15

I get paid in US dollars (USD), but I live in Hungary, where fiorint (HUF) is used.

Right now my bank account has two accounts, one in USD, one in HUF.

I receive the money on the USD account and I convert them to HUF when I need to spend them.

I do so because I don't trust the fluctuations of the HUF and I rather keep my savings in USD.

This has the problem of the costs needed to convert the money each time, and the time it takes to convert them (it takes the same time of an internal transfer wire).

Are there alternative solutions to reduce time and cost?

9

Yes, there is indeed a great alternative for all European residents: getting a Revolut account. Revolut is a fully-online bank who's main benefits include the lack of fees (with some limits) and a great exchange rate for all currency operations (better than what you would get at any brick and mortar bank in Europe). In your particular scenario it would work as following:

  1. You open a Revolut account and receive their bank card in the mail
  2. You have your employer send your salary to your new account rather than your Hungarian one
  3. You then use the Revolut card to make purchases in HUF with no losses or delays
  4. If you need the money in your old Hungarian account you can also make a bank transfer to Hungary with no fees and at the same great exchange rate

This is what I personally use to handle a salary in EUR while living in Czech Republic. Things might change in the future once they run out of investor money, but for now it's the only solution I know for converting currencies without a loss.

  • ...what's the catch? Is there an annual fee, small fee per deposit, etc. This sounds good, slightly like an ad, and I'm just curious how they make money. – BruceWayne Sep 20 '17 at 2:02
  • metabubble.net/payment-cards-bank-accounts/… "We reserve the right to change our pricing structure after the first 12 months of using the Revolut service..." – Stephan Branczyk Sep 20 '17 at 2:35
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    @BruceWayne the catch is that once they get enough clients they'll probably change their pricing structure. But until that happens it's a good service. – JonathanReez Sep 20 '17 at 3:33
7

You could use a Credit or Debit Card running in US $, drawing from your US$ account, and pay everything with it. If you pick a company with free foreign conversions, you would get the standard interbank exchange ratio every time you pay, with no fee.

For the small payments where credit cards are not accpeted or useful you can convert some cash once every some month - all significant amounts should work with credit or debit card.

  • I'm not aware of any HU bank that offers free foreign conversions 😕 – Fez Vrasta Sep 19 '17 at 12:42
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    I am not familiar enough with HU banking to name any, but it doesn't necessarily have to be a HU bank's credit card. When I am in HU, I use US and German credit cards with no issues (and free conversion). – Aganju Sep 19 '17 at 13:05
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    It is very very rare for conversion to be truly "free" when exchange rates are taken into account. – JonathanReez Sep 19 '17 at 18:36
5

Cheaper and faster are usually mutually exclusive.

If you want faster, nothing is faster than cash. I would recommend using an ATM to withdraw cash from your USD account as Florints and then use as appropriate.

If you want cheaper, then the cheapest currency conversion commonly available is foreign exchange / transfer services like OFX / XE Trade / Transferwise. Turn around time on these can be as little as a business day or two but more commonly takes a few business days, but they typically offer the best currency exchange rates at the lowest cost. If you must make regular payments to 3rd parties, you can set these services up to send the converted currency to a 3rd party rather than back to your own account.

3

Banks in certain countries are offering such facility. However I am not aware of any Bank in Hungary offering this. So apart from maintaining a higher amount in HUF, there by reducing the costs [and taking the volatility risks]; there aren't many options.

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