Best option for regular US to EUR currency exchange?
October 30, 2009 12:23 PM   Subscribe

I'm an American who's just bought a lovely home in the EU. Yay! Now I have to make regular mortgage payments while still living and working in the US. How do I transfer money over to our EU bank account on a regular basis as cheaply as possible?...

Some more info: It seems as though the majority of the currency exchange companies are targeted towards Brits. The rest look pretty shady.

We've looked at Currencies Direct, however in the middle of our application process we were informed that because of some new laws they were no longer able to open new contracts with any US citizens not based in the same state (GA) as their only US office.

Now we're out of ideas. We've even looked to see if we could somehow wrangle a PayPal account into euros and do exchanges through there.

Currently banking with BOA and doing wire transfers, but they charge hefty fees on top of the normal exchange rate.

So... halp please! Any suggestions from personal experience?
posted by finitejest to Work & Money (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
XETrade. Money goes in via ACH in USD, and comes out in EUR via ACH for free or wire transfer for a reasonable fee.
posted by zsazsa at 12:32 PM on October 30, 2009

Citibank offers dollar, sterling and euro-denominated accounts in Europe, with a fairly straightforward transfer mechanism. This comment suggests a way to get your dollars across; the trickiest bit would be opening an account in [EU country of your new home].

(There are other suggestions in that thread, too, including XETrade, which gets a fair few recommendations in this FlyerTalk thread.)
posted by holgate at 12:38 PM on October 30, 2009

What about the HSBC Offshore option?

Bank in the US at HSBC, transfer into the offshore account - pay mortgage from that. No fx commisions, but I don't know if they'll charge you to go from US account to the offshore account. Alternately you could just bank offshore. Need to carry a minimum balance for it to be free ( I think 10k)

Any account like this will be a red flag to the IRS if that is a concern.
posted by JPD at 12:40 PM on October 30, 2009

Response by poster: As a note, we already have a foreign bank account established from which the mortgage must be drawn (the lender is the credit union we have the account with), so we just need to get the money from our US bank to the EU bank.

Thanks for the answers so far! Checking them out.
posted by finitejest at 12:59 PM on October 30, 2009

Do you work for a large international company that would be willing to pay you in euro?
posted by dfriedman at 1:00 PM on October 30, 2009

Ditto zsazsa: XETrade is the best I've found for doing similar transfers.
posted by anadem at 1:46 PM on October 30, 2009

Many expats in Europe transfer money from U.S. banks to the currency trader, HIFX, buy the euros from them. HIFIX then sends the euros onward to your European bank. That's what I did. You sign up in the U.S. then just make the call. Minimum transfer is $5000's worth of euros. It usually takes about two days. They had much better rates than my Citi or HSBC banks and work a lot faster. Their sales reps are great and very efficient.
posted by Elsie at 5:56 PM on October 30, 2009

I know nothing about them but Xoom advertises on TV as the cheapest way to send money overseas or similar words.
posted by tetranz at 6:14 PM on October 30, 2009

Seconding HIFX. Worked well for us.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:29 PM on October 30, 2009

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