Author, Andrew Gibson
Transferring Euros to a UK bank account is easy once you understand how it works.
In short, you can either use a bank or a money transfer specialist to do the job.
Below I will explain the process, how long it takes, the options you have, and how to avoid high charges.
How to transfer Euros to Pounds (in 4 simple steps)
If you need to convert Euros to Pounds and send them to a UK bank account, there are only four steps – and none are difficult.
Whether you use a bank or money transfer specialist, the steps are pretty much the same.
Step 1 – ID check
Before you can send money internationally, you need an identification check.
The reason is that governments are trying to prevent the bad guys moving money around the world (drugs, terrorism etc), so every new customer needs an ID check by law.
If you have a residential address in the UK, it can be quick and easy to verify who you are.
Most UK citizens are identified using their name, address and date of birth.
If you don’t have an address in the UK, then you may need to provide the usual proof of ID and proof of address – a copy of your passport and a utility bill or bank statement in the last few months using does the job.
A lot of people just take a quick photo with their phone or iPad and email it over.
Step 2 – Secure an exchange rate
The next step is to get an exchange rate quote for Euro to Pounds.
This is sometimes abbreviated to EUR to GBP.
When you change Euros to Pounds, you are effectively selling euros and buying pounds.
The EUR to GBP rate moves every few seconds, so the amount of Pounds you will receive is changing throughout the day.
Once you receive an exchange rate quote, you can decide whether to go ahead or not.
Nothing will happen without your permission. If you are happy to proceed, your bank or money transfer specialist will lock-in your rate.
You will then be emailed a confirmation of your transaction, showing the amount of Euros you have sold and the amount of Pounds you have bought (will receive).
Step 3 – Send in your Euros
At this point, you need to transfer over your money.
On the confirmation email, there will be the bank details of where you send your Euros.
This is done via a normal bank transfer. After that, your work is done.
Step 4 – Your Euros are converted to Pounds
Once your bank or money transfer specialist has received your Euros, they will convert them into Pounds and send them to the UK bank account you have requested.
On the move? … Here’s a 3-minute video summary
How long does it take?
Sending money from mainland Europe to the United Kingdom is quick.
It usually takes 1-2 working days to transfer Euros to a UK bank account.
The time taken varies if your funds are sent in the afternoon, not the morning.
The cut-off for high street banks and money transfer specialists is normally 2 pm or 3 pm.
If your Euros arrive after the cut-off time, it will count as the next working day.
As a tip, if you are under time pressure, you can always choose to send your money in before your Euros are converted to Pounds.
It will make the process quicker end-to-end.
Banks vs Money Transfer Specialists
|High street banks||Familiar, money already sat at bank||Added fees & uncompetitive exchange rates||Small payments, convenience|
|Money transfer specialists||Lower cost, efficient service||Need to register||Larger amounts (over £5,000)|
How much do the bank really charge?
Using your bank might be familiar, but it can be a very costly way to convert Euros to Pounds.
The main issue with using a European or UK bank is their high comparative charges and lack of care and assistance.
In terms of overall cost, you need to be aware of two types of charges:
- Exchange rates.
- Transfer fees.
The exchange rate costs tend to be far greater than the transfer fees.
Our research found that the exchange rates offered by the big banks were consistently poor.
- United Kingdom: the exchange rate margin at HSBC, Lloyds, Barclays and Natwest, ranged between 3.5% and 5.4%.
- Spain: CaixaBank, Sabadell, Bankia, BBVA and Santander have an exchange rate margin of 3.8% to 5.1%.
- France: leading banks such as Credit Agricole, BNP Paribas and Societe Generale appear even worse than Spain, with margins at 4.5% to 5.3%.
- Portugal: exchange rate margins for BPI, Nova Banco and Santander Totta coming in at 3.5% to 5%.
- Ireland: AIB, Bank of Ireland and EBS have margins of 4.3% to 5%.
Most of the big European banks have exchange rate margins in the region of 4% to 5%.
If you only intend to do a small amount (under €5,000), you may prefer the convenience of your bank.
The larger the amount, the more you need to be aware of the rate.
If you just accept a bad exchange rate, it could cost you thousands in additional charges.
What’s more, if you use your bank, they will probably charge you transfer fees on top of the exchange rate costs.
A transfer fee tends to be a flat fee in the region of €20-€50 charged per international money transfer.
Beware – some banks charge you twice for the same transfer!
One fee charged by the sending bank in Europe; and another fee by your receiving bank in the UK.
The cheek of these big financial institutions. A law unto themselves.
If you want to avoid these fees, use a money transfer specialist.
At Key Currency, we not only provide highly competitive exchange rates, we charge absolutely zero fees.
The information you will need
To send money to the UK using a bank transfer, you will need to have the IBAN of your bank account in the UK.
IBAN stands for ‘international bank account number’.
It is a standard way of identifying bank accounts anywhere in the world.
For UK bank accounts, an IBAN consists of 22 characters (a combination of letters and numbers).
- 2 letter country code (GB)
- 2 number check code (29)
- 4 letter bank code
- 6 number sort code
- 8 number account number
Some banks display your IBAN on statements or when you log in to your account.
You can ask in a branch if you get stuck.
Alternatively, as part of our service we help you set-up your payment information.
Are you selling a property abroad?
For large Euro amounts, the extra cost of a bank transfer to the UK can be substantial.
