Bureau Buttercrane is one way to send money overseas, there are other options, including banks, money transfer firms and foreign exchange (FX) brokers. Read on to find out more about Bureau Buttercrane and whether they are the right option for you.

Who are Bureau Buttercrane?

Bureau Buttercrane offers money transfers with a minimum of £1,000 anywhere in Europe and the UK. The company is the leading money transfer service provider in Ireland and has been in business for more than 20 years.

Factors to consider when exchanging money

When you are sending money overseas, there are some key things to consider before you make a decision on which option to go for. These include:

  • the total amount you are sending
  • the cost for sending the money
  • the frequency of the payments
  • how the recipient wants to access the money
  • the time taken to send the money

In order to get the best deal, these are some of the steps to consider:

Step 1 – Determining the options

These are the three options you have for sending money overseas:

  • building society/bank
  • foreign exchange (FX) brokers (like Bureau Buttercrane)
  • high street transfer firms (such as Western Union).

If you are looking to send regular payments, banks and building societies are often the safest and most convenient option.

You may want to consider FX brokers if you are planning to send large amounts of over £3,000.

Money transfer firms will be able to complete the transaction quickly, but they may be more expensive, especially you’re planning to send small amounts.

Step 2 – What will the total cost be?

There are a range of potential fees and exchange rates available if you choose Bureau Buttercrane, and this can sometimes make it seem like a minefield.

The first step is to find out the amount of foreign currency you will get for the pounds you are planning to send, after you have taken all costs into account. With this figure, you can start to compare the offers available.

The total costs are made up of three parts:

  • Foreign exchange rates – as these can change regularly, it is best to snap up any good offer, as it may not be around for long.
  • Sending fees – every firm will charge you money for doing the transfer, but these can vary greatly depending on different factors.
  • Receiving fees – the receiver may have a charge at the end that they need to pick up. You can cover this though.

The fees will depend on how much money you are looking to send. Some offer better exchange rates than other, especially if you are sending large sums.

You can start your search by getting a quote from your bank, and then compare this with other options. Other options might include FX broker sites, such as FX Compared.

Step 3 – Get confirmation

When you have the option which will give you the best value, the next step is to get confirmation that the company you are using will be able to deal with the amount you are sending, and within the timeframe. If the payment is urgent for example, the bank might not be able to deal with this request, unless you pay extra fees.

As the firm you are using to send confirmation of everything, in writing preferably.

You should retain all your paperwork and receipts relating to the transaction, as you may need them if anything goes wrong.

Is it safe to Bureau Buttercrane for my money transfers?

If you are sending money via your UK bank account, you have peace of mind that your funds are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) This means that if anything goes wrong, your funds will be safe. Unfortunately, this is not the case with transfer firms. If the firm goes bust, you will usually lose your money.

In some cases, the transfer firm or FX broker you choose will be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA.) This offers you some degree of protection, as they have a responsibility to follow rules which means you have a better chance of getting your money back, should the worst happen.

Read our page on checking the authorisation of a firm and what to do if something goes wrong.

If you’re planning to send high volumes of money, it would make sense to either use your bank or ensure you use an FCA authorised firm. This will give you greater peace of mind that your money will be protected.

The pros and cons of using your bank account

Your bank or building society is a tried and trusted way to send money, and is particularly beneficial if you have never sent money abroad before. These are some of the pros and cons.

Pros

  • Easy arrangement– you are already familiar with your bank account, and you may know how to do the transfer or at the least, they will be able to support you with arranging it.
  • Convenience – it is convenient as you already have an account set up, you can even do it only or alternatively, there are banks on every high street.
  • Safety and security – one of the biggest advantages of using your bank account or building society is the safety it offers. Should the worst happen, your money is protected.

Cons

  • Often lower exchange rates – you will usually get better exchange rates from a foreign exchange broker, unless you are sending large sums.
  • Slower option – the transfer can take up to 6 business days, unless you pay extra. It is possibly the slowest out of all the options for money transfer, unless you use their express service.

Using your bank for regular payments

It can be easy to make regular payments with UK high street banks, as many have branches overseas, or they have arrangements in place with other overseas banks.

This means that you can often benefit from lower charges, or no charges, when you send money overseas, and you may also get better exchange rates.

If you are looking to make regular payments abroad, for instance, to pay bills on a second home or to send money to family members, this can be beneficial.

In order to benefit from a reduction in fees, you will be required to have accounts with the same name in both the sending and receiving countries.

What you need for bank payments

You will need the following in order to make overseas money transfers:

  • The International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and Bank Identifier Code (BIC) for the account you will be paying the money into – you can ask the recipient to get these details from their account, either online or speaking to the bank directly.
  • The IBAN and BIC for your own account (the account you are sending the money from) will also be required, unless it is the same branch situated abroad, as quite often this won’t be required.

How to send money via an online or high street money transfer firm

There are lots of money transfer firms available to enable you to send money overseas.

Many have high street branches, including Western Union, and there are also MoneyGram branches available in some post offices. You may be able to use online services for these firms too.

If you are considering using an online or high street transfer firm, it is good to know the pros and cons.

Pros

  • Variety of Services – the variety of services can be appealing, some will offer the options of instant cash for your recipient, while others will be able to transfer money directly into the bank account.
  • Smooth Process – it is easy to set up the money transfer. If you are sending small amounts, you may not be required to provide your ID.
  • Quick– the good thing about this option is that it can generally be completed in minutes. This is a lot quicker than using the bank, as this can take up to 7 days in some cases.

