Before we moved to Poland I investigated the best and cheapest possible ways to convert money without losing huge amounts due to the bad exchange rates most banks would offer.
In an internet forum someone mentioned walutomat.pl and I checked it out further. Initially I tried it with a small amount of money (in case it was dodgy) but it worked fine and I have used it ever since and their service is great and you always get the best exchange rates as it is the “live” rates and not some kind of strange always-in-favour-of-the-bank-rate. You are exchanging your money with real people and walutomat acts as a safe guard in the middle.
A few things have to be in place before you can use walutomat though:
– You have to have a Polish residency bank account (this cannot be a passport account with a foreign address on! Our account was and the money was transferred back without exchange)
– You will have to have at least two accounts (of the above mentioned). One in PLN and one in the original currency (in my case GBP).
Ok, if that’s all given, then you can start using Walutomat.
1. Step: Register with Walutomat on walutomat.pl. You have to tell them your bank account details for both accounts (both currencies) in the area of Konta bankowe, a sub-section of Moje dane.
2. Step: Load your Wallet (wpłata środków do portfela)
Go to “wpłata” on the left hand side. Choose the currency that you have (this has to match the account currency!). So in my case this is GBP. Select your bank from the list and select “inny” if it is not on the list.
My bank is not on the list, so I go to “inny” and press “Dalej“. I cannot say if the process is totally different if your bank is on the list. Feedback welcome!
You will then get a screen with your specific details for the transfer you will have to do from your bank account:
Then use these details to do the transfer from your Polish foreign currency bank account. With my bank, this transfer is actually a “International transfer” otherwise the bank would do the conversion into PLN before… and that’s what we are trying to avoid here, right? But your bank will charge you a small fee for this as this is seen as an international transfer.
Select the transaction currency. Again in my case this is GBP.
For the Beneficiary Account Number you use the Numer konta w GBP from Walutomat.
For the SWIFT you use the Kod BIC (Swift) from Walutomat.
For the Beneficiary Address you use the Adres odbiorcy from Walutomat.
For the Payment Title you use the Tytuł przelewu from Walutomat. Try not to forget this, as this helps them to sort your money as fast as possible.
Transaction Currency, again is GBP in my case.
For the Charges paid by I select share and I think this is what Walutomat recommends.
Fill in the amount (GBP) and confirm the transfer.
3. Wait for the money to arrive in your Walutomat account. I normally get a text message to my mobile and an email. So when you sign up. It’s worthwhile telling them a phone number. It mostly takes around 1 day but might be faster if you bank is on their list.
4. The next part is in my opinion the most fun part! You get to “play” with money! 🙂
When the money arrived you will see it in your “Stan portfela“.
You then go to Zlecenie wymiany on the left hand side.
In the amount field for Chcę sprzedać you type the amount you wish to exchange (or tick the box Wymień wszystko to exchange everything available). Make sure you have the correct currency selected in the drop-down next to it.
Chcę kupić is the currency you wish to buy.
Minimalniepo kursie is the exchange rate you are prepared to accept. I find it quite exciting! You will see the live-rate (Aktualny kurs średni) below the green button and a list of previous exchanges in your selected currency pair. You can tick Dopasuj do istniejacych ofert below the rate filed and this will just give you the next available rate but maybe not the best. You can use the rate shown as live-rate but you might have to wait a little while for your exchange to go through… sometimes it happens within seconds after you confirmed or it takes some time (especially if the rate is a little too much in your favour). I have asked for a too high rate (in my favour, of course) and the transfer wasn’t going through at all. So I stopped it and started again. As far as I can see, there was no fee for this which is great!
After you decided on the fx-rate you are willing to accept press the green Akceptuj button and get a cup of coffee. 🙂
When you are back, the exchange might have already happened and the money is now sitting in your Stan portfela in the currency you wanted it (PLN in my case).
5. Go to Wypłata on the left hand side and select the currency you now have and want to transfer back to your account. In my case… yawn… this is PLN. My Walutomat account is empty at the moment, so I cannot show you a screen shot. But it is pretty straight forward. Just type in your account details and transfer the money.
That’s it! Sweet.
One other thing to note if you are self-employed! You get a Faktura VAT (VAT Invoice) for the exchange fee (very reasonable by the way and a LOT less than the bank fees!) if you go the Opłaty i prowizje on the left hand side. There should be a little “Faktury” on the right hand side and you can save it as a PDF.
Let me know if I have forgotten something or if something doesn’t make sense.