If you need to transfer Pounds to Euros and send them to a bank account in Europe, you can use a bank or money transfer company - but the cost can vary a lot.
I’ll give you some insider tips on how it works, what you will need, and the best ways to avoid high charges.
How to transfer Pounds to Euro (in 4 simple steps)
Step 1: Register as a client
If you’re not an existing company already, you need to register before you can send money abroad.
Registration is essentially a basic ID check. This is legally required due to global anti-money laundering rules.
Most of the time, the registration process is quick and painless.
A cross-check against your name, address, and passport number is usually enough to identify someone.
Step 2: Lock-in your GBP/EUR exchange rate
After you've registered, you are in a position to secure an exchange rate.
A bank will require your money upfront, but a money transfer company will allow you to lock-in an exchange rate prior to sending your money in.
At any time you like, you can request a live quote for the GBP to EUR exchange rate from your bank or money transfer company.
Don’t worry - nothing will happen without your consent.
You can always wait for another time if you don’t like the quote or the time isn't right.
If you go ahead, your exchange rate will be secured, and you will be emailed a confirmation with all the details of your money transfer.
Step 3: Send in your Pounds
Before any Euros are sent out, you need to send in your Pounds to your bank or money transfer company.
You can do this using a normal domestic bank transfer.
Your money will be going to a UK bank account, so it’s just like paying a bill online.
In the confirmation email you were sent, it will have the details of where to transfer your Pounds.
Step 4: Your Pounds are converted to Euros
Once your money is received, your bank or money transfer company will convert your Pounds into Euros at the rate agreed and send the Euros to the bank account you've requested.
How long does it take to transfer Pounds to Euro?
As a general rule, allow 1-2 working days for your Euros to arrive at the destination bank account.
Some money transfers can go through on the same day.
Most complete on the next working day.
If your money arrives at your bank or money transfer specialist in the afternoon, usually after 2 pm, it is considered as the next working day.
Banks and money transfer companies use the same SWIFT payment system behind the scenes.
SWIFT is used to link up banks all around the world.
While banks and money transfer specialists used SWIFT, you may still find some companies slower than others at processing payments.
For example, we've found some banks and larger platforms will batch-process customer payments only at certain times of the day. This can slow down your payment.
Information you will need:
To transfer Pounds to a European bank account, you will need to have the following details of the beneficiary (the person receiving the money):
- Account name
- Bank name
- Bank Swift/BIC code
- Bank account number
The SWIFT/BIC code identifies not only the bank but also the branch location.
You can get all this information by looking at a bank statement, asking in a branch or logging into your account online.
For peace of mind, a money transfer specialist can put everything together for you before you transfer money to Europe.
What are your options?
To transfer Pounds to Euro, you have a choice whether to use a bank or money transfer company.
For the sake of clarity, sometimes money transfer companies are also called currency brokers, foreign exchange brokers or international payment specialists.
It’s all different jargon describing the same thing.
A money transfer company moves money from one country to another.
The main difference between banks and money transfer companies is usually the cost.
Banks can charge up to 4%-5% of your money to transfer Pounds to Euros.
On a transfer of say £50,000, that means it could cost you up to £2,500 in costs.
So it's worth looking at alternatives.
For many people, the best way to transfer Pounds to Euros will depend on the overall cost - which is a combination of the exchange rate and the transfer fees.
A lot of customers aren't aware they can use a money transfer company instead of a bank.
With lower overheads than the big banks, money transfer companies can pass on the savings to their customers.
All the big banks have annual running costs in the billions. And we know who ultimately pays for that.
Not only are money transfer companies often cheaper than the banks, they can offer a more tailored service.
If you’ve used a bank before to send money abroad, you will have seen for yourself that international money transfers are simply not a priority for banks.
I’ve experienced it too.
When I went into my UK bank and told them I needed to send money abroad, I got handed a long form to fill out.
I felt like an inconvenience, not a valued customer.
I guess the staff in branches are used to customers wanting mortgages and saving accounts.
Transferring Pounds to Euros is a bit of a head spin for your average branch.
As money transfer companies are focused on international transfers, the process is more efficient and easier for the customer.
Some providers, such as ourselves, can even provide you with personal guidance on exchange rates.
The two costs of a transfer explained
The cost of a money transfer comes down to two common charges:
- Transfer Fees
- Exchange Rates
A transfer fee is a flat fee charged for every international transfer.
They are not compulsory.
Most banks and some money transfer companies charge you a transfer fee every time you send money.
Some providers charge no fees at all.
While some of the banks have the cheek to charge you twice (a fee for both the sending and receiving bank).
Here is what some of the big UK banks charge:
- Barclays: £25 (standard) or £40 (priority) if you use a branch and the recipient is also charged £6.
- Lloyds: £9.50 whether online or in a branch and the recipient is also charged £12.
