Once you have your gite up and running you will need to keep your French Bank account topped up with euros, to pay your utility bills, taxes and of course any changeover costs, if you are getting somebody else to manage this for you.
As with buying your gite in the first place, where you needed to transfer a large amount of euros, there are a number of options for transferring euros to your account. The options discussed in my previous post on buying euros only really work if you have a reasonably large amount of euros to buy, as in when you are first purchasing your gite, or you have a French mortgage and therefore need to transfer a reasonable amount of money every month to cover the mortgage. In this case you can setup a regular euro purchase using the providers discussed.
If, however, you only need to transfer a relatively small amount irregularly then you probably need another way of transferring money. There are a few options you could consider.
- Sending a sterling cheque to your French bank account
- Getting a Euro cheque from your UK bank account and sending it to your French Bank Account
- Use an FX dealer to send a large amount of money once a year or even every other year
- Use a money transfer service to send money to your French Bank Account
If you send a sterling cheque to your French bank account then they will obviously charge you a fee which you need to investigate and find out how much it is and what exchange rate will be used.
If you get your UK bank to issue a euro cheque then they will charge you for that and you may find that your French bank will charge you for receiving a euro cheque from another country, again you would need to investigate the charges but you will probably be hit with charges by both banks.
If you have large amounts of capital you could use the large scale FX dealers to send a larger amount of money. These services are not much use below £1000 and even then some do not compare very well with the alternative methods, so please don’t assume that just because they saved you a lot of money on your house purchase they are the best bet for transferring smaller amounts of money.
The final option is the one we currently use. We use a service from MoneyBookers, which basically allows you to upload money from your UK bank account and then withdraw it to your French bank account for a small fee and a small increase (1.75% at the time of writing this post) on the European Central Bank daily reference rates. This seems to be the most cost effective way of moving small amounts of money that we have found.
There are several ways of moving money to your French bank account, and the list above is not exhaustive, but you must make sure you understand the fees you will be charged and, probably most importantly, the exchange rate they will use. Even when transferring relatively small amounts on a regular basis you can save a considerable amount of money by using the right service for you.
©Derek Arkwright 2008