I am emigrating soon and have saved some money (in South African Rand) which I will need to take with me. It will just be enough to cover basic expenses for 3 months.
I am moving from South Africa to England.
I have sent money to England before from my SA Bank account (ABSA) to my UK Bank account (Barclays) and found it to be rather expensive. It was done via Swift. I therefore researched a bit to find if there was a cheaper option. I learnt that finding a service that would transfer the funds at spot rate rather than retail rate was a good option and that there are services which do not charge as much commission for the transfer.
I endeavored to use one of these services - Currency Fair - as they informed me that they would transfer the money to their ZAR account in the UK and in this way the cost would be cheaper. I continued with this until one of the final steps indicated that I would be charged an additional fee by my South African bank for the transfer.
I then set out to find out from my bank what the additional charge might be. Research indicated it would be around $25. However, the bank informed me that it would be impossible to find a cheaper fee for transferring the money than via a Swift transaction at the bank as I would be charged commission twice for using an external service (once by the bank and once by the service). This is not what I read online.
So, my questions:
- Is it really more cost effective to use a service like Currency Fair - does using such a service really avoid additional costs? Or would it add costs?
- Does the fact that they send money to a ZAR account in the UK make it cheaper? How does that work?
- Is it true that banks transfer money at a retail rate as opposed to a spot rate?
- Is there actually a better means to transfer money outside of South Africa than using the bank directly?
Thank you in advance :)