Whether you’re emigrating or just preparing to go on a holiday, having a plan to get your money overseas is vital. After working in the forex business for almost seven years I’ve picked up a few tricks along the way. Read on to find out what they are.
Business trips and holidays
Things have certainly moved on from the times when we had to stuff traveller’s cheques into money belts and fanny packs. These days, there are so many options available to you when travelling overseas. Let’s take a look at two of the most popular methods.
Using your local debit and credit card abroad
Most major banks have agreements in place that make it possible to withdraw money from your account, no matter what country you’re in. This is the case whether you have a debit or credit card. Of course, you should check with your bank before you depart armed with nothing but your local plastic; but most of the time, you won’t find any problems.
If you are using a credit card, rather swipe for purchases as opposed to drawing money. Swiping will get you a better exchange rate and the banking fees will be lower.
Debit cards may not work at a till, so if you don’t have a credit card you will have to draw cash from an ATM. Try and draw as few times as possible to cut down on bank charges.
If you are travelling with both a debit card and a credit card, remember to leave one in a safe place while keeping the other in your wallet. This way, if you lose your bags or wallet, you’ll still have access to your funds.
Some banks and foreign exchange service providers offer travel cards. These allow you to preload an amount of foreign currency onto a card which can then be swiped as if it were a debit card.
The fees incurred when purchasing a travel card are significant and the rates you get are not always fantastic. However, this is a good option if you are sending your child abroad who does not have the funds, or the correct bank account, to be able to withdraw currency while abroad. Alternatively, you could give them your credit card, but we’ve heard that that doesn’t always work out so well!
Emigration: Moving yourself, moving your wealth
After you’ve made the decision to pack your bags and begin a new life in a new land, you’ll need to figure out how you’re going to get your financial assets to your new home.
The key is to plan in advance. Trying to gain access to your funds when you are not in the same country as your bank is a nightmare, so make sure you plan properly. It’s almost always advisable to send your money before you go.
It’s quite common for people immigrating to realise that they can’t access their funds back home only after they’ve left for their destination. Whether it’s not setting their daily transfer limits appropriately or having their one time pins for internet banking sent to their old mobile number, there are loads of ways to make a meal of getting your cash abroad.
When transferring your money, there are a lot of things that you need to be aware of. A lot of countries have exchange controls, foreign investment limits and complex international banking laws. It’s best to use an independent foreign exchange specialist so that you are not tripped up by any of these hurdles.
An added benefit of using an international money transfer agent is that you’ll save money compared to using a traditional bank. An agent will also walk you through the transfer process and will deal with your bank back home no matter what time zone they’re in. This leaves you to just focus on your settling down into your new life.