Best UK/US exchange rate for a one-time deposit?
August 31, 2006 7:54 AM   Subscribe

What is the best way to bring a one-time deposit of about $5000 from the US to the UK? My US bank was going to give me an exchange rate of about 2.03 $/£ on a bank draft drawn in pounds. This would cost me about $168 (compared to the exchange rate on Yahoo listed at 1.90).

This is not a huge amount of money, but I am reluctant to pay for a service that costs the bank nothing.

Would it be better to bring US dollars and exchange currency once I get there? Are there any other methods I'm not thinking of?

Background info: I will be there for about 10 months, and I will be opening a new bank account. I don't want to use a credit card (that I'll pay for from a different, US Bank account) too much, because it has a 3% fee on every currency conversion. Getting a new credit card with a lower fee just for this purpose is not something I want to do. I also don't want to use ATMs to withdraw from my US bank account because of the (I think) $5 fee.
posted by whataboutben to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
I can't vouch for the service, but have you looked at XETrade?
posted by randomination at 8:22 AM on August 31, 2006

I have had a lot of success the other way around (UK - US) just taking money of of an ATM with my foreign debit card. Not the best exchange rate ever, but about the best you'll ever get from a regular bank.

It's kind of a pain to have to do it in installments though, and I have no idea if US banks are as good about this as UK ones, but it's always worked for me for medium size amounts of money.
posted by crabintheocean at 9:09 AM on August 31, 2006

traveler's checks?
posted by alkupe at 9:49 AM on August 31, 2006

Citibank allows you (OK, allows UK customers, but I assume the same is true of US customers) to have accounts in multiple currencies (US$, € and £) as long as your total balance is £2,000+. You will probably get a decent inter-account transfer rate, and it might also be more convenient in the medium term if you're in Blighty for 10 months.
posted by athenian at 10:58 AM on August 31, 2006

citibank atms - only 3 in ldn though. if you;re going to school, just deposit your loan chrck into your uk bank.
i took money from my us bank debit card and only my hsbc to pay uk utilities.
utilities are the only reason to get a uk bank accnt,
posted by k8t at 1:03 PM on August 31, 2006

traveler's checks?

I took $10,000 over to Australia this way. Just had to pay a fee for converting to $AUD, but it was a set fee of about $30.
posted by qwip at 1:41 PM on August 31, 2006

If you are near a Federal Reserve Bank you can exchange currency without a fee or float (not many people know this). Anyway, as soon as you get to UK you go to a bank like NatWest and open a UK account which will enable you to get a debit/credit card and checking account. If you are near Imperial College in London there is a NatWest branch that is used to catering visitors to the UK. If you are in some other part of the UK it is a good bet that the banks near a Univerisity would be familar with the needs of a visitor.
posted by jadepearl at 5:45 PM on August 31, 2006

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