If you are planning to send money overseas, you have several options, and Iftin Express are just one of these. The other options are using your bank, a money transfer form or FX (foreign exchange) brokers. This article will look at the different options, so that you can make a calculated decision on which is best for your needs.

Who are Iftin Express?

Iftin Express money transfers can be done to various countries worldwide. The company has customers in more than 120 countries and offers secure end-to-end transactions. Iftin Express is registered in the UK and has been operating since 2006.

How are you planning to exchange your money?

When you are looking to send money overseas, and trying to figure out the best option to suit you, there are several factors to take into account, including:

  • the total amount you are sending
  • what it will cost you, including the sending fees, and other associated costs
  • the frequency of the payment, i.e. one off or regular payments
  • the format the receiver wants to pick up the funds
  • how urgent the payment is

These are the main steps you can run through to make your final decision:

Step 1 – Understand your options

The first thing to understand is what the options are for your transfer. For your own ease, these are the main options you can use:

  • bank or building society
  • foreign exchange (FX) brokers, such as Iftin Express
  • high street transfer firms, including Western Union

We would suggest you use your bank or building society, if your main concern is the convenience of making the payment, and the security.

If you are sending payments of over £3,000, you would usually get the best deal by using an FX broker.

The quickest option is generally the money transfer firms, but they will usually charge more, especially if you are sending small amounts.

Step 2 – What will it cost you?

The total cost is, of course, one of your main concerns. You don’t just have the exchange rate to consider, but also any additional fees.

Calculate the total amount you will get in foreign currency, when all costs have been taken into account. You will then be able to compare and contrast this figure with other options.

These are the three costs you might have with your money exchange:

  • Foreign exchange rates – the foreign exchange rate is the main consideration, and this will vary between the different types of money exchange. As these fluctuate so much, you should take advantage of a good deal when you find one.
  • Sending fees – these are the fees you will be charged by the money transfer firm for completing the transfer.
  • Receiving fees – not all firms will charge a receiving fee, but this is the cost the receiver will have for getting the funds. You can cover the costs on the receivers behalf, if they are unable to.

The general fees will also depend on how much you send. If you send large sums, such as over £5,000, you will usually benefit from better rates.

You may wish to start by getting an initial quote from your bank, and them compare it with the others. Your bank is the easiest and safest option, so it should be your first port of call. You can get quotes from FX brokers sites like FX Compared.

Step 3 – Check the requirements

Finding the most cost effective option is a good place to start, but the firm will also need to be able to meet your requirements. For instance, can they deal with the amount you wish to send? Will they be able to complete it in the required timeframe?

You should ask for confirmation in writing, either letter or email.

If anything goes wrong, it is important that you have all the paperwork and receipts. For instance, if they fail to complete the transaction in the time period you have requested, you will have proof to show that they accepted the request.

Does Iftin Express offer any safety guarantee?

When you have your money in your bank account, you have protection from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). This means that if the worst happens and the firm ends up going bust, your money would be protected. With foreign exchange money transfer firms like Iftin Express, there is no such protection. In simple terms, safety is not guaranteed with Iftin Express.

If the money transfer firm (such as Iftin Express), or the FX broker are authorised by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority), there are certain guidelines they are required to follow. This does, to some extent, offer you a little more safety. It increases the likelihood of getting your 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 are sending a large amount of money, such as over £3,000, it would be better to use a firm with FCA authorisation, as you will have greater protection.

What you need to know about using your bank or building society

Every bank or building society can help you send money overseas. This is the safest option, and also the most convenient.

These are some of the main benefits and disadvantages of using your bank or building society.

Benefits

  • Simple process – it is a simple process to transfer money via your bank or building society. You already have an account set up, so you can do this with ease. and the bank will help you through it.
  • Convenient – you can use your bank or building society via online banking, as well as on the high street. You can also use this option for setting up regular payments.
  • Safest option –you will have peace of mind that your money is protected when you transfer funds via your bank or building society. You will not have such reassurance by using any of the other options.

