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How to Transfer Money to France

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Do you plan to emigrate to France, or perhaps buy a property there? Then, one of the things you’ll have to do, alongside possibly finding a job, locating a school for the kids, and a whole host of other practical issues, is transfer money to France. If you’re emigrating to France, at the very least you’ll probably need money in a local bank account to pay bills such as utilities. And if you’re paying for a mortgage in France, the money will have to come out of a local bank account.

So, what’s the best way to transfer money to France? Many people do a bank to bank transfer which can be really expensive. Currency exchange companies can save you money in several ways. Here’s a brief introduction to foreign exchange rates, plus how best to go about transferring money to your French bank account.

How to read the foreign exchange rates

If you’ve ever exchanged currencies, either at a bureau de change, the post office, or even Marks & Spencer, you’ve probably seen a foreign exchange table that looks a bit like this:

GBP/EUR: 1.2386
GBP/USD: 1.5968
EUR/USD: 1.2892

What does it mean? Well, in plain terms, it tells you how much you’ll get selling  1 unit of a currency to buy another currency. So, if we wanted to spell out the first line of the table as fully as we could, we would write: ‘If you were to sell one UK pound, right now you would buy 1.2386 euros in exchange.’ And for the second line: ‘If you were to sell one UK pound, right now you would buy 1.5968 US dollars in exchange,’ and so on.

How the foreign exchange rates work

Foreign exchange rates aren’t stable. How much you get for exchanging one UK pound  into euros changes, not just day by day, but second by second. The foreign exchange market is a live market, with countless participants across the world, deciding how much they’re willing to buy and sell each currency for.

What determines how much each currency is worth? Well, in general, the economic and political health of the country it belongs to. So for instance, if the Eurozone enters recession, that sends a negative signal about the state of Europe’s economy. That in turn sends the euro down, making it cheaper. As economic information is released, the rates change as the market digests the news, and then reacts.

How best to exchange currencies

You might be wondering, ‘Wonderful, but how can I use this information when I’m buying my euros? How is this useful for when I transfer money to France?’ Well, here’s what to keep in mind when you actually go about choosing a company with which to transfer money, and then making the transfer.

You’re looking for the best rate you can get.

If you intend to sell US dollars for euros for instance, and the rate is 0.75 one day, but then moves to 0.80 the next day, you’ll get more euros on the second day than on the first. Generally speaking, whatever currencies you plan to exchange, it’s better for you if the value you buy at is higher. This will give you a higher overall total.

Compare the exchange rates you’re offered.

When you’re choosing which company with which to exchange currencies, one of the determining factors should be the exchange rate they offer. This is because, though the ‘market’ rate is what it is, the rate you get from a company will differ, depending on how much money they try to make for themselves from the transfer. Banks for instance are well known for offering less favourable (to customers that is) exchange rates than currency brokers, making comparing the rates well worthwhile.

Check the company’s security credentials

Last but not least, it’s vital to check a company’s security credentials before you transfer money with them. In the UK, this means making sure they’re directly authorised by the Financial Services Authority to transfer money abroad, while the US equivalent is Securities and Exchange Commission. What this means is, if the company is authorised, they adhere to all legal and regulatory requirements, including keeping client funds in designated client accounts.

We recommend Currencies Direct. With an established reputation, award winning service and no transfer fees – they’re one of the best currency transfer companies we know. Contact them, set up an account (it’s easy, and safe), and make a transfer at: currenciesdirect.com

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