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How to get the best exchange rate when sending money overseas*

You can get a better exchange rate with a specialist money transfer service compared to the banks.


Wise (TransferWise)

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  • Fair service fees and mid-market rates – a major market differentiator
  • Next-day delivery for most currencies
  • Easy-to-use app
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The value you receive from an international money transfer mostly relies on the exchange rates and fees. If you use specialist international money transfer services, you’re likely already getting the best possible exchange rate. However, if you’re still using your bank, then you may be getting ripped off.

Compare Hong Kong’s best exchange rates

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 10 1 - 2 days HKD 140.00 0.129 USD
以透明的匯率,低收費及低最低金額的網上服務作匯款。 Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies. Go to site Show details
USD 10 1 - 2 days HKD 25.00 0.127 USD
新客戶可享有首三個月無限次免手續費匯款。New customers get 3 months of unlimited free transfers.
可用15+種貨幣匯款,享有超越銀行的匯率以及快速轉賬時間。 CurrencyFair has bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
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SGD 1 1 day HKD 42.00 0.129 USD
你首兩次港幣$15,000或以下的匯款,手續費全免。Pay no fees on your first two transfers, up to HK$15,000.
象徵式收費以及中間價匯率,可匯款至高達30多個國家。 SingX offers the real exchange rate every time you make a transfer and can help you send money across the world.
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USD 50 1 day HKD 35.00 0.129 USD
獨家優惠:使用代碼FINDER10,你的頭一次匯款即能享有$10美元折扣。Use code FINDER10 to receive US$10 off your first transaction.
InstaReM 提供簡單的匯款服務,大部分的匯款劃一收取0.5%的手續費。InstaReM offers simple transfers with a flat 0.5% transfer fee for most transfers.
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USD 1 Within an hour HKD 20.00 0.128 USD
使用優惠代碼FREE,你的首次匯款即可享免手續費。條款及條件適用。Use promo code FREE to send your first transfer with no fee. T&Cs apply.
提供現金提取、銀行戶口之間轉賬與及Airtime匯款選擇的網上匯款服務,。 WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
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GBP 5,000 1 - 2 days HKD 0.00 0.127 USD
可匯款至20+個國家,無手續費。 CurrencyTransfer lets you shop around for the best exchange rate on its online marketplace. Go to site Show details
USD 2,000 1 day HKD 0.00 0.127 USD
TorFX保證提供最佳的匯率。需受條款約束。TorFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate.
以30種貨幣匯款到全球。登記後,將會有一個客戶經理提供支持和引導。 TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

Definition: Best exchange rate

There is no single best exchange rate, and the best exchange rate for you may not be the best for someone else. There are other factors besides the exchange rate to consider when sending an international money transfer, including the transfer fees, the payment method, the speed of delivery and the level of customer service. One person may need to transfer money within 24 hours, while others may have no time frame, which may affect the exchange rate.

Exchange rates are also affected by wider economic factors. Previous performance isn’t an indication of future performance. You should consider a range of products when deciding which provider is best suited to your personal money transfer needs.

How do I get the best exchange rate?

Here are some tips to ensure you get the best deal on fees and exchange rates when transferring money:

  • Find out what current rates are. You should have a reliable baseline to compare the rates offered by money transfer companies and banks. Two well-known currency conversion resources include XE and Oanda. These are free tools you can use to see live conversion rates, and both feature currency conversion calculators.
  • Compare by asking for a quote. Getting the best exchange rate can be difficult because money transfer services can charge high fees but offer competitive rates. This means sometimes it’s a good idea to ask for a quote, and then compare this to quotes from other providers.
  • Ensure you’re comparing the most accurate rate. Until you register with a money transfer service, you’re more than likely seeing their indicative exchange rates, and not the most accurate rates available. If you choose not to compare quotes, compare the exchange rate you’ll actually receive. This will usually require you to register with a service or make a call.
  • Utilise forward contracts. A forward contract allows you to lock in an exchange rate for a transfer that will take place in the future. In most cases, you can lock in a rate for up to 12 months in advance, saving you from receiving a poor rate when you make a money transfer in the future. Not all transfer companies will allow you to use a forward contract, so ensure you consider this when comparing. The transfer service may only offer forward contracts on larger transfer amounts.
  • Consider a market order. A market order, also known as a limit order, allows you to choose a favourable rate, and then instructs your money transfer company to buy or sell your chosen currencies only once that rate is available. Like a forward contract, some money transfer companies will only offer these for larger transfer amounts.
  • Consider a multi-currency bank account. If you regularly deal in currencies, whether this is due to an international business or for personal reasons, a multi-currency bank account can be a good idea. Also known as a foreign currency account, they allow you to hold different currencies and convert them into Hong Kong dollars when you want. This means you can avoid short-term rate fluctuations from harming your balance.
  • Carry out one large transfer rather than several smaller transfers. If you’re looking to send a large amount of money, try to send it all at once rather than in smaller batches. Many transfer companies can offer better rates and lower fees for large transfers.

finder HK’s best exchange rates

1st Contact7.6609.21510.406
Kin Shing Money Exchange7.8209.42010.660
City Forex7.8209.40810.611

*Rates recorded on 6 January 2018. Please source quotes for current rates.

