How to Save Money When Studying Abroad

The foreign exchange specialist and managing director of Currency Change Laurent Guilbaud talks about how to save money when studying abroad.

  • What is the most common mistake that parents do when they exchange money?

    ‘Look around for the best deal’ says the managing director of Currency Change

They simply fail to realize they can reduce the expenses by considering currency risk at the early stage of arranging the international payments and by choosing the right currency provider.

  • When people want to buy consumer goods, they shop around. Do they do the same when they need to exchange money to send their kids to study abroad?

Unfortunately, they don’t. They just go to their local bank that usually offers them poor rates on top of bank transfer fees and additional receiving charges from the beneficiary bank abroad.

  • How parents can save money when they plan to send their child to study abroad?

My advice to them: Look around for the best deal. Ask your bank for a quote first. It will be a good reference point for comparing rates.  Also, check what the transfer charges are. The next step is to approach independent foreign exchange specialists and review their rates. Make sure though you choose a broker who is FSA (Financial Services Authority) authorized.

  • Exchange rates are constantly changing. When is the best time to make an international transfer?

The best way is to be attentive to currency movements. Also, use time to your advantage. Don’t leave the transaction the last minute. Even if you need the money in three months, it is better to ask your currency consultant to start working on your solution right away.

  • What are the 3 Do’s and Don’ts that people need to be aware of before they exchange money?

1. Don’t rely on your local bank to exchange and transfer your overseas payments. You might pay more that you should.

Do check independent foreign exchange (FX) specialists to find better currency deals and more personalized service.

2. Don’t be attracted by marketing phrases such as ‘competitive rates and 0% commission’ as this fee is then added to the exchange rate – which makes it difficult to get hold of the exact rate and compare it.

When choosing a currency provide, do compare exchange rates, transfer charges and fees of the beneficiary bank abroad.

3. Don’t overlook foreign exchange risk.

Do pay attention to the currency movements and ask your FX consultant for market insight and guidance how to manage your risk.

The bottom line: a small percentage difference in the cost of transferring money abroad can result in large savings. It is worth the effort.

Korina Karampela is the author of ‘b4iapply to college‘ and ‘b4iapply to uni‘ books. She talks to Laurent Guilbaud about how to save money when studying abroad.

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