Foreign Currency Direct is one option to consider if you wish to send money overseas,. The others include banks, money transfer firms and foreign exchange (FX) brokers. Read on to find out more about using Foreign Currency Direct.

Who are Foreign Currency Direct Money Transfer?

Foreign Currency Direct offers international money transfers for personal and business purposes. The company has been in business for almost 20 years and has transferred a total of £5 pounds. The company supports all major currencies, such as US dollar euro and pounds sterling.

How should you transfer money?

Choosing the best possible option for your money transfer, depends on these main factors:

  • the total amount you are looking to send
  • the cost of the transaction
  • the frequency of the payments
  • how it will be received by the recipient
  • the length of time it will take to complete the transfer

These are some steps to follow to ensure you get the most suitable deal:

Step 1 – Understand the options

These are the main methods for transferring money overseas:

  • bank or building society
  • foreign exchange (FX) brokers (like Foreign Currency Direct)
  • high street transfer firms (such as Western Union).

In general, if your main concern is safety, banks will be your safest option.

FX brokers will often be the most favourable option if you’re considering sending large amounts of money.

Money transfer firms are can deal with the transaction quickly, but it may be more expensive for the transfer of small sums of money.

Step 2 – How much will you pay?

With Foreign Currency Direct, there are is a variety of potential fees and exchange rates, so it can feel a little confusing to understand the best options.

You should try to establish what you will get for your pounds, in the first instance. This will provide you with a rough number, that you can use to compare with the other offers.

The total cost consists of three parts:

  • Foreign exchange rates – the exchange rates tend to fluctuate, so they could even change within a day
  • Sending fees – this is the cost for sending the payment overseas
  • Receiving fees – the charge the receiver gets at the other end. Make sure you know what this will be, before you proceed.

Fees are likely to be different, depending on what you will be looking to send, for example some will offer you better exchanges rates for sending more than £5,000.

You can start by getting a quote from your bank , and you can compare it with the other options, including quotes from FX brokers sites like FX Compared.

Step 3 – Confirm details with the firm

When you have established the best value option to suit your needs, you will need to ensure the company can deal with the amount you are looking to transfer and will send it in the specific time you desire.

If you can, you should ask for this to be provided in writing.

Keep all relevant paperwork, incase you need it for future purposes.

Will the money stay safe if I use Foreign Currency Direct?

Money held in a savings account is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) if a firm gets into financial troubles. When it comes to foreign exchange money transfer firms, you do not have this level of protection. There is no scheme in place for compensation if the firms gets into trouble, so your money goes with it.

Money transfer firms or FX brokers such as Foreign Currency Direct who have FCA authorisation, will be required to adhere to certain rules that will enhance your chances of getting money back, if the firm gets into trouble.

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

If you will send a large sum of money, you would better off increasing your protection by using an FCA authorised firm.

Try your bank or building society

Your bank or building society are another option for money transfer, and if you use this option, you know your money is safe.

These are some of the pros and cons of using your bank or building society:

Pros:

  • Easy to set up – your bank will be able to take you through the transfer and offer guidance and support wherever necessary.
  • Convenient – banks and building societies are everywhere, so it is a more convenient option.
  • Security– your money will definitely be protected if you use your UK bank or building society.

Cons:

  • Worst exchange rates– banks are usually the less favourable when it comes to exchange rates.
  • Slower option – it could take up to 6 days to complete, unless you opt for the express service and pay a fee.

Banks and making regular payments

You’d be hard pushed to find a UK bank that doesn’t have branches overseas, and if they have one in the country you are sending the funds to, it can be hugely beneficial.

This may mean you will have lower fees to pay and you could also end up with better exchange rates.

These benefits are extremely useful if you are planning to send money frequently, and not just as a one-off.

If you want to get access to these better fees, you may need to have an account set up in the sending and receiving country.

Key information

  • You will need The International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and Bank Identifier Code (BIC) for the receiver’s account. The owner can obtain this information when they log into online banking or by asking their bank directly. It will also be on their bank statement.
  • You may need the BAN and BIC from your own bank account, depending on if it is a different bank.

You could use an online or high street money transfer firm

It is not particularly difficult to find a money transfer firm that will assist you with sending money overseas.

You will find some on the high street and even in Post Office branches.

These are some of the pros and cons of using a high street money transfer firm:

Pros

  • Several options– you can suit the recipient. You have the option of sending money to their bank account, or instant cash.
  • Easy set-up – you will usually not be required to set up an account. Identification may not be necessary for small amounts.
  • The need for speed – the transfer can be completed in a few minutes. Banks can often take days to complete it.

