Buy smart online and use a currency broker to save you more cash

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We’ve all heard about the telephone parcel delivery scams at this time of year; but word from high street banks is that they want us to proceed with extreme caution; when buying online. In 2016, it was reported that £16 million was lost to online fraudsters (according to Action Fraud), with 20-29 year olds being hardest hit, as shopping online continues to grow at pace.  

Recent statistics about Black Friday show that mobile sales were level with desktop sales in 2017 and that in total online sales versus in-store purchases were split 60%-40%. It is expected that more consumers will convert from bricks and mortar to purchases via mobile, as these mobile online shopping experiences improve over time.

You’re in a rush, and you may be hunting for that bargain, or trying to squeeze your online Christmas shopping in-between your lunch hour at work. Your guard may be down because you’ve spent the last hour wading through the vast on-line stores; got distracted creating your own wish list; and you still have no idea what you’re going to buy your brother / Aunty / Dad. The most commonly claimed against fraudulent purchases were for mobile phones on auction sites, where the products didn’t actually exist, or other technological items like Apple watches and Macbooks as well as Fitbits and Xbox/Playstations. Similarly high end clothing brands such as Uggs and some trainer brands. It’s not just buyers either, sellers can fall victim to online fraud too.

Cyber criminals are also good at designing online sites that look like the real thing and if you are making purchases through an online marketplace, or abroad, it is even easier to be ripped off. Given the timescales that it takes for products to be delivered from abroad and holds ups around the festive season, it may be some weeks before you realise that you have been taken advantage of and fallen victim to fraud. Weak wifi connections are easily intercepted as are people who use the same password for many shopping sites.

If you’re buying through a marketplace, there may be some extra protection. Online marketplaces will not want any negative reviews regarding their services, so will be quick to resolve an issue with a seller. Paypal and some other payment services will allow you to reclaim the purchase if your goods have not arrived, or there is a problem with your purchase. Be smart when shopping online and do your research and find out more about reviews and the seller. Make sure you are opening the actual website you are seeking and not an advert, people can easily set up landing pages that are not for genuine companies. The general rule of thumb is that if the deal looks too good to be true, then it probably is.


There is another way to save money when buying online overseas. Vigilant, savvy overseas shoppers will enlist the services of a currency broker to save more money on their purchases when sending money overseas. These shoppers save money on fees that the banks charge (typically £5-£30), as well as the rate that their currency is exchanged at. Currency exchange brokers will charge a rate which is often significantly lower than the banks as well as being closer to the interbank rate. By using our international currency provider quote tool which contains details of the most cost-effective money transfer companies globally, you can find the best provider for sending money abroad.


Rachel Doyle
Rachel Doyle
Senior Content Specialist
Rachel has over 10 years’ communications and writing experience, having started her career in financial services where she spent nine years working in various roles. She started out in fund… Read more

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