New Expat In Dubai? Avoid These Common Currency Pitfalls
Whether you have been living in Dubai for a while or you are just about to make the transition to this fabulous hub of expat life, looking after your money is essential. Thousands of people are lured to Dubai for the bright lights, great shopping and fantastic career and investment opportunities, but whatever the reason for your big move to UAE, there are some things to bear in mind when dealing with currency. Read this quick guide so that you can ensure you avoid the most common currency ripoffs and make your money go further.
Find An Money Transfer Specialist And Stick With Them
At some point during your move to Dubai you will need to make a money transfer. This could involve transferring savings from your offshore account to your new Dubai account or it could be that you need to lay down a deposit on accommodation in the city.
A reputable and regulated FCA authorised money transfer specialist will ensure you get the best deal on your exchange rate and avoid the high charges that can often be levied by banks and worse still, transfer agents on the street. No matter what the marketing hype says (0% commission, free transfers etc.) make sure you benchmark the rate you’re offered versus the real exchange rate. You can compare money transfer brokers and offers on-line easily thanks to the many currency and transfer comparison sites that are now available.
Make The Most Of A Good Exchange Rate
Another way you can cash in on a good exchange rate is by booking a forward contract with your money transfer broker. This allows you to lock in the exchange rate for anything up to 24 months and can be a great way to mitigate against the risk of adverse currency fluctuations. Expat use forward contracts and other hedging products to minimize currency risk.
Choose An FCA Approved Money Transfer Broker For Total Peace Of Mind
Worried about making a large transaction with a transfer specialist you have never used before? Look for the FCA and HMRC credentials when choosing a broker to handle your international transfers and currency exchanges. Ask brokers questions such as: do you operate segregated client accounts? How long have you been in business? It pays to shop around and ask questions.
Currency as cash? Ditch the airport bureau!
The world’s worst place to exchange currency is at the airport bureau. Whilst they boast of ‘we offer 0% commission,’ don’t be fooled by this equating to free travel money in any way, shape or form. In reality, they are building in implicit (hidden) costs of up to 10-15% of the value of your purchase. You could be paying up to £50 on every £500 worth of travel money bought. Once again, it pays to shop on-line where suppliers can deliver currency to your front door via Royal Mail next day delivery.
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Aviva Tabachnik is an expat and keen personal finance writer. She is Head of Partnerships at MyCurrencyTransfer – an OPP award winning currency comparison site. Recently, she helped launch sister site CurrencyTransfer.com by representing the UK as part of a UKTI trade mission to SXSW, the largest technology show in the USA.