Sometimes it can feel like despite all of the enhanced conveniences of the digital age, where everyone can be done at the touch of a button, the human touch is lost. As such, those without immediate access to a phone or computer are so often left behind. Indeed, in cases of marginalisation or emergency, doing something like sending money overseas without the use of tech can be obstructive in the extreme.
Fortunately, there are ways and means, tips and tricks on how to send money in person. With that in mind, here is our IDEAL guide to sending money abroad in person.
BANK & BUILDING SOCIETY TRANSFERS
There are three main options available for transferring money out of the UK in person. The first is your bank or building society, if you have one. These provide a safe and convenient experience when making transfers with members of staff able to guide you through each step of the process and help you to set up regular payments, all from the convenience of your high street branch.
On the other hand, the standard duration for a transfer is around 4 to 6 business days, and some foreign banks may charge you just to receive the money. It may be possible, however, to expedite the service to around one to two days at a cost, and you may be able to ask your bank to cover the many charges for receiving the money on your end.
HIGH STREET BUSINESSES
Secondly, there are several bricks and mortar high street businesses such as the Money Shop or Western Union or even branches of the Post Office, available on the high street and specifically in place to deal with foreign currency and money transfers. For sending smaller amounts of money, money transfer businesses can sometimes be a bit expensive, although transfer times can be super fast.
With a wide range of services and fast, efficient transfers (often being completed within a matter of minutes where bank transfers can take days), and an easy setup, this is another great option for sending your money abroad.
One downside, however, is that depending on which service you select, a wide variety of fees can be applicable, some being especially high when only sending small amounts of money. Also, exchange rates can be poor, and just like using an FX broker, transfers from high street businesses are not covered by the FSCS.
FOREIGN EXCHANGE BROKERS
Finally, you have foreign exchange brokers. When wanting to send higher amounts of money, foreign exchange (FX) brokers are usually your best bet as these guys usually offer the most attractive rates available. Offering low fees, or often none when transferring over £3,000, excellent exchange rates, and fast transfer windows (often depositing the money in the recipient’s account within the same or following day), foreign exchange brokers are probably the most efficient solution. Some brokers will also offer customers the ability to make regular payments.
It is possible, however, that you will need to open and make payments into an account in order to get things going, and this can take up to a couple of days. Also, if you’re only looking to send small amounts of money, it may not be particularly cost-effective. Should the firm you are making the transfer through go bust, you will not be protected by the FSCS (Financial Services Compensation Scheme).
THE COSTS INCURRED
If only it were as easy as sending the damn money. But as with nearly every walk of life, ‘the man’ is waiting at every stage of the process to take his commission. Indeed, there are several potential costs to take into account when transferring your money out of the UK, and sometimes this can make the whole process seem a bit complicated. Ultimately, you’ll want to find out the total amount your recipient will be receiving, in their receiving currency, and use that end number to compare all the different services.
The three main costs to consider are; sending fees, which you’ll have to pay for sending the money; receiving fees, which is the charge the recipient may have to pay for receiving the money; and the foreign exchange rate. Though this will vary wildly from place to place, it’s not hard to find places that offer a good rate, although most will probably charge some sort of commission, or pretend that they don’t charge commission by offering a poor exchange rate. You can check online to find the current rate of exchange and compare this against what each place you are considering offers.
The amount of money being sent abroad can often be an influencing factor in the kind of rate you will receive. Regularly companies will offer a better rate of exchange to those sending £5,000 or more.
SO HOW SAFE IS MY TRANSFER?
As mentioned previously, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is available to protect you when a firm that is handling your transfer goes bust. The FSCS does not protect those who are making transfers through FX brokers or high street businesses. However, those that are FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) authorized are held to certain rules that can help you to retrieve your money should something go wrong. When looking to transfer money, particularly large sums of money, out of the UK, with a FX broker or a high street business, it is always best to ensure you are dealing with an FCA authorized firm.