3 Best Credit Cards For Picking Up Free Air Miles

If you are a frequent flier, and a fan of using plastic over hard cash, then doubtless you will be aware that you can collect points for spending with your credit card that can be used to subsidise your air miles.

Air miles and credit cards seem to enjoy a fruitful relationship, and have done so for a matter of decades; and yet so few of us take advantage of the options available to us. Read more “3 Best Credit Cards For Picking Up Free Air Miles”

3 Great Deals For Sending Money Overseas: Pounds to Euros

Take a deep breath. For once, Brexit woes have taken a back seat and the currency markets have had a little breathing space. With no fresh crises or emergencies, it has been relatively plain sailing this week for Sterling. Perhaps a good time then, to think about making that pounds to euros transfer you had been putting off? Read more “3 Great Deals For Sending Money Overseas: Pounds to Euros”

3 Of The Best Mortgage Providers For Non Residents Buying Property In Spain

Spain is generally regarded as being an expat friendly country, and indeed it is, but if you are not a permanent resident in Spain (and here is a guide explaining how you can become one) then obtaining a mortgage to purchase a property in the country can be tricky.

Tricky, but far from impossible. Whilst some lenders are not open to borrowers from overseas, others are more than happy to help foreigners finance property purchases. But, if you are an overseas buyer, or even a Spanish person living abroad, then you can expect to pay higher interest rates on your mortgage. Read more “3 Of The Best Mortgage Providers For Non Residents Buying Property In Spain”

3 Overseas Credit Cards To Use Abroad

Before you pull out and flourish your credit card to pay for your goods and services whilst travelling overseas, think twice – then think again!

Withdrawing money using a credit card is a costly move even in your own country – credit card companies penalise cash withdrawers heavily with a host of associated charges – and the same applies overseas – don’t think the same rules do not apply. Read more “3 Overseas Credit Cards To Use Abroad”

3 Of The Best Expat Overseas Bank Accounts

Overseas investment; property, financial, or business related; supporting family and relatives overseas; moving and living abroad; importing or exporting goods over the medium to long term.

These are all good, and prominent reasons for taking extra care that you are managing currency exchange rate risk effectively. Failure to do so; using a high street money transfer company last minute to make a significant transfer of funds from pounds into euros, dollars, or renminbi, for example; can result in paying way over the odds, in fees and charges, or exchange rates skewed in the vendors favour. It could cost you 5% extra each and every time you make such a transfer, research shows. Read more “3 Of The Best Expat Overseas Bank Accounts”

Flavors of Fast? 40 Countries Now Using Faster Payment Schemes As Business Case Becomes Unarguable

To use a straightforward example, isn’t it strange that, in a tech-mad world, we still need to employ advanced mental arithmetic skills to work out how much money we have in our bank accounts. Read more “Flavors of Fast? 40 Countries Now Using Faster Payment Schemes As Business Case Becomes Unarguable”

Singapore Claims Top Spot In HSBC Expat Explorer Survey For Second Year Running

We are big fans of the “Lion” City State Singapore here at The Money Cloud. Ever since spending a fortnight there in the summer of 2017, we’ve been blogging about its history, business environment, culture, and smorgasbord of activities and entertainments the city teems with.

It’s also a haven for the world’s rich and wealthy; the “made-it” or “making-it” class who find Singapore’s always-on, hard working and uber-disciplined business culture very much to their tastes (as well as the super stylish malls, country clubs and man made Sentosa beach – the most Southerly tip of Asia). It is rumoured that roughly one in every three Singaporean citizens is a millionaire.

In all respects, Singapore is a state that punches above its weight, so perhaps it’s hardly surprising that The Lion State has retained its spot at the top of HSBC’s rankings, in the 2018 version of its 2018 Expat Explorer survey.

Reflecting the cosmopolitan nature of the survey, New Zealand places 2nd this year, and Germany third. Three contrasting countries, each with different strengths and weaknesses; it just goes to show that expats relocate for all kinds of reasons; work, family, romance, adventure, escape; and what suits one type of expat explorer may not suit another.

