Seeing as I tend to spend hours researching and usually end being more than organised, (at least when it comes to travel or festivals anyway) I sometimes find myself waking up to one or two or five people asking me questions related to cheap flights, cheap hostels, cheap food or saving money in general. Recently, I've had quite a few people ask me about sending money home, or how I brought my spending money to Australia with me. I figured that a blog post on the subject might be useful, (even if it's a little boring, sorry.)
When it comes to sending money home, (or to pretty much any country to be fair) I've found the online money transfer service, TransferWise, to be by far the cheapest option. By using TransferWise, you're eliminating the high bank fees that you would normally incur from a foreign exchange, by using technology that works on a peer-to-peer system. I could explain in more detail, but all you're probably interested in is the fact it's up to 89% cheaper than using your bank! (If you really want me to explain it, feel free to shoot me a message and I'll happily go through it with you!)
TransferWise is easy to use, the money is usually within your account in around 24 hours, and the company have a 'Cheapest Money Guarantee,' meaning that if you do find a cheaper service, they'll beat that price for you - which is pretty nice!
What's really nice is the rewards scheme that TransferWise run, which involves them paying you £50 for each three friends that you get to sign up - and what's even nicer still is that if you do sign up on somebodies invite code, you get your first transfer FREE! (Which is win-win for everybody involved!)
If you would like a free TransferWise transfer, just click here!
Before I moved to Australia, I spent a lot of time debating the best (and cheapest) way to take my spending money with me. The exchange rate was really good, and although changing all my savings into cash worked out as the cheapest way to do it, who wants to be carrying a couple of grands worth of cash on them? After lots of careful research, a couple of months before the moving date, I opened an Australian Commonwealth bank account online, and used TransferWise to send the majority of my savings to my new bank account. A lot of people don't actually want or need a foreign bank account though, and for those people there is another option...
I discovered an amazing app called Revolut. At the time of my discovery, I didn't put much faith in Revolut, due to it being a fairly new app with not many reviews online. You download the (free) app to your phone, and then you have the option to order yourself a (free) Revolut bank card. Although I wasn't overly sure about the app, I ordered myself a card anyway. It arrived within a week and I put it in my purse without much of a second thought.
The theory behind Revolut is that you transfer money to your Revolut app, and you can either convert your money to a different currency within the app, or simply use your card as you would a normal credit or debit card. You can use the card at cashpoints, in shops or even online, and the card automatically converts your money into the local currency using the best available rate. The best thing about the card is that there are NO fees (which is especially good if you're accustomed to paying for everything by card and sick of racking up lots of costs in fees!)
As I said before, I was initially fairly sceptical about the app, but after testing it out over the last few months, I now have full faith in it. (Especially as it managed to save us when we needed $4000 for a deposit and a months rent on our new house by the end of the day, and the only cash we had was tied up in a UK account, which would normally take at least 24 hours to transfer over to make it accessible without facing huge withdrawal fees!)
You can transfer money to the app using a bank account or PayPal, or simply via the app to somebody else. The transfer is INSTANT, and obviously means that you can use your card to withdraw cash, or pay for something a shop straight away. You can currently use the card in around NINETY countries too, which means that if you're going traveling, you can whack all your savings onto the app, and use the card every single day, keeping an eye on your spendings on the app as you go! Also, if you're really struggling for cash or happened to find yourself in an emergency, a friend can send you some instantly accessible funds.
I get the feeling that Revolut is going to be huge once more people start to find out about it - I'll certainly be using it when I travel the world!
There are obviously plenty of other ways to send money abroad. These are the methods that I've used and found to work best for me. Hopefully this has been of at least some help to somebody. (If not, don't worry, my next post will be back to chatting rubbish about my adventures!)