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Author Topic: Best way to transfer funds from USA to UK  (Read 2110 times)

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Baron Collins-Hill

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Best way to transfer funds from USA to UK
« on: January 11, 2015, 09:30:18 PM »

I apologize if this has already been covered, but my searching for "shipping" and "transfer funds" wasn't particularly successful.

I am negotiating buy a box from the UK (to the USA), and was wondering if people had suggestions for the cheapest and/or best way to transfer funds from my account to the seller's. I found a site called https://transferwise.com that seems to be well regarded, but wondered if anyone had better ideas (Paypal would be significantly more expensive).

Thanks,
Baron
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malcolmbebb

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Re: Best way to transfer funds from USA to UK
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2015, 09:38:41 PM »

Only used Transferwise to Germany but very pleased with it.
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John MacKenzie (Cugiok)

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Re: Best way to transfer funds from USA to UK
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2015, 10:12:43 PM »

I used bank transfer, successfully, to send money to Europe.


John
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malcolmbebb

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Re: Best way to transfer funds from USA to UK
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2015, 10:46:59 PM »

Banks usually want silly money - £15 to £25, guess USA would be similar.
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squeezy

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Re: Best way to transfer funds from USA to UK
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2015, 11:00:32 PM »

Transferwise is miles cheaper than all the competition here in the UK and is as fast as a normal bank transfer normally.  I've successfully sent money from the UK to the USA, Sweden, Poland, Slovenia and Germany - always without a glitch .
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Stig Bubblecard

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Re: Best way to transfer funds from USA to UK
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2015, 08:41:04 AM »

As I recall, Theo endorsed Transferwise on Twitter in August.
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Theo

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Re: Best way to transfer funds from USA to UK
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2015, 09:14:04 AM »

Yes transferwise is great. Best rates, lowest fees of any Ive used. If you are asking someone to send you funds you may have to put some effort into persuading the sender to sign up for Transferwise.  If it is a small sum it may be easier to use PayPal, and suggest that the other party shares the PayPal fees.
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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John MacKenzie (Cugiok)

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Re: Best way to transfer funds from USA to UK
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2015, 09:34:40 AM »

Last time I sent money to the states, I paid the sterling into my son's UK bank account, and he paid the dollars to the vendor. This route is obviously not open to all, but we do have US members. Maybe something could be arranged, through them.


John
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Nick Collis Bird

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Re: Best way to transfer funds from USA to UK
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2015, 09:35:11 AM »

Yes I must admit, when paying Harmonikas in the Czeckoslovakia Republic I went to my bank Lloyds to transfer the funds. TWENTY QUID.(£20.00)  it cost, in these days of electronic banking... Why?
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Chris Ryall

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Re: Best way to transfer funds from USA to UK
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2015, 10:22:06 AM »

Shall we say you and I are in the wrong profession, Nick. I do a lot of foreign currency for my trips. Best is to find a buddy needing Sterling and net off money at spot rate, on a trust basis.

Otherwise, having been badly burned by my bank who took 29% of the cost of family St Chartier tickets once, I use cash as much as possible and try to convert when a currency is low*. That has included deposits for my 2 favourite boxes, though the final balances had to be Giro'd over.

French banks also scammed me approx 30% for cashing a check from a "british" euro denominated account! I complained to my Euro-MP about that one (such charges were made illegal about a year later).

The present giro methods are less usurous if you select non urgent transfer, but I think agencies like transferwise will quickly take this lucrative trade out of greedy banking hands.

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Nick Collis Bird

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Re: Best way to transfer funds from USA to UK
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2015, 10:39:04 AM »

Oh! To be a banker! Pronounce that how you like  ;D
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Theo

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Re: Best way to transfer funds from USA to UK
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2015, 11:45:52 AM »

..... Best is to find a buddy needing Sterling and net off money at spot rate, on a trust basis.


