I am moving to London and need to buy a few thousand British Pounds to pay the deposit for a 12 month rental contract.

What's the best way to buy the currency?

  • 3
    If you are moving to London, its best to open a bank account. Usually cheapest to use an online money transfer service. Also this question might be better served by Expats StackExchange – EdmundYeung99 Oct 19 '15 at 1:45
  • 2
    If you want to avoid an adverse directional move, you can purchase an out-of-the-money call option and lock in a favourable rate. At the time you want delivery, you can either exercise the option or sell it in the market. You need to be doing this for a large quantity for it to work as 'the cheapest' way. – Gayot Fow Oct 19 '15 at 2:35
  • You can also go to your bank and ask them for an inside rate, they might sell you some Sterling at mid-market (which would be wonderful). – Gayot Fow Oct 19 '15 at 2:42
  • @EdmundYeung99 I think that the bank account solution isn't going to work in case. It's a classical chicken-and-egg problem for expats: to open a bank account, typically you need a local address. To get a local address, you need to have your rental contract already signed and your deposit already paid. – Federico Poloni Oct 21 '15 at 3:48
  • I talked yesterday with Lloyds Bank there on the phone and they advised that if you have a passport from a few countries you don't need to provide proof of address. What is my case being New Zealander. – Maralc Oct 21 '15 at 3:51

Definitely best to open a UK bank account once in the country and then transfer your money. When I moved to London and needed to transfer a large amount I used an online money transfer service, in this case 1st Contact Forex. They had decent rates and fairly low fees at the time, and it was fairly simple to transfer via online banking.

If you need money in the interim before you go you could just get a prepaid currency card such as Cash Passport etc. Not sure if it's cheaper than buying the cash from a currency exchange.

  • Can one withdraw "a few thousand pounds" from a prepaid card? In my experience, not always; there are daily and monthly caps. – Federico Poloni Oct 21 '15 at 3:46

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