If you are a British expat selling property in Spain, France, Italy or Portugal, at completion, you will need to convert the sales proceeds from Euros into Pounds.
On a sales price of say €80,000, you could be up to €4,000 worse off using a bank to move your money back to the UK!
That’s a lot of money in most people’s books (it is in mine).
Another thing to note is that your bank may limit the daily amount of money you can send online.
The daily transfer limit for UK banks tends to be between €15,000 – €100,000.
If you use your bank, you may need to go into a branch to complete your transfer in one payment.
Money transfer companies don’t limit the size of international money transfers, so they may be a better option if you are completing a property sale.
Why use a money transfer specialist?
A money transfer specialist is normally the best way to transfer Euros to Pounds in terms of overall cost and service provided.
The savings can be substantial compared to using your bank.
For transfer amounts over £5,000, you’re likely to get a cheaper exchange rate from a money transfer specialist than a high street bank.
The reason money transfer specialists can offer customers better exchange rates is that they have far lower overheads.
Most of the major UK and European banks incur billions in annual running costs.
Someone has to pay for that (hint: their customers).
Overall, banks can charge up to 3%-4% more to convert Euros to Pounds than a money transfer specialist.
The exact cost will depend on the size of your transfer.
The larger your money transfer, the larger your potential savings.
Is it safe to use a money transfer specialist?
Anyone sending money abroad will naturally want to know about the safety and security of their funds.
Not all money transfer companies are Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – the UK’s financial watchdog.
Importantly, an FCA Authorised company is required to segregate client funds.
Segregation of funds means that all customer money is held in a separate and safeguarded bank account.
You can verify if a company is Authorised by entering its name on the FCA register and click Search the Register.
Why you can’t trust exchange rates online
If you need to exchange Euros to Pounds, the fluctuations in the EUR/GBP rate is the key thing to focus on.
These days you have probably seen that a lot of different websites display exchange rates.
The more popular sites include XE, Oanda and DailyFX.
But there’s a problem.
The exchange rates you see online are not actually available to customers.
What you are seeing are ‘interbank exchange rates’.
Interbank exchange rates are used by major banks and institutions to exchange currencies between themselves.
To cut a long story short, even large corporations and money transfer companies don’t buy or sell currencies at interbank rates. Nor can the person in the street.
You will find a disclaimer somewhere of these foreign exchange websites saying that the rates displayed are “not available to consumers” or are “for informational purposes only”.
If you think that’s annoying, you’re not alone.
The bottom line is to avoid frustration and misinformation; you should base your plans on a genuine quote from a bank or money transfer company.
How to get the best Euro to Pound rate
Exchange rates can be volatile.
However, even small moves in the exchange rate can make a big financial impact.
It’s why it’s also worth your while trying to get the best rate you can.
A money transfer specialist can work with you to achieve the best possible exchange rate.
One of the advantages of using a money transfer specialist is that they will monitor the rate for you – and alert you if the rate moves in your favour.
It can make a big difference.
For instance, even a 1% adverse swing in the Euro/GBP rate on a €100,000 transfer would cost you €1,000.
Moves of that size happen all the time.
Getting some guidance on exchange rates can help optimise the timing of your transfer and reduce your costs.
A bank or online-only platform won’t offer you any guidance or assistance when it comes to exchange rates.
You are left to fend for yourself.
If you need to move a large sum of money back to the UK, you may prefer having someone to assist you with the process and offer guidance on exchange rates.
How to protect yourself against a falling Euro
If you are worried about the Euro moving against you in the future, a money transfer specialist can lock-in an exchange rate up to 12 months in advance of your money transfer.
This is called a ‘forward contract’.
Forward contracts are a way of protecting yourself against adverse exchange rate movements.
In short, they allow you to fix a rate now and exchange your money later.
Banks and money transfer apps don’t tend to provide this as an option to their customers.
The time period for a forward contract can be up to 12 months ahead. And you can draw on the funds at the time of your choosing.
A forward contract can be useful if you have exchanged on the sale a property abroad, but you are awaiting the completion date.
While you wait, which can drag on for weeks or months, you remain exposed to exchange rate risk.
By taking out a forward contract, you can fix the Euro to Pound exchange rate and therefore know the exact amount you will receive in Pounds.
If you are moving back to the UK and want to buy a property, it allows you to know what budget you have to work with.
If you are looking to transfer Euros to Pounds, you can use a bank or money transfer specialist. While banks might seem like the obvious option, money transfer specialists can be a lot cheaper and more efficient.
Who are we?
Key Currency is a leading money transfer specialist.
The cost of our service is included within the exchange rate we quote. There are no additional fees or charges you need to worry about.
By understanding your exact requirements, we can work with you to achieve a better exchange rate.
Importantly, we don’t push you onto a trading platform and make you do all the work.
Unlike a money transfer ‘app’, we provide you with a service. All our customers have an account manager who will take care of the entire process for you.
As a company, we are open and transparent. We don’t hide behind generic jargon or a faceless ‘app’.
The names, faces and backgrounds of all our team of people are shown on our website.
You have the peace of mind knowing that 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 attained a 5-Star “excellent” customer rating on the review website Trustpilot; the highest rating available.
If you are based in the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Ireland – or anywhere in the EU – we can help convert Euros to Pounds in a quick, secure and cost-effective way.
To make a no-obligation enquiry, please request a quote below.