Broker, Foreign Exchange Broker – an independent company providing competitive exchange rates and money transfer services for sending funds abroad. In the UK there are around 30 FX brokers who all claim to offer best currency exchange deals. CompareBrokers.com works with a selected number of brokers to help you compare exchange rates.
Forward Contract – buying currency at an agreed exchange rate for a date in the future. This allows you to take advantage of favourable market conditions, securing the best exchange rates available for a time in the future, eg for an overseas property completion due in a few months’ time. This type of contract guarantees a sterling price for your purchase, even though the purchase itself is not taking place yet and is priced in a foreign currency.
Spot Contract – buying currency at the best available exchange rate, for immediate delivery. The best currency brokers will offer you a commercial exchange rate which can be secured over the phone – you then pay the broker in the selling currency (eg sterling) and they will transfer funds abroad (eg in Euros) to the foreign bank account of your choice.
Interbank Rates – commonly shown on online currency converters. This is the mid-market exchange rate, and you will always buy slightly below (or sell slightly above) this rate. Follow the interbank level to keep abreast of current rates and market movements. The best exchange rates are the closest to the interbank level and will depend on the amount bought and current market conditions. Exchange rates move every couple of seconds around the clock, so using a money broker to monitor the best rates should work to your advantage.
Commission – some banks charge commission on foreign currency purchases. FX Brokers generally do not charge commission on your exchange, but make their money from the margin on the rate.
Margin – the difference between buying and selling rates from a broker. Different foreign exchange companies buy from different sources and have variable margins – so if you are comparing rates always ask for the exchange rate quoted with the margin included, in other words the best available exchange rate to buy currency for you as a client.
Receiving Charge – some foreign banks (eg Spanish banks) charge to receive currency from overseas. Make sure you ask your FX specialist if there are any overseas charges – the best forex companies will make sure that you only pay a small charge, if any, to the receiving bank. Spanish banks charge up to 0.5% to receive Euros, so ask before you buy currency.
Transfer Charge – sending money overseas costs money. Some brokers will include this charge in their margin, while some will apply a charge of around £10-20 to make the physical transfer of funds. When comparing rates, ask if the transfer charge is included and if not, how much it costs.
Cable – industry jargon for Sterling – Dollar exchange rate, for US Dollar prices.
Loonie – industry jargon for the Canadian Dollar exchange rate against the Pound.
FX – Foreign Exchange.
Quote – an exchange rate quote provided by an FX broker. Usually a live quote is available to be secured over the phone, if you choose to go ahead and make the purchase. Once a foreign exchange rate has been secured, the broker will buy currency from the market on your behalf and the deal is binding.
Value Date – the date that an agreed currency rate contract matures for settlement. For a Spot Contract, this is typically 2 working days after the order is placed. For forward exchange rates, the Value Date is agreed for a date in the future, for example for completion on a foreign property transaction. You must pay the broker on or before the value date, for your foreign currency to be transmitted.
FSA – the Financial Services Authority. The FSA does not currently regulate independent foreign currency brokers, but is likely to in the future. When comparing rates, make sure the company is registered with HMRC for anti money-laundering procedures.
Compare Quotes – checking exchange rates with different providers. To obtain the best current exchange rate, we recommend comparing rates between your bank and our recommended broker, which should provide a saving for your overseas money transfer.
Market Report – a daily or weekly commentary on exchange rates and currency movements. Useful when deciding when to buy or sell foreign currency.
Currency Converter – a currency calculator showing interbank rates for currency pairs (eg exchange rates sterling to Euro or Euro to Dollar). A useful indication of market movement.