Buckinghamshire, England (11 March 2011) – Currencies.co.uk, a leading foreign exchange provider, reveal findings which suggest that convenience takes priority over money-saving when it comes to the rates on foreign exchange transactions.

High Street Banks have profited to the tune of an estimated £948 million over the last five years from giving customers poor rates on foreign currency exchange transactions, according to a new report from specialist currency broker Currencies.co.uk.

The new research found that 7.9 million people have transferred a lump sum averaging £7,874 abroad over the last five years.  The most popular method of transferring money was through a high street bank, with 39 per cent of people choosing this convenient but often expensive option.

According to Currencies.co.uk the difference between exchange rates offered by the high street banks and specialist foreign currency providers is around 4%2.  Based on the average lump sum transferred, people are left around £472 worse off than if they had used a specialist FX broker.  The average fee to transfer money abroad using a High Street Bank is £19, while specialist brokers are most often fee-free.

Stephen Hughes, Director of Currencies.co.uk, commented on the findings: “The pound has taken a real battering relative to other major currencies in recent months. Given that, people need to get the best exchange deal they can, which clearly means looking beyond the high street. “The message is clear; banks are making a lot of money at customers’ expense by charging fees and offering poor exchange rates in return.”

The second most popular method of transferring money abroad was via a high street money transfer service such as Western Union. Designed for transferring smaller amounts, these services will charge a fee of around £300 for transferring larger amounts (£7,874) and exchange rates are comparable to those of high street banks.

Currencies.co.uk found that the most common reason for transferring money abroad was to pay for holiday costs such as villa rental; this accounts for 41 per cent of transfers made abroad1.

The second most popular reason was to send a gift or loan to friends and family, which accounted for over a third of transactions (35 per cent). A quarter (24 per cent) of transfers related to purchases of big ticket items such as homes, cars and boats, while six per cent of transfers were to pay for university tuition, dental and medical bills1.

Stephen Hughes added: “Using your bank to transfer money appears to be the easy option, yet using a specialist broker is incredibly simple – as increasing numbers of people are finding out. Companies like ours provide customers with the opportunity to deal with a foreign currency experts who provides a much better level of service.  When transferring large amounts the difference between the high street banks and transfer services can be thousands of pounds.”

For more information on Foreign Currency Direct’s services, please visit www.currencies.co.uk or call 0800 328 5884.

Notes to Editors:

1 ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 2,002 adults.  ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.  Further information at www.icmresearch.co.uk

2 Based on rates given for AUD, EUR, USD, NZD and ZAR on 11th May 2010 on www.sendmoneyhome.org.

About Currencies.co.uk

Currencies.co.uk is the new trading name Foreign Currency Direct. Currencies.co.uk is a leading foreign exchange providers and the first choice for thousands of businesses and individuals to save money when transferring funds. The well-established, award-winning company provides a friendly, efficient service to people moving money for everything from purchasing overseas properties to emigration and investment abroad. In the past ten years Currencies.co.uk has helped over 30,000 Britons to buy and sell property overseas.


Stephen Hughes

Foreign Currency Direct PLC

Currencies Mews

Badminton Court
Old Amersham

Freephone: 0800 328 5884

International: 0044 1494 725353

Email: sah@currencies.co.uk