The World Bank’s latest findings indicate that countries are innovating like never before to make it easier to do business globally in today’s connected world. Read more “UK Ranks Ninth Overall in World Bank’s Latest Ease Of Doing Business Report; Usual Suspects Grab Top Rankings”
If you are a frequent flier, and a fan of using plastic over hard cash, then doubtless you will be aware that you can collect points for spending with your credit card that can be used to subsidise your air miles.
Air miles and credit cards seem to enjoy a fruitful relationship, and have done so for a matter of decades; and yet so few of us take advantage of the options available to us. Read more “3 Best Credit Cards For Picking Up Free Air Miles”
Take a deep breath. For once, Brexit woes have taken a back seat and the currency markets have had a little breathing space. With no fresh crises or emergencies, it has been relatively plain sailing this week for Sterling. Perhaps a good time then, to think about making that pounds to euros transfer you had been putting off? Read more “3 Great Deals For Sending Money Overseas: Pounds to Euros”
Spain is generally regarded as being an expat friendly country, and indeed it is, but if you are not a permanent resident in Spain (and here is a guide explaining how you can become one) then obtaining a mortgage to purchase a property in the country can be tricky.
Tricky, but far from impossible. Whilst some lenders are not open to borrowers from overseas, others are more than happy to help foreigners finance property purchases. But, if you are an overseas buyer, or even a Spanish person living abroad, then you can expect to pay higher interest rates on your mortgage. Read more “3 Of The Best Mortgage Providers For Non Residents Buying Property In Spain”
Before you pull out and flourish your credit card to pay for your goods and services whilst travelling overseas, think twice – then think again!
Withdrawing money using a credit card is a costly move even in your own country – credit card companies penalise cash withdrawers heavily with a host of associated charges – and the same applies overseas – don’t think the same rules do not apply. Read more “3 Overseas Credit Cards To Use Abroad”
To use a straightforward example, isn’t it strange that, in a tech-mad world, we still need to employ advanced mental arithmetic skills to work out how much money we have in our bank accounts. Read more “Flavors of Fast? 40 Countries Now Using Faster Payment Schemes As Business Case Becomes Unarguable”
Emmanuel Macron is an ex investment banker which may explain why the French President is pursuing an aggressive strategy to try to relocate fintech startups and financial services companies to Paris in the aftermath of Brexit. Can he succeed? Read more “Revolut Rejects Macron Overtures But Can London Stay Ahead Of Paris For Fintech?”
The “Maybot” was given a fresh new outing today as British Tory Prime Minister Theresa May danced her way onstage to deliver the annual speech at the Conservative Party conference. But did the international trade and finance community or those of us with personal finance interests abroad learn anything new about the party’s plans for Brexit and foreign policies? Read more “Dancing Queen or Brexit Screen? May’s Annual Conference Speech Dissected For International Traders”
Some people like plastic, whilst others prefer cash. These two payment methods have been around for generations, and, until recently, there has been little to choose between them when it comes to choosing how to pay for goods and services.
Today, however, and particularly in the Western world, it seems that we are increasingly moving towards a “cashless” society, where debit and credit cards, or even mobile wallets, hold sway. But what about when we spend time overseas? Read more “Multi Currency Debit Cards – Should You Have One?”
At The Money Cloud we have kept a close eye on the Indian micro-payments market. It is fascinating for a number of reasons: firstly, it showcases some of the most advanced fintech being developed anywhere in the world; secondly, it is a model that it is likely to have a transformative effect on the way people pay for things, not just in India, but all over the world. Thirdly, it is a place where social media giants embrace finance, and lastly, it is an open field and nobody knows who will emerge triumphant from this fragmented and highly competitive market.
This week, an article in Bloomberg revealed that Warren Buffett had invested into Paytm, which demonstrates just how influential and lucrative the payments market in India looks set to become. According to Credit Suisse, the market will soon (by 2023) reach $1 trillion dollars, and stands at $200 billion today. But this volume accounts for just 30% of all payments, with the rest being made in cash. Compared with a market like China, where the mobile payments market is already worth $5 Trillion.
