Sterling has had a tumultuous 2014, with the pound hitting a five-year high against the US dollar at $1.71 back in July, and reaching a two-year high against the euro of €1.27, but there were plenty of ups and downs to come.
In the build-up to the Scottish referendum, a surprise poll which put the ‘yes’ campaign slightly ahead had a major impact on the pound, sending it crashing to €1.24 and $1.60 against the euro and US dollar respectively in early September.
As history now shows, the ultimate vote in the Scottish referendum was a resounding ‘no’ to independence, and that brought the end of uncertainty for the future of the UK and the pound bounced on the news, hitting another high against the euro of €1.28. It also regained ground on the US dollar too, and was sitting at $1.63 at the end of September.
This kind of volatility is common in the currency markets, and is one of the reasons why choosing to fix the exchange rate you are buying your currency at could prove advantageous, especially if you are uncertain about when you need to make your purchase. For example, buying a property abroad can take many months and not knowing the final cost of that purchase could mean the difference between buying a dream home or over spending your budget.
But this uncertainty can be avoided by using the City A.M. International Payments service, which gives you direct access to the currency experts at Moneycorp, who will help you get the most from your currency exchange. A personal account manager will work with you to understand your specific needs in relation to international money transfers, and give you expert guidance to improve the chances of getting the right price at the right time.
By using a ‘forward contract’ you can lock into a particular exchange rate for up to 24 months, which is a great way to secure your budget if you are buying a property abroad. It can take a long time to finalise your plans and negotiations, planning, local searches, legal wrangles and so on will be accompanied by a dizzying array of currency fluctuations over time. If you have to transfer your money to complete the purchase when the markets are against you, it could cost you dearly – or even result in you not being able to afford to complete the purchase at all. In many countries, this would mean completely forfeiting your deposit, and costing you the chance of buying a dream home.
And by using the City A.M. International Payments service you can expect to get exchange rates that are typically 3-4pc better than you would get from your bank. If you were transferring £100,000 that can mean a saving of up to £4,000 – enough to help decorate your new property abroad.
There are savings to be made on the fees too, with banks typically charging £20-£40 per transaction, while the City A.M. service will cost you nothing to make a transfer online, and just £10 if you prefer to deal over the phone with your account manager.
If you make an overseas property purchase, you are likely to have ongoing payments to make for things like maintenance, agency fees and so on, and the good news is that you can fix the price of your currency exchange on regular payments too. This means you can budget properly for these costs without any nasty surprises, and you could be saving as much as £480 a year in fees if you are happy to deal online.
Once you have opened your account, you can use the online platform to move money at any time of the day or night in up to 34 different currencies. If you are making repeat transfers then the details of previous payees are held in your account to make the process much easier, and you can see your transaction history at a glance.
Moneycorp, who provide the City A.M. International Payments service is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for the provision of payments services, so you can rest assured that your money is in the safe hands of experts.
So for great exchange rates, low fees and expert guidance give the City A.M. International Payments service a go next time you need to move money overseas.