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Want to know what’s the best foreign currency exchange company for business and personal use?*
One of the biggest problems of living in today’s global economy, is that you often require the services of a foreign currency exchange company to change money, particularly if your own currency isn’t US dollars.
Quite often you might have to buy online goods or services in other currencies, or you may even earn money in a different currency but then want to change it back to your own currency.
Or perhaps you buy products from China and would rather pay in CNY, since most Chinese manufacturers will give better discounts for payments made in CNY.
I live in the UK, and I used to find it really frustrating that if I got paid in US dollars, I would often have no option but to convert that money to British pounds, and then have to change it back again to US dollars, in order to buy goods or services in USD.
It seemed such a waste of money and time, being forced to change money back and forth for no good reason, and all the while the banks were making a huge profit at my expense.
The card payment problem
In addition, when you pay for online services they often ask for a credit or debit card. If you don’t have a credit or debit card in the currency in which product is sold then you’ll have to use one in another currency. Your card provider will then do the exchange and in many cases charge you an expensive fee.
Even if you use paypal to conduct currency exchanges, their exchange fees aren’t cheap either.
Over the years I’ve used various foreign currency exchange services including the banks, Western Union, Paypal, Xendpay, a now defunct company called Remitsy who were taken over by another company called Wyre. I used Wyre for a while but they changed their business model and it was no longer suitable. I then used Worldfirst for a time and although they were ok, they didn’t offer the services and flexibility I really wanted. There’s probably a few other companies I’ve also used and forgotten about.
However, there didn’t seem to be a single company that offered a solution to everything I was looking for. Sometimes I even had to use two different companies, one after the other, in order to achieve what I wanted, and some of them even complained about that.
Surely there has to be a better way to exchange money?
Wouldn’t it be great if you could have bank accounts in multiple currencies and hold money in different currencies? Then you could receive payments in another currency and pay for goods and services in that same currency without having to change back and forth.
You could also hold money in other currencies and if you don’t need to exchange the money immediately, you can leave it in those other currencies and wait until the exchange rate is more favourable.
Wouldn’t it be good if you could also set up an account in another currency and then have the ability to make debit card purchases in that currency? So long as both the product you are purchasing, as well as your foreign currency account, are in the same currency there would be NO exchange fee.
Wouldn’t it also be great, if when you do decide to exchange money into another currency, that you got the ‘Mid Market Rate‘ instead of being charged expensive exchange fees by your bank or card company?
The Mid Market Rate is the ‘real’ exchange rate that’s mid way between the sell and the buy price of a currency pair, not an inflated rate like the banks use.
And wouldn’t it also be good if they told you up-front about any exchange fees instead of leaving you to find out days later?
The solution to your currency exchange problems
For years I was frustrated with having to waste a lot of time and money on expensive currency exchanges…
Then one day I finally found a solution that answered all of these problems in one go.
The solution was provided by a company called Wise (previously known as ‘Transferwise’). They are a UK company who specialise in foreign currency exchange and they follow a strict set of rules which are laid down by the regulatory authorities in every country in which they operate. Here in the UK for example, it’s the FCA (Finacial Conduct Authority) and in the US it’s FinCen (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network). These agencies are there to protect us, the customer.
In addition to that, Wise use bank level security, so you know your money is safe with them.
They have 10 million customers in 170 countries and they transfer almost £5 billion pounds ($6.5 billion USD) for their customers every month.
The good news is that you can also have a business account, a personal account, or both. I have both, and it’s very easy to send money from one to the other in a matter of seconds. For a small fee (at the Mid Market Rate) you can also exchange money between your different currency accounts within a few seconds too.
The other great thing I like about Wise is that unlike many banks, there are no hidden fees. They show you exactly what the fee will be before you do the currency exchange. There’s also no monthly or yearly fees either.
I’ve also got a multi-currency debit card for my personal account and a separate multi-currency debit card for my business account. Both of these are very useful for making card payments in foreign currencies.
As I’ve already mentioned, over the years I’ve used many different foreign exchange companies but they all seemed to be deficient in some way. Only Wise have been able to come up with solutions to all my currency exchange problems.
I’ve personally been using them for about the last five years and not only have they saved me a fortune in exchange fees, they also have great customer service.
If you don’t want to (or can’t) use Wise, another good alternative is Xendpay . However, they don’t have any where near the same number of benefits that Wise do. For example they don’t have a debit card and you also can’t hold bank accounts in different currencies.
Xendpay is ok if all you want to do is exchange money and send it in a different currency, say to make a payment or send money back home. You can do those things with Wise as well, but Wise just have more features.
I’ve found that the cost of exchanging and sending money with Xendpay is almost exactly the same as Wise. They are sometimes a few cents cheaper, but only if you choose to pay no fees. This is a nice option to take but there is a limit on how much you can send with no fees. For a personal account this limit is £2000 (or the equivalent in your currency) per year, or for a business account it’s £4000 (or the equivalent in your currency) per year.
Once you go over that limit you have to pay an exchange fee and when that happens Wise is usually cheaper than Xendpay.
* Note : The views expressed in this article are an unbiased opinion based on my own personal experience of foreign exchange services.