According to journalists Suritha Rai ad Anto Anthony, the major difference between the Chinese and Indian payments markets is that China is a closed shop to foreigners, whilst India’s government is welcoming international players to launch their services in the country. Hence, the world is looking on to see the future of the payments industry being incubated. India’s government is keen to move towards a cashless society, and has provided an enviable payments infrastructure to facilitate digital wallets, and domestic and international payments.
Looking at the numbers, however, it is Indian born services that are leading the way. Flipkart has generated more than 133m downloads, whilst Paytm leads the way with more than 150m. Google Tez apparently has 50m users, whilst another Indian firm, BHIM, has pulled in 32m customers.
What the Silicon Valley tech giants do have, however, is a colossal number of users who may well be tempted to switch their payments habits if the likes of Facebook, Google, and Apple can make their payments options more visible, effective, and a good cultural fit. In this regard, WhatsApp, which is phenomenally popular in India, is one to watch, but is yet to progress beyond the beta testing phase.
Google Tez has changed tack, and is now known as Google Pay, launching with a range of new services including splitting bill payments, and tap-tap-go style functionality that makes pinging rupees around as easy as messaging a friend.
And then there is Ant Financial, the Chinese fintech giant that commands huge volumes of transactions in the East, and is determined to break into markets including Africa, India, and the US, have narrowly missed out on the acquisition of MoneyGram last year.
Finally, could blockchain based payments apps make an impact on the market? Again, here, foreign players are on the charge, with Singapore based LaLa World has been making headlines, whilst online startup mag Inc42 lists no fewer than 13 new entrants, all with ambitions to be the everyday Indians preferred payments choice.
Warren Buffet et al should not expect to have things easy, but as things stand, it seems the Sage of Omaha has backed the right horse.
This content is sourced and brought to you by The Money Cloud – comparing the best rates for sending money overseas offered by hand-picked, regulated brokers and money transfer agencies.
Over the weekend, news emerged that overseas footballers in the UK; of which there is a higher proportion than in any other international football league; have been attempting to hedge against further falls in the value of Sterling.
Sterling has fallen around 15% against both the euro and the dollar since Britain voted to leave the EU, dropping 3% in the past 3 months, and creating problems for businesses and individuals alike. In the case of the Premierships’ multi-millionaire footballers, many are asking to be paid in Euros, a request which football clubs, even those as rich as Manchester United, are struggling to accede to, due to the fact they do not hold sufficient foreign currency reserves.
Currency hedging can be a tricky business; knowing when to buy or sell a currency is an instinct that the best FX currency traders, for example, possess, but not even they can get it right every time. So what are the best options for individuals and businesses with financial commitments overseas? Let’s look at 3 strategies that might help to protect against unexpected, unplanned for losses.
Take control of your risk with financial projections
If you are a seasoned entrepreneur, business owner, or traveller, you may feel that you have an understanding of how currency movements play out, and what can be done to hedge against them. But experience alone is not enough; to ultimately make the right choices, planning ahead is essential.
All businesses, and even most domestic households, create budgets to try to plan for the future. In order to plan a currency hedging strategy effectively, it can be useful to plot different scenarios; a best case, worst case, and most likely case, for example, is a good start.
By plugging in different currency fluctuation scenarios into your budget, it should be possible to calculate when, for example, a sale and delivery of goods overseas becomes unprofitable, a holiday or spell abroad becomes prohibitively expensive, or, alternatively, when it becomes attractive to spend in the short term for longer term financial gain.
There is no guarantee that your scenarios will play out in real life, but they can certainly provide an effective way to manage your currency risk. It is up to a business, or individual, to decide how much appetite they have for risk – but before doing that, it is essential to have a clear picture of what kinds of problems and issues different attitudes towards currency risk will throw up. Fail to prepare,prepare to fail, as they say.
Consult a professional broker
If you are do not feel confident about which strategy is best for you, your family or your business, then it may be worth reaching out for professional help.
