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I am 21, live in UK, and have an unwanted property in Spain which I am paying a mortgage on. Sadly I cannot sell the property.

Roughly every year I exchange into Euros over £10,000 for the mortgage, and another £8,000 to cover other fees such as lawyers, accountants, bills, insurance, community fees, non residence tax etc... Sometimes this is higher as I like to pay off the mortgage in bigger amounts.

Realistically speaking this is just small change. However, I want a better exchange rate so I can pay more off and keep more money in my pocket. I wish to start building a house abroad, so having stupid Spain in my life is like a ball and chain around my leg.

The exchange rate I get at Sainsburys is usually the best with a travel money card, but there is a yearly limit at my address. Even then compared to the current FOREX exchange price it's very low. Example:

Sainsburys: 1.22

FOREX: 1.26

How would I go about getting these high exchange rates? If it helps I am fairly skilled at guessing when the exchange rate will rise or drop.

Thank you!

closed as off-topic by Chris W. Rea, JoeTaxpayer Jul 27 '16 at 1:17

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  • 3
    I am fairly skilled at guessing when the exchange rate will rise or drop If you are so smart, you should have realized by now that you cannot get the spot rate, unless you lock in a rate with futures/option. The seller will always have a margin because he is providing you with a service and he wants to profit from it. – DumbCoder Apr 4 '16 at 14:33
  • @DumbCoder FX trading platforms are not used for exchanging money, they are used for trading currencies sadly. I know I cannot get the "spot" rate. But I am sure the smart community at money stackexchange can provide some assistance? :-) – k1308517 Apr 4 '16 at 14:40
  • Some brokerages that provide both forex and index CFDs will also allow you to actually exchange money at the spot price (minus a small spread). The reason they allow this is because the CFDs are denominated in different currencies. I've used CMC Markets to do this before, with a 30bp commission. They may have recently changed their policies so that currency exchange can only occur at the previous day's closing price instead of the spot price. – TainToTain Apr 4 '16 at 18:12
  • @k1308517 You don't need to actually exchange the money you can simply buy some options on that currency pair to hedge against currency movement that would be disadvantageous to you. Those will mitigate the effects of value fluctuations and you just convert the money at a bank offering a good rate and low fees. – quid May 4 '16 at 20:21
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    HSBC offer extremely good fx spreads to the "Premier" account holders. You need to have a balance of at least GBP 50,000 (may have changed) to qualify for a Premier account, and that balance can be in an HSBC stock broking account. To get the best spread you need to transfer at least GBP 10,000. For example, I often transfer GBP to CAD and if spot is, say, 1.9675, I'll get a quote of 1.9625 on a GBP 25000 transaction. For GBP 10,000 it will be a slightly larger spread. – Nick R May 5 '16 at 5:11
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XE Trade advertises the following features:

  • FREE transfers to 35+ countries
  • Competitive exchange rates
  • Quick online quotes 24/7
  • Secure transactions
  • Get Rate Alerts: Create rate alerts for the currencies you want to trade. Exchange rates will be monitored for you and you will be notified if your target rate is reached.
  • Bid for your desired rate: Place an order for a target rate and the markets will be monitored for you 24/7. If the rate is reached, your order will be booked automatically.

So if you think you can predict where rates are going enough to set your bid at a level that you think will be a good deal, you have the opportunity to do that with XE's service.

I do not work for XE trade and do not care or receive any financial benefit if you use them or not. I'm just aware of an offering out there that seems like it might answer the question you've asked and am providing an answer that seems like it might be helpful. If you do find the answer helpful, feel free to upvote/accept as appropriate; if you are aware of significant cons or limitations please comment or edit.


While this may answer the question you asked, the underlying question cannot be addressed without knowing more about what's behind "Sadly I cannot sell the property." When it's clear you think "having stupid Spain in my life is like a ball and chain around my leg," sale of the property seems like a good option.

  • I'll look into that thank you. I cannot sell the property as the value is less than the mortgage, so the bank will go crazy. – k1308517 Apr 5 '16 at 8:48
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    @k1308517 you could in theory pay the difference between the value and the mortgage, and that cost might be worth it for you if you see the ownership as being such a big burden on your life (as well as finances, considering what you pay in interest plus the £8,000/yr in other costs of ownership). Consider the debt owed and the asset owned independent of one another, at least for a thought experiment. – WBT Apr 5 '16 at 17:19
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You can use a service like Transferwise to send money. The trick is that they allow sending money to yourself, from a GBP account to an EUR account, effectively making it an exchange shop.

Their rates are usually very good, with the transfers happening on the same day most of the time.

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Keep it simple, there is a good comparison site where you plug in how much money you want to send, and it tells you what all the major providers will end up giving you in Euros on the other end.

Lots of the 'free' services give you a shit exchange rate.

GBP->EUR is very competitive so when you go with non-banks you can pay very little (down to 0.1% in exchange rate differences).

https://www.fxcompared.com/ is one such site.

I plugged in sending 10,000 GBP to Spain, and TorFX came out best with you (at this moment in time) receiving 12,547 euros.

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