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Sending money later in the year? Here’s how forward contracts work

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If you send money overseas by using an international money transfer (IMT) provider, chances are you’ve seen the term ‘forward contract’ before. 

A forward contract is a feature offered by providers which allows you to lock in an exchange rate for a future transfer. This allows you to hold a favourable rate and not miss out on a good exchange deal when you are not yet 100% ready to send money overseas.

In a volatile market like in currency exchange, it’s no surprise that there are days where the value of the Australian dollar goes down against popular currencies like USD, GBP, HKD and SGD. If you are someone who frequently sends money overseas, then you may watch the currency exchange graph daily to catch any fluctuation. Much like a game of Monopoly, if there is a moment where the deal is favourable you jump on it.

With a forward contract you can lock in a good rate and choose to do the money transfer later. Depending on the IMT provider you go with, that exchange rate is held for you for several months. Though you may have to pay an initial deposit up front and then the rest of the money when you want to make the transfer.

Here’s a typical example: you are planning to send money overseas to help pay for a family member’s wedding. The wedding is still about a year away but when you checked the daily currency exchange rate, you noticed that for $1 AUD you got $0.78 USD, which is the highest it’s been in a while. Using an IMT provider you lock in the exchange rate of 1 AUD for 0.78 USD, then several months later when you want to make the transfer you get that rate even if the future exchange rate is much lower. 

It is that easy. Again, depending on the IMT provider you go with your forward contract may last between three months and a year. When you are looking at a provider to go with, make sure to read their forward contract rules.

If you are looking to send money overseas soon, check out Mozo’s IMT tips to learn some money saving tactics.

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Maria Gil
Maria Gil
Money writer

Maria Gil writes across all of our personal finance areas here at Mozo. Her goal is to help you think smarter about money and have more in your pocket. Maria earned a journalism degree in Florida in the United States, where she has contributed to major news outlets such as The Miami Herald. She also completed a masters of digital communications at the University of Sydney. When Maria isn’t busy with all things finance, you can find her tucked away reading fantasy books. She is also ASIC RG146 (Tier 2) certified for general advice.

* The exchange rates offered by each provider are indicative exchange rates that have either been supplied by each provider or gathered by Mozo. Exchange rates fluctuate constantly and as a consequence the exchange rates listed here may vary to the actual exchange rate you are quoted by a provider. Please ensure you confirm the actual exchange rate with the relevant provider prior to conducting any transaction. These exchange rates are updated every hour.

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