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Starting my PhD this Fall. What is the best way to exchange US dollars into GBP?

Hi guys I will be starting PhD studies in St Andrews this Fall. I am a US Citizen currently residing in the US. Just wondering what is the best way to exchange my savings in USD to GBP?

If I buy GBP in cash right now through the bank, they don't offer a good exchange rate (the current rate from the internet is 1.25, but the banks charge 1.32). So another way would be I first move to the UK, then open a bank account there, then use those online wire transfer services to transfer the USD in my American account into my UK account. They seem to offer a much better exchange rate (in this case close to the internet rate of 1.25, as their websites show).

So does the second approach sound right? But can I do this money transfer operation even when I am in the UK? How did you guys do this? Thanks!
I use XE when I go to the UK.
St Salvators Quad, University of St Andrews
University of St Andrews
Reply 2
Original post by Sabertooth
I use XE when I go to the UK.

Yes, I am thinking using that website too. So you basically went with the second approach I mentioned above? It worked smoothly? Is it the most economic option?
Original post by Elwynn111
Yes, I am thinking using that website too. So you basically went with the second approach I mentioned above? It worked smoothly? Is it the most economic option?


Yes I did some research and that was the best rate I could find. I spoke to them on the phone (still remember the guy's name) and they were legit though I still worried about losing all my money, thankfully that did not happen! I opened a bank account and moved quite a lot of money. No problems. :smile:

I just moved some more money for a trip I have coming up and again it's gone through without any problems.
Reply 4
Original post by Sabertooth
Yes I did some research and that was the best rate I could find. I spoke to them on the phone (still remember the guy's name) and they were legit though I still worried about losing all my money, thankfully that did not happen! I opened a bank account and moved quite a lot of money. No problems. :smile:

I just moved some more money for a trip I have coming up and again it's gone through without any problems.

Cool, one more "to-figure out" down.
Original post by Sabertooth
Yes I did some research and that was the best rate I could find. I spoke to them on the phone (still remember the guy's name) and they were legit though I still worried about losing all my money, thankfully that did not happen! I opened a bank account and moved quite a lot of money. No problems. :smile:

I just moved some more money for a trip I have coming up and again it's gone through without any problems.


Original post by Elwynn111
Cool, one more "to-figure out" down.

I agree. XE is great. My advice would be to set up the XE account before you want to move the cash - there are a number of hoops to jump through (legal stuff ) to set up the account, and it takes a couple of days to get your US account verified. Then once you are in the UK set up a bank account asap and enter your details in the recipients page. Also UK banks give you deals if you are a student - not sure if it works for PHDS as well, but it's worth checking.
Reply 6
Revolut

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