- Natwest: £15 if under £5,000 or 0.3% (max £40) if over £5,000.
- Santander: £25 flat fee.
As you can see, each bank has its own fee schedule.
Transfer fees can add up quickly if you need to make regular overseas payments.
Another point to note is that most of the big banks impose their own daily limits for international transfers.
It usually in the region of £50,000 - £100,000.
If you need to send more than the daily limit, it means you will have to make multiple transfers – which will take more time and trigger more fees.
For larger money transfers, the exchange rate is the more important cost.
There is no such thing as standard exchange rates.
Each bank and money transfer company will set their own exchange rates.
Like transfer fees, these can vary considerably.
Our research found that the exchange rates offered by the UK's big banks were uncompetitive.
The exchange rate margin at HSBC, Lloyds, Barclays and Natwest, ranged between 3.0% and 5.4% (depending on the amount transferred).
Can you do better?
Yes - in my experience.
Because the exchange rate varies based on the amount you send, you are best requesting a quote from a bank of money transfer company and comparing the difference.
Are all money transfer companies the same?
The simple answer is no.
A lot of the money transfer companies are really just online systems or 'apps'.
PayPal, Transferwise, CurrencyFair and Revolut, are some of the more popular online-only systems - to name but a few.
You're given a login and password, and then it's over to you.
They suit some people, but not everyone.
If you are sending small, regular amounts, you might be more comfortable using an online platform.
For larger amounts, I've found people usually want to be able to speak to someone.
It can be daunting sending a large amount of your money overseas.
You might be concerned about security, or that something could go wrong.
You may also want to know if it's a good time or bad time to exchange your money.
The larger the sum you send, the more that costs and timing matter.
That's when you really notice the difference between money transfer companies.
I know because I've been there myself.
A few years ago, my family and I moved countries.
I needed to send the bulk of my life savings overseas.
I knew my bank (Lloyds) was probably not going to be very cost-effective (or that interested for that matter).
But there was no way I was going to download an app, press a bunch of buttons, and hope for the best.
So I used a money transfer specialist with some added human help.
There are quite a few reasons that having a person on the other end of a phone is far more preferable.
Firstly, you want to know all the details of your transfer are correct.
One common area where money transfers can go wrong is with the beneficiary details.
It’s why at Key Currency, we double-check them for you.
We don't want our customers' money to go astray, and there is a far higher chance of someone making a mistake if the beneficiary is being set up for the first time.
If it can take a long time to recall missing funds, so prevention is better than cure.
Secondly, some personal guidance on exchange rates can save you a lot of money and stress.
Exchange rates can be volatile.
It can cause customers a lot of stress trying to decide if it's the best time to secure a rate.
While no-one has a crystal ball, it can be very helpful getting some market guidance on rates from someone who is experienced in foreign exchange and is watching the rate continuously.
Even tiny moves in the exchange rate can make a big financial difference.
As an example; just a 0.5% swing in the rate on a £75,000 transfer would mean a £375 difference to you.
Moves of that magnitude happen most days.
A good money transfer company can work with you to achieve a more favourable rate; thereby improving the overall money you receive.
Thirdly, people want to know what's happening with their money.
It's only natural to want to know where your money is and when it will arrive.
No one wants to just sit back, wait and pray.
It’s why you may prefer to choose a money transfer company that will keep you informed at every stage.
Is it safe to use a money transfer company?
If you've never used a money transfer company before, it's worth understanding the rules around client money.
As long as you deal with a company that is Authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), it will segregate client money in a safeguarded bank account.
What that means in plain English is your money is kept separate from any company’s funds in a separate client bank account.
So before you choose a money transfer company, I would urge you to do is to make sure they are Authorised by the FCA.
To check whether a firm is authorised, you can search for its name on the FCA register.
- To transfer pounds to euro, you can use a bank or money transfer company.
- It typically takes 1-2 working days.
- Banks often charge additional fees and have daily payment limits.
- Some money transfer companies are online-only systems, while others will provide help with your transfer and guidance on exchange rates.
- Use a money transfer company that is Authorised by the FCA.
Key Currency is an independent money transfer specialist.
We offer highly competitive exchange rates and charge absolutely zero fees.
Unlike banks and online-only systems, we don’t make you do everything yourself.
All our customers are allocated an account manager (yes - a real person) who can offer guidance on rates and keep you informed at all stages of your transfer.
As a company, we are open and transparent.
The names, faces and backgrounds of all our team of people are shown on our website.
We don’t hide behind apps, webchats or call centres.
Key Currency is an FCA regulated Authorised Payment Institution (No. 753989), and as such, all money transfers are conducted through safeguarded client accounts.
We have gained a 5-star rating on Trustpilot from our clients by providing value for money and consistently great service.
To make a no-obligation enquiry, please request a quote below.