Which is also how Transferwise actually does and allows it to avoid money market costs.
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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Chris Ryall

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Re: Best way to transfer funds from USA to UK
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2015, 01:01:27 PM »

Didn't know that … it is also how the banks do it … but keep the 10% spread themselves

    Not bad for netting off say 100,000 transactions of say £500, every working day?
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John MacKenzie (Cugiok)

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Re: Best way to transfer funds from USA to UK
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2015, 01:20:22 PM »

Don't know what things are like now, but when I worked abroad regularly, it was better to buy things on a credit card, because I got a better rate of exchange from my bank, than I did from the Bureau de Change.

John
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Anahata

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Re: Best way to transfer funds from USA to UK
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2015, 02:22:29 PM »

Don't know what things are like now, but when I worked abroad regularly, it was better to buy things on a credit card, because I got a better rate of exchange from my bank, than I did from the Bureau de Change.

It used to be the case (and for all I know may still be true) that if you deliberately overpaid into your credit card account before going abroad, the exchange rate was even better.

But I think the original question applied to a transaction between two private individuals, so a direct credit card payment from one to the other wouldn't be possible.

Since I have a Paypal account, that's how I would do it. I'm no great champion for PP, but they seem to be a necessary evil.
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Re: Best way to transfer funds from USA to UK
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2015, 02:46:11 PM »

As Anahata says - credit card pumping used to be good (mastercard)  but don't think it works anymore, and not for this case.

I buy wine abroad for a syndicate, about 25 cases - and the thing to watch for is fees. One card of mine says '£3 or 3%, whichever is greater' and was absolute robbery when I'd used it to pay Autoroute payage charges (ie £13 for a £10 fee) :-\

Nationwide card is good as when you use it in UK you accrue fee free rights abroad, I think on a 1:4 basis. Just used it for the wine bill and we payed no fee at all. The rate was 'wholesale Visa' which was within 0.2% of the spot rate. Excellent deal, and might perhaps help anyone buying a box abroad.

Castagnari incidentally, took cash .. about £IT.2,850,000 if I recall. It seemed an awful lot at the time but a Lire wasn't worth much!
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Baron Collins-Hill

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Re: Best way to transfer funds from USA to UK
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2015, 10:36:05 PM »

Thanks for all the replies everyone! Here's what I ended up doing, in case anyone else is looking at going down a similar path (YMMV):

I woke up this morning and started filling out the information on the TransferWise site. It was a fairly straightforward affair, the only thing I found slightly annoying was that I couldn't seem to put in "x" amount GBP and have the site calculate that price in USD. I had to type in USD amounts until the price got as close to the GBP target as I could get it. All in all, not a big deal, but it seems like that could be a pretty easy fix on their end (but maybe not).

Once all the info TW needed was in, they asked me to transfer my funds to their account in the US. I caled my bank and learned that I could wire transfer $ to thier account at a $25 USD fee, or send a check, which would be slower but incur no fee. I checked with TW and they would not accept a check, plus I was not wild about the extra time the check would reportedly take. I asked my bank what the fund transfer to the UK would be, bypassing TW entirely, and they assured me that it would cost me a $35 flat rate. I opted for that, canceled my TW payment and headed to the bank.

When I got to the bank, they ran the numbers and charged me about $100 more for changing currencies to GBP then TW had, and that did not include their $35 fee. I backed out on that transfer and went back to the TW method, saving myself about $100 in total even though I had to pay the 1% TW fee and the $25 intra-US bank transfer fee. TW updates you promply on where your money s in their pipeline, and within 2 hours, they were able to tell me the money would hit the seller's account tomorrow afternoon. Pretty speedy and streamlined if you ask me!

All in all, I am very pleased with TW, and not particularly pleased with my bank (but the people themselves are great!). Other peoples banks may not charge the 25 in-country fee, but mine did, no exceptions.

Long story short, TW ended up being the way to go. Now for the fun part, then new box arriving in the mail!

Thanks,
Baron
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Chris Ryall

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Re: Best way to transfer funds from USA to UK
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2015, 10:47:40 PM »

Thanks for the feedback and hope you enjoy your new kit. "Bank robbery" seems as prevalent in USA as here, plus they lied to you?  As you point out, there are (much) better ways nowadays.
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