Before you learn something new below, please read my disclaimer here now about the advice and tips I share on this blog. 

As an expat teacher, I strongly recommend transferring your money away from your current account as soon as you get paid. This might be:

  • to another account you have at your expat bank. I used to do this in Qatar where I’d a current account and then a saving account with the same bank. I’d transfer my savings each month to my saving account and then make 2 big transfers each year to my home bank, usually at Christmas and in the summer, to save bank/ transfer fees.

OR

  • to your home bank account each month.
To transfer your money from your expat bank to your home bank, you’ve a number of options:

You can:

  1. Transfer from your expat bank to your home bank.

OR

2. Withdraw your cash, exchange it to your home currency at a currency exchange place, and transfer it to your home bank from the same currency exchange place.

OR

3. Use an online currency exchange site, e.g. Currency Fair, to transfer your money to your home bank.

Let me go through each option, its pros and cons, and stay tuned to find my preferred method(s) of transferring money home!

  1. Transfer from your expat bank to your home bank.

I think I used this option once in my life when I had just started expat teaching (7 years ago!) as I soon realised that because the expat bank’s currency exchange rate was low, I got a lot less euros for what I’d get using the other 2 transfer options below. Yes, it may be quicker easier, especially with online apps, but if you use it to transfer large amounts of money, you could be losing HUNDREDS OF EUROS/ GBP/ DOLLARS per transaction. I would rather take a bit of extra time initially, but then have HUNDREDS OF EUROS/ GBP/ DOLLARS extra in my home bank account, wouldn’t you?

2. Withdraw your cash, exchange it to your home currency at a currency exchange place, and transfer it to your home bank from the same currency exchange place.

For the last few years, my preferred option has been to transfer money home by withdrawing it from your UAE/ Qatar/ expat bank & going to a currency exchange place like UAE Exchange, Al Ansari, or Al Jaber Exchange (in the Gulf) and transferring it to your home bank account that way. I always check at least 2 exchange places with a large sum and ask them for their best Euro rate, which tends to be UAE Exchange for me. It costs me 50 AED (12 euro) there and then 15-25 Euro on my Irish bank’s side, depending on the transfer amount. Despite these fees, I still get more than I’d get using my Emirati bank to transfer, due to their lower currency exchange rates. The downside is that it does take some time to queue up at the bank, withdraw the money, and then queue up again at the currency exchange place, which is why I only do it 2-3 times a year and I give myself an hour to get everything done.

3. Use an online currency exchange site, e.g. Currency Fair, to transfer your money to your home bank.

Recently, I’ve tried Currency Fair, an Irish-owned online currency transfer, to move money between my home bank account and my expat bank account. I had to get a letter from my school to set it up, but once that was done, my account was set up very easily. The exchange rate is similar to what I get at the currency exchange houses I mentioned in Option 2, but Currency Fair has an even better option, where it allows me to set the exchange rate I want, so I can tell Currency Fair not to transfer my money until the Euro exchange rate hits a certain (higher) amount. Another pro is that it has an app, so I can do everything from the comfort of my own home- no queuing required!

If you use my affiliate link for Currency Fair, you will get €30 in your CurrencyFair account (if you transfer at least €2,000) and so will I! It costs you absolutely nothing, but this money helps to fund the running costs of my website, so thank you!

One month, you should try a currency house and Currency Fair with the same amount and see which works best for you!

P.S. Some expats transfer their money each month because if they do something wrong or illegal and get deported, their expat bank account is frozen, so they can’t access their money. This only happens to a tiny minority of expats but just be aware of it.

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