It’s becoming more widely known now that changing your currency via your bank is probably one of the quickest ways of losing cash. With the advent of the internet, it’s no longer the preserve of high street banks or the traditional ‘Bureau de Change’ to stay heavily invested in hidden charges and exorbitant rates. Now there are a slew of transfer services online that will bring you as close to the rate as set on Google as it’s possible to get, all it takes is a little research and planning - most of which we’ve done for you.
Check out our Brains this week with Rajesh Agrawal, the founder of the service that lets you decide how much commission you want to pay. You’ll be so shocked and grateful, no doubt, you’ll end up paying the entirely reasonable recommended fee; The company has transferred over five billion dollars. A service that really challenges the modus operandi of the currency exchange industry.
Unlike other online exchange providers, when you book a trade with CurrencyFair, you’re not committed to following through. This means that if for some reason (personal circumstances etc) you can’t go through with the exchange, you won’t get charged for the difference in rate between booking and cancelling. With the fluctuations in rates at the moment, this can make quite a difference. The service at Currency Fair is also pretty seamless, as set up by expats and bankers who knew ‘what a rip off’ international money transfers could be. No longer. There’s even an accompanying app
We did a trade recently with HiFX and were really impressed with the service and rate, but then a few short days later the Euro continued to tumble and there was a significant disparity between what we had booked and what we could now hope to get (with HiFX you commit to a ‘trade’ i.e. an amount you wish to transfer, the company then buys the currency for you at that rate and you are effectively locked in, in order to reverse it you have to sell back the currency at said rate). Nevertheless the transaction was seamless, the advisor we spoke to on the phone was first rate and there was also a welcome amount of flexibility offered vis a vis an extension on the deadline to pay. All in all a very professional service, just make sure you read the small print.
We first covered Transferwise back in 2012, when it was but a minnow in the currency trading pool, then Richard Branson discovered it, invested in it and before you knew it, Tube stations far and wide were wallpapered with its posters. Born from the frustration of friends, Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann who believed ‘that money is meant to flow freely,’ it all started with the pair avoiding bank charges by checking rates in the European countries where they lived and transferring money into their respective bank accounts. The rest as they say is history.