I am restoring a property in France, a decade long project, and from time to time have had to transfer large sums of money to my account there. I have always used a bank before, paid a flat rate of £25, and gambled on when they would make the transaction and therefore what the exchange rate would be. In March 2013 I made my first large transfer for two years. Two banks offered me exchange rates of 1.11 and 1.12 euros to the pound. Then I discovered TransferWise on Martin's Money Tips. It was much cheaper to transfer small amounts (£2K) and I got a much better rate of exchange (about 1.15 the first time). By breaking down the amount I sent over into smaller parcels I could even out the effects of a fluctuating exchange rate. Although I eventually paid more in transfer fees, the much better exchange rate left me 'quids (or euros) in'. I cannot see why I should ever want to use a bank again for these transactions.
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