Currency Transfer

11/07/2009 - 06:14

Morning,  Can anyone give some advice on what would be the best way to transfer GBP to EUR for a house purchase. I have been contacted by Smart Currency Specialists (through another company Italian Buying guide), has anyone used either of them before?  Or any recommendations would be super.Ali



I have used Smart & found them to be very good. You can usually get through to the same person to get a spot quotation. They have also subsequently given me transfers of smaller amounts at the spot rates, i.e. smaller amounts than they would normally accept as a minimum transfer.The only thing I would say is ring round on the day you need your transfer & get quoted for your exact requirements as they vary a bit from broker to broker. Once I did this & got a cheaper quote from someone else & Smart matched it without quibble. It was only a matter of £100 or so but every little helps!In bocca al lupo Chris   

We used HIFX. They were fine and if the italian bank make charges for the transfer, they will refund it (no transfer charges guarenteed). You can buy in advance at an agreed rate but of course the rate may vary up or down so of course this is a gamble. However it's a good insurance as you do not suddenly find yourself paying more than you budgeted for.  

Having done this a year ago, I looked into various companies and amazingly found my bank (First Direct) was as competitive as some of the specialists. So don't assume your bank will give you a poor deal. Congrats on the house purchase BTW, it's SO exciting! Salutoni

I rang around the brokers too, but found my own bank was slightly better.Remember the brokers are direct sales operations, so each commission-only broker operative will have his commission included in the total deal. Your bank is staffed by employees so their fee is likely to be less than the amount a salesman will be trying to make.However, you do have to get to the foreign exchange back office of your bank, as the front desk will not get you the best rate.

 You should remember though that whereas a currency firm such as Foremost or currencies Direct will give you a spot rate and allow you to book it, most banks wont.  They will say - ok it'll be done this week - and that means that you dont know exactly what you're getting as a rate.  The idea of an FX firm refunding Italian bank charges is very appealing! - not seen that one before! 

You should check with your own bank. Ask them what percentage away from spot (the exchange rate that banks deal amongst themselves) that they are prepared to deal at. Compare this, with quotes from any number of currency brokers and ask them the same question. For your own peace of mind, whoever you use, you should make sure, that they are FSA regulated. Ram, as much as I think we all value your advice, all of the mainsteam UK banks will allow you to deal at a rate fixed immediately.

We bought our house 4.5 yrs ago using mainly CurrencyDirect. Their spot and future rates were good and there were no Italian bank charges this end. We did use MoneyCorp once and we had to pay Italian bank charges this end.I can't remember why but we also used our bank once, LLoydsTSB, and they were the most expensive with charges both ends !!

I opened a € account with first direct and at exactly the same time (5 minutes apart) agreed an exchange rate with Smart Currency. Smart were nearly1% better than First Direct. The benefit of the First Direct account though is that I can obtain cash if I want it (at a further 1% charge). I've used Smart before and never had any problems. You do need to get a specific exchange rate at the time though; when I made a general query the rate was poor and when I complained at the rate I was told that it was a rate they could keep open for a while, if I wanted to a deal there and then I got 1% better