If You Are Ordering Travel Money
We all have a favourite high street broker when it comes to our travel money, which we swear by, but did you know you can order travel money to be delivered to your home or place of work?
Best Option: City Forex offer a great travel money delivery service; handy if you are pushed for time. Remember, if you end up buying your foreign currency at the airport, you are getting the worst deal out there because these guys are trading on the fact you have left it too late, and have nowhere else to go! Plan ahead, and you can take it easy at the airport.