If you need to send money abroad or if you’re expecting a payment from someone overseas into your Barclays bank account, it’s good to understand the costs involved and how long the whole process can take.
There are several different ways to process an international transfer through Barclays - the simplest and cheapest being online. And it may turn out you could actually save money using a transfer service like TransferWise - but more on that later. Regardless, though, the costs involved in moving money abroad are often quite complicated and hard to calculate, and transfer times vary depending on where you’re sending money to. It’s a smart idea to do some research in advance so there are no surprises. You’ll see Barclays international transfers described as international payments and SEPA payments, too, depending on where you’re sending money.
A quick example before we get started.
A theoretical online bank transfer sending £1000 from the UK to a euro bank account in Germany.
While the price difference may not seem like a big deal at first glance, it isn’t just the stated fees you need to pay attention to.
What isn’t often mentioned is that, on average, banks and money transfer providers often mark up an exchange rate by 4-6% to make money on converting your currency. Which means it’s a good idea to compare the exchange rate you’re offered with an online currency converter to find out how much your international transfer is really costing you.
In addition, nearly all transfers sent internationally are sent via SWIFT. Which means there are likely 1-3 intermediary banks in addition to the recipient bank that may levy fees of their own. Costing you even more.
|Provider||Fee||Exchange Rate||Total Cost|
|Barclays (UK)||£5-15 (depending if you pay online or in the branch + recipient fees (if you choose to pay)¹||Exchange rate + markup||£5-15 + exchange rate markup + likely fees from intermediary banks + recipient fees (if you choose to pay)|
|TransferWise||£4.29||The real exchange rate - the same one you find on Google||£4.29|
Now that you know a bit more on how much an international transfer really costs, here’s all you need to know about making one with Barclays.
The exact fees you’ll be charged depend on the transfer details. Make sure you know what your transfer will cost before you agree to it. Details are available in Barclays list of costs by country, but don’t forget that there may also be fees added by intermediary banks who handle your transaction along the way. These can be flat fees and are typically removed from the transfer amount, meaning the recipient gets less than you might expect. This is how Barclays explains this in their terms:
Some countries allow the bank receiving the payment to charge a fee. This fee will be paid by the person who receives the payment – it’ll be deducted from the amount that reaches them.²
|Barclays Bank Transaction||Regular Fee|
|Incoming international transfer|
|Outgoing international transfer|
|Additional fees may apply|
Here’s the explanation Barclays give about the exchange rates used for international transfers:
“When you make your payment in a foreign currency, we’ll use the Barclays exchange rate of the day and let you know the rate before we send your payment.
If you make your payment in pounds, the exchange rate will be set by the overseas bank.” ³
This means that, if you’re sending an amount in sterling from your account to a bank account which is held in another country, the currency conversion will be done by the recipient bank, or in some cases, an intermediary bank dealing with the transaction along the way. You can’t know until the transfer is completed, exactly what the recipient will get.
|International transfers with Barclays Bank||Additional fees|
|Recipient fee, if this is prepaid by the sender alongside the sending fee||The amount varies depending on the currency, and for some currencies, there are different fees depending on the amount you send. The sender has the option to cover all of the fees (Barclays fees and foreign bank charges) part of the fees (Barclays charges) or none of the fees, which means that the beneficiary would incur all of the fees. ⁴|
|Tracing, cancelling or recalling an international transfer||They’ll charge you a £20 fee to cover the cost of recovering the funds.⁵|
|If you give Barclays incorrect information, or unnecessary information they have to sort through||They’ll make an additional charge to cover their costs and let you know at the time what this charge will be|
|Priority (available for non-SEPA transfers)||£40 ⁵|
Often banks and money transfer services work their profits into the poor exchange rates they offer customers. With a quick Google search online, you can generally find that the exchange rate offered differs quite a bit from the real rate you found online.
So if you have to send or receive money from abroad, you could get a better deal with TransferWise. Unlike your regular bank, TransferWise specialises in fast, secure international money transfers using the real, mid-market exchange rate - the same one you find on Google or XE - and only a small, transparent cost per transaction that you’ll see listed upfront. Not only that but if you or your company works across international borders, then you’ll probably want to look into TransferWise borderless multi-currency accounts.
