At RationalFX, our commitment to making your international payments more convenient – and cost-effective – has inspired us to explore the impact of Artificial intelligence (AI) on daily life. And why we should take inspiration from its ability to help us take control of our lives when sending money overseas this Christmas.
There was a time when AI was merely futuristic fantasy that filled the pages of comic books and provided the plot for sci-fi movies. In fact, the term didn’t even exist until 1956, when American computer scientist John McCarthy organised the Dartmouth Research Project. It was at this extended brainstorming session of mathematicians and scientists that the concept of Artificial Intelligence was named and established as a field. The foundations for which had been laid by British computer scientist Alan Turing and his team in the 1940s, when they created the Bombe code-breaking machine – the first example of machine learning.
Fast-forward to the new millennium and technology has caught up with imagination. So much so that AI has become part of everyday life, making even the simplest of tasks more convenient. And the sky’s the limit: AI-powered machines are predicted to be better than us at driving a truck by 2027, writing a best-seller by 2049 and performing surgery by 2053.
Let’s remain in the present for now and explore how AI is helping us to stay in control of our busy day-to-day lives. Perhaps the most widely used example is the Amazon Echo – known simply as Alexa – a voice-controlled virtual assistant that has been designed to turn words into action. Alexa listens to you, before translating your voice into commands – from playing music and turning on the lights, to answering factual questions and ordering Christmas presents from Amazon. You can even ask Alexa to check your bank balance, what you owe on your credit card and your most recent transactions.
Unfortunately, Alexa can’t help us stay in control of our international payments – not yet anyway. That’s because there’s more to sending money overseas that just clicking a button or making a voice command. International payments expose your finances to fluctuating exchange rates. This currency market risk has the potential to increase the cost of sending money overseas. And with Christmas fast approaching – that magical time of year when we spend money like it’s going out of fashion – you will want to do everything in your power to keep costs down.
These currency market movements are triggered by a range of political and economic variables that are largely out of our control – from Brexit and general elections to GDP figures and interest rates. For example, the pound’s lost between 15-20% of its value against the euro and US dollar since July 2016 – when the UK voted to leave the EU – as Brexit-fuelled uncertainty cast a cloud over the UK’s political and economic landscape. Currencies are averse to uncertainty at the best of times and the prolonged Brexit process has prolonged the pound’s misery, driving up the cost of sending money overseas.
So, if you need to make international payments – whether it’s simply a financial festive gift for a family member or something more substantial like purchasing a property in the sun – you should focus on what you can control: your exposure to currency market risk.
Thankfully, you don’t have to leave your hard-earned money at the mercy of exchange rate fluctuations. You can take control of your international payments by using a currency specialist like RationalFX. We can help you mitigate the impact of currency market risk on the cost of sending money overseas – this could mean more of your money reaches your loved ones this Christmas, or it could even prevent the price of your dream property in the sun from disappearing out of reach.
Central to our offering is the personal service you’ll receive from your dedicated account manager – your very own Alexa if you like. They can provide invaluable market guidance and insight that facilitates informed decision-making about the timing of your international payments. They can’t stream music or turn up the heating for you, but they can help you establish a currency strategy that helps to eliminate the need to rely on unreliable market forecasts. After all, you can’t be sure of the outcome of events that influence exchange rates, making it impossible to precisely predict which direction they will move, or by how much.
So, rather than trying to second-guess market movements, it’s prudent to plan for all eventualities. Your account manager can help you use a range of specialist tools to do just that:
- Forward Contract: a forward contract allows you to fix a rate today, based on the current market rate, for an international payment that happens on a specified date up to two years in the future. You can then sit back and relax, safe in the knowledge that the price of your payments is protected from exchange rate fluctuations.
- Market Order: secure an automatic trigger rate using a market order, whether it’s a limit order or a stop-loss order. This guarantees that your payment is executed at that rate the moment the market hits. We will inform you when the market reaches your desired level.
- Rate Alert: provide us with details of the currency pair and rate you would like to achieve, and we will alert you when it becomes available, saving you the hassle of constantly monitoring the market.
Looking to make an international payment? Whatever your reason may be for sending money abroad, we’re giving you the chance to win an Amazon Echo and a £/€100 Gift Card to go with it! To be entered into our prize draw, simply send £10,000 overseas with RationalFX between 4th – 17th December.