Even expats who are well and truly settled into their new home countries often have to move large sums of money between the old world and the new. Whether it’s sending cash back home to relatives or selling off assets, anybody who has ever had to do this will tell you that it can prove to be very expensive. In this post we shall take a look at some key ways to handle large international money transfers, large sum bank transfers, and expat money transfers in general.
If you immigrate to a new country to live (whether you are working or retiring there) then usually you have to pretty much give up 99% of your old life. Most expats sell their previous homes, cars and businesses in order to raise capital to start over anew. Whilst most expats do keep their old passports, usually they only ever really go home as a tourist to visit families. Indeed, when most immigrants arrive in a new country one of the first things they try to do is get a bank account and get established into their host’s economy!
However, even after relocating their entire existence across oceans, mountains and borders, many expats still have some kind of financial ties to their home countries either for an interim period, or indefinitely. For example, some expats choose to rent out their old home rather than selling it and as such need to be able to collect the rent on it. Another common financial tie to the old world is pensions – when pensions are issued on retirement the payout can be huge meaning a big chunk of hard earned money needs to be transferred internationally, and usually changed into a totally different currency. And of course, many expats send money back to their families from time to time.
It is usually very easy to keep an old bank account open even after leaving the country in which the bank is held. Typically all that is required is to to retain a token balance and the account may well come in useful from time to time.
However, relying on the banks to move money between the country of origin and the new destination can be a costly mistake. Whilst it may be the easiest way to do it, it is almost always amongst the most expensive. You may already know this, but whenever you rely on banks to handle an international money transfer, then they will apply a less favourable exchange rate than the one that is freely available on the currency market. Then they will also levy an additional transaction fee. Furthermore, the recipient’s bank will also levy a fee simply for receiving the money and so if you are transferring money from one of your accounts to another then you are being charged at each end!
There are plenty of anecdotes on expat forums lamenting high international transfer fees and in some cases it is possible to be charged several hundreds of dollars.
The Best Way to Transfer Money Abroad
One of the best ways to transfer large amounts of money abroad is via money transfer services. Money transfer providers can help clients move money across the world and change currencies both cost effectively and fast. They do this by utilising their extensive global network and international presence, essentially bypassing the banks altogether. When a client approaches a money transfer specialist, they debit the client in country A, and then credit the client’s account in country B. Because of this, there is no bank fee to pay and the money can often be transferred in seconds rather than hours or days! Whilst the provider will usually charge a fee, it will usually be lower than the one the bank would charge. Furthermore, money transfer service providers also usually offer better currency exchange rates than the banks offer.
If you are an expat or if you will soon be immigrating to a new country, then it makes sense to open up an account with a money transfer specialist now, even if you don’t need to make any transfers at this particular time. This is because account verification and approval can sometimes take a few days, which can feel like a long time if you are one day in a hurry to move your money. Another advantage of opening an account before you actually need it is that you may be able to “lock in” a preferential currency exchange rate whereas if you delay opening an account until you need to use it, the currency exchange rate may have moved unfavourably.
The popularity of money transfer services with expats is very high indeed. The global expat community is a very lucrative market for money transfer companies and they do compete with one another to win custom. Therefore, any smart expat looking to save a few, or a few hundred bucks on transfers would be wise to shop around for the best rates and most well regarded service options.
If you are looking for a money transfer provider but don’t know where to start ,then rather than working your way through Google entries why not check out what both the experts and your peers think? Over at MoneyTransferComparison, you can find a list of the best international money transfer companies and services tailored specifically to people who move to the UK or from the UK for example. However, there are other sections dedicated to immigrants to and from the U.S. and Australia. That said it is for the most part the same companies offering the service.
Moving On Up!
Starting a new life as an expat can be truly exciting and rewarding. However, more often than not it is also very challenging and sometimes downright daunting. Whilst there are always going to be expenses associated with relocating or existing simultaneously in two countries, at least you now know how to save a few pounds or dollars in money transfer fees.