The freedom of movement in Europe has led to many German nationals making their home in the UK. Whether they are supporting loved ones at home or sending money back to maintain property or businesses, it is obvious that transferring money to Germany is an important consideration.
Whatever the reason your reason is for sending money from the UK to Germany, it is vital that you understand the fees and charges that companies use. It is also equally important to understand why not all exchanges rates are equal.
The internet has opened up an overwhelming number of companies who provide money transfer services and finding the right one for your specific needs can be daunting. Research is a must if you are going to reduce costs and get the best exchange rate.
The intention of this guide is to give you an idea of the options available to you depending on the situation you are in, and the reason you are transferring the money.
The Best Ways to Transfer Euros
Moving to or from the UK
Every UK bank will accept money in Euros (EUR) but if you choose to use a bank for your transfer, then you are tied in with their rates. Banks will always charge high international money transfer fees and they will not offer you the best exchange rates.
Choosing to use an online money transfer service gives you a far wider choice of providers and will let you avoid higher fees.
Our Verdict: OFX offers competitive exchange rates on GBP and EUR currency transfers to Germany. They are particularly good rates for payments that are under £10,000. You can click here to watch a video on how to transfer money internationally with OFX.
Business Currency Transfers
If the business is frequently making transactions between Germany and the UK, there are a couple of things to consider.
- The Exchange Rate Margin is the difference between the rate you are offered and the wholesale exchange rate published by xe.com.
- The specific business products on offer. These could be forward exchange contracts, limit orders and foreign currency accounts.
Our Verdict: HiFX have great exchange rates and a £0 fee structure which maximizes your overseas payments. You can also set up foreign currency accounts. This lets you keep the funds in your account in a foreign currency, only converting them when the time is right.
Buying a Property
Choose a provider who has a strong presence in both Germany and the UK. You need someone who understands the intricacies of the procedures of both countries and who is able to be flexible in their support of you.
Sending Money Home
Western Union, for example, are the ideal choice for sending small amounts internationally, like gift money for friends or relatives. Other companies may waive transfer fees if you are sending a large amount. Discussing your specific needs with a money transfer specialist is critical to getting the right deal for you.
Tuition fees are expensive and they continue to increase in size year after year. The cost of some courses can add up to thousands of pounds. In addition to tat, there are also ongoing living expenses to consider such as accommodation, food and utility bills. Not to mention, smaller payments for books and other course requirements.
If you are making a large transfer, it’s important to find a provider who gives you the best exchange rate. If it’s a smaller amount then it’s the fee that is being charged that should get more consideration.
Our Verdict: WorldFirst. A new company but one that is fast establishing itself as a great choice for students and their parents.
Best Ways to Send Money to Germany
The Costs of Sending Money Between the UK and Germany
Trying to figure out the complete cost of a money transfer can be difficult. It all depends on the transfer method and the fees involved. Hence, the margins aren’t always clear. To help you, we’ve compiled a list of the most common charges you’ll face when sending money from one account to another.
- The Transfer Fee – This is also called a Telegraphic Transfer (TT), a Wire Transfer or a Remittance Fee.
- Exchange Rate Margin – The difference between the rate you are getting and the wholesale rate you see on xe.com.
- Correspondent Bank Fees – The fees that your bank charges for guaranteeing your transfer gets to the right account. It is taken out when the funds arrive in the recipient’s account, it’s always very difficult to estimate it and impossible to reverse.
- Receiving Bank Fee – If you’re transferring foreign currency into an overseas bank then that bank will charge you a fee for doing so. For example, if you send Euros to a British bank account, the British bank will charge you for converting it.
What are the options?
Banks in the UK have more competitive fees and better exchange rates than most other banks around the world as there is much more competition for this kind of service in the UK. Using a bank is the fastest way to get money between accounts.
If you’re sending less than £1,000 then this is a great option. The fees will be similar to those you’ll find at a bank but the exchange rate will be better. If the person you are sending money to also has a PayPal account then the process is even more convenient.
Money Transfer Company
Money transfer companies such as HiFX and OFX are definitely the cheapest option if you are sending anything over £1,000. They offer low or no fees and the exchange rates are better. However, it can take a little longer to make the transfer which is a disadvantage. You’ll initially have to set up an account with them. This process can be as little as ten minutes or as long as two days depending on the company and what they need to know. When you eventually make the transfer it can also take one day longer than a bank.
How to use a Money Transfer Company (instead of a Bank)
Transferring money in this way is similar to using a bank but with a few distinct differences. Here are the basic online steps.
Setting things up (one off)
- Log in to their website and enter the details required. Make sure you have your ID with you.
- Wait for account approval, you’ll then receive a login and a password.
- Ensure you have the banking details of where you are sending the money and enter them. The receiver is usually known as the ‘Recipient’ or ‘Beneficiary’.
Transferring the Money
- Advise the amount you want to send and get a quote.
- Reconfirm the details, accept the exchange rate offered to you and confirm the amount in sterling.
- You will receive a confirmation of the deal. You will pay them in sterling before the amount is sent to Germany.
Information You’ll Need Before Making Your Transfer
When sending funds overseas you will need the following information about the account you are sending to.
- Account name of the recipient
- Their address
- The SWIFT code of the bank
Banks can be picky and it is worth checking to ensure your details don’t have a digit or a letter out of place, just to ensure the process isn’t held up.
Here is a list of SWIFT codes for the larger German banks.
- Deutsche Bank AG : DEUTDEFFXXX
- Commerzbank AG : COBADEFFXXX
- DZ Bank AG : GENODEFFXXX
- KfW Group : KFWIDEFFXXX
Transferring Money to Germany – How Long Does it Take?
If you’re looking for speed then HSBC, Western Union and PayPal are your best options. Transfers take a matter of minutes. If you’re sending money to a bank account using a bank then the process will take 1-2 days. However, if you’re using a money transfer specialist that could increase to 2-3 days.
Related link: How Long Does It Take To Transfer Money Overseas?
Is There a Minimum Transfer Amount?
Banks and PayPal do not have a minimum limit but some money transfer specialists do. Before using them make sure you check their minimum transfer amount.
Hans is a resident of Germany but works for the majority of the year in London and gets paid in sterling (GBP).
His wife and two children still live in Germany and he needs to make regular payments back to them to pay for the mortgage and other expenses on the property that he owns there.
He regularly uses TorFX as they have reduced the fees he pays to each transaction to a bare minimum. However, he also uses Western Union for his children’s birthdays and other special occasions as he is able to send small amounts of cash for a quick pick up in Germany.