Ten Reasons Foreign Exchanges Suck At a Bank

by Investing School on August 5, 2009

One of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to foreign exchange is entrusting their currency transfer to their bank, in the belief that this is the easiest and most efficient option. However, by enlisting a foreign exchange specialist, they can in fact save a significant sum. Here are Foremost Currency’s top ten points to consider against opting to exchange money through a bank, whether you are buying a property overseas, a business involved in import and export or transferring a monthly sum such as a pension to a foreign account.

  1. Uncompetitive Rates – Securing a competitive exchange rate with your bank is highly unlikely. As a result the service provided is often not suited to anyone other than tourists and holiday makers. A foreign exchange specialist will always offer a commercial rate and can even guarantee rates for up to two years.
  2. Commission – Banks will charge you commission on every single money transfer you make, regardless of the amount. A good foreign exchange specialist on the other hand will not, allowing you to get more for your money.
  3. Transfer Fees – A bank will charge you for each individual transfer from your current account to your new account overseas. If you are looking to make regular monthly transfers, these transfer fees will mount up and could end up costing you a considerable amount over the course of a year. Specialist transfer fees are considerably lower and sometimes there are no transfer fees at all.
  4. Love Your Money – A foreign exchange specialist’s day job is to specifically monitor the money markets. A good specialist will have at least twenty currency dealers watching the markets on your behalf and will be readily available to provide relevant market information to enable an informed decision about when to make a transfer. Banks on the other hand are split across a number of key remits and foreign exchange is markedly not their primary focus.
  5. Inconvenience – A foreign exchange specialist will set up monthly transfers to take place automatically through priority wire transfer. When dealing with a bank it is not uncommon to have to visit your branch in order to ensure the transfer takes place. If for some reason you are unable to make it to the bank one day you could end up missing important mortgage payments, a hassle that many of us could do without.
  6. Specialist Tools – There are a variety of specialized foreign exchange options that a good broker will provide, enabling you to receive the most appropriate service for you. Spot Deals, Forward Contracts and Limit Orders are just some of the many tools a foreign exchange specialist will provide that a bank does not.
  7. Added Extras – A good foreign exchange specialist will provide other services in order to make your money transfers as stress free and accessible as possible. Some specialists will have an online trading platform which allows customers to check exchange rates and trade online at any time of the day.
  8. Three Simple Steps – Transferring money overseas couldn’t be simpler with a foreign exchange specialist. Open an account, speak to a broker, and receive your funds. All you are required to do is provide proof of identification and proof of address. Banks may draw this process out by asking you to fill out numerous forms.
  9. Build a Relationship – A good foreign exchange specialist will not only provide a 24/7 service, but you will also be guaranteed an account handler who will open your account and remain with you throughout the life of your transactions. Banks cannot provide such a personalized service due to the sheer number of products and services they offer coupled with the number of customers they have. A foreign exchange specialist will provide you with the attention you deserve, and a personal approach that the banks cannot match.
  10. Boycott the Banks – Let’s face it. Some consider that the blame for the problems facing the world economy should lie at the banks’ doorsteps. Why would you want to give them more of your money?!

This is a guest post from Robin McEwen, Managing Director at Foremost Currency.  Learn More at www.foremostcurrencygroup.co.uk, or call 08000 781 0601

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

MoneyEnergy August 6, 2009 at 11:40 am

This may well be true for U.S. banks – they did cause their part of the worldwide financial crisis. But it’s not true for Canadian banks – not at all. I’m a preferred client and am not charged transfer fees or commissions on my exchanges – I can even do instant international money orders – something which I’ve learned is quite difficult to do with insular American banks which, if they do it at all, usually need three days just to “order in” the money because they outsource that service. My point is just that banking is not banking plain and simple. The business differs depending on what country you’re in. As we’ve seen from the crisis, too…


James December 18, 2009 at 3:14 am

This is really not fair. I work in the UK and make an income from the US, when people pay by paypal this is fine however when companies insist on paying by check my local bank charges me an absolute fortune and some occasions I have lost up to 40% of the cheques value in charges etc just for converting from $ to £’s. How can this rate be applied or even justified?


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