Last updated: 31st August, 2020
How to transfer money to myself
Whether you own a holiday home in Tuscany, have an international business or you’re an expat, there are many reasons as to why you’d have a foreign bank account. Read our guide to transferring money between your international accounts
Moving money internationally can be complicated, even when both accounts are in your name. So, what is the cheapest, safest and fastest way to transfer money across borders?
How to transfer money between your international accounts
You can move money between your accounts via your bank. Most banks offer this service, you will just need the International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and the Bank Identifier Code (BIC) for both your UK and foreign bank accounts. Your bank in the UK will then be able to arrange the transfer for you.
This is a popular choice because of how easy it is – you can usually transfer the money online. You also know that your money is protected by your bank’s security systems.
There are several different fees you need to calculate before knowing exactly how much your bank is charging you. For a start, look for a transfer charge. This is the headline fee and can be up to £25 per transfer. Next up, look for an overseas bank receiving fee, charged by your foreign bank for handling an international deposit.
You may be offered a low rate of exchange. If you search online for an exchange rate, you are likely to be shown the mid-market rate on that day – that’s the rate banks use when trading with other banks.
When sending money via a bank, expect your transfer to take between 4-6 business days. You can reduce that to 1-2 days with an express service, which will cost extra.
High-street money transfer services
An alternative method of sending money to yourself is to use a high-street money transfer service. With branches in newsagents, Post Offices and their own stores, these firms are convenient. You don’t need to set up an account to transfer money and they tend to be very fast, with transfers usually only taking a matter of minutes. The fees vary depending on how much you want to send and where the money is going – you could pay up to 20% of the amount you’re sending.
Another option is to use a FinTech (financial technology) company or app dedicated to international money transfers. The past 10 years have seen an explosion of new firms offering you cut-price ways to send money abroad. In order to use them, you will need to set up an account and enter the details of your UK bank account, debit or credit card and your foreign bank accounts. You can then transfer money to your international account online or via an app on your smartphone.
FinTechs are usually a cheaper method of sending money abroad with lower fees and often competitive exchange rates. It is always important to check if the firm is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
PagoFX: the best of both worlds
One option that combines the convenience and cost savings is PagoFX by Santander. The PagoFX app offers you complete transparency with low fees and real-time exchange rates clearly stated before you press ‘send’. This is an affordable way to transfer money to your international accounts while still having the security of a high-street bank. To find out more about PagoFX, read our FAQs here.