I'll explain what Barlcays charges for an International Transfer, how long it takes, and how to make a Barclays International Payment.
Hopefully, it will save you time trawling through pages of bank jargon and complicated fee schedules.
Barclays international payment charges clearly explained
There are two types of charges with an international money transfer.
- Transfer fees
- Exchange rates
Of the two costs, the transfer fee is the more visible but is normally less important.
In fact, a lot of people think the transfer fee is the only cost.
Companies, such as Barclays, advertise “free transfers”. It kind of sounds like there is no cost at all.
That’s clearly not true.
Instead, the real money is made from the exchange rate.
Barclays international transfer fee
An international transfer fee is just a basic, flat fee charged per transfer.
Barclays charges a £25 fee to make an international transfer using a branch or telephone banking. If you use online banking, there is no transfer fee.
By having lower fees for online transfers, Barclays is trying to encourage you to do everything online.
I get it - it saves them the 'people cost' (otherwise known as customer service).
But from my experience, a lot of people don't want to send large amounts of money overseas using an online system.
It can be frustrating and time-consuming having to navigate your way through an unfamiliar process and trying to input all the information yourself.
Things can and do go wrong, so bear that in mind when you choose your method of payment.
Barclays International Payments
Branch or Telephone
Just as a quick note, the above table relates to outbound Barclays payments (UK to overseas).
If you receive money from overseas into your UK account, Barclays charge a £6 fee for most inbound transfers.
While transfer fees aren't huge, they can begin to add up if you need to make frequent payments.
For the most part, you are best focusing on getting a better exchange rate.
Barclays exchange rates
There is no such thing as standard exchange rates.
A bank, such as Barclays, creates its own exchange rates by adding a mark-up or 'margin' to its wholesale rates.
As a customer of Barclays myself, I can delve into their system and figure out exactly what their margins are.
Barclays exchange rates are a function of the amount and the currency.
Check out the Barclays exchange rate margins below:
You can see the margin falls as the amount gets larger.
Put simply, the bigger the transfer amount, the better the exchange rate.
I'll make the exchange rate costs clearer using some simple examples:
On a £50,000 transfer, you are paying Barclays £890 in exchange rate costs.
On a £200,000 transfer, Barclays are charging £2,380 in exchange rates costs.
I think a lot of people might be surprised how big those charges are.
You can see that the exchange rate costs are significantly higher than the transfer fees.
On larger international transfers, the costs can be in the thousands.
But the funny thing is, most people still focus on the transfer fee!
The question you may be asking is this: are Barclays exchange rates good or bad?
In my opinion, I think you can do better.
The best thing to do is get a quote from an alternative provider and compare how much money you would receive.
The potential saving will depend on the size of your transfer.
By just accepting whatever rate Barclays charges, your transfer could you more than you wanted, or your recipient could receive less than they expected.
Small differences in the exchange rates can make a large financial difference to you.
If you are worried about paying excessive charges, why not make a comparison and see how much you can save.
Types of Barclays International Transfers
I found it confusing when I read this on the Barclays website:
“We offer two payment options when sending money to Europe: SEPA payments and international payments.”
To clarify, a SEPA payment is not applicable to most Brits.
That’s because SEPA transfers are Euro to Euro payments.
For customers that want to send or receive Pounds, an International Payment is the only option.
How to make a Barclays international transfer
The first step is to choose your method:
- Online Banking
- Barclays app
- Telephone Banking; or
Here's a quick overview of how each method works...
For Online Banking, you log in as normal.
Within Move Money, select International Payment.
You will need to enter the amount of Pounds you want to move and the currency you need.
The system will quote you a rate based on the amount you enter (larger amounts = better rates).
Importantly, you will also need to input all the recipient bank details.
Once everything is in place, you will get a Payment Summary to check over.
Before any money is sent, you will also need to go through the PINsentry process, as per usual.
For the Barclays App, you are best watching their video with the slightly creepy voiceover guy.
For Telephone Banking you call 0345 734 5345 or if you’re outside the UK call +44 24 7684 2100. You will need to already be set-up for Telephone Banking and have your passcode to hand.
For Branch, it will basically involve filling out forms. Hopefully, you will get a nice person that knows what they’re doing.
The three bits of information you’ll need:
One difference between international transfers and regular domestic transfers, is you need to put together a bit more info about the recipient.
You need these three things:
- Recipient name (can be you or someone else)
- Country (where the money is going)
- IBAN (international bank account number)
The IBAN can be intimidating because it is so damn long.
It doesn’t help that an IBAN’s length varies from country to country.
It is usually 20-30 characters long – including letters and numbers.
The IBAN is the critical bit of code that ensures your money gets from A to B.
Included in this long string of characters is the country code, bank code, branch code and account number.
The easiest way to find the IBAN is to look on a bank statement (that’s if you’re sending the money to an account in your name and have access to a statement).
If not, you can go into a branch or try and generate one using a free online tool like this.
By the way, I'm not endorsing any particular website – I’ve got no connection to them.
One advantage of using a money transfer specialist is that they can assist you with all the details and help make sure it’s all tickety-boo.
How long does a Barclays international transfer take?
Making an international transfer with Barclays is fairly quick.
Barclays says to allow 1-2 working days to transfer money within the EU. For transfers outside of Europe, allow 3-4 working days.
The variance in time often comes down to the recipient foreign bank, which is outside of the control of Barclays.
When money comes into a bank account from abroad, the recipient bank does its own checks. These checks can cause hold-ups and are affected by time zones and the efficiency of the bank's processes.
Barclays international transfer limits
Barclays has a daily payment limit of £100,000 for Online Banking.
That may not be an issue for most people, but we have some customers that need to send large amounts of money abroad.
For example, people who are buying a property in Spain, France or Portugal, will often exceed this limit.
The limit can become a real pain for the customer.
From my experience, it adds stress and worry to overseas property transactions as the customer needs to carry out multiple transfers or wait in a queue at a branch and do a bunch of paperwork.
Anyone that has bought a property before knows it’s stressful enough without adding further complications.
Any easy get around is to use a money transfer specialist, as they don’t tend to have any daily limits or maximum amounts.
A trusted and helpful alternative: Key Currency
If you need to make an international transfer, you can:
- use a bank, such as Barclays, or
- use a money transfer specialist, such as Key Currency.
As an independent currency specialist, we have far lower overheads than the banks, enabling us to pass on the savings to you.
The cost of our service is included within the exchange rate we quote you. There are no additional fees or charges.
And unlike banks and online-only systems, we don’t make you do everything yourself.
We don't push you onto a trading platform or make you download an app.
All our customers are given an account manager who will look after your transfer personally, taking care of the process for you.
Among other things, we are happy to help set-up the payment details, offer guidance on exchange rates and keep you informed at all stages of your transfer.
Our company has attained a 5-star "Excellent" customer rating on the review website Trustpilot; the highest rating available for our industry.
Key Currency is an FCA regulated Authorised Payment Institution (No. 753989), and as such, you have the peace of mind knowing that all money transfers are conducted through safeguarded client accounts.
If you would like to compare us to Barclays or another provider, simply request a free quote below.