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 costs can vary a lot.
I’ll explain everything you need to know including:
- how a transfer works
- how long it takes
- what info you’ll need
- whether it’s safe, and
- how to lower your costs
How to transfer Pounds to Euro (in 4 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, and you can always wait for another time if you don’t like the quote.
If you go ahead, you will be sent a confirmation by email with 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 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 received, it will have the details of where to send the money. You have 1-2 working days to send the money in.
Step 4: Your Pounds are converted to Euros
The last step is for your bank or money transfer company to convert your Pounds into Euros at the rate agreed and send the Euros to the bank account you've requested. That's it.
In practice, the whole process is extremely quick and easy.
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 2pm, it is considered as the next working day.
Banks and money transfer companies use the same SWIFT payment system behind the scenes.
While everyone is essentially using the same system, you may still find some places are slower than others at processing payments. For example, we've found some banks and large companies batch-process customer payments at certain intervals in 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 (where to send 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 basic choice whether to use a bank or money transfer company.
Sometimes money transfer companies are also called currency brokers, foreign exchange brokers or international payment specialists.
It’s all financial jargon describing the same thing.
They are companies that move money from one country to another.
The main difference between banks and money transfer companies is the cost.
Banks can charge up to 4%-5% of your money to transfer Pounds to Euros.
On a transfer of say £50,000, you could pay out 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.
I went into my UK bank, told them I need to do an international money transfer and got handed a long form to fill out.
It felt like I was an inconvenience, not a valued customer. I guess the staff in branches are used to customers wanting mortgages and saving accounts, so transferring Pounds to Euros is a bit of a head spin.
As money transfer companies are focused on international transfers, the service is more efficient, and some providers such as ourselves, can even provide you with personal guidance on exchange rates.
The true costs of a transfer explained
The cost of a money transfer comes down to two common charges:
- Exchange rates: there is no such thing as the “official” exchange rate. Most of the rates you see online are wholesale rates used by banks, and not available to consumers. Each bank and money transfer company will offer you a different exchange rate based on the currency you need and the amount you are looking to send.
- Transfer fees: these fees vary considerably. Most banks and some money transfer companies charge you a transfer fee every time you send money. However, some providers charge no fees at all.
Our research found that the exchange rates offered by all the major UK banks were uncompetitive and sometimes downright terrible.
The exchange rate margin at HSBC, Lloyds, Barclays and Natwest, ranged between 3.0% and 5.4% (depending on the amount transferred).
In terms of transfer fees, we found that some of the big banks even charged you twice – both the sending and the receiving bank took a slice of your money.
Here is what some of the big UK banks charge:
Barclays: £25 (standard) or £40 (priority) if you use a branch but nothing if you do everything yourself online – how very generous! They also charge the recipient £6 (which is often you again).
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, it varies a lot from bank to bank.
Transfer fees can add up quickly if you need to make regular overseas payments or are planning to send a larger amount in several instalments.
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.
As a general rule, the smaller the transfer, the worse the exchange rate you receive and the greater the transfer fees are in proportion to the amount sent.
For larger GBP to Euro transfers, the exchange rate is the main determinant of the total cost.
Are all money transfer companies the same?
Like in any industry, different companies offer different things.
Some money transfer specialists are really just online platforms offering “do-it-yourself” transfers.
Transferwise and Revolut, are two of the more popular online-only platforms.
They suit some people, but not everyone.
If you are sending small, regular amounts you might want to download an app or use an online platform to make your payments.
However, we've found that when people are not used to international money transfers or they are sending larger amounts; they want to be able to speak to someone.
When I’ve sent money internationally before, there was no way I was going to press all the buttons myself and hope for the best.
There are quite a few reasons that human interaction is preferable.
I’ll explain why:
Firstly, you want to know all the details are correct.
For example; one common area where money transfers can go wrong is with the beneficiary details.
It’s why we double-check these. 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.
Currency markets can be volatile. It can cause a lot of stress tracking the exchange rate all day; trying to decide the best time to transfer Sterling to Euros.
I call it ‘rate anxiety’.
No doubt, you want the best rate on your Pound to Euro transfer.
While no-one has a crystal ball, it can be very helpful getting some market guidance on rates from someone who is watching the screens continuously, seeing the news flow, and is familiar with the daily patterns.
Even tiny moves in the GBP to EUR exchange rate can make a big financial difference to the amount of Euros you end up with.
A 0.5% swing in the rate on a £75,000 transfer would mean a £375 difference to you. Swings of that magnitude happen most days.
A money transfer company can help you achieve a favourable rate and avoid losses.
Thirdly, people want to know when their money has arrived and when it's been sent out.
Whether you are buying or selling a property abroad or simply paying money to an overseas relative or business supplier, you want to know what’s happening with your money.
No one wants to just sit back, wait and pray.
It’s why you may prefer to choose a money transfer company that offers contact with a human who can keep you informed at every stage.
Is it safe to use a money transfer company?
I speak to many customers that know a bank is not the cheapest way to transfer Pounds to Euros, but they are worried about using a money transfer company.
I understand their concerns. I’ve been a customer too. You can’t afford for your money to go missing.
But there are strict rules and regulations that cover both banks and money transfer companies.
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. It can’t be used for anything other than your transfer.
So before you send money overseas, the one check I would urge you to do is to make sure the company you choose is 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, money transfer companies are an alternative to using a bank.
- It takes 1-2 working days to convert Pounds into Euros and send them to a European-based bank account.
- Banks often impose a daily international payment limit – which could cost you extra time and fees.
- Some money transfer companies (not all) can provide market guidance on exchange rates – which could help optimise the rate you achieve.
- Be safe: make sure you only use a company that is Authorised by the FCA.
Key Currency is an independent money transfer specialist.
We offer great exchange rates and are one of the only money transfer companies that do not charge any transfer fees.
We also help our customers achieve the most from the money they are converting by providing a personal service.
Our service includes being able to speak to the same person at all stages of your transfer. We don’t hide behind apps, webchats or call centres.
We have gained a 5-Star “excellent” rating on Trustpilot from our clients by providing value for money and consistently great service.
As a company, we are open and transparent. The names, faces and backgrounds of all our people are shown on our website.
We know security of funds is important to you. Key Currency is an FCA regulated Authorised Payment Institution (No. 753989), and as such, all money transfers are conducted through safeguarded client accounts.
We serve clients based in the UK, Spain, France, Germany, Netherlands, Ireland, Portugal – anywhere in the EU.
If you feel our service could be of use to you, please request a free quote below.