Over the course of my many years of living in France, despite considering myself to be quite frugal and always on the lookout for a good deal, my laziness has cost me a small fortune. I am not exaggerating. Let me explain.
I live and work in France and I generate income from my business activities in the UK too. As such I frequently make currency transfers between the two countries. Previously, most of those transactions would be made via my own bank in the UK or France. I stopped doing that a long time ago and here’s why.
If I were to transfer a small sum today, for example, perhaps to cover living expenses and I need to make a Sterling to Euro transfer, previously I would have called my bank in the UK, established the rate for the Euro and made the transfer. The problem with that approach is that the rate offered by your bank will very likely be significantly less than that offered by a broker.
So I don’t do it like that any longer - the reason is simple, hard cash.
This is how I would make the transfer today;
First off I would call my personal account manager (I get to talk to the same person whenever I call) at my currency exchange specialist TorFX and ascertain the rate of exchange that they are offering, I would then agree to make the trade and fix the price at this rate.
Now I simply call my UK bank and make a free transfer of funds to my account at TorFX. This transfer would not incur an international transfer fee which can be as much as 25 quid depending who you bank with.
That’s it, they will now transfer the funds to my account in France, typically next day, although this often occurs on the same day.
So that’s why my laziness has cost me dearly. It’s easy to open an account with TorFX, they’ll assign an account manager to you who’ll be on hand to answer any questions you may have and generally make your life easier. They’ll even call you back!
You can use them to setup regular payments, such as your French mortgage for example. They can set this up for you for up to twelve months in advance and if you pay your French mortgage from a UK account, this really is a must. They sent me a list of items that their clients frequently use them for, but essentially you should use a broker for any transfers over 500 pounds or whatever the equivalent is in the currency you wish to trade. (Not just yacht purchases!)
Importing / Exporting Goods and Materials
Buying overseas property / land
Paying an overseas mortgage / bills
Overseas education / tuition fees
Purchase of luxuries eg wine, art
Purchase of cars / yachts
Receiving an overseas pension / QROPS
Return of overseas shared dividends
Inheritance / Trust funds
Sending money to family abroad / back home
Paying for holidays / group