Getting the best rate when travelling overseas

If you’re travelling to a country and looking for tips on receiving the best exchange rate, here are some things to consider:

  • Avoid busy areas and airports. Unless you’re organising a currency pickup, like you can with companies such as Travelex, these areas can provide poor exchange rates. Other businesses can give competitive rates and most non-bank money changers are located in the Kowloon area who can offer better exchange rates.
  • Exchange in the country you’re travelling to. While you may want to exchange a small amount before you leave your home country to ensure you have money to get you from the airport to your hotel, save the majority of your currency exchange until you get into the country if you can. Avoid the airport and tourist destinations when looking for a currency exchange provider once you touch down .
  • Consider an international debit, credit or travel card. Some of these cards are offered by major banks and offer 24/7 support as well as exchange rates offered by Visa and Mastercard, which can be competitive. Read more about these options below.
  • Avoid exchanging at a restaurant or hotel. These locations can offer convenient, on-the-fly currency conversion but might not offer the most competitive rate.
  • Avoid purchasing in your own currency. Some retailers will offer you the option to pay in your home currency and will then convert the funds themselves. This can be tricky if you don’t have a currency calculator on hand, meaning you might lose out on the exchange.

Definition: Exchange Rate

An exchange rate is a way of showing the value of one currency compared to another.

Exchange rates are affected by the supply and demand of a currency, a country’s inflation, the trade between two countries and more, so rates can fluctuate throughout the course of a day. Indirectly, exchange rates dictate the costs of many day-to-day items you buy that are purchased from overseas or made using materials that come from foreign countries. Directly, you’ll come across exchange rates when travelling overseas, purchasing goods from overseas or sending funds overseas.

This guide will explain how to get the best exchange rate available when sending money overseas.

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Where can I exchange money?

The answer to this question depends on the reason for your exchange. If you’re looking to convert money to send it overseas, some of these providers won’t be the best option for you.

  • Money transfer companies. These are specialist currency exchange and money transfer companies, and they offer competitive exchange rates and low fees. Many of them also offer a large range of services such as forward contracts and market orders.
  • Walk-in kiosks and banks. These are the best known currency exchange and money transfer destinations for many Hong Kongers. Some of them, such as Western Union and HSBC, offer competitive deals for sending money overseas or converting money depending on the service.
  • Credit cards, debit cards and travel cards. Apart from travel money cards, these will exchange your funds from Hong Kong dollars to the currency of your choice instantly using the applicable exchange rate. For some cards this will be the Visa or Mastercard rate, which by itself is competitive. However, if you have to pay a transaction fee or ATM withdrawal fee for the transaction, it may become expensive. Travel cards will allow you to transfer funds onto your card at the exchange rate set by the card provider. This allows you to avoid exchange rate fluctuations.

Comparing exchange rates

Below is a comparison of the advertised rates for three different money transfer companies. Whenever you carry out a comparison, be sure to get an accurate quote from the provider rather than using the advertised rates as the two may be different.

Fee to senderHKD$55HKD$0HK $97

*The above rates and fees are correct on 6 January, 2018 . Always source a quote for accurate, current day rates.

This comparison doesn’t take into account transfer speed, which may be an issue for you. It also doesn’t take into account transfer methods, for example sending money to be picked up in cash by your recipient.

Q&A: Finding the best rate

Where can I find up-to-date foreign exchange rates?

You can check sites such as XE or Oanda to find up-to-date exchange rates. Also remember that banks and money transfer companies will publish their own exchange rates.

Do I need to convert my income into Hong Kong dollars for my tax return?

Yes, you will need to report all foreign income as Hong Kong dollars when filing your tax return.

Why are bank exchange rates not as competitive as money transfer service companies?

Money transfer companies specialise in foreign currency transactions and deal in large amounts, giving them savings that they can in turn pass on to consumers.

How will a money transfer or currency exchange service make money from me?

These services will profit from your transaction in two ways. One is through adding a margin to your exchange rate, and the other is by charging you a transfer fee. Some services will do both.

*This article discusses how to get the best exchange rates when sending money overseas. The use of the term “best” does not refer to product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. Exchange rates mentioned in this article are valid at the time of publishing and may vary with time.

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