Studying Overseas and Fee Payments

Many students are now choosing to study abroad and this can raise a number of issues when dealing in foreign currency transactions for the first time.

It is a daunting time for any parent, watching their child head out into the world for themselves as they begin university. With the increasing cost of university tuition in the UK, easier access to foreign universities and the attraction of studying in a foreign country many students are now choosing to study abroad.


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Although studying overseas can offer an amazing experience, students often fail to research cheaper alternatives to the bank when it comes to sending money between home and their country of study.

Some 22,000 UK students were enrolled in studies overseas last year, with the majority choosing to make and receive payments through their bank. For mum and dad this may seem like the easiest method but in reality you are being charged an unnecessary amount of money. With the cost of fees, accommodation and general living, the difference in savings between using a bank and a foreign exchange broker can run into the hundreds, if not thousands of pounds over the length of their university course.

So if you are currently studying abroad or are thinking about taking your studies overseas, then make sure you get the best deal on overseas transactions by reading the following advice.

The bank dilemma
It may seem the obvious solution to use your bank to send money to a student overseas, as you would if they were UK based. Most parents or students do favour this option but they don’t realise they are losing significant amounts of money in each transfer they are making.

The average cost of tuition fees in the USA is $28,500 per year. Added to this is an average of $7,800 in accommodation fees, $5,000 for food, $800 for books and resources and $1,600 for miscellaneous expenses. This adds up to almost $45,000 per year.

When sending such a large amount of money abroad, you would expect to look for the best possible exchange rate and service with the smallest fee charged. But that will not be through your bank.

Banks charge, on average, a fee of £30 per overseas transaction. This means each time you want to send a little extra money, pay tuition fees, rent, or any other expense, you will have to hand over an additional £30.

This is not the main drawback to using your bank though. A much more serious financial implication is the poor exchange rate offered. For transfers to the US, banks charge up to 5% difference between the inter-bank exchange rate and the rate offered to you, the customer. This inflates their profit and ensures you pay more in commission every time you send a payment to your son or daughter.

For example, if the average cost of studying in the US for one year is £26,500, the loss of money in sending that amount in an overseas transaction would be just over £1,000, if a 5% margin was charged.

We know that you don’t want to be charged such a large amount of money to send money to someone studying abroad. That is why we offer you a comparison of the very best foreign exchange specialists for you to choose from. Here are the reasons why using a foreign exchange specialist is a smarter route to go down.

The alternative
Foreign exchange brokers focus on providing the best exchange rate for their customers, whether it is to send or receive transfers. This allows them to become specialists with in-depth knowledge of the industry and provide you with the best service possible. Unlike a bank, you won’t be passed through various levels of customer service to get a clear and knowledgeable answer but instead will be given one dedicated point of contact. The transfer itself is made easier via an online service which provides 24/7 access, stores recipient bank details (for repeat transfers) and payment for your transactions by debit card or bank transfer. You can even monitor exchange rates and setup alerts.

The cost of this service? All foreign exchange brokers on send transfers for free regardless of the amount. The dreaded margin charged by banks is also reduced, exchange specialists will offer a rate differing less than 1% from the headline rate and improves as the transfer amount increases.

Case Study
We have helped many students and their parents save money when studying overseas. In 2013, Sarah and Phillip from Oxford decided to send their son Giles to study a business management degree in Canada.

They agreed to fund the costs of Giles’s higher education, paying university tuition fees of $15,000 Canadian Dollars (£8,200) per year, airfares, accommodation and living expenses. The university required the first year’s tuition fees to be paid up front up and after receiving an invoice, Sarah went straight to her bank to make the payment.

She was surprised to find the exchange rate she was offered was 4% lower than the rate she had seen advertised on the Internet and that she would be charged £30 for the transaction. She worked out she would be paying an extra £350 in the transaction and decided to find another method of making payments to Giles whilst he was in Canada.

Sarah went online and found an article on sending currency transfers on She found the information useful and decided to compare the services of a number of providers on the website. She was amazed to find not only could she get an improved exchange rate but she would also be charged less without any compromise on security or service.

After comparing a number of providers, she decided to try a transfer with one of our expert companies using its online service. The exchange rate she was offered was only 0.75% away from the headline rate and she was not charged a transfer fee. Impressed with the service, she now only uses Moneycorp to send all transfers to Giles including one off smaller transfers in emergencies and on his birthday.

Savings calculation

On $15,000 Canadian Dollars (approx £8200)

Nat West exchange rate 1.7750

(4% margin) = £358 (including £30 fee)

Moneycorp exchange rate 1.8320 (0.75% margin) = £61.5

Total saving = £296.50

Why use only works with the top foreign exchange specialists who must meet the following criteria:

1. Authorised and regulated as a Payment Institution by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
2. Licensed Money Transmitters by HM Revenue and Customs
3. Operate segregated client bank accounts in accordance with FCA rules on the safeguarding of client funds
4. Are well established and respected in the foreign exchange industry
5. Have a strong financial position (ownership, accounts, ratings and references)

If you are studying abroad, or have children that do, please use the form below to see how our experts could save you money.

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