Borderless accounts allow you to manage and move your money around the world at the touch of a button, hold your money in different currencies, and convert it using the best available rates when you need it the most. And if you get paid in the EU, the UK, Australia or the US but live elsewhere, the borderless account will let you get paid locally by allowing you to generate local bank details - cutting out international transfers entirely.
See for yourself if you can get a better deal with TransferWise by finding out how much your recipient will get at the other end.
How do you make an international bank transfer (international payment, or SEPA transfer) with Barclays?
Barclays allows you to make international money transfers:
- using their online banking service
- mobile banking app
- by visiting a branch in person
- in some cases, depending on the account type you hold, you may be able to make a transfer by phone
Exactly what you need to make an international transfer with Barclays depends on where you’re sending money to. It’s a good idea to check out Barclays transfer speeds by country, so you know exactly how quick the service will be.
In general terms, though, you’ll need the following to make an international money transfer with Barclays:
- The full name of the person you’re sending the money to, as written on the account
- The recipient’s address
- The address of the bank you’re sending the money to
- The recipient’s IBAN
- The relevant SWIFT/BIC code, or routing code if you’re transferring to the USA
What do I need or what should I give to the sender in order to receive an international bank transfer?
To make sure you get your money safely, you should make sure that the sender has a few key details:
- Your full name and address, and that of your bank
- Your IBAN
- The correct SWIFT/BIC code
- The amount being transferred - and the currency to be used ²ٰ
You’ll find your IBAN on any bank statement, or you can get it from the Barclays online IBAN tool. And you can use this handy tool to find or check your SWIFT/BIC code. It’s useful also to agree in advance with the sender who will pay any charges associated with the transfer. Both the sender’s bank, and your home bank might apply their own charges, and these can quickly add up.
It can take anything from a matter of hours to a couple of days to make your transfer, depending on where you’re sending money to, whether you process the transaction online or in a branch, and, in some cases, which currency you’re sending. Check out Barclays list of transfer speeds by country, so you know what to expect.
Below is a sampling of 8 popular destination countries Barclays users send money to internationally, to give you an idea on the transfer time you can expect.¹
In most cases, transfers will be both quicker and cheaper if you can process them using Online Banking or the Barclays Mobile Banking app. A transfer made this way, for a euro payment to Europe, will typically cost £5 and arrive the next day if you make it by 3:00 pm. However, made in a branch, the transfer will take 2 days and will cost you £15.
For transfers to the USA the story is similar - make the transfer online and it’ll cost you £15, but arrive the same day as long as it’s processed by 5:30 pm. However, transfers made in the branch will take 2 days and cost £25.¹
|Destination country (sent from the UK)||Barclays online banking transfer times||Standard Barclays transfer times (in branch)||Priority Barclays transfer times (in branch)|
|France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain (SEPA transfers)|
The fastest way to arrange a Barclays international money transfer is online. However, if you have to make the payment in the branch, you can choose to pay an additional fee to speed the process up. For example, an in-branch transfer to the USA can be received on the same day, but only if you process it before 2:00 pm and pay a £40 fee.
If you have specific questions about your transfer, there are several different ways you can talk to the advisors at Barclays:
- To set up a chat with an advisor, log into your online banking and follow the instructions there
- Barclays branch finder to get help in person
- Barclays phone number 0345 734 5345
- Barclays social media contacts including Facebook and Twitter
Making international money transfers is relatively straight forward - but it can be costly. There are a few pitfalls and hidden fees which it helps to be aware of so you don’t get any nasty surprises. Comparing the fees your bank charges you to those of an online money transfer service like TransferWise, can also help save you money. Wherever you need to transfer your money to, if you do your research in advance, you should be able to get the best deal for your situation.
¹https://www.barclays.co.uk/content/dam/documents/personal/ways-to-bank/a-to-z-list-of-international-payments.pdf (30 July, 2018)
²https://www.barclays.co.uk/ways-to-bank/international-payments/ (30 July, 2018)
³http://www.secure.barclays.co.uk/Helpsupport/Internationalpayments/P1242593395280 (30 July, 2018)
⁴https://www.barclayscorporate.com/content/dam/corppublic/corporate/Documents/useful_forms_for_payment/making-a-barclays-international-payment.pdf (30 July, 2018)
⁵https://www.barclays.co.uk/content/dam/documents/business/Accounts/BAR_9986032_Lo.pdf (30 July, 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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