View Full Version : Pushing money across the Atlantic

Loose rivets
28th Jan 2013, 17:20
I have to put the dregs of my savings back into Sterling. I used to call the bank and get the best deal, but everything seems to be computerized now. The only human being someone that sounded like a duck that had been run over by a truck.

It could of course, be something to do with my aging hearing.:uhoh:

Are there any tricks to lower the chunk of change they take on the deal?

The differences I'm seeing are sizable. XE.com show 1.568 and the on-line gives 1.601. Is this typical ie am I stuck with it?

I can send $$$$ and convert them with the UK bank, but I've no way of knowing if this is wise.

Anyone know any tricks - we're a bit nervous about using unsecured currency traders.

28th Jan 2013, 18:26
I was told years ago (and found to my surprise it is true) that banks have a lot of flexibility in the matter of exchange rates and even more so in charges. Here in Spain we have old fashioned chaps called "bank managers" and you can pop in and see them. In the Channel Islands too one can talk to someone and make vague threats such as "if you don't give me a better rate I'll transfer my cash via xxx.com". That would be my first step. Next step, use xxx.com !

Loose rivets
28th Jan 2013, 19:37
Had a bad morning with bank on-line sites just not working. Help from "personal bankers" should be re-named . . . just very slightly.

Now the Rivetess is back on the phone about a security issue with one of the banks employees. Took a load of details, despite considerable protests, and then CLICK.

We've done well over the years, timing the transactions pretty well just right. It made a few bob.

Even in the early 90s, things were getting daft. Due to central number issues, I had my next door neighbor - who was the town's Barclays manager - trot down the road and stick his head into Lloyd's front door.

"Oi, will you lot answer your normal number, there's a bloke in Texas been trying to call you for hours."

It worked.

28th Jan 2013, 19:52
I'm paid in $US, and the rate the bank gives me is usually 3-5 cents different from the days exchange rate. (That's how banks make their cash on forex). It really miffs me, coz I've earned that money but never see it.

Went and saw the bank manager to vent my spleen, and he says there is nothing he can do as it's all set by the bank. (They are buying the foreign currency).

Transferring $US to £GB when the rate is favourable will save you a few bob, but in my experience you're still stuck with the [email protected] rate the bank gives you when you transfer over.

There are other forex sites that give a slightly better exchange rate than the banks, but they are all in it to make money anyway. I wore out a bit of shoe leather on the high street to see if I could get a better deal. Nah, they're all at it. :uhoh:

Loose rivets
28th Jan 2013, 20:19
Yep, I'd kind of come to that conclusion. No time for the shoe leather if we were to hit the sweet spot. Now to see if it goes up:O or down.:(

It used to be my Lloyds CI account was very good at personal service. Charming telephone response and faultless service. I wonder what it's like now 20 years have gone by. However, I was astonished to find I still had me fiver in the account. They don't do that here in Texas. Leave sums hanging around and they take them and close the account.

28th Jan 2013, 20:24
Be happy to help you move it LR. Just put it in a bag, leave it on the front porch and I'll be by to pick it up in a little bit.

28th Jan 2013, 20:24
" Leave sums hanging around and they take them and close the account."

Outright Robbery??? :confused:

28th Jan 2013, 20:40
Just for fits and giggles, I went on my banks website to see what the exchange rate for $US is for today.

They will convert them for you @ $US 1.71 for £GB 1.00
If I want to sell £GB 1.00 they will give me $US 1.52.

The market rate right now is £GB1.00 - $US 1.568 :uhoh:

Thieves, the lot of 'em!

28th Jan 2013, 21:11
Apart from the exchange rate, expect to pay a 'facilitation' fee (conversion isn't an automated action).

28th Jan 2013, 21:18
Are there any US credit cards that don't charge a "foreign currency fee " (usually 2.75% on nearly all UK cards ) ?

Without this fee, the exchange- rate used by the credit-card companies is very competitive: depending on how much savings you have, you could pay the $ into your US credit-card account and create a surplus and then just use the card in UK.

Would get messy though if you wanted to withdraw cash sums because of other special fees.

28th Jan 2013, 21:23
I have used TorFX.com for years now. They give excellent rates, and you can email a real person who has a brain. I think their normal minimum is £2000. I recommend you get a quote from them.

My last transfer was five figures, for which I got an exchange rate only 1.5c less than the headline interbank rate. I think it was about 3-4c different last time I had a small amount. C$ and US$ are about par at the mo, so should be similar. No other charges, though your receiving bank may make a charge, maybe $20ish.

28th Jan 2013, 21:57
Apart from the exchange rate, expect to pay a 'facilitation' fee (conversion isn't an automated action).

Yeah, forgot about that.
"We're also gonna charge you a £10 admin fee on top of our [email protected] exchange rate for putting your money in our coffers"

Loose rivets
29th Jan 2013, 03:35
$35 fee, just for the privilege of chasing the bank's staff for four hours.:*

TorFX.com Thanks. Looks interesting. I've filled in a test amount. I'll see what I've missed when they e me. I will be needing them again soon enough.

