Oh yes, people have lost a lot of money, just by using normal bank transfers instead of modern possibilities of the internet (me included). Here are two tipps of how to save money in London with bank transfers and taxes.
1. You want to change money or make a normal bank transfer? Use Transferwise!
Let´s make it short: Use Transferwise.com or similar websites! It is secure, fast, easy and cheap. If you want to compare different providers you can do that here but personally I have made great experience with Transferwise. Make sure to follow my links in order to get your first transfer up to 500 € for free.
The fees depend on the sending/receiving countries but they are much lower than the standard bank fees. Check out the pricing calculator to find out how low the fees are. There is also an App for mobile use. In order to send or receive money, you´ll need a british bank account. If you are just visiting the UK, maybe a friend could help you out.
2. Claim a tax return!
It certainly depends on the time you are spending in London and also on how much money you make but many students for instance will find it helpful that a tax year goes from the 1st of January until 31st of December, while most semesters start in September. If you work enough that they deducted taxes on your paysheet you´ll have a good chance of getting them back, because they will consider in their calculation that you haven´t earned anything in the months before. Same story counts if you leave the UK before the end of the year.
If you want to claim your tax return, you can do it here: Claim your tax return!