Home » Emigration » A guide to foreign exchange for those buying overseas

Anyone buying property overseas will, at some point, need to make a foreign transfer which will depend on the current rates of the currency market.

How does foreign exchange work when buying overseas?

The currency market, or foreign exchange market (FX), is where participants from around the world buy and sell various currencies. These participants include banks, big corporations, investment management firms, hedge funds, investors and retail brokers.

Being aware of the foreign exchange market allows you to capitalize on the fluctuations of your preferred currency, should the rate move in your favour.

For example, if you’re planning on buying a home in France for €250,000 when the GBP/EUR is 1.15, this purchase will cost you £217,778 (rounded up). But, if that rate falls to 1.14 – which it often does after major data releases – your home in France will end up costing you an additional £1,520, which you might not have budgeted for.

How does a currency transfer work?

The mechanics of buying a property in a foreign currency are simple – especially if you use a foreign exchange service like Smart Currency Exchange. With us, there are six key steps involved in changing your currency for a property purchase.

  1. Speak to your Personal Trader about your requirements to understand your budget and work out the transfer solution best suited to you.


  1. Your Personal Trader will quote the exchange rate according to live rates, they’ll also tell you how much your funds will be worth in euros, dollars, or whatever currency you’ll be buying in.


  1. When you agree to the quote, your Personal Trader will purchase the currency on your behalf. It’s then that your transfer becomes legally binding.


  1. You will then receive confirmation (via email) that your trade has been booked, along with payment instructions. If you don’t receive the confirmation, please inform us immediately.


  1. You then need to notify Smart Currency which beneficiary account you want your funds paid into (by email, fax, or post)


  1. Once your funds have cleared, they are sent to the international beneficiary bank and normally arrive within 48 hours. The receiving bank will then allocate the funds to the beneficiary account.


How to make your payment

There are a number of different ways you can make your payment. They include:

  • Cheque in the post (takes 5 days)
  • Same day bank transfer (your bank may charge between £15-30)
  • Smart Currency’s faster payment system (free and same day transfer)
  • Internet banking (no charge)

For a more in-depth introduction to sending money overseas, download our free guide, The Property Buyer’s Guide to Currency.

The guide covers everything from currency risk to using your bank vs a currency specialist.

Download the guide today

Find out how we can help you

Let us know a little more about your upcoming currency exchange needs. We aim to take the uncertainty away by providing guidance on which services suit your individual requirements. You can then rest, assured your money is not at the mercy of the currency markets.

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