Author, Andrew Gibson
Transferring money from France to the UK is relatively simple, but the costs and service provided will vary depending on whether you use a bank or currency broker.
How to transfer money from France to the UK (in 4 simple steps)
Step 1 – Identification check
Before you can send money abroad, you need an identification check.
It is required by law.
It’s a fairly straightforward process.
You need to provide the usual – a copy of your passport and a recent utility bill or bank statement.
A lot of people just take a quick photo with their phone or iPad and email it over.
Step 2 – Secure a EUR/GBP exchange rate
When you transfer money from France to the UK, it is the EUR/GBP rate you need.
The EUR/GBP rate moves every few seconds, so the rate won’t stay the same for long.
Once you receive an exchange rate quote, you can decide whether to go ahead or not.
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 will receive.
Step 3 – Send in your Euros
Before any money is converted, you need to send in your Euros.
This is done via a normal bank transfer.
On the confirmation email, there will be the bank details of where to send your money.
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 at the rate agreed 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?
Money transfers between France and the UK are quick.
Typically, money transferred from a French bank account to a UK bank account takes 1-2 working days.
As brokers and banks essentially use the same process, you would think the speed of transactions would be exactly the same.
However, from my experience, I have found the banks are generally slower – sometimes by several days.
I suspect the reason is the systems and processes used by banks are less efficient.
Given that a bank has to execute all sorts of different financial transactions from many different branches, things don’t run as smoothly.
A currency broker should offer quicker turnaround times and keep you informed at every stage of your money transfer.
Best way to transfer money from France to UK
An international bank transfer is a safe, fast and cost-effective way to transfer money from France to the UK.
Both banks and currency brokers can do this for you.
In days gone by, people would have automatically headed to their bank.
However, times have changed.
Today, there are often cheaper options.
The exchange rates set by banks just aren’t competitive or very responsive to the market.
Banks can charge up to 5% to transfer money from France to the UK.
That means on a money transfer of say €120,000; you could pay out €6,000 in fees and charges!
In my opinion, that’s excessively high.
Before you transfer your money, it makes sense to get an alternative quote.
If you would like to see how we compare, request a quote below.
How to avoid paying transfer fees
If you use a bank to transfer money from France to the UK, you will get hit for international transfer fees.
Almost all the big banks in France will charge you transfer fees in addition to their uncompetitive exchange rates.
To give you an indication of what to expect, we looked at BNP Paribas and Societe Generale.
Outgoing International Transfer Fees:
- BNP Paribas: 1% up to EUR 100,00
- Societe Generale: 0.5% from EUR 25,000 to EUR 250,000 (1%-1.5% for smaller amounts).
And that’s just the start…
If your international transfer is urgent, the banks will charge you a priority payment fee.
There’s also a fee if you want to receive a confirmation that your money is sent.
The simplest way to avoid paying these fees is to avoid the banks.
Some currency brokers, such as ourselves, will charge you no fees on international transfers.
How to choose a currency broker
Currency brokers specialise in international money transfers.
They are also called money transfer companies.
Broadly speaking, they fall into two categories.
The first are online-only platforms or apps, such as Transferwise, PayPal, CurrencyFair and Revolut.
These are particularly popular for smaller amounts (under £5,000) because the only customer support you get is via email or webchat.
You are left to decide whether it’s the right time to transfer your money.
This can be daunting if the amount you are transferring is large.
The second are full service currency brokers who provide a human touch alongside their payment technology.
They can not only help you with the timing of your transfer but check over the details such as the payment information to make sure everything goes smoothly.
For larger amounts, many customers want the peace of mind of having someone they can speak to, and that can offer assistance and guidance on rates.
Currency brokers, such as Key Currency, can also monitor exchange rates for you.
It may be you have a specific exchange rate you wish to aim for, or simply want a second opinion on current market rates.
Beware of misleading online exchange rates
You have probably seen there are quite a few websites, such as XE and Oanda, that provide live exchange rates, news and charts.
But there’s a fundamental problem.
If you look closely, you will discover most online exchange rates are not available to customers.
Hidden in the disclaimers are words such as “for information purposes only” or “not available to consumers”.
What you are seeing are “interbank” rates.
As the name suggests, interbank rates are used by banks to trade with other banks.
Not even large corporations that trade several hundred million in foreign exchange can achieve the interbank rate.
It’s misleading for consumers who want to make real plans with their money.
The solution is to get a real quote from a genuine provider.
Selling a French property?
For a property sale in France, you might have a period of 1-2 months between exchange and completion.
As you probably know, property transactions can take a while in France. But that time is essentially a window of opportunity to get the best exchange rate possible.
Over the course of a few months, exchange rates will typically move between 1%- 5%.
To put that into perspective, if you sold your French property for €150,000, you could be €1,500 – €7,500 better or worse off depending on the exact timing of your transfer.
It shows how fluctuations in the EUR/GBP exchange rate can make a big financial difference.
One thing a lot of people don’t know is that you can lock-in an exchange rate in advance of your expected completion date.
In the case of a property sale, it means you can secure a rate once you have exchanged.
This is done using a ‘forward contract’.
It basically allows you to fix a rate for up to 12 months ahead.
A forward contract enables you to take advantage of a favourable move in the Euro.
It also means you know exactly how much you will receive in Pounds Sterling ahead of the completion date.
This can give customers peace of mind and allow them to budget more effectively.
You may also wish to read our Practical Advice for Selling Your Property in France.
How safe is it using a currency broker?
One of the questions we get asked a lot is whether it’s safe using a currency broker.
I completely understand. I’ve been a customer too.
The one thing I would suggest is you use a currency broker that is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
The reason is important.
An authorised company is required to transfer customer money through separate and safeguarded bank accounts used solely for client transactions.
As long as you choose an FCA authorised currency broker, your money transfer will be conducted through a safeguarded client account.
If you need to transfer money from France to the UK, you can avoid paying excessive fees and charges.
I am one of the directors of Key Currency – an independent currency broker.
Every day we help people achieve great exchange rates and bypass high bank fees.
We have gained a 5-star customer rating on Trustpilot as a result of over 900 customer reviews.
As a company, we are an open and transparent.
The names, faces and backgrounds of our directors and all our people are shown on our website.
If there is ever a problem, our people are at the end of a telephone.
We don’t hide behind an app or a website.
For those selling property in France, we have considerable experience in helping you complete the process with minimal stress and worry.
If you feel our service could be of use to you, simply request a free quote below.