Exchange4free is just one of many ways to send money overseas, including banks, money transfer firms and foreign exchange (FX) brokers.

Who are Exchange4free Money Transfer?

Exchange4Free offers money transfers to many countries around the world. Exchange4Free offers people the opportunity to have a global account in which they can send and receive money as needed. The company is registered in the UK and is one of the leading money transfer providers to Africa

Factors to consider with money exchange

If you are planning to send money overseas, there are some factors to take into account, including:

  • the amount of money you are sending
  • what the cost will be
  • the frequency of the payments
  • the method in which the recipient wants to receive it
  • how quickly you need the transaction to be

These are some steps to consider when you are looking to exchange money.

Step 1 – What options do you have?

You have three options when sending money:

  • your bank or building society should be able to help
  • foreign exchange (FX) brokers (like Exchange4free) offer these services
  • high street transfer firms (such as Western Union) can support money exchange

Banks are the most convenient and safest option, while FX brokers are the best option if you are sending large sums, over £3,000. You can also use money transfer firms, but they can end up being expensive, especially if you are sending smaller amounts.

Step 2 – What will the cost be?

The fees and exchange rates used by Exchange4free can make it difficult to work out exactly what the cost will be.

Find out the total amount you can get for your money, and then do a comparison.

There are three parts which make up the total cost of money exchange.

  • Foreign exchange rates – these can vary depending on the day, so it is worth keeping an eye on these as they do flunctuate.
  • Sending fees – this is the fee you will be charged for sending the funds.
  • Receiving fees – sometimes the receiver is charged for receiving the funds, but you can ask to cover this if need be.

The fees will vary depending on how much you are planning to send. If you are sending high sums, for instance, over £5,000, you will pay less than if it is a lower value.

Start by asking your bank/building society for a quote, then get a quote from FX brokers sites like FX Compared, and compare.

Step 3 – Ask for confirmation

The next step is to ensure that the option you use can meet your needs in terms of how much you want to send and the timeframe.

Get confirmation from them that they can meet your requirements, in email or letter.

Keep all information in a safe place, incase you need it in the future.

Can I rely on Exchange4free?

When your money is in a saving account, it is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), should the firm go out of business. However, in the case of foreign exchange money transfer firms, there is no such protection, so that is something to be aware of.

One good thing is that money transfer firms or FX brokers, including Exchange4free are Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorised, so they have certain legislation they need to follow.

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

It is worth using an FCA authorised firm when exchanging money, especially if you are sending large sums of money.

Exchange4free Customer Reviews

It’s important to see how other customers have rated their experience with Exchange4free. Take a look at their up-to-date reviews on Trustpilot.

trustpilot review

Information correct as of 14/06/21 (Trustpilot)

Why use your bank or building society?

You know your building society, so that takes a bit of pressure away straight away. You will generally trust them to safeguard your money, and there will be less stress about the safety of the transfer.

Some reasons to consider your bank or building society:

  • Straightforward process – you are already with the bank or building society, so the process should be relatively straightforward and hassle-free.
  • Convenience – you can usually do this online, and you won’t have to register if you have an account.
  • Security – there is greater security when you use a bank or building society.

Why not consider your bank or building society:

  • Exchange rates may be higher– you may get a better exchange rate from a foreign exchange broker, especially if sending large sums.
  • It’s slower – it can take 2-4 days to make payments, whereas the other options can be quicker.

Banks and regular payments

As many of the UK high street banks have branches overseas, you can usually make regular payments with lower charges or no charges, if you are sending regular payments. The exchange rates can become more competitive with banks if you are organising regular payments.

If you are sending money to pay for bills in a second home overseas or sending money to family, this can be extremely useful.

How to send payments via your bank

  • You need the International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and Bank Identifier Code (BIC) for the account you are paying the money into. The recipient can provide this.
  • You may need the IBAN and BIC of your own bank account, unless it is a transfer to the same bank.

Is an online or high street money transfer firm the best option?

it is not difficult to find a money transfer firm, as there are lots about on the high street and some Post Offices.

