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23rd June, 2020

moneytransfer, pagofx

How to send money to Ireland

In this article, we’re going to look at how to transfer money to the Republic of Ireland and the things you need to consider when converting currency.

Sending money abroad isn’t as straightforward as transferring funds within a national border, as when your money leaves the UK it has to change currency. It’s the same when you send money home to the UK from another country – Ireland, for example. Your euros have to be converted to pounds.

Before 1979, Eire currency (Irish pound) and the British pound were exchanged on a one-for-one basis. When Ireland joined the European Monetary System in March 1979, an exchange rate came into effect. Since January 2002, the Republic of Ireland’s currency has been the euro (Northern Ireland, as part of the United Kingdom, uses the pound).

What does it cost to transfer money from the UK to Ireland?

A necessary part of the transfer process is paying for the service. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), an independent regulatory body that works alongside HM Treasury, regulates businesses in the UK financial sector. It actively promotes competition in the financial industry; as a result, there’s plenty of scope for shopping around.

Why aren’t exchange rates the same for everyone?

One of the ways for a money transfer service to make a profit from a transaction is through the currency exchange rate. A customer pays for euros at a rate of exchange that’s less favourable than the rate at which the service provider acquires the euros.

What is a currency exchange fee?

Sometimes an exchange rate is highly competitive, but the service provider’s profit comes in the form of a fee. The fee could be a set charge per transaction. Alternatively, the fee could be a certain percentage of the sum of money that’s being transferred.

Let’s take a look at fees, and just for a moment, we’ll disregard exchange rates.

Fees: example 1

You’re sending £10,000 to Ireland, and you’re choosing between two service providers: Company A and Company B.

● Company A charges a £10 fee for each transaction
● Company B charges 3% of the amount you’re transferring.

Company A’s fee would be the set amount of £10. Company B’s fee would be £300 – 3% of £10,000.

Company A, of course, is the better option.

Fees: example 2

This time, you’re sending £200 to Ireland, and again you’re choosing between Company A and Company B.

Company A’s fee would be £10, whilst Company B’s fee would be £6 (3% of £200).

In this case, Company B is the better option.

Exchange rates

When exchange of currency is advertised as “fee-free”, it could mean that the fee is in the exchange rate. On the surface, identifying a good deal is fairly straightforward. You simply opt for the rate that buys you the most euros for your pounds.

Exchange rates: example 1

You want to send £1,000 to Ireland.

● Company A offers an exchange rate of 1/1.123 (€1,123 total)
● Company B offers a rate of 1/1.098 (€1,098 total)
● Company C offers 1/1.109 (€1,109 total).

It’s clear that Company A is the cheapest option as you get the most euros for your sterling.

However, once you start looking at money transfer services that use a combination of fees and exchange-rate margins, things get more complicated.

Exchange rates: example 2

Using the example above, imagine that Company A also charges a fee of £15 per transaction.

Having paid the £15 fee, you’re now exchanging £985 at a rate of 1/1.123. This will give you €1,106. It’s still a better deal than you’d get with Company B, but compared to Company C’s offer, you’re losing out on €3.

What is the best way to send money to Ireland?

There are several ways to send money abroad, such as using your bank, a high-street money transfer service or a fintech (financial technology) or digital payment app. Each service will offer different levels of speed and security, as well as varying fees and exchange rates.

Online money transfer services

Online money transfer services, also known as fintechs or digital payments solutions, are usually an easy and cost-effective option. Designed to be used either on your mobile or desktop, these fintechs are a viable alternative to using more traditional methods. PagoFX, for example, will transfer your money from the UK to Ireland with real-time, mid-market exchange rates (similar to those found in public sources like Google or Bloomberg) and no hidden fees. Payments can arrive as fast as within minutes, if sent on a business day before the cut-off time (cut-off times vary by currency).

Security levels can vary when using online money transfer services, and it’s worth looking at them on a case-by-case basis. PagoFX is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority and is backed by Santander, one of the world’s most trusted banks, which means your money and data are protected every step of the way.

Don’t be caught out

There are hundreds of currency exchange services available and each one is more suited to a particular type of customer or transaction. You can read more about the options in our complete guide to sending money abroad.


As we’ve already mentioned, PagoFX is a fast, easy and secure way to send money abroad – including to the Republic of Ireland. You’ll always get the real-time exchange rate, without any added mark ups, and all of our low fees are clearly explained before you press send. It works with any UK debit card or bank account, and the backing of Santander means you can rest easy knowing your money is making its way securely across the Irish Sea. Download PagoFX from the App store or Google Play, or sign up online now.