Don't fall into these money exchange traps

Beware of the opaque foreign currency specialist

Don't fall into these money exchange traps

Using a reputable, non-bank foreign exchange specialist to send money abroad offers fantastic savings compared to transacting with a high street bank.

Research from market leading FX comparison site  shows savings of up to 5% on the amount you are transferring. Across the world, we are seeing a wealth of new currency brokers enter the market. Whilst most offer a brilliant ‘private banking’ style service to the everyday man, it’s important to know the ‘tell tale’ signs of an opaque foreign currency specialist.

Warning: Being quoted mid-market rates as an indicative rate

A shady tactic adopted by some money transfer companies is to quote you the mid-market exchange rate to encourage you to register and thus ‘draw you in.’ Ignore this, together with largely unhelpful interbank currency converters on currency broker homepages.

What can you do?

Pay little attention to indicative quotes. Open a live trading account as quickly as possible, as this will allow you access to live dealing rates. Always try to compare the exchange rate offered with the mid-market exchange rate. If this is the same rate, there should be alarm bells ringing. Foreign exchange companies make money by adding a ‘markup’ to the real exchange rate. Worst still, never contemplate using a currency broker who offers better than market exchange rates. This means they will be losing money on a deal and is the sign of a company in trouble.

Warning: Honeymoon rates

A common trick adopted by opaque foreign exchange brokers is offering you a fantastic exchange rate on day one, only for the margins to be widened and widened as you become more comfortable with using their service. If you intend to make multiple payments throughout the year, pay particular attention to the exchange rate markup over time.

What can you do?

On each transaction, we’ve found that some good old-fashioned haggling will often lead to a better than quoted money transfer rate. When transacting by telephone, you would be surprised at the lengths currency brokers will go to win your business. Whilst recognizing everyone needs to make money, see if your broker can go that little bit extra for you and better the exchange rate offered. Again, benchmark each quote against the real rate of exchange. Try it. You have nothing to lose!

Compare & save

Try not to settle for the first deal you stumble across. It’s worthwhile comparing on an ‘apples by apples’ basis the exchange rate offered between bank and foreign exchange broker. In a nutshell, the more quotes you obtain on an international money transfer, the better the potential saving.

What can you do?

As a starting point, compare money transfer companies who are FCA regulated at You’ll be able to obtain quotes from the world’s leading foreign exchange companies. If you are feeling extra frugal, open an account with more than one company and at the time of trade, compare like for like the exchange rate offered. However, as the currency markets are very volatile, ensure your multiple quotes are requested in very close space of time. Preferably within a couple minutes of each quote to gauge the best currency deal.

To compare FCA regulated companies, visit 

Further reading

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