Canada and Bahrain take spots 4 and 5 on the list. Both are traditionally popular destinations for expats, and again for contrasting reasons. Bahrain ranked number 1 in Internations’ comprehensive analysis of all things expat related, thanks to its friendly environment, high quality infrastructure and job security, whilst Canada offers first-world living in beautiful surroundings, plus an eclectic culture and stable political environment.

Completing HSBC’s Top 10 are Australia, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates.

Before we take a deep dive into selected countries next week, let’s examine what makes Singapore the outstanding expat destination in HSBC’s eyes.

The split of male to female amongst Singapore expats is 60/40, and the vast majority (56%) are aged between 36-54. On average, expats earn in the region of $221,500 SGD, which works out at approximately $160,000 USD – one of the healthiest wage packages on offer for expats anywhere in the world.

Although Singapore boasts outstanding cultural, social and family life, inevitably, when it comes to the reasons why expats make the move there, career progression comes first. Singapore rewards hard work and dedication and its entire culture is designed to give individuals the greatest chance of personal success.

Living and working in Singapore is in every sense a challenge, that expats must embrace. Finance, consulting, trade, and hi-tech are the dominant industries, but Singapore is also embracing start-up culture, and most notably fintech, with the Monetary Authority Singapore (MAS) having built bridges with countries and cities all over the world, from London, to Sydney, to the Caribbean.

This content is sourced and brought to you by The Money Cloud – comparing the best rates for sending money overseas offered by hand-picked, regulated brokers and money transfer agencies.

The Ripple Effect – Can The Silicon Valley Decentralised Payments Co. Build On This Week’s New Client Wins?

California based blockchain instant payments platform Ripple has emerged as the leader of a vanguard of decentralised ledger payments solutions that is threatening the hegemony of current FX payments solution incumbent SWIFT. Read more “The Ripple Effect – Can The Silicon Valley Decentralised Payments Co. Build On This Week’s New Client Wins?”

Revolut Rejects Macron Overtures But Can London Stay Ahead Of Paris For Fintech?

Emmanuel Macron is an ex investment banker which may explain why the French President is pursuing an aggressive strategy to try to relocate fintech startups and financial services companies to Paris in the aftermath of Brexit. Can he succeed? Read more “Revolut Rejects Macron Overtures But Can London Stay Ahead Of Paris For Fintech?”

Starting An International Online Business? Try Canada or UK, New Study Says

The dream of becoming the next Amazon-affiliated drop-shipping millionaire is one that most of us have had at some point in our careers, usually after a bad day at the office or a long holiday. But can it be done? Read more “Starting An International Online Business? Try Canada or UK, New Study Says”

Dancing Queen or Brexit Screen? May’s Annual Conference Speech Dissected For International Traders

The “Maybot” was given a fresh new outing today as British Tory Prime Minister Theresa May danced her way onstage to deliver the annual speech at the Conservative Party conference. But did the international trade and finance community or those of us with personal finance interests abroad  learn anything new about the party’s plans for Brexit and foreign policies? Read more “Dancing Queen or Brexit Screen? May’s Annual Conference Speech Dissected For International Traders”

Fast Internet, Cashless Payments & Social Media Spying: The World’s Digital Havens Uncovered

This week at The Money Cloud we are taking stock of the latest Internations Annual expat survey. Yesterday we explored the global networking and event company’s overall country ratings, which saw Bahrain emerge for the second year running, as the top rated destination for expats, with Taiwan a close second, Ecuador third, and reality checks for the likes of the UK, India and Saudi Arabia.

