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How to pay for your wedding abroad

1 in 5 British couples are getting married abroad to cut costs without sacrificing quality, but many do not realise that they are losing out by overlooking their options when making payments abroad.

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The runaway bride

Aside from saving money, warmer climes are perhaps one reason why many are running abroad to get married.

Get more for your money with zero transaction fees

If you're not careful, the venue, ceremony, flowers, dress, cake and entertainment costs could easily blow your budget.

But so can the cost of transferring the money to pay for these necessities, and instead of saving money you can be losing out to poor exchange rates and hidden charges.

Number 1, you've got to actually get it there; and number 2, you've got to change it into the local currency.

Making multiple smaller payments, paying transaction fees and poor exchange rates on each will add up, so work with a Forex provider that offers highly competitive exchange rates with zero transaction fees.

Don't lose out to a poor exchange rate

Never go with the first rate you find, otherwise how will you know if you've got a good deal? If you can afford to wait then look around and compare prices.

Specialist currency providers are able to send out emails to notify you when they have a great rate and when the markets turn in your favour.

Use comparison sites to help you understand the best offers; they'll often break down the positive and negative aspects of particular money transfers abroad, but it's still worthwhile taking a look each morning to check if the market is improving.

Uncover hidden fees

Always check each provider's upper and lower limits;

Will they charge you for transferring below a certain amount?

Does your money transfer fit?

By knowing a provider's limits, you may be better off paying a lump sum instead of smaller, frequent payments where you'll incur a charge.

X, Y or Z?

Check with the service supplier and see if you can pay in another currency.

For example, some beneficiaries will accept US Dollars, and if the rate is far more favourable than paying in X,Y or Z, it may be better to pay in a currency where you'll get more for your money. Don't assume, always ask and weigh up your options.

Talk to the experts

If you need assistance, do not hesitate to contact a currency provider directly and get some expert advice.

Most reputable money transfer providers don't charge for their support, so make use of it.

Check their website to see if a dealing service is advertised, then request the help of a broker to feel confident that you've got the best deal and relieve yourself of the work.

Forward contracts - minimise your risk on spending

Forward contracts are an excellent way to avoid risk and get certainty for your exchange rates.

In their simplest format; forward contracts are a great way of booking an exchange rate today for a future date. They are usually available up to a year in advance, or even longer in exceptional circumstances.

A few variations of the product are available, depending on specific needs, but all offer the following:

  • A means of locking an exchange rate in on the day in question, for a future 'delivery' date

  • A way to avoid adverse movements in the FX market - ensuring that you can accurately budget for an upcoming transaction

  • Can be used in conjunction with pro-active 'rate watch' and 'limit order' services

Take a prepaid card

If you know you're going to be making smaller payments abroad in person then avoid using a debit or credit card and take a prepaid card instead.

Prepaid cards are convenient and easy to use, but you'll be getting a better rate of exchange on something that works like a debit card.

Reputable prepaid currency card providers offer cards that are Chip & PIN protected, providing additional protection compared to cash, so if the card is lost or stolen the potential loss is limited.

Currency cards can be used all over the world; at ATMs, online, anywhere you see the card issuer symbol for MasterCard® or VISA.

Fix your rate by topping-up at a time that suits you. Some providers offer an accompanying mobile app, so you can top-up on the go when the rates are favourable and use it to pay for small purchases abroad.

Don't forget your Family and Friends

Most currency card providers offer 'Family and Friends' cards, an easy way to share funds on your accounts with a family member or friend aged 13 or over.

You still load and manage the cards by linking them to your existing account, which gives you complete control and flexibility in sharing funds.

Move funds from your existing card in the same currency rather than through a top-up. You can also move funds back from your Family and Friends Card to your card in the same currency.

Standard cards last at least two years so if you have any remaining funds don't worry you can use them on the honeymoon.

Finding the right loan to pay for your wedding can save you a lot of cash in the long run, so find the right deal around by comparing the best personal loans around.