Getting the best exchange rate is a challenge. Predicting the future currency exchange market is almost impossible. The exchange rate goes up. And it goes down.
When changing pounds to euros, I tend to change relatively small amounts at a time, although as the rate increases, then so does the amount I exchange. While I would like to profess there is a science to the exchange rate, there isn’t. There is as much luck in the timing as there is in planning to get the best rate.
I’m going to admit that I’ve become an avid watcher of the euro exchange rate. Over the next few months, I am going to be exchanging a significant amount from GBP to euros.
Having set up a bank account when I visited Portugal in September, I can make transfers when the exchange rate rises. Hence why I’ve become an avid watcher.
There are many ways of transferring funds, and, in my typical style, I want to ensure I am getting the best exchange rate, and lowest fees. I know that I get both the lowest rate and highest fees from my UK bank and there are so many money transfer companies that promise ‘no fee’ or ‘best rate’, but quite simply, no company offers both.
So, how do I genuinely know which is the best value? Test them.
Before I went to Portugal, I had set up a Wise account. Wise is a simple online account that allows international money transfers. I was able to convert funds in my GBP account to euros in a matter of seconds and pay on the debit card which comes with the account.
I also opened an account with OFX, an international money transfer company. Opening the account was simple. All are completed online, and they have an easy to use app. OFX was recommended to me by a friend.
Finally, being a member of Expats Portugal, I also opened an account with their recommended money transfer company Spartan FX. There are favourable rates for Expats Portugal members.
My test was simple. Use each of the companies to transfer £100 to euros. Each transfer was instructed almost simultaneously – within a couple of minutes of each other. The exchange rate was 1.17096 on the day I undertook the test (September 2021).
Wise – By far the easiest, with a simple transfer of £100 from my GBP account to my euro account. This transaction cost 59p and I received €116.41. All completed within seconds. I then transfer the euros to my Banco CTT account which is completed within a couple of hours.
OFX – With OFX, I enter the transfer on the app to secure the exchange rate. This gives me a reference number. I then transfer £100 to my OFX account from my main UK bank account. On receipt, OFX transfer the funds to my Banco CTT account. I received €116.30 through my transfer by OFX.
Spartan FX – Straight up, I was disappointed with Spartan FX. Setting the account up was relatively easy. The transfer was made through the website, and I transferred the funds thereafter. Disappointingly, even assuming I qualified for the ‘favourable rate’ I only received €114.51.
While my research was perhaps not undertaken in the strictest of scientific conditions, it’s enough for me that, even with a small fee, I get more for my money with Wise. Appreciate it is only 11 cents on £100, but transferring larger sums, it mounts up.
In addition, Wise was the easiest to exchange money once the account was set up.
Finally, since this test, I have made further transfers through Wise. All trouble-free. All swift and all not a single issue was encountered.
When do you tell your employer that you’re planning on leaving your job?
According to my contract, all I need to do is resign at the end of March if I want to leave at the end of June. There are risks to sharing my intentions with my employers before I contractually need to. But there are also benefits in sharing my intentions early to support succession planning and enable me to focus on specific pieces of work.
Circumstances meant that I shared my intentions with my manager back in March, a whole year earlier than I needed to. Unusually for me, the conversation wasn’t really planned but it was necessary.
Since then, we’ve put several plans in place and made some adjustments to my role, line-management responsibilities and priorities.
However, work colleagues were unaware of the reasons behind some of the decisions we were making. That approach couldn’t continue so on returning from my scouting visit in Portugal, I hit send on the email announcement.
I can now talk more openly regarding my plans and excitement about my move to Portugal.
It is quite strange to be working a fifteen-month notice period. I presume it’s not dissimilar to people who are retiring as there is a fixed end date. I am though determined to deliver on my objectives as working for a charity, improving the lives of our beneficiaries remains my priority.
As always, if I’ve captivated you to this point, thanks for reading. It’s much appreciated.
Obrigado por ler.
In this blog, I’ve mentioned several companies, provided website links and shared my personal experience.
Featured image by kind permission of Roman Wimmers
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Thank you, Marc