But how do the world’s countries rank for all things digital? From always-on South Korea, to the cashless Nordics, to Estonia, the digital nomads paradise, let’s examine Internations findings more closely. Read more “Fast Internet, Cashless Payments & Social Media Spying: The World’s Digital Havens Uncovered”

This Gulf State Has Just Been Voted Best Expat Destination For The Second Year Running

Anybody considering life as an expat should pay special attention to Internation’s latest Expat Insider survey. The international networking and events group for people living overseas questioned more than 18,000 people to compile its annual list of the best and worst destinations for expats, based on factors such as Quality of Life, Ease of Settling In, Working Abroad, Family Life, and Personal Finance. Read more “This Gulf State Has Just Been Voted Best Expat Destination For The Second Year Running”

Where Do All The Millionaire Migrants Go? New Report Reveals All, Including UK’s Abandonment Issues

When things starts to go wrong for a country, economically, politically, or socially, its wealthiest citizens are usually the first to know, and also the first to jump ship and migrate somewhere else, research from AfrAsia reveals.

The bank recently published its Global Wealth Migration Review for 2018,  in which it argues that a trend of departing millionaires, billionaires, and mass affluents, is nearly always a sign that a country fortunes could be in decline. According to the reports authors:

“If a country is losing a large number of HNWIs to migration, it is probably due to serious problems in that country (i.e. crime, lack of business opportunities, religious tensions etc.). Conversely, countries that attract HNWIs tend to be very healthy and normally have low crime rates, good schools and good business opportunities. “

Unlike ordinary immigrants, who can be perceived by some sections of society as taking a toll on public services and claiming benefits without contributing enough to a country’s infrastructure and society in return, wealthy immigrants are generally welcome as they very rarely take jobs from locals, and almost never claim benefits, preferring to educate their children privately, use private healthcare, and pay for their own housing.

The report goes on to suggest that “in our view, the only possible negative of taking in a wealthy person is that they can push property prices up to levels that locals cannot afford.” Some might take issue with this statement, arguing that a wealthy immigrant could have the power to upset social norms, influence local politics, or deny locals access to public land by buying it up; such circumstances have pushed New Zealand, for example, to introduce a law preventing foreigners from buying property in the country (but not before some notable Silicon Valley billionaires bought huge estates in the country and even claimed citizenship).

Of the world’s 15 million High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs), AfrAsia calculates that some 95,000 migrated in 2017. Their preferred destination? Australia, which attracted 10,000 HNWIs, followed by the US, 9,000, Canada, 5,000, and the United Arab Emirates, 5,000. The Caribbean, Israel, Switzerland, New Zealand and Singapore all attracted more than 1,000 wealthy immigrants.

In terms of net outflows, more wealthy Chinese left their country of birth than any other, although given China’s vast population of more than 2 billion, this represents a tiny percentage of the population, and may not reveal much about the state of the country’s economy, although it is worth remembering that the Chinese government has recently imposed strict controls on Chinese moving money overseas, which may have prompted some HNWI’s to skip town altogether.

Australia represents a convenient location for Asian HNWI’s as it puts them near to the original source of their wealth, has low inheritance tax, is safe, and provides a high standard of living. Compared to the US, AfrAsia notes, wealth has grown 83%, versus 20%. That said, the US is described as a “steady performer” when it comes to attracting the world’s wealthiest immigrants, and Australia is sometimes regarded as being too much of a “nanny state”, with complex rules and regulations, by some HNWIs.

In the UK, traditionally an attractive destination for incoming HNWIs, the country experienced its first ever net outflow in 2017, with some 5,000 wealthy citizens leaving, and only 1,000 HNWIs arriving. Factors that have affected this trend reversal may include the introduction of new taxes for non-doms, high inheritance taxes, rising crime, and, of course, the threat of Brexit.

AfrAsia cited the main reasons for HNWIs decision to migrate to be schooling, financial problems, lifestyle, safety, work and business opportunities, taxes, healthcare, religious tensions and overall standard of living.

This content is sourced and brought to you by The Money Cloud – comparing the best rates for sending money overseas offered by hand-picked, regulated brokers and money transfer agencies.

TransferWise Records First Ever Annual Profit, Pledges To Maintain Bank-beating Prices

Amongst the many disruptive fintech startups that have mounted a sustained attack on banks and money transfer operators’ share of the international money transfer market, TransferWise may be the best known, and certainly the noisiest, trumpeting their bank beating rates via PR campaigns and flash mobs, everywhere from the City of London, to the streets of Singapore and now, as far afield as Sydney.

