Best Currency Traders?

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Best Currency Traders?

Post by Lisa C. on Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:45 pm

Who have you found the best currency traders to be especially for large amounts ie a house purchase?
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Re: Best Currency Traders?

Post by stevegwmonkseaton on Fri Jun 14, 2013 4:39 pm

House purchase is a one off hopefully and you need it to all go smoothly. In some cases the legal side or the vendor insist on a particular method e.g. an Italian bank. We stuck to our guns and insisted we did it how we wanted - Euro a/c with Lloyds and a bankers draft. We figured having the bit of paper in our hands was the safest option. For the deposit I don't think there is as many issues, we used a direct UK bank transfer SEPA, but now I would use Currency Fair. The vendor knows you don't get the house if the deposit does not arrive.... We were surprised the Notaio wanted the original receipt for the deposit, but eventually accepted the transaction reference, which was put into the final act... I'm sure all this varies from area to area mind you...

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Re: Best Currency Traders?

Post by Lisa C. on Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:34 pm

Steve,

So, let's say I found a house to buy.  Could I use someone such as Currency Fair to both pay the deposit directly to the vendor as well as send the balance to an Italian bank, if the vendor wouldn't take payment from Currency Fair?  Would Currency Fair normally deposit directly to the vendor?  I have no idea how all of this works.  I know that the bank takes a large chunk so am trying to find out the best way to do this.  I was thinking I could have our bank wire the funds to Currency Fair, who would then convert into Euros and pay the vendor. 

If I understand correctly, you used Lloyd's bank and then had them give you a bank check in euros - it that correct?  I wouldn't be able to do that from the States but we do have dual citizenship so hopefully opening up an account in Italy wouldn't be a problem. 

Then, once we move over, I need to figure out the best way to wire funds monthly or so and thought a currency trader still might be the best way.
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Re: Best Currency Traders?

Post by Gala Placidia on Fri Jun 14, 2013 6:01 pm

From our experience, the Notaio gives instructions regarding payment. In our case, we did a transfer to our bank account in Italy and they issued a certified bank cheque that the Notaio received and handed over to the vendor at the signing of the settlement.
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Re: Best Currency Traders?

Post by Lisa C. on Fri Jun 14, 2013 6:33 pm

So Gala,

What are your thoughts about our sending money to a currency trader who then wires it to, let's say, our theoretical Italian bank?  Would it be in our best interest to go this route rather than just have our American bank wire it, knowing that they would probably not give us as favorable an exchange rate as a currency trader?

Do you use a currency trader to transfer ordinary funds to your Italian bank when you are in Italy or just transfer from your home bank?  In our case, since we home to be in Italy full-time, my thinking was that a currency trader would be more favorable.
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Re: Best Currency Traders?

Post by Gala Placidia on Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:31 pm

Lisa, I am in a different position, as I transfer from my Spanish bank account to my Italian bank account and the operations are made in €, without the need of exchanging currencies. I have never used currency traders. When I go to the states, I withdraw money from my Spanish account through any bank ATM, or I use "plastic" money. In the case of a house purchase, where a large amount is involved, I would check all the possibilities. Also, talk to your American bank and check what they can offer. The may surprise you... As for the Italian banks, they charge as much as they can, but they are a necessary evil In general terms, everyone wants a slice of the pie... which is really OUR pie piratpirat
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Re: Best Currency Traders?

Post by ghiro on Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:21 pm

Lisa.  Because you live in the USA I find it more difficult to advise you.

Here in the UK it's quite straightforward for me as I have both British and Italian Bank accounts.  In the past I've used HiFX to move large amounts of money.  I'm not suggesting they're necessarily the best but I've found them helpful and reliable.  Using them on-line you can either put the money into your own Italian bank account or into any other account (ie the vendor's) if you know the SWIFT & IBAN codes.

Currently the interbank £/€ rate is: 1.7667

HiFX are quoting:
For £5000: 1.1592
For £20,000: 1.1644
For £100,000: 1.1663
For £250,000: 1.1668

In the UK you can pay up to £20,000 on a debit card.  Above that requires a bank transfer (with associated costs!)

I have heard about people ringing up and saying they've been offered a 'fictional' higher rate by another company and that rate being agreed - but personally I've never had the courage to try it!!
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Re: Best Currency Traders?

Post by stevegwmonkseaton on Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:02 pm

I wish it was 1.7667.... CurencyFair is 1.1723 and that's what you get... It cost us £3 per transfer regardless of the amount... But as I said, for house buying I'm not too sure it is the best way to proceed, deposit yes... Being in the USA, you need to find out the best way to move your final amount, be it a FX company or some other means. Hopefully someone here has done this before...

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Re: Best Currency Traders?

