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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.

This is because, for them, it is still an international payment.

Whilst you can take steps to ensure they do not conduct the conversion to sterling, they will charge you between $15 and $35 dollars to send the funds.

This fee should be made known to you at the time of the instruction.

You can either ask for this fee to be deducted from the amount to you are sending.


Or, you can ask for it to be applied as an upfront fee that you pay on top of the money you are sending, debited directly from your Australian bank account.

If you are simply clearing all the money out fo your Australian bank account and this is the figure you input as what you want to send, it is extremely likely your Australian bank will deduct the fee from this amount...this is because there isn't anything else in your AUD account from which they can deduct it.

In this case you should not be alarmed to see that the AUD amount we receive is fractionally less than what you asked to be sent.

Now, what does it mean for you and us if you have already locked in a rate and an amount through the Prime Cap system?

Once we receive your Australian dollar amount and, seeing that it is short by the amount of your bank's international payment fee, we can rejig our figures to enable us to release to you the precise sterling equivalent of the AUD we have received.

So, you don't need to worry about the amount coming in a little short.

One way to offset the effects of this deduction by your bank is to wait to lock in a rate with us until you know what we have received.

The whole process is a bit easier if you do it that way, but, as we say, we don't mind if that isn't the option you've selected and please rest assured that your broker will talk you through all of these elements even before you register as a client of Prime Cap.

When using a company like Prime Cap the only practical thing you need to do to exchange your money is to instruct you Australian bank to make that international payment.

Our experienced team will talk you through everything and our automated system is on your side to make sure that you have a responsive and real-time method for tracking things.

From us you will get a better rate of exchange, clearer processes and the visibility that is often lacking from a bank's involvement in this sort of process.

Please do give us a ring if you would like to discuss your matter in more detail and, to conclude, in our experience the margin by which we can improve the rate of exchange can be as much as 4.5% when compared to an Australian bank.

You may be in the UK and so using a UK located business may suit your preferences. If you are not in the UK then our online platform gives you all the access and functionality you could want, even if you're 12 hours ahead.

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Prime Cap Payments Limited (T/A Prime Cap | Prime Cap Payments | Prime Cap Global Payments) is registered in England and Wales No: 10755730. Registered address: 27 Old Gloucester Street, London, WC1N 3AXPrime Cap is partnered with, and a programme manager of, Ebury Partners UK Limited who provide Prime Cap's FX and payment services.  Ebury Partners UK Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority as an Electronic Money Institution (Financial Services Register No. 900797) and is registered in England and Wales (registered no. 7088713). Registered office: 3rd floor, 100 Victoria Street, Cardinal Place, London, SW1E 5JL.  Ebury Partners UK Ltd is registered with the ICO with registration numnber ZA345828.