Cons

  • Wide range of fees – the fees can vary depending on the service you choose, and they can be particularly high for small amounts. In some cases, you could pay £10 to transfer only £50, so make sure you check this first.
  • Variable exchange rates – compare the costs on the day you are looking to send the money, as the exchange rates can vary, even on a daily basis. This can even be done online in some cases.
  • Less secure – unlike sending payments through your bank or building society, there is less security when you send via a transfer firm. If security is the over-riding factor for you, this may not be the most suitable option.

Should you use a high street money transfer service?

Are you thinking about using a high street money transfer service? These are some of the advantages and disadvantages.

This is how the high street money transfer service works:

  • They are available and easy to find through a high street agent, at the Post Office or some newsagents.
  • There is usually no requirement to open and account. It is fairly straightforward, in that you hand over the money, pay the fees, and they take care of it for you.
  • You will receive a reference number, which you should give to the recipient. They will then be able to collect the money. This reference number should be kept safe and secure, and only shared with the recipient.

What to do before making payment:

  • Ensure you know what the fees are – they may be more expensive than you think.
  • If you are going for the ‘instant cash’ option, make sure you know exactly where the funds will be picked up, and also ensure that the recipient can access the funds. You may also have the option of sending the cash to the recipient’s ‘wallet’ on their mobile phone (using M-PESA or similar.)

How to use an online money transfer service

What to expect:

  • As Online transfers often take a few days, they’re not suited to urgent transfers.
  • You can use online services for a small fee.
  • In order to sign up to use an online money transfer service, you will need to have a bank account or credit card to register through the website of the firm of choice. You will also need internet access, and an email address.

Some key points to remember:

  • Make sure you know what the recipient will need to access the cash. They may need a bank account, internet access or email address. Make sure they have all that is required before you decide on this option.
  • Use a password to protect the transaction, one that is not easy to guess!

Should you use a foreign exchange broker?

If you want to send a large sum of money, you may get the best deal by using a foreign exchange (FX) currency broker.

Pros

  • Lower fees – if you are looking to transfer over £3,000, FX brokers will generally not charge you fees.
  • Better exchange rate – As FX brokers are specialists in currency transaction, they will usually offer a great exchange rate, which you won’t get from the bank or money transfer firm.
  • Quick and easy – it’s a quick and easy process, the money will usually hit the recipient’s account on the same day or the following day.
  • Enable regular payments – FX brokers often allow regular transfers. If you are planning to send regular payments, this could be a good option.

Cons

  • Takes time to open an account – if you are using an FX broker for your transaction, you will be required to open an account and pay into this. As this can take a couple of days, it can slow down the process.
  • Not ideal for smaller amounts– FX brokers are not the best option if you are only looking to send small amounts. It could prove to be quite costly.
  • Less safe – As The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) does not provide cover to these firms, it is not as safe as using your bank.

Is it best to use price comparison sites?

Most people think they will get the best deal by using one comparison site to find the best deal on their money transfer, but it is actually worth using as many as possible. This is down to the fact that not every price comparison site shows all offers, so this can widen your search.

You should always ensure that the deal you choose fits your requirements. For instance, it suits your budget, timeframe for sending the money and it offers the level of safety you require. It is much better to opt for a firm who are FCA authorised, and will take care of the process quickly and efficiently.

Always look at the filters, as they may be hiding some great deals!

Scams and what you need to know

Scams exist in money transfer, just as they do with all other types of payment formats. You need to be extra careful to ensure that you choose a reliable company to take care of the transfer for you.

These are some points to consider when utilising Bureau Buttercrane or any other company for money transfer:

What you need to know about scams:

  • As the saying goes ‘if it looks to good to be true, it probably is.’ If the cost of sending the money is extremely different to your other quotes, there is probably a good reason!
  • Ensure emails and calls are from a legitimate company. Check the email address is genuine and look up the phone number online.
  • Unless you are 100% sure that the company is genuine, do not give out any personal details.

Thinking ahead for your money transfer needs

It is important to think ahead when it comes to transferring money overseas. Of course, you can take the current exchange rate, but what if that changes in the future?

If you are concerned about the exchange rate changing for future transactions, which it is likely to do, you may wish to consider entering into a ‘forward contract’, which allows you to ensure you keep the exchange rate for the future.

These are particularly beneficial if you plan to send large sums of money on a regular basis.

If you have a down payment to put on another home abroad for instance, you may have concerns that the pound will weaken or the euro will strengthen before you pay the money. With a ‘forward contract’ you can lock in the rate, so there’s no need to worry.

What if things don’t work with Bureau Buttercrane?

It is important that no matter which option you choose, you should make sure you retain all receipts and paperwork.

As money transfer firms and FX brokers do not have cover as part of the compensation scheme, they are not as safe and secure as using a bank. As such, it is even more important to keep your paperwork.

If Bureau Buttercrane are ‘registered’ with the FCA, they do not have any responsibility to protect your money.

However, if they are ‘authorised’ by the FCA, they must keep the money separate from company funds.

If you would like to check whether Bureau Buttercrane has FCA authorisation, you can do this by looking at the Financial Conduct Authority website.

If you are searching for small firms, including money transfers agencies such as Western Union, it’s a good you should find the postcode so you can narrow the search.

Other options for sending money overseas with Bureau Buttercrane

If you are making payments or purchases overseas, you also have the option of using a credit or debit card, which can be a convenient option and alternative to doing money transfers.

You should, however, avoid sending foreign bank drafts (or cheques) overseas, as the process is extremely slow, costly, and it is definitely not one of the most secure options.

About the author

Scott Nelson

Scott Nelson is a financial services expert, with over 10 years’ experience in the industry, including 6 years in FCA regulated companies. Read more
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