International currency brokers naturally charge a fee for their work, so it’s important to decide if the level of risk you are exposed to justifies the extra cost. Sometimes, currency related losses are simply unavoidable due to market, or political forces; witness the current situation in Venezuela, for example, where the government has been forced to launch its own Petrodollar cryptocurrency, a hedge against the Venezuelan Bolivar, which has simply spiralled out of control owing to uncontrollable levels of inflation.
If your currency risk exposure is long term and consistent, however, i.e. you are making regular overseas payments or regularly selling goods overseas, then a broker can help. They are likely to have a superior knowledge of how the markets may move, and not only that, they have access to vast, cheap, quantities of foreign exchange, giving them a significant advantage in the marketplace.
Interacting with a broker on a regular basis will improve your own knowledge of the FX markets, so you may not need to consult directly with your broker over every transaction, but if you have a significant foreign currency exposure, working with an FX broker represents a no-brainer.
Open a self-managed account
Thanks to the rise of disruptive technology, there is a great deal more transparency around the FX markets than there once was. Most brokerages, and a growing number of fintech startups, provide the means for you to run your own currency hedging service. There is no shortage of newsflow, either.
Comparison sites like The Money Cloud can give you an instant overview of the rates, fees, and transaction times offered by a range of MTOs (Money Transfer Operators), and even provide a digital dashboard that helps you quickly negotiate AML (anti-money-laundering) and KYC (know your customer) checks, store all of your transaction history for future reference, and even use techniques such as AI and machine learning to help guide your decision making process.
Brexit has created huge disruption in the value of Sterling, and the instability shows no signs of abating. Within the EU, nothing is guaranteed, as trade wars with the US and differing political agendas create uncertainty, whilst the US, China, Russia, Africa, the subcontinent, Asia and Australasia all have a role to play in sudden and unexpected foreign exchange fluctuations.
As discussed above, there are many different strategies that you can use to protect your own interests, whatever they may be; the one thing you can’t do, in the current environment, is do nothing. Other than that, it is up to you; whether you are an entrepreneur, traveller, or pro-footballer; to decide how best to hedge your currency exposure.
The FCA plans to take action against firms offering misleading exchange rates to potential customers, such as offering the “interbank” rate, only to switch to an alternative, less competitive rate once the customer is at a more advanced stage of the transaction.
Besides the offering of “unachievable” exchange rates, the FCA wants to stop firms making unsubstantiated claims about how much rival services charge, “unless the comparison is fair and balanced and the firm can prove that the claims made are true.”
The FCA revealed that the UK currency exchange transfer market for outbound services is worth approximately £60bn per annum, with remittances; sending money overseas regularly to support family or friends; responsible for roughly £18bn of that figure.
The new rules will be aimed at protecting “consumers who are individuals acting outside their trade, business or profession, micro-businesses and charities with an annual income of less than £1 million”, who are perceived to be most vulnerable due to having less experience of foreign currency exchange markets and what the precise costs of making a transaction ought to be. The FCA will insist that: “where providers compare the costs of their service with other providers, they do so in ways which are meaningful, fair and balanced, and capable of being substantiated.”
The main concern is the way in which a foreign exchange company may communicate a promotion offering a particular rate to win a customer’s business, only to offer a less competitive rate once the customer has all but committed to using the firms services. In the FCA’s view, the misleading offer has prevented the customer from visiting other sites or using a comparison service to compare real time or achievable rates offered by other service providers.
As much as possible the FCA wants to make sure that customers are getting all the facts and that there are no hidden charges or fees that are applied at a later stage, making a seemingly inexpensive transaction more costly than advertised, and giving the service provider an unfair advantage over competitors who are more transparent about their pricing and provide information about additional charges up front.
The FCA says that “research and evidence collected on market practices, as well as customer behavioural trends, indicate that customers face challenges in understanding the total cost of a currency exchange transaction”, and that misleading advertising “could lead to losses for consumers and SMEs.”
The second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) which came into effect EU-wide in January this year has introduced new legislation designed to curb misleading advertising practices within the international money transfer industry, and covering “disclosure of information, cost and charges for currency conversions”. The FCA also plans to take into account directives from the European Commission “designed to increase transparency of charges for payments that involve currency exchanges and to increase the comparability of the options available for payment service users.”
