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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Having read through some of these threads it seems like some of you are getting a raw deal over your money.

We’ve now retired out here and transfer money and withdraw it, don’t get charged a bean, and get an advantageous exchange rate.

Remember that every service that a UK bank offers you, makes them money and costs you.

We have a bog standard bank account with LloydsTSB (which we had before we moved here).

Remember the following will cost you money from a bank:

Having offshore UK bank account
Getting UK bank to change GBP to Euros
Transferring money from UK to Greece

If you do not still have a UK Bank Account or you gave up your UK Credit Cards as some of our friends have then you were crazy.

Ours is simplicity…

Online we transfer GBP from our LloydsTSB account to a UK Currency Exchange company – no charge.

We then get the currency exchange to buy the Euros – yes there is a “charge” in the rate but it is always better by about 2-3% than from a UK bank.

The currency exchange company then transfer the money to our Greek bank account – no charge.

We get no charge from our Greek bank (Emporiki) for receiving the money.

When we want cash we either go to the branch or use their ATM’s to draw out cash – no charge.


Over here we have opened only a Savings Account – you don’t need anything else and bizarrely (or maybe not knowing the UK) the money gets to Greece in half the time it takes to transfer from LloydsTSB.

We also have a Nationwide Credit Card – again obtained whilst still in UK and this is still the cheapest way to buy anything of any consequence as the exchange rate on the card is better than we ever get with cash!

You will not be able to open a UK Bank Account or get a UK Credit Card if you are resident in Greece and trying to do it using a UK address will not work unless you still own the property in the UK. However there is no problem (now) with having UK Bank Accounts or UK Credit Cards registered with a Greece address as long as they were obtained in the UK against a legitimate UK address. We even have replacement Debit and Credit cards posted out here.

Hopefully this may be of some help to you, please ask any more questions.

Ian
 

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Hi Ian,

Just wanted to say thank you so much for your post!!

My Husband and I have spent hours and hours trying to research money issues for when we move to Rhodes next year, and you have just answered them all in one single post!!

You're a star!!

Glen and Rach. :)
 

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Dear Glen and Rachel

Thanks for your comments.

Like most things there's always an easy way and a hard way of doing things.

I've got some more info and if I can help then email me at <snip>

Regards

Ian
 

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If you do not still have a UK Bank Account or you gave up your UK Credit Cards as some of our friends have then you were crazy.
No, they are not crazy. They are probably just obeying the law.

I think you will find that you are not really permitted to retain a UK bank account or UK credit cards when you are permanently resident in another country.

Ask your bank and see what they say.

I agree with you that it is a good idea to keep a bank account in your home country if you can manage it.

We opened offshore accounts, as advised, but also managed to hold onto an old UK one and a credit card. I don't know whether they will eventually require us to close it. We still have a little UK income which gets paid into it each year so I'm hoping that we can keep it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Cairokid

Seems to me you are doing things the hard way – I’ve just read your posting on another thread where you appear to be paying out unnecessarily, yet you seem to question what I’ve done.

“No, they are not crazy. They are probably just obeying the law.”
No they are crazy – if they ever want to go back to UK they are totally shafted because they will just be able to get credit. Remember once you permanently leave the UK your credit history hemorrhages at a fast rate, so you retain your bank account and use your credit cards every so often to keep things OK. By the same token you will have no problem opening a Greek bank account but you will not get a Greek credit card because you have no credit history in Greece.

“I think you will find that you are not really permitted to retain a UK bank account or UK credit cards when you are permanently resident in another country.”
Sorry but you haven’t read what I wrote. It is perfectly LEGAL to have UK bank account and credit cards with a Greece address. I get both credit and debit cards sent out to my Greece address, but the accounts MUST have been opened whilst you had a valid UK residency address at which you can be checked out. What you are NOT permitted to do is to open a UK bank account or credit card whilst residing abroad and if you use a UK accommodation address I think that you find that can lead to prosecution if found out.

“I don't know whether they will eventually require us to close it.”
So you must be using a UK address at which you do not reside. If they do a check and discover this then they might well. Phone them up and say you are moving abroad and want to change the address. They should say that this is perfectly OK, but you will have to write to them to do it.
 

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Ah, what you say makes sense now.

The account and credit card we still have is with a Scottish bank and they know we have lived abroad on and off for many years.

They send all the statements to us and are aware we are now officially non resident in the UK. It's a branch in a small town and I thought they were just letting us keep the account because they knew us and that we might retire back to Scotland eventually.

It's good to know that it is all legal and we are keeping a credit history. We do go to the UK about once a year and use the card.

When I looked into opening the building society account that was suggested in another thread, the website said it was not available to non-residents, and when we wanted to open a sterling account for our business we had to make it an offshore one. That is what made me think it was not legal to have a UK account if you were non-resident.

We don't pay huge amounts in bank charges. Our income is 50% from Greece although we do make some inter-currency transfers as some clients pay us in sterling. We normally use Currencies Direct and wait until we can transfer a few thousand to get a good exchange rate. They don't make a charge.

It's only when we need to withdraw something at an ATM that we get stung and I would be keen to find a way around that but from what you say there may be nothing we can do about it.

The key seems to be to open a UK building society account before you emigrate. Your advice is good for those on this forum who are about to move overseas.
 

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Hi Ian,

If you have a company in the UK , aswell as one in the UK. Should you just go for a foreign exchange company? Compared to the rates you get using the bank / Credit cards etc... it would be a much better rate.

Its a simple process... assuming you have both accounts... send the money from your uk account using an online transfer to your foreign exchange company... which is free...

They should give you a good rate, if not, then maybe you are with the wrong company...

Then they will transfer the money to your account in greece, with no charge again... well should be no charge... if you have the right company!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
JimDavid

What you've said is exactly what I do as explained in the first post. Most currency exchange companies will offer you a better rate than the banks. The banks are there to make as much money as possible out of their customers, so the rate is never good and they usually charge you a fee for the transfer. In my case it was I think £20. So if I was offered the same rate I'd instantly be £20 better off. The banks are not interested in mere mortals like us for changing money, whereas the currency exchange companies are.
 

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Hi integ...

well im using Currencies 4 You at the moment... as they seem to get me the best rates...
but initially i was going to comparethecurrencymarket.com to compare the rates... so you could try either i guess...
 

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Over here we have opened only a Savings Account – you don’t need anything else and bizarrely (or maybe not knowing the UK) the money gets to Greece in half the time it takes to transfer from LloydsTSB.

Now tell everybody about the palava you had to go through to open the Savings Account in Greece.....it took me almost a month and I wanted to PUT money (a fair amount, and 100% legal) IN to an Account
 

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We also used MoneyCorp when we bought our property in Halkidiki and money was in the Greek account the day after as promised by them and much to the surprise of the Greek Lawyer. Great advice Ian.
 

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can anybody suggest any of the companys that they use for exchanging and transfering money ?
Caxton Finance and TorFX seem very good, Caxton also have a special credit card you load with money and can withdraw any where in the world you lose a bit but it can be better in some cases depending on yur situation. Also Naionwide have one of the only cards not to charge you for ATM withdrawls here in greece.

Hope this helps.

David
 
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