Back in your home country, getting access to your cash is something you rarely need to think about. However, as soon as you go overseas for a long period of time, it becomes a serious matter.
If your money is located in one country, but you live in another, you will need to make sure you can get access to it as and when you need it. However, there are different ways that you can go about this, and some of them are more expensive than others.
So how should you get access to your money in a hassle-free manner without having to worry about expensive fees?
Plastic: Convenience, but at a Cost
Credit and debit cards are the easiest way for you to get access to your cash. If you have your money in a bank account in your home country, a Visa or MasterCard credit or debit card is all you need to withdraw that money from ATMs across the world.
However, you often pay a cost for this convenience. Your bank can charge you a currency exchange fee as well as a transaction fee, and you could find that you are being charged heavily each time you take out some cash.
For holidays and short stays abroad, this is often not a serious problem. But when you start living abroad and accessing all of your money in this way, the costs can add up.
One possible solution is to use a prepaid card. These work in a similar way to standard cards, but you load them up with money before withdrawing that cash or spending it. However, these are not always completely free to use, and it depends how and where you use them. Try them out, but don’t expect them to always provide a completely free way to access your cash.
The other main solution is to transfer money directly from your home country to your current location. The most well-known company offering this service is Western Union, and you are almost certain to find an office near to you.
However, this can be costly. Fees can be high for even relatively minor transfers, and if you transfer money regularly, the costs can quickly add up. It can also be a hassle travelling to your nearest office to pick up the money, and if you transfer large amounts each time you may have security concerns.
The good news is that there are many money transfer services to choose from, and their fees vary. Some companies offer very competitive fees and good exchange rates, so it really pays to compare your options.
Perhaps the best option in many situations is to use a service that specialises in foreign exchange, like TorFx. These can make it a lot easier to set up regular payments abroad, and the fees are often a lot more competitive than you would get transferring money through your bank.
If you have a bank account in your new country, bank fees can be extortionate to transfer money. However, use a specialist service and you may find that you pay as little as no fees for regular payments, seriously cutting down on your money transfer costs.
Things to Look For
However you choose to transfer your money overseas, there are a few things that you should look for. The first is the fee. There will usually be some kind of fee involved in the service, and this can range significantly. The second is the exchange rate. Even if the fee is low, a poor exchange rate could end up costing you more overall.
Thirdly, check that the company providing the transfer is genuine and reliable. What sort of protection is in place should the money fail to arrive? Can the company be trusted? Check out reviews online to find out if anyone has experienced problems with it.
Choose the Best Way to Get Access to Your Cash
Finally, another thing you should find out about is the ease of receiving money in the country you are living in. Different countries have their own rules about these things, and if you get your money transferred to a bank account, you may find that there is a lot of paperwork to fill out before you can get access to the cash.
It is therefore well worth researching the situation where you are before you make any decisions, and then you can decide upon the best option available for you.