The FCA is inviting feedback from firms and interested parties before it decides what specific action to take. The public consultation closes in November, with new rules and guidelines expected to be released published early in 2019.
If you are looking to send money abroad and would like to use a comparison service that gives you all the facts, including fees, exchange rates and transaction times, try The Money Cloud. We work exclusively with regulated money transfer brokers and use API’s to display real-time rates that you can compare for a wide range of currencies in just a few clicks.
The world’s best footballers tend to earn jaw dropping sums of money, and their tax affairs tend to be complex, to say the least. In the past couple of years, in Spain, several, including Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who play for Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively and together share the mantle of “world’s best footballers” have tangled with the Spanish tax authorities over undeclared income. Read more “The Non-Dom Tax Rule: Understanding Remittance vs Arising Taxes (& How It Could Save World’s Best Footballers Millions)”
This month, Google announced some sweeping changes to its payment services, which had become a little confused, and confusing. Read more “Google Is Cleaning Up It’s Payments Act, Merging Apps & Offering Enhanced Services; Could International Money Transfer Be Next?”
In his introduction to the government’s controversial Brexit white paper; the country’s first attempt to try to explain on paper how leaving the EU by March 29th, 2019 might work; new Brexit secretary Dominic Raab talks about how “technological revolutions and scientific transformations are driving major changes in the global economy.” Read more “Brexit White Paper Deep Dive: What Does British Industry Really Want, & Why?”
The technology industry is sometimes guilty of over-hyping its influence over the world, and over-exaggerating the usefulness of its products. Is a restaurant food ordering app really so very different from a takeaway menu leaflet? Was a taxi-cab rank genuinely the inconvenience that it is made out to be today? And remember when dating meant face-to-face contact over dinner or a drink, rather than swiping left or right in a couple of milliseconds?
In the case of money transfer, you could be forgiven for concluding that, despite the hype about mobile wallets, blockchain remittance services, superior exchange rates offered and fees reduced to all-time lows, you’d rather stick with the tried and tested. Read more “What Type Of International Money Transfer Services Are You Using (& What Type Should You Be Using)?”
Amidst all the recent discussion and hand-wringing around the new GDPR regulations, it’s easy to forget that it was only in January this year that the updated Payment Services Directives, a set of EC-wide regulations designed to make it easier, faster and less expensive to for customers to pay for goods and services, by promoting innovation, came into force.
If the introduction of PSD2 has gone a little under the radar, a new report from PWC, in association with the Open Data Institute, argues that the effects of the Open Banking “revolution” certainly won’t. The report estimates that “Open Banking has the potential to create a revenue opportunity of at least £7.2bn by 2022 across retail and SME markets.” Read more “PWC / Open Data Institute Investigate State Of “Open Banking” Revolution In New Report”
In a recent article in Finextra, Lakshmi Narayanan at Travelex discusses the contrasting approaches taken by the Pakistan and India governments to the problems inherent in their countries remittance industries.
India is the largest market for inbound remittance in the world, receiving more than $72bn of inbound money transfers from overseas, whilst Pakistan also has a large inbound remittance market worth around £19.3bn. Read more “Cheaper, Faster Overseas Money Transfer Options Are Inspiring Customers To Embrace Digital MTOs”
It’s been an eventful week in the world of international money transfer. Whilst Trump launches trade wars with Europe, China, Canada, and Mexico (to name a few), which is guaranteed to lead to tricky exchange rate calculations for many businesses (don’t forget to check the latest rates and save up to 80% on fees using The Money Cloud), there has plenty of activity in the consumer international payments market too.
Here’s how the big stories have broken down in the past week or so. Read more “The Week In International Payments; Partnerships Galore, & Currencies Direct Tests Blockchain Solution”
When it comes to relocating abroad, British citizens certainly seem to know what they like, and stick to it, if data released by the Office for National Statistics last week is to be believed. Read more “Spain Most Popular Destination For UK’s 0.8m Expats In EU, But Australia and New Zealand Attract Majority of Brits Living Abroad”