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:21 pm

Lisa, in my experience (of transalting at lots of attos) you will need to be guided by the notary on how you may pay the final amount. If I was you I would think in terms of having to have an Italian bank account and oaying either by bank transfer or Italian Bankers draft. The deposit is not a problem and can usually paid by direct transfer from your US bank account.

Most vendors will not accept a foreign bankers draft even in euros. The reason being that it will take the Italian bank up to 40 days to clear the bankers draft. I know this from bitter experience and would not accept one again.
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Re: Best Currency Traders?

Post by Gala Placidia on Sat Jun 15, 2013 1:32 pm

Totally agree with Admin. And you need an Italian bank account to organize your transactions. Notaries will want to see an Italian draft or certified cheque as proof of payment.
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Re: Best Currency Traders?

Post by stevegwmonkseaton on Sat Jun 15, 2013 2:41 pm

Except that opening an Italian a/c is not that easy these days if you are not resident... Additionally, as I understand it, you have the choice of Notaio as buyer... :)As for not accepting what is best for you, like I said, it's a buyers market.... As it happened the cheque (draft) we got from our UK bank (LLoyds) was made out against an Italian bank (I assume because the draft was made out to someone in Italy). Everything we did when buying (we thought) we had sorted, until we were approaching the final act... Moving a large amount of money from another currency to Euro's can be very expensive and is made a lot worse if you cannot guarantee the rate of exchange. So do not leave this to chance and have it well sorted long before the final act and make double sure things/people will do what they say they can do and and when they say they will do it... We actually had an Italian a/c before we bought as we had rented here and managed to open an a/c. But when it came to it we were daunted at the prospect of relying on our poor Italian and not being able to sort an Italian draft when we got here... Hence in the end a much more comfortable solution for us was to have the bit of paper in our hands when we came over... I agree the vendor will baulk at this the way Italian banks work, but in the end it's just another "x" amount of days they have to wait for their money...

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Re: Best Currency Traders?

Post by Gala Placidia on Sat Jun 15, 2013 3:09 pm

Sorry, but I think that there are no problems if a non-resident wants to open a bank account in Italy providing you have your "codice fiscale" and your passport. Actually, I understand that there are special bank accounts for non-residents. I remember that Lisa and her husband have Italian citizenship and that they have lived in Italy in the past, so they may even have their "codice fiscale" sorted out. My advice would be to talk to both the USA bank and the Italian bank and ask what they can do to minimize charges. The rate of exchange is a different matter and I'm afraid that there is little control over it until you are ready to make the transfer.
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Yep Im sorry as well as...

Post by stevegwmonkseaton on Sat Jun 15, 2013 3:21 pm

Gala Placidia wrote:Sorry, but I think that there are no problems if a non-resident wants to open a bank account in Italy providing you have your "codice fiscale" and your passport. Actually, I understand that there are special bank accounts for non-residents. I remember that Lisa and her husband have Italian citizenship and that they have lived in Italy in the past, so they may even have their "codice fiscale" sorted out. My advice would be to talk to both the USA bank and the Italian bank and ask what they can do to minimize charges. The rate of exchange is a different matter and I'm afraid that there is little control over it until you are ready to make the transfer. <<<<< END OF QUOTE

RESPONSE >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

It is a problem trying to get an a/c as a none resident and I know many recently who have had the very same problem. And yes there used to be a number of a/c for none residents, try finding one now Gala. Certainly as an Italian they might have no bother and I would agree (if you are confident in putting a large amount in an Italian bank at the moment) that it's a good solution.
As to rates, there is a lot you can do, just that none are ideal and cost. Many FX brokers will give you a fixed rate for "x" amount of time, this at least assures you of how much you have and when. Trouble starts when your house buy here goes wrong and delays occur that take you outside your FX time.. You can get around this by having somewhere to move the money to, but whatever you do seems to cost in either charges or lost interest. Matters little if you are rich and can afford it, but not all buying here are, so to some it could make a lot of difference. Worse still is the hassle and stress caused by it all.. (all of course worth it to be here).  SmileSmile

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Re: Best Currency Traders?

Post by Gala Placidia on Sat Jun 15, 2013 5:01 pm

Steve, I can assure you that I have not heard of anyone having problems opening a non-resident bank account in my area. As for distrusting Italian banks... well, if we are thinking in that line Rolling Eyes
Buying a house, moving into another country, it all costs money. Peace of mind also costs money. We all have to make our own calculations before taking the plunge; however, if anyone has to count every cent, it possibly means that the person cannot afford it and it could be a disaster. My advice would be to have a contingency amount added to the calculated costs. If it does not need to be used, great! More money to spend . But I always think that Murphy's Law rules.
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Re: Best Currency Traders?

