If you’re thinking about using Afro International to do a money transfer then this article is for you. Here we’ll look at why you shouldn’t use Afro International and what you should do instead.
Who are Afro International?
Afro International offers money transfers to Sierra Leone and Guinea that are safe and secure. Customers can send cash to receivers in these countries and the business currently operates in London with 16 other agents available. Afro International was founded in 1998.
How to Send Money Overseas
Whether you have family who live abroad or your child needs some emergency dough while they are travelling sending money overseas can be straightforward.
There are lots of businesses like out there competing with each other to help you send this money across; these can include the banks, as well as money transfer firms like Afro International.
The best way to send this money however, can be a minefield.
Each firm will offer you a deal that will take into consideration how much you are sending, how often, how quickly and how the person on the other end wants to receive it.
Whether it’s an instant payment or drip fed financial support for a family member read on for our step by step guide to making a better decision.
The 3 Amigo Options
Considering your possibilities of who can send your money overseas you have 3 options, bank/building society, foreign exchange brokers and high street transfer firms.
These 3 amigos all have their own pros and cons, which of course we will discuss. However, these are your three main considerations, as between them they can send your money fast, slow, in various volumes and amounts with a variety of sending fees and charges.
But as rule of thumb, the high street banks remain the safest and easiest to access regarding recurring payments.
Hidden Cost of Afro International
Of course there will be a wide range of potential fees, interest and exchange rates which can make this minefield when using companies like Afro International for money transfer.
The best thing to do is first start using pounds as your starting currency and then find out how much of your foreign currency pounds will buy. This then gives you a total sum that you can use to mix and match against other offers and deals.
This sum will also be useful to know when you look at add-ons and additional fees, including exchange rates.
Afro International’s foreign exchange rates will come in all shapes and sizes, these beauties are also shape-shifting so they never stay the same.
Therefore if you are comparing against other offers try and do so within the next 24 hours of receiving a deal. As your shape shifting deal won’t be the same tomorrow!
Sending fees will be included from the Afro International and receiving fees may well be placed at the feet of the receiver.
Be aware of receiving fees as if you have a child who is travelling they may not be able to cover this cost. However, you can arrange to cover this yourself, at your end!
Once you have made your leap of faith and decided on your own personal best value option, you need the confirmation.
So from this step you can confirm with the bank, exchange firm or broker that they can deal with your personal details.
You will have your own set amount you want to send, a timeframe you want it received and a destination in the world you require it to be.
Therefore make sure you get confirmation, this can either be in email or by post but ensure that you keep all the paperwork.
Keep all receipts as the amount and destination will be specific to you and your circumstances, this will be required if something goes wrong.
Is Afro International It Safe?
Our everyday banking is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), that means if our bank goes bust, then we are covered.
However, with foreign exchange firms like Afro International, quite simply they don’t have this security. If a money transfer firm goes bust, they are gone, along with your money transfer.
However, there is a Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) that commands a certain level of quality by following a set of rules, which does certainly increase your safety, security and chances of getting your cash back if something goes wrong.
Our top tip is to use FCA approved foreign exchange firms like Afro International where necessary, especially if you are sending a lot of money overseas.
Afro International alternative: your Current Account!
You may be wondering why I need to use a foreign exchange firm when I already have a current account within a UK bank or building society.
Well, you don’t! Your bank or building society will happily discuss with you your various options of sending money overseas.
This can often be a lot safer, more convenient and more importantly, more familiar to you if this is your first time.
Advantages to using your own bank include it being easy to arrange, guidance through the process, high street accessible, safe and protected.
The disadvantages of using your own bank can include lower exchange rates, especially if you have a lot to send; also the banks are a bit slow!
Some banks can take up to 6 working days to complete transfer whereas exchange firms are a lot quicker.
Whereas UK banks can be a bit slow with the transfer there is usually an option to pay a transfer and/or a receiver fee to speed up the process.
The UK banks on the whole have their own counterpart banks overseas where special arrangements can be made.
Ask your bank about overseas banks as often lower exchange rates can be applied and even smaller or no charges are added.
This is very useful if regular overseas payments need to be made!
Whether you’re paying the bills on a ‘holiday home’ overseas, or financially feeding family members living away then making special arrangements with your bank can be cost effective.
Our top tip here is to hold an account in your name in both the UK and the country where regular payments will be made. You can then benefit from reduced fees and lower costs.
Afro International Alternative: High Street Firms
As opposed your bank, you can choose to use a high street foreign exchange firm.
Making this choice is relative easy, there are high street branches to discuss with in-person, such as the Post Office or if you’re tech savvy you can quickly scan the internet for the best deals and fees.
The advantages of using a high street firm means that you get the chance to use a range of services such as ‘instant transfers’ into the recipient’s bank account.
This is also easy to set up, you won’t need a high street foreign exchange account and if the amount is small enough you don’t even need ID.
These firms can also get the deed done very quickly, great if your family member quickly needs some instant cash to carry on their worldly travels.
However between all the high street firms, fees and costs vary widely, you could be charged higher fees for smaller transfers which needs to be considered.
Other disadvantages include the exchange rate fluctuating rapidly; make sure that you make a decision on the day you deal with these firms as tomorrow the exchange rate will be something else.
Furthermore your overseas transaction is not always as safe, as not all firms are covered by the FSCS discussed above.
Your third option is use a broker like Afro International to send money overseas, this would be ideal for sending larger sums of money with low or sometimes non-existent fees.
Furthermore the Broker is the specialist in exchange rates which is great for you, the customer as they can offer better rates especially if your sending regular payments.
Also this process is very fast, the Brokers won’t mess about with your overseas payment and can often get the money to the recipient the same or following day.
But with the good, comes the bad. Setting up an account with a Broker can take time; we are talking a day or two to get things official.
Also only do this if you have larger amounts to send overseas, as smaller payments get the biggest fees, and setting up an account may not be worth your while.
Again the Broker is not the safest option if their firm goes bust your money is not protected, not all Brokers are covered by the FSCS.
Compare and Contrast
As with any financial decision you do need to compare and contrast the market, see what works for you and your needs of sending money overseas.
There are a number of comparison sites available, don’t use one, use them all!
Make your comparisons as detailed as possible, use the filters on these sites to match to exactly what you want.
When the deal fits your needs you can check this against other firms, banks and brokers. Also before going ahead double check that your deal is covered or authorised by the FCA.
Scams – Being aware of scams is sensible. It’s not scary if you know what you’re looking for.
If the deal is too good to be true, then assume it is, go back to comparing and contrasting this deal with others.
If you find deals that force you on to external links, making calls, or sending details over emails again double check this with the payment provider.
Most firms, banks and brokers don’t do business this way.
Open an overseas account with an authorised provider, do not give your details to any old firm asking for them, make sure they are legitimate and above board.
Credit Card – For many purchases and payments, such as online shopping from overseas stores you can use a credit card. This is a Afro InternationalAfro Internationalconvenient, safe, insured and quick alternative to money transfers.
Alternative Payments – there are other ways of sending money overseas, however, avoid sending cheques or foreign bank drafts as these are easily intercepted and you won’t see this money again.
Also this process is slow, painful and unsafe together with handling charges from both the UK and foreign exchange sides.