Why Finance’s Future Finally Belongs To The Customer

Ever heard the saying, ‘the customer is always right’? In the financial services industry, that hasn’t always been true. But a major new report published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) suggests that consumers’ luck is about to change as fintech continues to disrupt, embed and lead the way. The report, entitled ‘The Future of Financial Services’, examines how fintech is shaping the industry, and it pits agile tech start-ups against the established banking Goliaths to see how each will adapt and how they’ll co-exist. Read more

Can Government Intervention Maintain A Stable Currency?

Fluctuations in the foreign exchange market can have far-reaching economic repercussions – it’s no wonder, then, that some governments choose to intervene to manage their own currency’s value. This is less common in the US and UK, which keep to a market-driven approach, but is widespread in many parts of Asia and in the Eurozone. The devaluation of the Chinese renminbi is a recent example, with some observers seeing it as a long-term attempt to bolster the country’s exports. Read more

Introducing Selfie Pay: An Unusual Use For Self-portraits

It started as a niche interest of tech-loving teens but soon grew into a social phenomenon. By the end of 2013, the Oxford Dictionaries named selfie ‘word of the year’, which wasn’t surprising given over a million selfies are taken every day. Now, the selfie has grown up and is getting a job in finance. Here’s the breakdown on how your next self-portrait could lead to a legitimate money transfer.

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Thinking Of Investing In Emerging Markets? Here’s What You Should Know

One way to make the most of savings you’d like to grow is by tapping into new investment markets. This could mean looking abroad, in particular at countries that drive global growth. Today, emerging markets in developing nations are poised to do just this – become the world’s new growth engines. As with any financial investment, however, it’s important to measure and manage your risks. Here’s a breakdown on emerging markets and what investing in them means for you.

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The Money Cloud Explains: Capital Controls

Free trade allows the flow of money from places that have it to places that need it – places of opportunity. That’s the theory. However, in 2010 the IMF, historically free trade’s staunchest defender, conceded that government intervention in markets and trade through capital controls could be justified. That debate has come to the fore again in 2015, as Greece has used them to stop its economy from spiralling out of control. We look at what capital controls are, when they’re used, and how they impact international money matters.

What are capital controls?

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Why Tech-Driven Money Transfer Startups Are Cheaper Than Their Older Rivals

The fintech industry has exploded in recent years, slowly growing into niches once dominated by big finance. In the international money transfer market high street banks and wire transfer companies like Western Union are starting to find themselves undercut and outperformed by innovative startups. But what is it that gives these fledgling companies their edge? Read more

Why We’re Closer To Cashless Than You Might Think

2014 was a landmark year for the cashless revolution in the UK. For the first time, cashless payments overtook those made using ‘real’ money, signalling a pretty significant change in the national mentality. The UK’s not the only one saying goodbye to coins and notes, either. Countries like Singapore, the Netherlands and France are leading the way here, making around 60% of their payments without physical currency. Read more

Explained: Why Markets In Faraway Countries Matter For Your Money

Currency trading might happen in pairs, but don’t let that fool you. In the world of international money transfer, every currency is interconnected, meaning local issues can trigger widespread changes. So whether you’re a German software developer, a British lawyer or an American accountant your finances are linked – in however small a way. Today, we’re going to explain how that works.

Underground connections

Among the biggest connections between seemingly distant economies are commodities like oil, coal, iron and other industrial essentials. Fluctuations in commodity prices can send tremors through the global economy.

For example, when oil prices started sinking fast a couple of years ago, oil-dependant countries like Venezuela, Norway and Russia all saw their economies (and currencies) devalue. Importers like India, by contrast, saw their economies (and currencies) benefit from lower prices.

Trading partners

If you’re transferring money to or from a country that’s dependent on a commodity, tracking changes in its value can tell you a lot about the health of your currency pairing. These are the kinds of factors foreign exchange brokers analyse, helping to get you the most for your money.

China is one of the world’s largest and most important trading partners, both as an exporter and as a growing economy drawing financial investment. That means that when Chinese shares fell by more than 8% at the end of July – the biggest one-day loss since 2007 – the impact on other emerging markets was immediate. The index used to track those markets’ strength dropped by 1.8%. Currencies including the Malaysian ringgit and South Korean won hit major lows. The reason? A chief trading partner’s economy was facing trouble.

As in the case of commodities, brokers pay close attention to these developments to protect your funds. They can use a number of tools to limit the impact on your finances, from ‘forward contracts’ to ‘fixed payment plans’.

Foreign exchange reserves

Buying and selling another country’s currency is a fundamental part of every nation’s fiscal policy. By building up a store of foreign money, known as ‘foreign exchange reserves‘ countries can influence exchange rates.

That’s what China attempted to do by purchasing US dollars and what Russia was aiming for by unwisely investing in the euro. In both instances, those nations wanted to devalue their currencies to create competitive prices on the global market. This has worldwide consequences: the value of reserve currencies becomes inflated, and countries with lower cash reserves can’t keep up.

But no matter where you’re sending money to or from, our brokers can help you safeguard against these situations. Find the right one for your needs with our international money transfer comparison tool.

How To Guarantee You’re Getting A Great Deal On International Money Transfer

It’s no secret that the cost of sending money abroad hasn’t always added up. However, the rise of foreign exchange brokers and tech-driven transfer companies has started to change that. So it’s no surprise that new statistics from TransferWise have revealed we’re finally waking up to the fact that the industry’s historically favoured providers are not playing straight with us. Read more

Taking Control Of Your Trades: A Six-step Guide

Sending money overseas via a foreign exchange broker doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve got to hand over total control. While they can take care of everything for you, understanding the basics of trading can help you make the most of your international money transfers. It’ll also put you in a much better position to benefit from automated trading platforms or peer-to-peer services. That’s why we’ve put together this six-step guide to getting more involved in your trades. Read more

Free trade: the key to unlocking Africa’s economic potential?

Economic integration isn’t a new concept to Africa; sub-regional markets have emerged throughout the continent since the ’60s. But while there hasn’t been as much integration in the past few decades as many leaders would like, that’s looking set to change. A recent African Union summit set a 2017 deadline for the creation of a continental free-trade area, building on the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA), which covers 26 countries.

Today we’re looking at what such an expansive free-trade area could mean for Africa’s social and economic development. If it manages to propel to some of the world’s poorest countries towards prosperity and stability, it has every chance of shaking up the global economy and foreign exchange for the better. Read more

Abenomics explained: what it means for you

When he was re-elected prime minister of Japan in December 2012, Shinzō Abe laid out a plan to end the country’s decades-long economic slump. His short term goals were to boost GDP and raise inflation to 2%. Long term, he hoped to stimulate competition and cement trade partnerships. But despite its successes, Abenomics is facing increasingly vocal opposition. Opinion in Japan is fiercely divided, so what do these policies mean for you? Read more