Transferring a large sum of money internationally

Large money transfers abroad explained

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If you’re buying a property overseas or making a large purchase of any kind in another country, you’ll need to transfer a large sum of money from the UK to the location in question.

Sounds daunting. But fortunately, there are plenty of ways to do this, either with the help of your high street bank or a specialist currency broker. But there are lots of things to consider before you arrange your transfer.

Here, we explain how to make a transfer, and why it’s important to keep a close eye on exchange rates as well as any transfer fees.

How do you transfer a large sum of money internationally?

If you want to transfer a large sum of money abroad, you need to find a bank or currency broker which can arrange the transfer on your behalf.

When the payment is made from your account, you can fix the amount of sterling that is taken, which in turn means the amount received at the other end will depend on the exchange rate applicable at the time. Or you can fix the foreign currency amount to be received, so that the amount of sterling paid by you depends on the exchange rate.

Remember too that the exchange rate you are offered when you make a large international money transfer can have a big impact on the amount that you transfer abroad.

When choosing which bank or currency broker you want to make the transfer on your behalf, always find out what the transfer fees are, as these can have a big impact on the amount you transfer. As a general rule, high street banks charge from around £15 up to £25 per transfer, while currency brokers’ fees are typically lower, from around £3 to 10, although they can be fee-free in some circumstances.

Some banks, usually those with overseas branches, also allow their customers to make fee-free transfers. There are other charges and costs to consider. You will usually have to pay a fee to the bank which receives the funds – this is typically around 0.5% of the amount transferred but will depend on which bank you use. Remember too that the exchange rate you are offered when you make a large international money transfer can have a big impact on the amount that you transfer abroad. Some specialist currency brokers use special financial tools to protect against sudden exchange rate movements. These allow you to lock into favourable exchange rates before you make the transfer.

Bear in mind, however, that there is always the risk that if the exchange rate then moves further in your favour, you won’t be able to benefit as you’ll already be locked in to another rate.

Make sure your money is safe

Ensuring sure your money is protected in the event anything goes wrong should be a top priority for anyone who is sending a large sum of cash abroad. High street banks and many of the larger currency brokers are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, which means money up to £85,000 will be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the event that the company arranging your transfer collapses.

However, you don’t have this protection from a broker who isn’t FCA regulated, so always check whether or not the company you are considering using is regulated.

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