Today the company announced another historic moment in their short history, recording their first ever annual pre-tax profit. Read more “TransferWise Records First Ever Annual Profit, Pledges To Maintain Bank-beating Prices”

WorldRemit Makes Move Into African Market For International Money Transfers, Partners With Safaricom

London based international money transfer company WorldRemit has seen its volumes of transfers to Africa increase by 80% in the past year, and is now sending more than $1.6bn at an annualised rate.

The company says that its new proprietary service, launched this week, will reduce the costs of sending money between countries in Africa, which they say are currently prohibitive, although a recent continent-wide free trade agreement signed by 44 African countries has provided hope that the situation can be improved in that regard. Read more “WorldRemit Makes Move Into African Market For International Money Transfers, Partners With Safaricom”

3 Effective Ways Businesses & Individuals Can Hedge Against The Falling Pound

Over the weekend, news emerged that overseas footballers in the UK; of which there is a higher proportion than in any other international football league; have been attempting to hedge against further falls in the value of Sterling.

Sterling has fallen around 15% against both the euro and the dollar since Britain voted to leave the EU, dropping 3% in the past 3 months, and creating problems for businesses and individuals alike. In the case of the Premierships’ multi-millionaire footballers, many are asking to be paid in Euros, a request which football clubs, even those as rich as Manchester United, are struggling to accede to, due to the fact they do not hold sufficient foreign currency reserves.

Currency hedging can be a tricky business; knowing when to buy or sell a currency is an instinct that the best FX currency traders, for example, possess, but not even they can get it right every time. So what are the best options for individuals and businesses with financial commitments overseas? Let’s look at 3 strategies that might help to protect against unexpected, unplanned for losses.


Take control of your risk with financial projections

If you are a seasoned entrepreneur, business owner, or traveller, you may feel that you have an understanding of how currency movements play out, and what can be done to hedge against them. But experience alone is not enough; to ultimately make the right choices, planning ahead is essential.

All businesses, and even most domestic households, create budgets to try to plan for the future. In order to plan a currency hedging strategy effectively, it can be useful to plot different scenarios; a best case, worst case, and most likely case, for example, is a good start.

By plugging in different currency fluctuation scenarios into your budget, it should be possible to calculate when, for example, a sale and delivery of goods overseas becomes unprofitable, a holiday or spell abroad becomes prohibitively expensive, or, alternatively, when it becomes attractive to spend in the short term for longer term financial gain.

There is no guarantee that your scenarios will play out in real life, but they can certainly provide an effective way to manage your currency risk. It is up to a business, or individual, to decide how much appetite they have for risk – but before doing that, it is essential to have a clear picture of what kinds of problems and issues different attitudes towards currency risk will throw up. Fail to prepare,prepare to fail, as they say.


Consult a professional broker

If you are do not feel confident about which strategy is best for you, your family or your business, then it may be worth reaching out for professional help.

International currency brokers naturally charge a fee for their work, so it’s important to decide if the level of risk you are exposed to justifies the extra cost. Sometimes, currency related losses are simply unavoidable due to market, or political forces; witness the current situation in Venezuela, for example, where the government has been forced to launch its own Petrodollar cryptocurrency, a hedge against the Venezuelan Bolivar, which has simply spiralled out of control owing to uncontrollable levels of inflation.

If your currency risk exposure is long term and consistent, however, i.e. you are making regular overseas payments or regularly selling goods overseas, then a broker can help. They are likely to have a superior knowledge of how the markets may move, and not only that, they have access to vast, cheap, quantities of foreign exchange, giving them a significant advantage in the marketplace.

Interacting with a broker on a regular basis will improve your own knowledge of the FX markets, so you may not need to consult directly with your broker over every transaction, but if you have a significant foreign currency exposure, working with an FX broker represents a no-brainer.