Post by rachel68 on Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:34 pm

Well I had no problems opening an online Italian account with IWBank prior to being an Italian resident. They even put an English speaker onto my account to help open it when I got confused! We paid for our compromesso through a currency exchange company into the vendor's bank account and then had a trial of a time trying to get a transfer done in time by Nationwide Euro account! Eventually it was all fine...we paid the full purchase price minus deposit directly into the vendor's bank account and the notary used the transfer ref on the atto. We also paid the notary by bank transfer but she really pushed usnto pay by cash or cheque before giving in!

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Re: Best Currency Traders?

Post by Gala Placidia on Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:03 pm

You made a transfer of full monies into the vendor's account BEFORE going to the Notary's office? Well, you were very brave, indeed! I am glad to hear that all went well; however, I would not advise anyone to follow your example. Settlement should take place before the Notary: you give the balance of payment, transfer of tittle is signed, you get your keys. It is always better to be on the safe side.
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Re: Best Currency Traders?

Post by stevegwmonkseaton on Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:10 pm

A few people may be able to afford to lose a few £/€ , but if you are talking a large amount of money (to you - all is relative), then you need to be sure about this one and do what covers YOU...

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Re: Best Currency Traders?

Post by Flying pigs on Tue Jun 18, 2013 4:52 am

We also paid our money direct to the vendor.  We had wanted to pay direct to lawyer, as one would do in the UK, but this is not possible in Italy - they do not have client escrow accounts apparently.  Our agent wanted us to pay it direct to them.  We were unhappy having a bankers draft as we were told it is like carrying cash around.  Our vendor still lived in the village and had a business there.  We were only prepared to pay with traceable money - we wanted an electronic audit trail.  We did at least have a contract with the vendor, more than we did with the agent!  Our agent wasn't happy as they said we trusted an old Italian more than them - which actually we did!   Whatever the wisdom (and we felt that our whole Italian adventure was on the basis of a wing and a prayer) we paid direct to the vendor and all went well - that was eight years ago and all seems fine.  We have all the paperwork it appears we need, certainly enough to pay our taxes!

Its amazing eight years on that this is still a problem with all the advances (?) in banking.  At the time we didn't have an Italian bank account.  although we now do, I am not sure that would have been any easier, especially from abroad.

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Re: Best Currency Traders?

Post by modicasa on Tue Jun 18, 2013 5:12 am

A couple of points if I may.
1. The buyer has the choice of notaio but not of payment.  Technically a house must be bought using the Italian banking system, any other arrangement is the sellers choice.  Dont try bulldozing sellers into taking a cheque from your scottish sterling bank account that nobody has ever heard of.   The clearance times for foreign cheques in ITaly are legendary - they are sent by snail mail to the issuing bank, and it can take 60 days for a cheque to clear.  As the money for your purchase has to be handed over in front of the notaio, it is  questionable whether your atto can be transcribed, and as a seller you would be well p'eed off if someone came in an paid with a foreign cheque.  To be perfectly legal your cheque has to have cleared by the time of the atto. 
2) To be open a bank account is not difficult as a non resident.  To use it is.  However for the purposes of assegni circolari and deposits which is what you need to buy a house, its not difficult and obeys all the money laundering rules.   Steve is right, the account is different to a residents account and doesnt have all the functionality, but it isnt a problem to open it.

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Re: Best Currency Traders?

Post by Gala Placidia on Tue Jun 18, 2013 5:50 am

Thank you, Modi. The problems for clearing a foreign cheque are the same throughout the EU and the Notary needs to know that the amounts mentioned in the "atto" have been paid.
Also, a non-resident account is different from the one a resident has; however, it does everything we may need in Italy,'such as direct debit (very important!).
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Re: Best Currency Traders?

Post by stevegwmonkseaton on Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:46 am

modicasa wrote:A couple of points if I may.
1. The buyer has the choice of notaio but not of payment.  Technically a house must be bought using the Italian banking system, any other arrangement is the sellers choice.  Dont try bulldozing sellers into taking a cheque from your scottish sterling bank account that nobody has ever heard of.   The clearance times for foreign cheques in ITaly are legendary - they are sent by snail mail to the issuing bank, and it can take 60 days for a cheque to clear.  As the money for your purchase has to be handed over in front of the notaio, it is  questionable whether your atto can be transcribed, and as a seller you would be well p'eed off if someone came in an paid with a foreign cheque.  To be perfectly legal your cheque has to have cleared by the time of the atto. 
2) To be open a bank account is not difficult as a non resident.  To use it is.  However for the purposes of assegni circolari and deposits which is what you need to buy a house, its not difficult and obeys all the money laundering rules.   Steve is right, the account is different to a residents account and doesnt have all the functionality, but it isnt a problem to open it.

