Beware: retail banks charge a fortune
So, the first dilemma is how to get money efficiently from the UK to the USA without paying large and unreasonable charges from my local Natwest bank. This isn’t a big problem for a small amount, but for frequent and large amounts then it’s time to look elsewhere to keep your running costs low.
A renter, buyer, or general eBay purchaser should never use their bank for FX transfers – they are a bordering on a scam.
Small money transfers
After lots of searches and research I came up with a few solutions. The first is TransferWise, which charges a low percentage and uses the interbank spot rate. Up to £300 is only a £1 fee, and higher amounts rise to less than 0.5% fee. Much better than a bank that charges a fee and also uses a spot rate thats up to 3% lower.
I’ve transferred using Transferwise around 20 times now, and it’s fast and secure every time. Here’s my personal link so you can get a free transfer of up to £500: Transferwise.
Large money transfers
The second solution is to use somewhere like Frontierpay (The FX Firm), Moneycorp or UXForex. These usually charge no fee for large amounts, and offer a fairly good spot rate, but not as good as TransferWise.
It turns out TransferWise want around £600 to move large amounts of money from the UK to the USA via FX transfers – because it’s a percentage fee and not capped. Whilst they are good for values of up to £3000 it soon falls apart after that.
Hence my search for FX transfers continues, but not too far. I found Frontierpay (formally The FX Firm) offer the best rates at the moment, but it’s close to UK Forex and Moneycorp. Hopefully I can get a good rate for the transfer of GBP to USD – silly really because the sellers are UK based so the money is wiring around the world purely for USA tax purposes!