Sending money over international borders, if you do it often, could be costing you a fair amount in transfer fees, marked up exchange rates and more. A way you may be able to save money: by opening a euro account.
There are a lot of different options, but here’s how to do it if you’re a Halifax customer.
Before you get started, a word.
Banks often charge hefty fees for foreign and multi-currency accounts. And if you’ve already tried managing multiple accounts in multiple countries, you know it’s rarely simple.
TransferWise could help. With TransferWise, it’s free to open a borderless multi-currency account with no monthly fees. There, you can manage and send dozens of different currencies all from the same account. All around the world. (Likely, for a lot cheaper than your bank.)
Give it a try. Check out TransferWise today.
Now, back to what you came here to read.
Halifax doesn’t actually offer its own international banking services. Instead, it offers international banking to its customers via their relationship with Lloyds Bank.¹ Lloyds Bank has a few options for international currency accounts, including euro accounts. With its euro accounts, Lloyds customers get access to debit cards and fee-free international transfers.²
However, in regards to these fee-free international transfers Lloyds also mentions on their website that:
We won't charge you for sending or receiving money transfers. However, correspondent and recipient bank charges may apply.²
On the other hand, in their International Account Terms and Conditions document they also mention the following:
For instance, we may charge you for making deposits, withdrawals, transfers and payments. By making a deposit or withdrawal or instructing us to make a transfer, you agree to pay any charges that apply.³
Which is why we suggest you contact a bank representative to find out what exactly they charge for and in which circumstances, so you can make an informed choice as to whether a euro account with Lloyds fits your needs.
You can open a Lloyds euro account as a Halifax customer in the UK. Halifax promises on its website that Lloyds will provide “Easy account opening for Halifax customers” — you just have to meet Lloyds Bank’s requirements for opening an international currency account.” ¹
Eligibility for a Lloyds euro account in the UK requires having a sole annual income of at least £50,000 or the equivalent in the currency in which you open your foreign account. If you’re opening a joint account, at least one person named on the account needs to have a gross annual income of £50,000 — you can’t combine incomes to meet the minimum. Alternatively, if you have £25,000 to put in a savings or investment account at Lloyds Bank, you may still qualify.¹
Euro accounts can be useful for people who frequently make international money transfers, particularly if a lot of those transfers take place within the eurozone. This way you can hold your money in euros, maintaining its value, and then convert it to other currencies when a favourable exchange rate hits, whenever that may be.
If you’re a Halifax customer, Lloyds Bank is just one of the options available to you. Another is a TransferWise borderless euro account, which may also offer the benefits you’re looking for.
It isn’t technically a bank account, but a TransferWise borderless account comes with individual European bank details, such as an IBAN. As well as local bank details for Australia, the US and the UK - so you can get paid like a local in any of these countries. The borderless account lets you hold money in euros as well as dozens of other global currencies within just one account, convert it at the click of a button with the real exchange rate - the one you’d find on Google - and transfer it for a small fee to almost anywhere in the world. If you’re a frequent traveller or live abroad and don’t have a local bank account, you can also get a TransferWise debit card so you can access your money with ease and pay in the local currency wherever you need.
Below you can find a summary of the different fees that apply to a Lloyds euro account.
|Lloyds International Account Service||Fee⁴|
|Opening the account||You need to make a deposit of at least £50,000 in a current account or £25,000 in a savings or investment account.¹|
|Euro account monthly fee¹||€8|
|International Moneymover Service||Free, however if sending money in another currency, correspondent bank fees may apply|
|Correspondent bank fees||£12 - to USA, Canada, Europe £20 - to the rest of the world|
|International drafts||£15 + registration fee if posted|
|Electronic Funds Transfer (CHAPS payment within the British Isles)||£30|
|Recalling a payment||£20 per payment|
The minimum requirement for opening a euro account with Lloyds is that you have an annual income of £50,000 or can invest or save £25,000. Whether or not you’ll have to pay the correspondent bank fees depends on how you decide to share the costs of the international transfer. On their website, Lloyds notes:
“A Correspondent Bank Fee will be payable for international payments where you choose to pay the charges for the recipient, if you are permitted to do so based upon the destination of the payment and the type of account that you hold. The Correspondent Bank Fee replaces all Correspondent bank charges. The recipient bank may still charge its customer a fee but we cannot provide information about such a fee. The amount of the Correspondent Bank Fee depends on the location of the recipient bank.” ⁴
Apart from the fees charged, you may also be liable to marked up exchange rates if you send or receive money in a currency other than euros. You can contact Lloyds to check on their standard rate, but be mindful as they also mention on their website that:
We may change our Standard Exchange Rate immediately at any time and without notice to you.⁵
On the other hand, a TransferWise borderless account is free to set up, and there’s no monthly fee. There’s also no minimum requirement as to how much money you need to earn or be able to put on the account, to open one either. Below you can find an outline of the different fees you may be charged with a TransferWise borderless account:
|TransferWise Borderless Account||Fee|
|Opening the account||Free|
|Adding or receiving money||Free|
|Converting money to another currency||Low fees that vary depending on the currencies involved, you can check them out here.|
|Withdrawing/sending money to a bank account||Low fixed fee, varies depending on currency. Exact fees listed here.|
Opening a Lloyds euro account can be done in person at a branch or by calling 0808 055 6358. But most customers will probably find its easiest to apply for the account online. Simply head to the Lloyds Bank international account landing page and click on any of the buttons that says “Apply now.” Then follow these steps:⁶
- Answer the eligibility questions to determine whether you meet the requirements for an international current account
- Fill in the required contact details
- Fill in information about your job and your current assets
- Choose the account type you’d like
- Submit your application
Once your application is approved, you must make your first deposit within 30 days.⁶
Opening a TransferWise borderless multi-currency account can also be done quickly and easily online.
- If you don’t already have a TransferWise account, sign up here
- Go to the ‘Balances’ page
- Click on ‘Get Started’
- Follow the online steps, keeping your ID and proof of address document nearby
And you’re done! It’s that fast and easy, and it’s completely free.
Travelling frequently between countries or just sending money over international borders with any regularity could be costing you more than it needs to. Hopefully, this guide helped to decide what kind of an account suits you best for your needs.
¹https://www.halifax.co.uk/bankaccounts/international-banking/ (May 21, 2018)
²https://international.lloydsbank.com/products-and-services/current-accounts/international-account/ (May 21, 2018)
³ ”Account Terms and Conditions PDF” under expandable menu “Terms and Conditions” https://international.lloydsbank.com/products-and-services/current-accounts/international-account/ (May 21, 2018)
⁴https://international.lloydsbank.com/products-and-services/money-transfers/ (May 21, 2018)
⁵SEPA Credit Transfers Terms and Conditions PDF under expandable menu “Terms and Conditions” https://international.lloydsbank.com/products-and-services/current-accounts/international-account/ (May 21, 2018)
⁶https://secure.currency.lloydsbank.com/onlineforms.website.ia/currentaccount/Step1.aspx (May 21, 2018)
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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