Downsides:

  • Lower exchange rates – you won’t usually get the best exchange rate through your bank or building society, as this is not their specialist area. You will get better rates from a foreign exchange broker.
  • Slower option – it will usually take longer to complete the transaction via your bank or building society. In some cases, this may be up to 6 business days. You have the option of an express service of 1-2 days, but this may cost you an additional fee. In some cases, banks will also charge you a receiver fee, but you can cover this, so that the receiver does not need to.

Banks and regular payments

You will find that, in most cases, your bank will have branches overseas, or they will have arrangements with other banks overseas.

With this arrangement in place, you can benefit from low or no charges on the overseas payments you make, as well as better exchange rates.

If you have a home overseas and you will be making frequent payments for bills etc, this can be extremely beneficial. It is also ideal if you send money to family overseas.

You would usually be required to have an account with your own name, in both the country you are sending the payment from, and the receiving company.

Key details required for transfer:

  • You will need the International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and Bank Identifier Code (BIC) for the receiving account (i.e. the account you are paying the money into.) The recipient will be able to access these from their bank account, their statement or by asking their bank.
  • The IBAN and BIC for your own bank account will be required too. These are easy to find as they are readily available when you log into online banking, or just by asking your bank. If it is the same bank, but an overseas branch, this information will probably not be necessary.

The pros and cons of using an online or high street money transfer firm

If you are considering using a money transfer firm to send money overseas, the process is simple.

It is not difficult to find these firms, as they are readily available in high street branches and post office branches. You may find that they also provide online services.

Pros:

  • Range of ways to receive money– the recipient will have the option to receive the money by instant cash, or transfer directly into their bank account. The variety of choices can make this a favourable option.
  • Quick set-up – it can be quick and easy to set up the transfer, as you may not be required to open an account. If you are sending small sums of money, you will usually not be asked for identification either.
  • Quick transaction– the cash transfer process can be completed in several minutes. Unlike the bank, who may take a few days to complete the transfer.

Cons

  • Wide range of fees– The fees can be variable, and can be high if you are sending small sums of money. In some cases, you might end up paying as much as £10 to send just £50.
  • Variable exchange rates – the exchange rates can fluctuate throughout the day. Therefore, you must compare the costs on the day you are sending, as otherwise you may miss out on a great deal.
  • Less security – You will not have cover from the FSCS if the firm goes bust. This is unlike the bank who offer this security.

How to use a high street money transfer service

What you need to know:

  • High street money transfer services are in plentiful supply. You can find them on the high street, in post offices and newsagents.
  • It is easy to use, as you are not required to open an account. You can just hand over the money you wish to send, pay any fees and they will take care of it for you.
  • When the process is complete, you will be given a reference number, which is for the recipient. Make sure this doesn’t get into any other hands, as this is all they need to pick up the funds.

Things to consider before paying:

  • Make sure you understand what the fees will be. The services may be fast, but they can be expensive.
  • If you are sending ‘instant cash’ overseas, make sure you know where the recipient should collect the money. Ask the recipient if they are able to collect it at the branch or agency easily. In many cases, there is also the option of sending straight to the recipient’s mobile-phone ‘wallet’ (if may involve using systems such as M-PESA).

What you need to know about using an online money transfer service

Key points

  • Online money transfers are not ideal for urgent transfers, as they may take a few days to complete.
  • International money transfers may be possible through online services, but you may need to pay a small fee for the service.
  • You need to register a bank account or credit card to sign up for this. You will need internet access, as well as an email address to be able to do this, as it is done through the firm’s website.

Things to know prior to sending money overseas:

  • Make sure you know exactly what the recipient requires to be able to receive the cash. They may need a bank account, email address, and internet access. Make sure you know what they need, and whether they have it before you complete the transfer.
  • You should protect your money with a hard to guess password. You should never share the details of your password with anyone else.

