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Banks & Taxes in the UK
Transferring Money to the UK
There are lots of different banks in the UK offering lots of different services. Yet, opening an account in the UK can be challenging for expats. We provide you with an overview of the most popular banks, the services they offer, as well as tips on how to open a bank account.
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Another aspect that expats moving to the UK need to deal with is transferring their money to an account in the UK. This can prove quite challenging as you can’t very well take all your money abroad in a little suitcase. However, for most expats, using the account of their home country is not an option, as transfer costs and ATM fees will quickly get overwhelming.
With a Little Help from Your Bank
International money transfer is a service that most banks offer. However, most financial institutions charge hefty fees and it is not always clear if they stick to current exchange rates. Another downside is that this type of money transfer can take a few days to be processed and is thus considered the slowest way to transfer your money abroad.
But don’t turn away from your trusted bank just yet. Many banks have branches abroad and do not charge any fees for customers who wish to transfer their money to an account at such a branch abroad. If this is the case, it might be worth the comparatively long waiting period. You should still keep an eye on the exchange rates, though, and make sure that you are not overcharged.
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Relying on Experts: FX Companies
If you don’t want to rely on your bank to take care of the money transfer, you can turn to different companies who have specialized in this service. Keep in mind that you have to set up a bank account in the UK first and pay special attention to the fees, exchange rate, and security of the transfer. It is important that the company of your choice has an office in the UK and in your home country.
The advantage of so-called FX (foreign exchange) companies is that they are up to four percent cheaper than bank transfers, and also a lot faster. Depending on the company, transfers can be completed within 24 hours and via online banking. Speaking of which, some expats like to use PayPal to send money from their home account to the one in the UK. However, this can be a rather costly option when larger sums of money come into play.
Another possibility is transferring money through online businesses. There are several websites that offer their financial services online and at fairly low costs. They usually only charge a small service fee and use the mid-market rate. To transfer money, you just need to set up an account and verify it by uploading your ID or passport and address documents. TransferWise and CurrencyFair are examples of such online services.
What Else Is Good to Know?
Especially if you are moving a large sum of money to the UK (from a housing sale for instance), it makes sense to enlist experts for international finance. Do a background-check on their company to make sure you’re not in for a rude awakening and don’t hesitate to take advantage of their services. Many companies offer you a locked exchange rate. This means that you can take advantage of good exchange rates months before your move.