What is the best exchange rate service? | Flash Payments

People prioritise different things when it comes to sending money overseas. The ‘best’ currency exchange service will vary from person to person based on their own needs.

What is the best exchange rate service? | Flash Payments

People prioritise different things when it comes to sending money overseas. The ‘best’ currency exchange service, therefore, will vary from person to person based on their own needs. Some might prefer cost savings, while others could favour speedier transfer times or reliable customer support.

What matters most to you in a currency transfer?

Asking yourself this question is a good first step in determining the ‘best’ exchange service for you. For example, if you require cash pick-up or same-day transfer time then the ideal currency transfer business will be one that can deliver on these needs.

Not sure what to consider when choosing an international money transfer service? Here are a few good places to start.

1. Costs

When comparing costs for different foreign exchange businesses you need to consider transfer fees AND exchange rate margins. It is critical to look at BOTH of these when calculating the total cost of your transfer.

Transfer Fees –These can include deposit fees, transaction fees and receiver fees. Just because a provider is advertising no transfer fees doesn’t mean that you aren’t paying for your transaction. Some services that charge you zero or low transfer fees will still end up making a pretty penny off your business in the form of unfair exchange rates

Exchange Rate Margin – This is where most currency brokers, especially banks, build in the bulk of their fees when processing your international money transfer…. Sometimes upwards of 5.0%! The exchange rate margin is the difference between the currency conversion rate your provider is using and the interbank rate for that currency pair. Confused? Don’t be. Read our guide on finding and reading exchange rates.

2. Speed

A long-exposure shot of a road in Ottawa with red light trails from the passing cars
Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin / Unsplash

Processing times vary across providers. Things that can impact how quickly your money arrives can include: the currency exchange provider you use, the currency you are looking to transfer to and how much you are transferring.

3. Funds Delivery

Do you require money to be deposited into a bank account or does the recipient need cash pick-up? Traditional international money transfers are done between overseas bank accounts however there are some businesses, including Western Union and MoneyGram, that facilitate cash collection on site in the receiver country. Be advised cash delivery services generally are the most expensive way to transfer money overseas.

4. Transparency

Photo by Aleks Dahlberg / Unsplash

Non-bank money transfer companies offer a level of transparency that is lacking in the banking world. These businesses let you track the status of your transfer and will typically show you the fees and exchange rate margin upfront.

5. Security

How important is it to you that your money is safe? Some services are more secure than others. Using a provider who is licensed and regulated in all jurisdictions is one way to check whether your money will be secure.

6. Customer Service

Photo by NEW DATA SERVICES / Unsplash

Do you want the option to speak to a real human with questions about your international money transfer? Not all services offer reliable customer support when you need it.

Take a Test Run

One way to help choose between services is to use their online tools for a test run. This will involve going through all the normal steps involved in a money transfer without ever committing. If a business doesn’t let you do this consider using someone else.

Dry runs are one way to figure out which money transfer service will offer you the best deal on your currency transfer. But don’t forget to factor in other fees that may apply, including sender and receiver fees charged by the banks.

Three skateboarders speeding on an asphalt road
Photo by Alternate Skate / Unsplash

Tip: A lot of online money transfer companies have currency conversion calculators on their homepage but these rates tend to be indicative only. In many instances the rate you are shown on the calulator won’t be the final rate you get when you are ready to send. Look for a company who honours the exchange rates they display on their website, like Flash Payments.

Is one exchange service better than the other?

That depends on what you want out of your currency exchange experience. Someone who needs cash pick-up will think that services offering this flexibility are the 'best'. On the other hand, people who prioritise cost savings will shun options like Western Union and MoneyGram due to the high fees and poor exchange rates.

Generally speaking, online money transfer companies will score the highest across all the categories discussed above. With lower transfer fees and more competitive exchange rates they are a more affordable option compared to banks or walk-in money transfer businesses.

Photo by Jeroen den Otter / Unsplash

Flash Payments is an online money transfer company based in Sydney, Australia. With bank-beating exchange rates, speedy transfer times, top-notch security and reliable customer support we tick all the boxes when it comes to sending money overseas.

Have a look around our website to see how we compare, or sign-up and send today.