Struggling to decide on the best way to transfer a large sum of money abroad?
In this article, I’ll discuss the best ways to do that quickly and safely, while getting the best possible rates.
At Digital Émigré, we’ve helped many people invest in European countries for residency, both in real estate and investment funds. I’ve also had recent personal experience transferring a large lump sum from the UK to Portugal – for my own property purchase.
This article includes affiliate links. We earn a commission if you use these links to buy something, at no extra cost to you. Here’s our full disclosure statement. Thanks for your support!
Common Problems With Large Transfers
Unlike everyday money transfers, dealing with large sums presents its own set of problems.
You have to worry about exchange rates and fees, while also making sure the money arrives safely and on time.
Other problems include:
- Exchange rate fluctuation – you could lose money if the rate changes before your transfer goes through.
- High fees – especially if you’re using a bank to transfer the funds.
- Slow process – especially if you’re dealing with a lot of paperwork.
- Money lost in transit – this could happen if something goes wrong.
That’s why it’s important to do your research before transferring large amounts of money abroad.
Compare exchange rates and fees, choose a reputable provider, and make sure you understand the process before you begin.
By taking these precautions, you can ensure your transfer goes smoothly and your money arrives safely at its destination.
How to Transfer Large Sums Overseas Quickly and Safely
We’ve looked at the most common reasons to transfer large amounts of money abroad.
At least one of them probably fits your situation right now.
Step 1: Skip your bank
Can you use your existing bank for transferring large sums of money between bank accounts? Well, you can.
But that doesn’t mean you should.
When it comes to sending funds internationally, traditional banks usually fall short in three main areas:
- Poor exchange rates
- High fees for transfers
- Slow transfer speeds
Using your bank will leave you out of pocket, thanks to those bad exchange rates and high fees. Plus, the slow transfer speeds may cause you to lose out on a promising opportunity, such as snapping up your dream property.
So what’s the solution?
Step 2: Identify several reliable money transfer services
Specialist money transfer services are the best way to transfer large amounts of money abroad. They offer high levels of security, just like your bank, but with the advantage of being faster and cheaper.
To give you added peace of mind, money transfer services allow you to track the progress of your funds online.
They also provide a dedicated account manager to handle your transfer. You can always reach this person by email or phone if anything goes wrong, or just to check the status of your funds.
In contrast, money exchange apps like Wise or Revolut can be difficult to get in touch with if you have an issue with your transfer. That’s why I personally only use them to transfer smaller everyday sums. I always use a specialist money transfer service for moving larger amounts.
I’ve tested out a number of money transfer services, both for my own needs and on behalf of our clients.
Currencies Direct is my preferred choice, for their excellent customer service, smooth transfer process, and competitive exchange rates. Here’s my full Currencies Direct review.
I have a great account manager at Currencies Direct who is always on hand to help me, both with general questions on exchange rates and the markets, and the transfer process itself. Working with him makes me feel safe and secure when moving my money around the world.
Other well-known options include:
- Currencies 4 You
Step 3: Compare quotes and level of service
When transferring large sums of money overseas, you’ll want to get the best exchange rate possible. I’d advise you to compare quotes from several money exchange services before deciding which one to move forward with.
There’s normally not a huge amount of difference between them, but if you want to squeeze the most mileage possible from your funds it makes sense to compare the market.
More importantly, you should look at the level of customer service and the overall reputation of the provider.
Step 4: Create an account with your preferred provider
Once you’ve chosen your preferred provider, you’ll need to create an account with them. They’ll need to verify your identity and your address, so be ready to send them an ID document and proof of address.
Once that’s done, you should have access to your own dashboard and be ready to make your first transfer.
Step 5: Identify a good exchange rate and lock it in
The great thing about money transfer services is their spot transfer feature. Once you found a good exchange rate, you can immediately lock it in, then get started with transferring your funds.
What’s more, your account manager should be on hand to advise you on when he or she thinks the best exchange rates will be available, based on market data.
Step 6: Make the transfer
Finally, you send the funds from your regular bank account using the bank details for the money transfer service. Funds will show up in your dashboard and you can track their progress.
It normally takes a couple of days for the transfer to be made, but there’s no need to worry – your original exchange rate gets locked in. You can contact your account manager any time if you have queries about the transfer. You can also monitor its progress in the dashboard.
Why Transfer Large Sums Overseas? 7 Common Use Cases
#1. Buying real estate
If you’ve just moved to a new country, establishing a home base will be high on your list of requirements.
Buying a new home or an investment property overseas is one of the most common reasons for transferring a large sum of money abroad.
Whether you’re buying the property upfront in cash, or getting a mortgage, you’ll likely need to transfer a significant chunk of money from overseas.
In that scenario, it’s vital to have a fast and reliable money transfer service to ensure your funds are ready to secure your dream property.
#2. Investing in overseas funds
Another reason to transfer a large sum of money is for making an investment in funds in your new country.
Becoming resident in a new country often means you can no longer invest in previous financial products from your original country.
For example, if you’re a UK expat with a stocks and shares ISA, you can no longer add funds to your ISA while being non-UK resident.
In that situation, you might want to find an alternative investment option, so you can continue building your wealth during your expat journey.
#3. Getting residency
In certain countries, you can get a residency visa quite easily by making a significant investment in the country.
That investment must be made in euros, which likely means you’ll need to transfer a large sum internationally.
Other kinds of residency visas, such as the Portugal D7 visa, also require you to have savings held in euros – yet another case where you’ll need to transfer money internationally.
#4. Setting up a new business
Perhaps you’ve incorporated a new business in your new home country, and need capital to fund its early stages.
Or maybe you already have a business and want to take advantage of an exciting new opportunity. No matter what the case, it’s likely that you’ll need to transfer a large amount of money.
#5. Moving your savings or pension
When moving abroad for the long-term, some expats prefer to transfer their savings or pension from their home country to local providers in their new country.
#6. Paying school fees abroad
School fees account for a big portion of your expenses, and paying them abroad normally means using local currency. To avoid any delays with registering for the new academic year, you’ll need to transfer and exchange your funds in good time.
#7. Repatriating overseas inheritance
With an international lifestyle, there may come a time when you receive inheritance from overseas.
In that situation, you probably want to repatriate the funds to your country of residency. You’ll need a reliable and low-cost money transfer service to get the job done with minimal hassle.
Before you go…
During your expat life, you’ll probably need to transfer a large amount of money between your old country and your new one.
You might need it for a mortgage, investing in funds, buying a property, paying your kids’ school fees, or transferring your pension.
Currencies Direct is my recommended money transfer service.
I’ve always had a great experience with them, and I particularly appreciate the personal service from my dedicated account manager.
I can always access the best exchange rates and never have to worry about my funds being delayed, lost, or misdirected.