Ditch the Banks When Sending Money Abroad

Ditch the Banks When Sending Money Abroad

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Do you have offspring abroad who regularly send money home? Well now there is a way you can do it without the banks taking their hefty commission.

It would be a rather easy life if everyone in the whole world used the same currency. But we don’t. And if we travel around enough we will have to change currencies at some point. So do you have friends or relatives who are abroad in places like Australia? And are they sending money back to Ireland on a regular basis? If so ask if they are using a service like Currency Fair. It is worth investigating.

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Before now, the banks have laughed heartily as we exchanged money through them, not only taking a commission but giving us poor exchange rates. Banks have gotten away with delivering an overly expensive, sub-standard international payments service for way too long. The new alternatives are far cheaper, more convenient, friendlier, and safe. A little effort now to make the switch will save you time and lots of money in the long run.

With the rise of the internet, we can get out of exchanging money via the banks. We can use a website to swap money with other people who have the currency we want. There is a flat charge for this service, which you pay per currency exchange. Then you swap money, and everyone’s happy.

One of these peer-to-peer exchange sites is CurrencyFair.com. Based in Dublin, they have had some help from the IDA and Enterprise Ireland. They describe themselves as “an online dating bureau for people who want to swap money but avoid hefty fees.” Online, you change the currency you have for the currency you want for excellent exchange rates and a flat fee. Bye-bye banks.

To use currencyfair, you put your, say, euro into a client account online. And say if you are looking for Aussie dollars. Then people with Aussie dollars looking for euro can offer to exchange with you. Lots of people are all competing to get your euro. So this means that the rate you exchange at is almost like the actual exchange rates, or better.

When you agree a swap with someone online, CurrencyFair swaps your euro for Aussie dollars, and puts it in your foreign bank account. It takes a small fee of around €3 which is the only charge. Not only are these fees cheaper than traditional conventional market players like online foreign exchange brokers and bank, but it is faster.

This currency exchange system is perfect for expats, businesses, and overseas property owners, to name just a few.

Brett Meyers is the Australian entrepreneur that founded CurrencyFair along with some friends who were frustrated at how much money the bank sucked in from their international currency exchanges. With the main business based in Dublin, he is the perfect candidate to use Currencyfair to change money, as he flits across the world from his Sydney office to his Dublin one.

“We help people transfer money from a bank account in one currency to a bank account in another, using a super-cool new process that gives much better exchange rates and removes most of the fees that banks normally charge. The way we do it is based on a simple idea – while I might want to move money in one direction, say I’m sending money from Ireland to Australia, there are loads of other people sending money back the other way at the same time. We connect these transfers together, so that we don’t actually have to send the money internationally at all. I buy some Aussie Dollars that are already in Australia from someone that wants my euro here in Ireland, with CurrencyFair sitting in the middle taking away all the hassle and making it all secure. We can help people save money every time they make an exchange. A lot of expats will regularly send money home to pay bills or a mortgage or whatever, so it’s a regular saving and could really make a difference over a few months or years. To give an example, I sent €2,000 back to my Australian bank account early this year prior to heading back to Perth for a couple of weeks. Using CurrencyFair, I got about $150 more into my Aussie bank account than I would have by using my Irish bank directly. If that was a regular transfer, like a monthly mortgage payment for example, then you’re looking at about $1,800 saved over the course of a year – enough for a plane ticket home.”

“Back in the days before CurrencyFair, I got badly screwed on a few transactions and decided I wasn’t going to let the banks take my money any more. So when I needed Aussie Dollars I’d contact a friend of mine living over here and see if she wanted some euro. If she did, we’d strike a deal, and we’d look up the real euro to Aussie exchange rate (this is around 3% better than what a bank actually gives you). I’d then transfer some euro to her for free because it was a local payment. She’d use her Aussie internet banking to send the equivalent amount in Aussie Dollars straight into my account in Perth, again using a free local payment. So we’d both get about 3% more each on the exchange, and also save on all the sending and receiving fees that banks like to whack on top of that already generous 3%.”

CurrencyFair only deals in bank transfers. So if it’s cash you need then unfortunately they can’t help you – for now. That said, you can use them to pay money into other people’s accounts, so you could settle a bill for accommodation perhaps. A big plus with CurrencyFair is that if you are a customer you are able to speak to someone 24 hours a day to get help with any aspect of the service. That’s pretty unique in today’s world, particularly with banking!

Currencies Available to Exchange:

Currently, 17 currencies are available to exchange at CurrencyFair: Euro, Pound Sterling, US Dollar, Australian Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Swiss Franc, Czech Koruna, Danish Krone, Hong Kong Dollar, Hungarian Forint, Norwegian Krone, NZ Dollar, Polish Zloty, Swedish Krona, Singapore Dollar and South African Rand.

But don’t limit yourself to one peer-to-peer operator, they are plenty now emerging online. Google, google, and google again.

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