This one goes especially for the ones of us who live abroad. Many times I have wanted to send money back to Barcelona, perhaps by a money transfer. However, I always flake at the last minute when I see the money I will waste by paying the transfer fee and the outrageous conversion rate between currencies that banks apply.

A solution to this common problem has been found, and its name is Oanda.

Quoting my friend Vito – the one who made the discovery and saved our lifes – who recently sent an email to a mailing list we share…

Usually, any bank will do that transfer (via wire) for you and charge you a fee that goes from 0 to 50$. It is not that expensive and the money will get there in a couple of days, right? riight!?

The only problem is ANY bank will charge you an outrageous conversion rate between currencies. To give a specific example related to my case, I called citibank a couple of weeks ago inquiring about the euro-dollar rate.
At that time, you could check it online and it was around 1.30$. However, this is the info they gave me (it changes daily):

– They sell euros at 1.37$
– They buy euros at 1.24$

Maybe that seems normal to you but it is a huge spread. I searched online and basically all banks will have similar spreads. Even PayPal charges conversion rates not close to the “right” value.

Continuing with the example, if you want to transfer 10000 usd to euros, the conversion rate becomes significant:
10000 * 1.37 – 10000 * 1.30 = 10000 * 0.07 = 700$ lost

After some more search, I found an online currency trading broker ( http://www.oanda.com ), which will charge you the same rate as banks charge to each other. From the previous example the spread would be much smaller, smthg like 1.2995 to 1.3005 and they give you a rate down to the minute.

Assuming you don’t trade currencies, all you will need from OANDA is the Global Transfer service, which lets you transfer money to a bunch of countries for a 25$ fee and the right currency rate.

If you want to check it out for yourselves, here are their currency rates: http://www.oanda.com/currency/converter/

You can get the same updated info from citibank here:
“For exchange rates, call the 24-hour Exchange Rate Hotline at 1-800-756-7050 and press option #1.”

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