Well can't argue with Modi, as this is someone that does know their stuff. However, although I totally agree a small scottish bank with a sterling cheque is not going to go down well. One in Euro's against an Italian bank should be fine. Personally we would have preferred to transfer the money on the day and at the time of signature, but found this was simply not possible to arrange (sure you could, but we ran out of time). Like I've said, this is the one area where our planning went adrift as we had been told it was straightforward and we could do various things to pay, later they back tracked... So I would suggest this is sorted well before the final act and if possible written in the compremesso... As to the legal requirement to pay up front before any signature, this is the first I've heard of this and find it incredible that anyone would pay so much up front for something without anything guarantee. What happened to us has happened to at least 2 other people we know. The final act did NOT take place as and when agreed, with us we had planned in a week before to go over and a month after. We were fortunate the delay was only a week. The others we know of, one was months and the other did not go through... To my mind all large transaction throughout Europe changed about 2-3 years back and nothing moves these days without due diligence. Hence the reason I believe it is more difficult to even open a resident account, let alone a none resident account. In this day and age of electronic transfer and cross reference of the transaction I can see why there is so much hassle and as usual they have simply went too far... e.g. buying in the UK - my bank wants to know where I got the money, my solicitor getting the same money from that bank to buy my new house then wants to know, then the sellers bank wants to know.... affraid

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Re: Best Currency Traders?

Post by DarcyDog on Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:07 pm

There is no legal requirement for the money to be paid before the atto. It has to be paid AT the atto, in front of the notary.

I will give you an example - at one atto I translated, the buyers made a CHAPS (not BACS as it is not same day) payment from their UK bank account to the vendor's bank account in front of the notary (ie with the UK bank on the phone), gave the reference number so it could be included in the atto and faxed over a copy of the transfer. That was acceptable to the Notary and the vendor who received the money that day.

In theory, the Euro cheque we received when we sold a house was drawn on the Rome branch of a Belgian bank in Euro. However it still took 40 days to clear!!! The issuing bank has to be Italian (not just be the branch in Italy) or else it is still a foreign cheque. Plus we had a big bill for clearing a foreign cheque even though it was in Euro.

Opening a bank account (non-resident or otherwise) is still very straightforward in Italy unlike in the UK. The people who bought my house 2 weeks ago opened a non-resident account (it has no internet banking for the first 6 months) immediately. No problems at all.

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Re: Best Currency Traders?

Post by Gala Placidia on Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:34 pm

The only way to ensure that the purchase will be completed without any nasty surprises, is to have an Italian (notice that I am not saying EU or Eurozone) CERTIFIED bank cheque (or check, if you prefer) that is handed over to the Notary at Settlement. The Notary can then confirm that the payment has been received and hands it over to the Vendor. A certified bank cheque is like cash in hand, but in a much safer form. You have to have those funds deposited into your bank account and the bank issues you with a cheque, made to the order of the Vendor, and certifies that those funds are being held in custody until the Vendor will cash it in or deposit into his/her bank account. This is normal procedure for those countries where there is no escrow or trust account where monies are held. Do not think for a second that bank procedures in the Eurozone have been simplified. They are still fairly complicated and take quite a few days to clear. And yes, all this attracts further charges. Comparatively, the cost of a certified bank cheque is not high and gives everyone peace of mind; however, you will need a few days to organize everything. We have always done it this way and we have never had problems. The Notary's role is to be an official witness for the transaction and to record it on the deed.
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Re: Best Currency Traders?

Post by modicasa on Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:58 pm

For once I agree with Gaia.  The safest, most straightforward and most bureaucratically acceptable way to pay for a house transaction is with a bankers draft (assegno circolare) made payable to the vendor and given to them at atto in front of the notaio.  It is not like cash, as for 2 years now they must be non transferable, so only the vendor can bank it.   Any other form of payment must be a) acceptable to the vendor and b) acceptable to the notaio.  Given the amount of fraud and so on, many ITalians, especially older ones in the south would still prefer a cash transaction, and dont trust banks they have heard of, let alone ones in other countries.  
Paying in advance for a house is a huge risk, and not advisable.  If the vendor decides not to turn up at the atto, you have just given them a lovely present and got no house in return.   An estate agent - at least a legal one with insurance cover - can take a cheque through their account as a type of escrow.  I do it, but not happily, as the registers for money laundering are a pain in the neck, and its also possible that the tax office will decide it is 'earnings' and not moving money on behalf of clients and so on, but it is feasible.  However, giving your money to a UK agent (for example) who is not licenced to work in ITaly adn has no protection under Italian law, is like giving your money to the person on the net who tells you they have to send you 10 million dollars from Nigeria.

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Re: Best Currency Traders?

Post by Gala Placidia on Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:07 pm

Totally in agreement, Modi. I do hope that members will keep it in mind. People can think that they may always recover monies paid in advance without any safeguard. Well, good luck to you! The ensuing nightmare can take years. Better safe than sorry!
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