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Exchanging Australian Dollars (AUD) for Sterling (GBP): 4 things to remember.

Like the UK, Australia has it's own domestic market for personal foreign exchange services.

A number of the businesses operating in this space are in fact subsidiaries or off-shoots of UK businesses and, like Prime Cap, they aim to cater for the needs of those moving to the United Kingdom, repatriating money earned in sterling or simply holding your pounds in either AUD or GBP as part of your personal banking.

In this post we will look at how someone already present in the UK can maximise their rate of exchange as well as convert and transmit currencies even in the face of obstacles like the sizeable time difference between the two territories.

1. Keep your dollars as dollars.

Many Australian banks actually have arrangements with wholesale foreign exchange businesses like Prime Cap.

Certain banks will rely on the sophistication and processing power of a non-bank company to get money from Oz to the UK.

If you are talking with your bank directly, the main thing often overlooked by your Australian bank is the fact that, when using a currency broker, you do not want the bank to convert your dollars in to sterling.

You want your bank to electronically transmit your Australian dollars as to Australian dollars. You do not want them to conduct the exchange.

You need to be precise and specific when filling in the relevant form or providing the instruction to electronically send your money.

If you are not specific your bank will usually just convert the funds in to sterling because they assume that you want the money in the currency of the country you are sending funds to.

2. With a currency broker like Prime Cap, the time difference doesn't make a difference to when you can lock in the rate.

Many Australian banks will require you to speak with them directly when instructing an international payment.

This usually means you staying up to an ungodly hour in order to catch the bank when they are open during the Australian working day.

Given that you can login to the Prime Cap system around the clock, regardless of whether you are in Oz or the UK, you can lock in a rate of exchange and begin the transaction even whilst you Oz bank sleeps.

If you are sending money to the UK from within Australia then you can communicate with your bank to send the funds during waking hours. You can also simultaneously lock in a rate of exchange over the Prime Cap online platform even though the UK may not be open for business.

3. Your money will not arrive in the UK instantly.

The time of day at which you request the electronic transfer from your Australian bank determines the date on which your money will arrive in the UK.

In the international banking framework there are set 'cut-off' times for the instruction, debit and release of an international payment.

Unfortunately not all Australian banks clear international payments in the same way or at the same time.

When you instruct your bank they can provide you with what is called a 'value date'.

This is the date on which your Australian dollars will leave Australia.

This is not necessarily the date on which those funds will clear with us in the UK.

The speed with which funds clear with our bank in the UK depends on the relationship your Australian banks has with our bank.

Given that we use one of the world's largest clearers of currency to host our segregated accounts, we can reasonably expect there will be a strong dialogue|relationship between our bank and your source bank, but, it is nearly impossible to assess the strength of this relationship.

Therefore we approach answering questions over how long it will take for funds to arrive in one of two ways:

a) we advise you to instruct your bank to send us your AUD before the actual date|day on which you intend on exchanging or the day on which you need to exchange.

This is akin to 'pre-funding' a transaction.

Our automated system will immediately inform you when your AUD clears with us and it is usually, but not always, the very same working day that you've requested the electronic payment from Oz.

Given you're funds are already with us, and we have confirmed their arrival with you, all you need to do is talk to one of our brokers or login to your online facility with us, accept a rate and in put the details of the UK bank you want us to pay.

We advise that you give us a call because it means our brokers can manually select a 'same day' currency contract for you. This ensures that your sterling will clear with you the same day, provided you book before the same day cut-off time - again, that is a time we will confirm with you.

b) we use our standard 'spot' contract and lock in a rate for your before you have instructed your Australian bank to send funds.

Such are the terms of the spot contract that we do not actually expect you to pay for the currency until up to two days after the booking date (this is referred to in the finance world as 'T+2').

Again, because of the size and reach of our banking arrangements we can reasonably expect that your dollars arrive with us before this settlement date and we will immediately notify you when your money arrives and simply take care of finishing off the exchange and getting your sterling to you.

4. Charges.

Your Australian bank will charge you to send your Australian dollars to the UK.