Currency exchange to and from France

From changing currency markets to low exchange rates and avoidable fees from your bank, you could lose thousands of pounds when transferring money to France if you do not tread carefully and use a foreign exchange specialist, occasionally referred to as an ‘FX provider’.

While FX providers do offer a better exchange rate, they do not command hidden fees and charges. In fact, you could save a lot of money by selecting one rather than a high street bank.

If you are looking to purchase a property in France for €250,000, for example, and transfer the funds with your bank, it would cost you £202,715 (that’s at the average bank’s exchange rate of €1.236=£1*, plus a £25 transfer fee).

But the same transaction with foreign exchange specialists Currencies Direct, for example, would have cost you £195,865 (by eliminating transfer fees from the picture and using a better exchange rate of €1.28=£1*).

(* Rates correct on 7 November 2014)

Top advice

  • A high-street bank will offer an inferior exchange rate than a foreign exchange specialist, furthermore, an FX provider will not charge transfers fees and can offer a wide range of services designed to meet your precise needs
  • Most people will find that they still have to transfer money between the UK and France even after they have acquired a French home and moved to the country. A currency provider can set up a Direct Debit for you and save you money over the years
  • Subscribe to market newsletters and rate alerts email notifications in order to stay on top of what is happening in the market

Selling a property in France

When it comes to selling a home in France, you may find that you need to transfer a large sum of capital back to the UK. Again, it is crucial that you secure the highest exchange rate possible.

A ‘forward contract’ may be the best option in this case. If the rate available today looks attractive but you do not need to transfer your money until a later date – for instance, five months – a forward contract could be suitable. It is the currency sector’s equivalent of ‘purchase now, pay later’. But a small deposit would be needed in order to fix today’s exchange rate for up to 12 months.

Money transfer specialist, Alistair Cotton, of Currencies Direct, said: “The currency markets are constantly changing, so when moving a big sum of money, capitalising on favourable exchange rates could genuinely save you thousands of pounds.”

Funding your new life in France

Whether acquiring a holiday home in France or looking to reside in the country permanently, you may have to make frequent money transfers from the UK in order to support your lifestyle as well as pay the bills, including your mortgage. In this instance, look for a frequent transfer service – a Direct Debit driven service that is suitable for all sorts of weekly, monthly or quarterly payments. What’s more, unlike the banks, most FX providers do not charge any transfer fees on this type of transfer.

Tailored service for you

All sorts of overseas money transfer possess a service tailored to assist you. Learn to discern which products will make your money go further, work best for you and make your life as simple as possible.

Spot contracts

Purchase currency today, for instant requirements. Use for:

  • Paying bills in France
  • Transferring money rapidly across your UK and French accounts
  • Sending money to a colleague or relative

Forward contracts

Agree a rate for up to 12 months, by shelling out a small deposit today. Use for:

  • Buying or selling a home abroad
  • Large overseas acquisitions
  • Moving all your money

Frequent transfers

Set up a Direct Debit and even fix the exchange rate for up to 12 months. Use for:

  • Paying your bills
  • Transferring pension payments abroad
  • Moving money regularly to support day-to-day living

Limit orders

You can fix your target exchange rate by setting an automated currency purchase. Use for:

  • Greatest advantage when exchange rates move in your favour
  • Transfers that are not time sensitive

Main benefits of using an FX provider

People should do their due diligence to prepare themselves for any major changes with foreign exchange markets. This will help you create a plan for managing your own currencies, while reducing the risk of currency fluctuations. But it is important to appoint a currency specialist to help secure the greatest deal available.

  • Improved exchange rates. Exchange rates can differ a lot, with some of the greatest deals available through specialist FX providers, rather than the banks, which generally offer a much lower rate in comparison
  • Avoid hidden charges. Foreign exchange providers typically do not charge transfer fees every time you transfer money overseas, as opposed to banks which generally charge an average fee of £25 per transaction for sending and receiving money
  • Help is available. A currency specialist will be available to assist you. Whether it’s a single transfer or frequent payments, they will guide you along the way
  • Trade at a time that fits in with your lifestyle. Nearly all FX providers provide their clients with a 24/7 online money transfer service that allows them trade anywhere and at any time
  • Rapid transfers. While it can often take a bank up to five working days to transfer money abroad, a transaction can often be completed within 24 to 48 hours with most FX providers
  • Protect your money. When selecting a foreign exchange provider, make sure that they are certified by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

Keep an eye on the markets

FX experts dedicate themselves to staying abreast of the currency markets, but not everyone else has the time. If you are busy with other things, such as work or family like, then there are a range of tools that you might find helpful.

Rate watch

Creating a rate watch is good way of informing your FX provider what exchange rate you are interested in and what you think is a good trade. They then allocate one of their expert members to analyse the markets on your behalf, with a view to notifying you when the rate becomes obtainable.

You will find that the banks just do not have the time or resources to offer this facility. Crucially, when your desired rate arises, you are under no obligation to actually make a transfer. It is just a very smart way of keeping in touch with what is happening in the currency market so you are aware of when the best time is to start trading, if required.

Email messages

Keep informed with rate exchanges and market updates. The majority of FX providers often offer their clients a wide selection of newsletter options to subscribe to, including daily market analysis, weekly market reports, rate alerts, among other features.

Social media websites

From Twitter and YouTube to Facebook and Pinterest, almost all social media websites are now embraced by foreign exchange firms providing you with an easy way to obtain their currency views, updates and expert advice free of charge.


Currencies Direct is the UK’s leading foreign exchange specialists and has helped more than 150,000 people with overseas money transfers. Visit for more information.

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