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How to guarantee you're getting a great deal on international money transfer

It's no secret that the cost of sending money abroad hasn't always added up. However, the rise of foreign exchange brokers and tech-driven transfer companies has started to change that. So it's no surprise that new statistics from TransferWise have revealed we're realising the industry's historically favoured providers.

A pretty conclusive 83% of us feel deceived by banks' hidden fees. The study also showed 43% of customers would feel grateful to avoid hidden costs, let alone happy. Perhaps the most troubling statistic of all is this: 85% of us don't know the real cost of international money transfer

There's something not quite right here – beyond the clear unfairness. There's no sense of what you, the customer, can do to take control. That's why we're here: to explain exactly how you can guarantee you're getting a great deal on sending money overseas.

1. Use a specialist

Exchange rates and charges don’t just vary by provider; they vary according to where you send your money. Look for money transfer companies that have low rates for your specific currency pairing – don't be swayed by vague promises.

2. Check commission

If you’re making a small, one-off transfer, avoiding fees can make significant savings. If you’re making regular transfers, for example for an international mortgage, commission costs can dwarf transfer fees. Don't be afraid to ask your provider directly about this, but cross-check any claims they make online – there's plenty of coverage on sites like The Guardian and The Telegraph.

3. Watch the exchange rate

Even if there’s no commission or fees, you’re not necessarily getting the best price. That's because some companies inflate the exchange rate to make a profit. The best international money transfer providers will offer prices close to market rates, so always cross-reference the rate on sites like xe.com before committing to a trade.

4. Plan ahead

If you're sending money overseas regularly, or fairly far in the future, you can use certain tools to get more for your money. Forward contracts and fixed payment plans are two particularly useful options that let you lock in exchange rates for a fixed period. The easiest way to set these up is via a broker – find out how in our international money transfer 101 guide.

5. Be disloyal

In some sectors, loyalty pays. But when you’re sending money abroad, it's always worth comparing providers each time to secure the best rate. 

Our intelligent currency comparison tool makes getting a great deal simple. Simply enter how much you want to transfer to see live, transparent rates from industry-leading providers – there's no hidden fees on The Money Cloud.

Comparison tool

Felicity Liebmann

Used your service last week to get travel money from ICE and it all worked beautifully. Very efficient and easy, the cash arrived when it was due so there was no hanging about waiting or anxiety about it not arriving when promised.

Alex Larsen

I've been struggling to find a way to make regular transfers to my Norwegian account from the UK (where I work). Finally I've at least got some pointers for where to start, so I won't have to pay a fortune every time I transfer!
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