Details for using a foreign exchange broker

If you are planning to send a large amount of money overseas, the best deal will usually be through a foreign exchange (FX) currency broker.

These are some of the pros and cons of this option:

Pros

  • Lower fees – FX brokers will usually not charge you fees for sending large sums, such as over £3,000
  • Better exchange rate – As FX brokers specialist in dealing with currency transfers, they will be able to offer a better exchange rate than the other options, including your bank or money transfer firm.
  • Ideal for urgent payments – you will often find that the money appears in the recipient’s bank account within 24 hours.
  • Regular payments – you may be able to set up regular payments through an FX broker.

Cons

  • Long process – Although the money can be sent quickly to the recipient, the set up process can take a day or two.
  • Not ideal for small amounts – If you are sending small amounts of money overseas, FX brokers will not usually give you the best deals.
  • Less safety – As you do not have protection from the FSCS, your money won’t be safe if the firm goes bust.

How to use price comparison sites

Don’t just take the first offer you find, make sure you compare and contrast the offers first. These are some important points to remember:

Use more than one price comparison site, as not all sites will have every possible deal. If you only check one, you won’t be able to see all the available providers and offers. The result of this is that you could potentially miss out on a great deal!

Make sure you don’t just opt for the deal with the best price, as it may not cater for all your needs. For instance, check that the firm is FCA authorised, if you are not using your bank. Find out what the costs will be and whether they can deal with the timeframe you require.

Check that the filters are not hiding some great deals. The website might already be on a filer, so make you are seeing everything.

Is it a scam?

Scams are extremely common, even with money transfer firms. You should always be alert and wary about these. Don’t take a deal unless you know that the firm you are using is legitimate.

We would not suggest that Iftin Express is a scam, but you should stay alert!

There are some steps you can take to avoid being scammed:

  • Don’t just take a deal with the best price. If it appears to be much better than all the others, it is probably a scam.
  • Don’t click on links you receive on emails, unless you know you are dealing with a legitimate company. Some scammers use email addresses that look extremely realistic, it can be easy to fall for this.
  • Never provide your personal details, unless you know it is a legitimate company.

Considering your future transfer needs

You can take advantage of the current exchange rates, of course, but you may be thinking ahead to the future.

If you are concerned that you have a great exchange rate, but it may not be so good in the future, you can lock the rate in with a ‘forward contract.’ This will ensure you retain a good exchange rate for any future transfer needs.

The forward contract is particularly useful for transferring large sums in the future.

If you are planning to put down a deposit on an overseas home, for instance, but you are concerned you won’t get such a good rate in the future, the forward contract an be extremely useful. You lock the rate in for any future needs you have.

What happens if things don’t work out with Iftin Express?

It is important to retain all your receipts and paperwork to use as evidence in the off-chance that something doesn’t go to plan with your money transfer.

As FX brokers and money transfer firms do not have cover by the compensation scheme, you do not have the best protection for your funds.

If Iftin Express has FCA registration, they will not be required to keep your money safe, even if the firm goes bust.

You have greater protection if they are authorised by the FCA, as they are required to keep your money in a different account from the funds of the company. If they happen to go bust, there is more chance you’ll get your money back, or at least some of it.

You can find out if Iftin Express FCA is authorised by checking on the Financial Conduct Authority website opens in new window.

If you are looking for small firms, such as money transfer agencies, you should search via the local postcode, so you can narrow the search.

Are there any other options to sending money overseas with Iftin Express?

You can also use a credit or debt card for making purchases or payments, and these are not just convenient, but they also offer a great deal of safety. You will usually get your money back, if anything goes wrong.

You should not sending a cheque (foreign bank draft) overseas; this is one of the worst ways to do a money transfer.

The reason for this is that the whole process is slow, and it can be expensive. You may need to pay foreign bank charges, as well as 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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