Belfast Telegraph

Compare rates on foreign transfers

By Liz Barclay

If you send money to family or friends overseas, get your calculator out. You could be paying over the odds to transfer money.

The latest research shows that you could get a raw deal if you simply pop into your high street bank to send foreign payments overseas. The exchange rates and transaction fees charged by the banks all add up to confusion for customers and you could find cheaper options by doing some research.

According to Moneycomms.co.uk, even though some providers claim to offer a fee-free service, the wide variation in charges on foreign currency transactions can add up to a major hidden cost. The situation is further complicated as many of the banks charge an additional fee.

Around nine out of 10 transactions are still done through the banks and the research shows there's a huge amount of money to be saved if consumers check out the deals on offer from some of the online brokers such as FairFX and Caxton FX. To give you a couple of examples from the study – if you're sending $1,000, the cheapest option is FairFX and the most expensive is Western Union, with the high street names not far behind. The difference between the cheapest and most expensive is £39.34. If you're sending €1000, FairFx again works out cheapest, with Santander the most expensive and the difference in that case is £30.75. Again the high street financial institutions tend to appear at the more expensive end of the list. Even if you're sending a lump sum as a one-off, those are fairly significant differences but imagine the savings you could make if you have a home abroad or children studying or travelling overseas and you have to send money regularly.

It's worth shopping around for a better deal.

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