Foreign currency in US bank account for tuition

I searched with a variety of terms and didn’t see anything on this topic. My apologies if I overlooked something.

So my oldest will be starting university in England in October (COVID-depending). It seems like the dollar is at a very favorable historic rate with the pound, and I’m thinking about trying to purchase at least half of her annual tuition now in pounds. Anyone have any experience with purchasing currency but keeping it in your account?

We bank with a small local bank in rural-ish Virginia. I’m certainly willing to start a new relationship with a national/international bank, but would love it if anyone has thoughts/tips.

Ultimately, once she’s there we will get her in in-country banking account.

It’s been a while, but my recollection is that there are a few money center banks that will maintain foreign Currency/multi currency accounts and that their minimum balances were pretty high. There are also non-bank actors that can provide the service. This may have changed since I looked into it

Pretty much what David said. Barclays offers international accounts but if your balance falls below 25K GBP, then it is 20 GBP per month as service fee. For ongoing transfers once in country, TransferWise is a good bet.

You generally can’t keep another currency in the same bank account. You need to open a separate GBP bank account. I have one that I opened this year to make it easier to purchase wine in the EU. Did a bunch of research and chose Was easy to open online and easy to purchase GBP/EUR at a competitive rate. Right now the actual conversion rate is 1.22 and as low as 0.5% fee depending on how much you want to convert.

Then it’s super easy to send payments in the UK using the sort code/bank account number. Costs $0.60 per payment. Or direct debit is a big thing over there, so I’m sure you can sign up for that with the school and they’ll suck the payments out automatically for free.

Why not wire transfer directly to the Uni?

I’ve used TransferWise several times to get euros from a French bank sent to my US account. Works very smoothly, great fees–you get the real exchange rate and then pay a small fee, good service (for the one hang-up I had, due to the French bank). Takes 2 - 3 days to complete the transaction.

Thanks everyone! This is super-helpful. I had been looking a bit at TransferWise, but it’s great to hear from folks who’ve had positive experiences. Their multi-currency account sounds perfect, along with giving me a bank account number for UK.

I definitely could, but I was wondering about basically pre-purchasing some fraction of the tuition in pounds now as a bit of a hedge in case the rate goes up by October.

Jason - My daughter has been in the U.K. for almost three years. I would be happy to chat about everything we have learned related to this. Send me a PM if you want to chat. Steve