We kind of rushed at it because of the dip in the rate.

29th Jan 2013, 06:10
Apart from the exchange rate, expect to pay a 'facilitation' fee (conversion isn't an automated action).

Yes, they make their money on the difference between the buying rate and the selling rate, and then add this on top. barstewards.

29th Jan 2013, 07:54
Since the Channel Islands were mentioned earlier, you could try the Guernsey Post Office (google BATIF Guernsey, that's the Bureau de Change), they don't charge any commission. I'd suggest giving them a ring and you might get a better rate than their advertised rate online.

cockney steve
29th Jan 2013, 10:57
1 get all your $$$ together.
2 take ferry Florida-Grand bahama (holiday )
3 go to casino and buy chips with all your$$$$
4 after a suitable interval, go to "Sterling" chip-exchange-window
5 exit with lots of £££££.

Worked for a relative, some years ago and UK customs never queried the provenance of the "winnings" .

(you have limits on cash movements ,in or out of UK )

29th Jan 2013, 12:37
If you have bank accounts in both places (and both currencies) try Transferwise.com and send it to yourself. A new P2P thing that cuts out the banks. I've been using it for euro payments of bills and saving about €30 a payment because the "transfer" charges are so small. They also get very near to a wholesale rate on the actual exchange.

Loose rivets
29th Jan 2013, 13:36
Looks good for Europe, but I don't see any transatlantic options. Good to store away in the memory-banks however.

I've received various things from TorFX. Have a butcher's when I come to.

29th Jan 2013, 15:20

Can you actually see the rate they are going to use before you commit ?

Having read their site, they confirm 0.5% commission for larger sums but then say " you can check on Yahoo that the rate we use is close to the spot rate "

Close really has no meaning when talking about exchange rates, so that makes me suspicious.

Loose rivets
29th Jan 2013, 17:24
Had a nice young chap call me from TorFX. I have to register, and we have to send copies of passport pages etc. They have to abide by American rules as well as the UK legislation.

I asked him if he'd do a comparison with yesterday's deal. He asked me the exact time of the transaction.

I would have been £1,400 - ish better off if I'd gone with them.:{

In truth, I've learned not to fuss over not hitting the absolute Zenith. It's the long-term swings which make the money, though with the relative news I'm seeing between the two countries, I wouldn't mind betting we'll see a really weak pound fairly soon. "They" used to say, we don't get triple dips, but are now saying we will.

Last time I really repatriated myself I bought futures on the pound in a Dallas branch. (that's what they called them) I had to get to the bank by a certain time and raced in having left a Suzuki 4-pot lying on the curb outside. The rate had moved like heck that morning and I made the transaction with literally 60 seconds to spare.

Soooooo stressful this money business. Could never be a trader. Flying was so much more relaxing - once one had got one's butt away from the ground.

29th Jan 2013, 23:24

30th Jan 2013, 00:13
TorFX also send me a weekly estimate of how the exchange rate is likely to shift, plus a list of the events likely to shift it (e.g. Q4 UK trade data published Wed 11:00)
I've been tracking it for 3 years now, and they're reasonably accurate.

30th Jan 2013, 00:19
Don't know why you have to pay a facilitation or sevice fee. The bank makes its money on the difference between exchange rates, and for any decent amount that should only be two or three percent at the most between their buy and sell rates. I haven't paid a separate fee in thirty years and that includes 'tourist' amounts, just the percentage is higher.

Metro man
30th Jan 2013, 05:04
Have a look at these guys;

Home (http://www.firstratefx.com)

Worth getting a quote from them, they worked okay when I used them a couple of years ago.

30th Jan 2013, 07:03
Interesting. transferwise told me that they were now "doing" dollars but failed to mention it was a one-way thing.

They do give you a maximum before you commit to the deal and generally make a little better than the quoted rate....so send you a small refund. That's how it worked for me so far. I have made five trades and all have been at good rates.

Was no trouble to set up, all done by email with scans of documents and they allow subscribers to set up a business persona as well, if required. So I can do transfers directly from a business account. Sticking it to the clearing banks big time.

Loose rivets
31st Jan 2013, 15:52
I hadn't realized there were two threads running when I posted - this:


Today, I've just heard the American bank has told us they need the sort code for the other end. The Rivetess is quite sure this was filled in, but this is many hours after it landed, and the @$^#$ there might have worked out from our address and account number, where the bank is.:ugh:

A lot of money spent to be jerked around like this.

Loose rivets
31st Jan 2013, 18:39
It gets worse.

The fum duckers at Barclays sent the money back to the US cos they hadn't got the sort code.

I've been leaving everything to my wife, cos she's more logical and until now, more calm. But now she's spitting nails, and I'm getting angry.

I know how many hours it takes to do battle with giant organizations, but in the past I've done just that - and hung on like a terrier on a trouser-leg until I get my way. It'll be interesting to see if they concede the point about being charged so much to put people's money out of reach for 36 hours, and then send it back. Such a delay could easily have messed up a property deal.