Should you use a high street money transfer firm? These are some advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of money transfer firms:

  • You get a variety – there is the option of an online transfer or direct transfer.
  • Quick set up– in most cases, the transfer can be done without an account.
  • Speedy – the transfer can often be completed in just minutes. Ideal if you want to send cash quickly.

Disadvantages

  • Variable Fees– you may find that the fees are extremely variable, especially if you are only transferring a small amount.
  • Changing exchange rates – the exchange rates can change throughout the day. Make sure you check on the day so you know what to expect.
  • Less security– the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) will not cover these firms, so there is less security than with banks.

What about a high street money transfer service?

You may want to consider another option, like a high street money transfer service. Here are some things you need to know.

  • Money transfer services are available in the high street, newsagents and post offices.
  • You may not need to open an account, just simply hand over the money to transfer, and they will take care of it.
  • Keep the reference number, as you might need this in the future.

Don’t hand your cash over until you’ve done these things:

  • Checked the fees – they may be more expensive than you think.
  • Make sure it is easy for the recipient to pick up the cash, either by location or through their e-wallet.

Online money transfer service – the facts

This is what you need to know:

  • Online transfers are better for non urgent transfers, as they take longer.
  • Online money transfer firms allow you to do online transfers.
  • You can register with your email, personal details and card details.

Tips for sending money overseas

  • Make sure you know what the recipient needs before you send the payment, and make sure they have this.
  • Protect your money with a password.

Is a foreign exchange broker a good idea?

The best deals for sending large sums are usually with foreign exchange (FX) currency brokers. If you plan to send large sums, this may be the perfect choice. Here is what you need to know about using an FX broker.

The Good

  • Lower fees – benefit from low to zero fees, if you send large sums.
  • Best exchange rate – the best exchange rate will generally come from FX brokers.
  • Need for speed – use FX brokers for urgent transactions. You can usually send the money on the same day.
  • Good for regular payments– you can usually do regular payments with FX brokers.

The Bad

  • Slower process – using an FX broker can be a slower process. It may take a day or two.
  • Not great for smaller amounts – If you are sending smaller amounts, FX brokers might not be the best choice.
  • Lack of security– The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) doesn’t cover FX brokers, so it is a bit more risky using this option.

Use comparison sites to find a deal

If you want to find the best deal on the market, the best way to do it is through a price comparison site. These are some things to bear in mind.

Use more than one comparison site – not all comparison sites have the same deals, so it pays to shop around!

Make sure it fits for purpose – don’t just go for the cheapest option, make sure the deal offers what you need – including FCA authorisation, and speed, if required.

Look at filters – the filters might be hiding good, deals so make sure these aren’t being used where they shouldn’t be.

Look out for scammers

There are scammers everywhere and, unfortunately, that is no different when it comes to money transfers.

It doesn’t seem like Exchange4free is a scam, but you should be aware that these exist.

How to avoid scammers:

  • Look out for deals which seem too good to be true. They probably are!
  • Don’t click on links unless you are sure they are genuine.
  • Do not give out your personal details, including bank details, unless you are sure it is a legitimate company.

Planning for the future

If you think you are going to send money in the future, you may want to use a ‘forward contract’ which allows you to lock the exchange rate for future needs.

These are particularly useful for sending large sums of money.

Don’t just think about the here and now, but what your future needs are for transferring money.

What if the worst happens with Exchange4free

Always keep your receipts and confirmation – so you are prepared, should the worst happen.

As money transfer forms and FX brokers are not part of the compensation scheme, they are not as well protected as banks. Check if they are registered with the FCA, as if so, they need to keep your money separate from their own company money.

If you want, you can check Exchange4free FCA authorisation on the Financial Conduct Authority website.

If you are searching for money transfer options, make sure you search by postcode to give you a tailored list of options.

Other options

If you are making purchases and payments from overseas stores – you may be better to use your credit or debt card. Do not send foreign bank drafts (or cheques as we know them in the UK), as these can be slow and very expensive.

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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