Toshl Finance Blog

Guest Post on Currency Conversions: 0% commission signs are a gimmick!

Guest post by Aviva Tabachnik – Partnerships Executive at MyCurrencyTransfer

I’m delighted to have been invited by team Toshl to talk about a subject very close to my heart. Yes, currency is a little boring. Yes, it can be very annoying with lots of numbers and rates. However, I think it’s also well worth sharing with the wonderful Toshl fan base a small finance tip that has saved me a fortune over the past 12 months. Namely, ‘‘0% commission slogans on currency are a myth.’’

Here are my top 10 currency commandments for scoring a better deal, whether you are transferring money abroad OR buying holiday cash:

1. Ignore 0% commission – it’s purely a marketing gimmick designed to confuse. A terrible rate with 0% commission leaves you out of pocket

2. All currency companies make money the same way: they apply a transaction fee (think 0% commission) and add a markup away from the ‘real exchange rate.’

3. The markup applied is the strongest indicator of whether you have scored a competitive currency quote

4. The closer the rate you are offered is to the ‘real exchange rate’ the better the deal. The wider the difference, the worse the deal

5. Use a reputable currency converter tool to check and benchmark the difference between ‘sell rate’ and the ‘real rate’

6. Airports are the world’s most expensive place to exchange currency. They typically add markups of over 10% away from the real rate of exchange

7. Buying currency online for home delivery or airport pickup will always lead to preferential exchange rates

8. If you are sending large amounts of money abroad, consider the use of a non-bank foreign exchange specialist. They can offer 85% cheaper quotes than your bank

9. Don’t fall for the trap of ‘dynamic currency conversion’ when paying for goods abroad. If they ask you whether you want to ‘pay in local currency or your home currency’ always select the local currency.

10. Once you’ve bought currency, don’t fret over currency fluctuations and whether you could have held off longer or booked too soon. Not even the biggest currency analysts of top banks know with 100% accuracy which way the market is moving.

Aviva Tabachnik is a keen personal finance writer & partnerships executive at MyCurrencyTransfer – an OPP award winning foreign exchange comparison website.

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