Cons

  • Wide ranging fees– the fees can be confusing, and you can end up paying more for a small transfer, which is not ideal!
  • Exchange rates can vary daily and according to currency – you should always make your comparisons on the same day, as they fluctuate.
  • Less safety – the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) does not offer protection to these companies.

Using a high street money transfer service

What you need to know:

  • High street money transfer services are convenient, as there are plenty of them.
  • You may not be required to open an account. It can be as straightforward as just handing the money over.
  • When you have paid, you will receive a reference number. You should hand this to the recipient , and no-one else. Whoever has the reference number can collect the money by whatever means they have agreed to.

Prior to handing over your cash:

  • Make sure you have full knowledge of the fees and that you can afford them.
  • If the recipient wants instant cash, for instance, if they don’t have a bank account, make sure they are able to pick it up from the assigned branch.

Using an online money transfer service

What you need to know:

  • Online transfers may take several days, so they’re more suited to non-urgent transfers.
  • You may be able make international money transfers using online services for a fee.
  • You will usually need to enter all your key details on the company’s website.

Before sending money overseas:

  • Make sure the recipient knows what to take to the branch to collect the funds, and that they have all of these.
  • To ensure the cash is protected, you should set up a password which is not easy to guess and don’t give it to anyone else.

How to use a foreign exchange broker

Foreign exchange (FX) currency brokers will usually give you the best deal for large money transfers overseas.

These are some of the pros and cons:

Pros

  • Low fees – for large transfers, you probably won’t be charged any fees.
  • Best exchange rate – FX brokers are specialists in money transfers, so you can expect the best exchange rate with this option.
  • Quick–the money could be with the recipient on the same day.
  • Regular transfers– they may be able to incorporate regular transfers.

Cons

  • It can take a while to open the account– the opening of the account can take a day or two. Not ideal if you are in a hurry.
  • Not great for smaller amounts– FX brokers will not generally be the best for small money transfers.
  • Less safety – The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) will not provide cover if they go out of business.

Comparing the best deals

When you’re looking for the most appropriate deal for your money transfer, there are some key considerations you should bear in mind.

You should use two or more price comparison sites, as some may have other deals, or they may not give you information on all the providers available, so you may not see all the offers on one site.

You should ensure the deal meets your needs. There is a lot of choice out there and a range of prices, that it can be quite difficult to know what the best option is. You should make sure the deal caters for your needs, including being FCA authorised, and there is a branch in the required location. There may be some other aspects to consider too.

Always look at the filter, these may be hiding some great deals. This means you may miss out on a great offer!

Transfer scams – what you need to know

Scams are common in all walks of life, and sadly, there are people out there who are targeting those who are transferring money overseas. You should always tread carefully when choosing the best deal to suit your needs.

We don’t have any indication that Foreign Currency Direct is a scam, but you must still take care when signing up to any deals.

There are some signs that you may be on the receiving end of a scam:

  • The deal is much better than any other. If it looks too good, it is highly likely that it is a scam.
  • If you are being asked to click on links and you don’t recognise the company, this is a sign of a scammer.
  • Don’t give out any details, unless you are sure that everything is legitimate.

What if you need to transfer a large sum at some point?

You can take advantage of a great exchange rate for the here and now.

But if you’re worried about the exchange rate being different in the future for another transaction you’re looking to make, you may wish to consider a ‘forward contract’, which will keep hold of the exchange rate for the future.

Forwards are ideal if you’re planning to send a large amount in the future.

If you’re sending money regularly to family members that live abroad for example or you need to pay regular bills on a holiday home, this can be extremely useful.

What to do if it goes wrong with Foreign Currency Direct

Regardless of the option you decide on, you should always ensure you retain all necessary paperwork, just incase anything goes wrong with the transaction.

Money transfer forms and FX brokers will not be covered in the same way as banks, so they are not as safe as using a bank.

If Foreign Currency Direct is ‘registered’ with the FCA, they will not be required to look after your money, if they go under.

On the other hand, if they are ‘authorised’ by the FCA, your money is required to be kept away from the company funds.

You may wish to check the Foreign Currency Direct FCA authorisation on the Financial Conduct Authority website, which opens in new window.

When you are looking for other small firms, such as money transfer agencies, including Western Union, it would be a good idea to look at the postcode search facility.

Other options to transferring money overseas with Foreign Currency Direct

For making payments and purchases from overseas stores, you would also be able to use a credit or debit card, as another alternative to money transfer.

Try to avoid sending money via a foreign bank draft (similar to a UK cheque) overseas.

It will be expensive and extremely slow, as you’ll need to pay other bank charges (and possibly UK bank handling charges).

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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