Open a self-managed account

Thanks to the rise of disruptive technology, there is a great deal more transparency around the FX markets than there once was. Most brokerages, and a growing number of fintech startups, provide the means for you to run your own currency hedging service. There is no shortage of newsflow, either.

Comparison sites like The Money Cloud can give you an instant overview of the rates, fees, and transaction times offered by a range of MTOs (Money Transfer Operators), and even provide a digital dashboard that helps you quickly negotiate AML (anti-money-laundering) and KYC (know your customer) checks, store all of your transaction history for future reference, and even use techniques such as AI and machine learning to help guide your decision making process.

Brexit has created huge disruption in the value of Sterling, and the instability shows no signs of abating. Within the EU, nothing is guaranteed, as trade wars with the US and differing political agendas create uncertainty, whilst the US, China, Russia, Africa, the subcontinent, Asia and Australasia all have a role to play in sudden and unexpected foreign exchange fluctuations.

As discussed above, there are many different strategies that you can use to protect your own interests, whatever they may be; the one thing you can’t do, in the current environment, is do nothing. Other than that, it is up to you; whether you are an entrepreneur, traveller, or pro-footballer; to decide how best to hedge your currency exposure.

How To Send Money To Russia – Soon To Become A $68 Billion Remittance Market?

Russia’s market for international remittances is set to grow to $68 billion by the year 2021, according to research, with the fastest growing sector being bill payments made by companies, which looks set to double in size over this period. Read more “How To Send Money To Russia – Soon To Become A $68 Billion Remittance Market?”

How International Trade Secretary Liam Fox Plans To Turn Britain Into A “21st Century Exporting Superpower”

400,000 British businesses believe they have the capability to export goods, but are not doing so, whilst at the same time, international demand for British goods is growing, the government revealed yesterday.

Dr Liam Fox, the International Trade Secretary has used these figures; and the news that British overseas exports have grown by £26 billion year on year; to reinforce his belief that British exports can meet his target of contributing 35% to UK GDP, after the UK leaves the EU at the end of March next year.

Last year British companies sold some £620 billion worth of goods to overseas buyers, which accounted for 30% of GDP; a record high, according to the Department for International Trade. The government is keen to build on this recent success, and has responded to calls from businesses with a new Export Strategy that will look to encourage and inspire more businesses to export, place “increased focus on amplifying the voice of existing exporters”, “facilitate peer-to-peer learning, and “inform businesses by providing information, advice and practical assistance on exporting.”

The government will work on converting its Greatgov.uk website into a one-stop-shop for exporters, helping to connect UK based businesses with overseas clients, working with larger companies to build the capability of supply lines, providing financial incentives, and supporting SMEs as they enter new markets.

The Department for International Trade also wants to launch an awareness campaign to alert British businesses to an estimated £50 billion of export finance and insurance support available from the UK Export Finance organisation, as well as 250 International Trade Advisors based all over the UK who support what the government refer to as “Export Champions”, and invite more companies to join the nationwide network of exporters, using the slogan “if we can, you can”.

Dr Fox told reporters in a speech that “as we leave the EU, we must set our sights high and that is just what this Export Strategy will help us achieve”, adding that “UK businesses are superbly placed to capitalise on the rapid changes in the global economic environment and I believe the UK has the potential to be a 21st century exporting superpower.

Baroness Fairhead, Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion at the Department of International Trade, also commented that “As the world’s sixth largest exporter, we do punch above our weight, however, we also punch below our potential. This Export Strategy sets out to change that and to increase exports as a proportion of GDP from 30% to 35%, taking us from the middle of the G7 to near the top. This is ambitious, but achievable.”

From a currency perspective, the Brexit effect has been nothing short of disastrous, with the pound dropping nearly 30% against the euro and the dollar since the referendum on 23rd June 2016. All the more reason for always looking to get the best deal when you are making transfers of money overseas. Using The Money Cloud to discover the best rates offered by leading brokers and money transfer agencies could save you as much as 80% on fees, per transaction. Aimed at businesses and individuals, it’s easy to use and guarantees you get all the facts before making a decision that can save you a substantial sum.