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Ten easy and affordable options for sending money abroad

The global uncertainty created by coronavirus has implications for almost every area of life. For millions of people who live abroad or travel regularly that includes questions about the impact on exchange rates and money transfers.

Ten easy and affordable options for sending money abroad

But with a thriving fintech scene, the days where lack of choice made high charges inevitable are long gone. Nor do you need to leave home to get started, thanks to a wide range of innovative online solutions and apps.

Here are ten of the best options for moving your money across borders in a prompt and cost-efficient manner.

Monito

If too many numbers leave your head in a spin, why not try a comparison engine like Monito? The company claims to be “building the Booking.com for money transfers”.

This Swiss-based start-up aims to make it quick and easy for you to shop around before sending your money abroad.

CurrencyFair

With Dublin-based CurrencyFair you can hold funds in a free multi-currency wallet, ready to exchange at any time. It uses peer-to-peer exchange, so you can choose your preferred rate – and wait for it to be matched with customers swapping the opposite currency.

On average you pay 0.4 percent above the mid-market rate – that’s the interbank lending rate that Google shows you. Estimated processing times vary with different currencies. If you sign up via this link, you can get five free transfers.

Xe.com

This site is well-known for its free information services, showing live mid-market rates online and in its app (which has over 70 million downloads). It also offers the XE Money Transfer service, allowing you to trade in 60 currencies and send money to more than 170 countries.

You can transfer unlimited amounts. The exchange rate is linked to live foreign exchange markets but is not the mid-market rate itself.

Clear Currency

London-based Clear Currency places no limit on how much money you can move and positions itself as a specialist in transfers worth £5,000 or more, whether one-off or regular. It supports more than 35 currencies.

Users have the option of locked-in forward contracts to avoid volatility in rates. The Local's readers can get €50 (or your local currency equivalent) off their first transfer by signing up via this link.

Revolut

A basic Revolut account enables you to transfer money abroad in 30 currencies at the interbank rate (but with a 0.5 percent fee for anything above £5,000* in a month). You can also set alerts in its app to receive notifications when exchange rates hit certain levels.

Readers of The Local who sign up via this link will get their Revolut card shipped free of charge. Customers can also then spend abroad in over 150 currencies at the interbank rate (also up to £5,000* per month before a 0.5 percent fee kicks in).

* Exact amount depends upon your location.

Azimo

Azimo allows you to send money to bank accounts, mobile wallets or 300,000 cash pick-up locations (some might be limited by coronavirus-related restrictions). Its reach extends to more than 200 countries and territories and most transfers are complete within 24 hours.

Azimo currently offers your first two transfers for free, after which fees depend on the size, method and route of your transfer. 

OFX

Thanks to its global network of 115 banks, most people can send funds to an OFX account through a domestic transfer. OFX says 80 percent of major currency transfers are processed within 24 hours of OFX receiving the funds.

The company also promises no transfer fees and you can monitor where your money is via its app. OFX has handled £67bn in transfers for more than 430,000 customers.

TorFX

TorFX deals with more than 60 currencies and says funds should usually be received the same day. The UK-based company allows transfers of up to £25,000 online or via its app; for larger sums, you must place instructions with your dedicated account manager. 

The Regular Overseas Payments service allows you to make repeat payments of between £500 and £10,000. TorFX says it aims to provide rates “as close as possible” to the mid-market rate.

TransferWise

Set up by Estonians in London, TransferWise says it is “on a mission to bring transparency to finance”. It pledges that you always get the “real exchange rate” – yes, the mid-market rate – and pay only a small conversion fee.

TransferWise says its small margin is reinvested to grow and improve the service, which is currently available in 59 countries.

WorldRemit

WorldRemit lets you send money to 150 countries for competitive fees and says most transactions are received instantly. You can send via bank transfer, mobile money, the WorldRemit wallet or cash pickup – although the options vary according to the destination.

The AirTime service also allows you to instantly add minutes or mobile data to a loved one’s phone. The company advises that some cash pickup services are affected by coronavirus-related restrictions but other services are working as normal.

 

 

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Readers’ tips: What is the best way of transferring money between France and your home country?

Each week The Local asks its readers to share their tips about various aspects of living in France. This week we asked their opinion on the best way of sending and receiving money between France and their home countries.

Readers' tips: What is the best way of transferring money between France and your home country?
Photo: Money Transfer/Depositphotos

So what’s the international money transfer service most of The Local France’s readers prefer?

TransferWise seems to be the most popular option. The online service, developed by Skype’s first employee (Estonian Taavet Hinrikus) is a UK-based money transfer service that supports 300 currency routes across the world.

These include euros to US, Australian, Hong Kong, Canadian and Singapore dollars, UK pounds sterling, Indian rupees and many more (Here’s the full list).

For South Africans in France sending or receiving money to and from the Rainbow Nation, the service options are slightly different

What do our readers have to say about TransferWise?

Reader Richard Clarke praises the service for its “excellent rates, low fees and speed”. “I cannot fault their service”, he adds.

According to Christopher Tyle, Transferwise is “the only company” that would allow him to transfer money from his US account to his French account.

“I mostly transfer small amounts and it has worked really well for me.

“My bank in the US, which I won't mention, wouldn't do wire transfers for me because “I had to go into a branch and fill out a form” and even if they had, the charge was something like $35 (absolutely ludicrous).

“With Paypal, for instance, I could transfer money to other people – but not to myself. As far as I'm concerned, Transferwise filled a huge void for people in my position.”

Another reader under the Twitter handle MrsMacFeegle, wrote to us to say “now use TransferWise – excellent for GBP/euros. Have not had need for any other currency transfers. Service is quick, relatively inexpensive, upfront on costs and transfer rates and simple to register with. Way ahead of others we've used or tried.”

 

They did however point out that the transfer service isn’t 100 percent free: “There will be a margin built into the exchange rate. No one offers currency exchange for nothing. TransferWise, in my experience, normally mirror the market rate and then show their fee for the transfer.”

Are there any other international money transfer options foreigners in France like?

The Local France’s reader Don Lang speaks highly of Revolut, a UK-based digital bank that includes a pre-paid debit card, currency exchange, cryptocurrency exchange and peer-to-peer payments.

“No commissions, transfers with no margin (at bank rate) and instant payments. Very impressive,” Don concludes.

It’s a sentiment shared by Twitter user Shane Anderson, who speaks highly of the Revolut app: “We use it every week and the best thing is; it’s free! Fast, free, great rates and all done on an app!”

Other international money transfer services between France and the rest of the world that have been praised by our readers include currencies4u.com and Smart Currency.

READ ALSO: Which bank offers the best accounts for foreigners in France?

 

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