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Bank transfers from UK to EU - fees
Thread poster: Burrell

Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:22
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Apr 14, 2009

I sometimes need to transfer small amounts of money to other EU countries and my bank (HSBC) charges 20 pounds for any transfer (in some cases 12 but I have never figured out why). However when I receive payments from other EU countries, I do not pay anything. I have read in several forums that money transfers between EU countries are supposed to be free but I am not sure if it applies to the UK as it is not an euro zone.

What does your bank charge? Maybe I just have to open account in another bank to use when transfering money to EU?

Cheers,
Ines


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:22
English to German
+ ...
Euro account? Apr 14, 2009

Hi Ines,
You did not mention whether your account is in sterling or euros, but since you mention being charged in pounds, I suspect it's the former.


I sometimes need to transfer small amounts of money to other EU countries and my bank (HSBC) charges 20 pounds for any transfer (in some cases 12 but I have never figured out why).

Have you asked them?

However when I receive payments from other EU countries, I do not pay anything. I have read in several forums that money transfers between EU countries are supposed to be free but I am not sure if it applies to the UK as it is not an euro zone.

Regulation (EC) 2560/2001 on cross-border payments in euro is "designed to put charges for cross-border payments in euros on the same footing as those for payments in that currency within a Member State." Contrary to common belief, there is no obligation to execute such transfers for free (unless domestic transfers are free, of course).

Also, the Regulation "applies to cross-border transfers to accounts in euros even if they have been opened in an EU country outside the euro zone, such as the United Kingdom."


Maybe I just have to open account in another bank to use when transfering money to

Not necessarily, but you may need a euro account.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Louise Souter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:22
Spanish to English
+ ...
My bank Apr 14, 2009

Clydesdale bank charges £24, more if the receiver has an Internet account.

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xxxJPW  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:22
Spanish to English
+ ...
My situation Apr 14, 2009

My situation is rather curious, I think. What Ralph has stated seems in line with what I have experienced, but in my case they are definitely free. Here's how:

My local bank is owned by RBS (groan) so it is a UK registered bank, but it operates on both sides of the Irish border, i.e. people in the Irish republic have their account in euro. Mine is in sterling. I was told in my local branch that I could open a euro account if I wanted, but I didn't see the point. I might still, though.

When I receive payments from the eurozone, they send them to the head office of the bank - in Dublin - where they are entered in euros, and then simply converted at that day's exchange rate. They then go into my account in sterling. I think if they sent them straight to my branch I might be charged some of sort of conversion fee.

At the bottom of these statements I receive (from Dublin, as they have Irish postmarks; in other words, this is not a local transaction) it says something along the lines of "Payments within the eurozone are free of bank charges" or words to that effect. I don't have the statements to hand at present, and I don't know offhand if they quote some actual EU law or directive specifically.

As for HSBC, the world's 'local' bank is not nearly as local as they would like to think. I remember that's what they told me too, £20 a pop for making/receiving (yes, receiving) transfers. That's why I didn't change to HSBC. Other (UK) banks had similar provisions. I suspect your original assumption is correct, because the UK is not in the eurozone.

Because my bank fortunately operates both within and outside of the eurozone, it has created this rather curious situation for me.

If this getting costly for you, I would tell them I am thinking of switching because of it and see if you can negotiate another arrangement with them.


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Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:22
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
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TOPIC STARTER
Switching Apr 14, 2009

John Paul Weir wrote:


If this getting costly for you, I would tell them I am thinking of switching because of it and see if you can negotiate another arrangement with them.


I was actually thinking of telling my bank that I will just start depositing my money somehwere else but first I need to find out what to threaten them with.

Their different EU transfer fees are linked to beneficiary information you provide. If you have full info, it supposedly costs 12 pounds, if you do not have all info, it costs 20 pounds. However, even if you have full info but their system cannot find the bank account you are sending money to, they will charge 20 pounds. I just had this situation - if automated system does not accept payment, then involvement of human factor costs extra money, it seems.

It would be nice to first find out, if some other banks in the UK have better prices, at least. Opening an euro account will not always help me because sometimes I send money to non-euro EU countries.


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Ivana UK  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:22
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
Some banks have dropped their prices recently, so there are Apr 14, 2009

a few good deals out there, especially if you use internet banking.

Here's one from Halifax:

Need to transfer your money overseas?

It's convenient and simple with Halifax International Payment Services. Your money could arrive anywhere in the world in just 1-2 bank working days^.

International Payments are the most reliable and secure way to transfer money from your UK account to another account anywhere in the world in a wide range of currencies.

International Payments can be arranged via the branch and telephone banking or through our new Online service. (You must be registered for telephone and online banking.)

The service provides:

* A secure and professional service
* Competitive rates – live rates that are updated continuously
* Global currency coverage – rates for currencies around the world
* No paper forms, no fuss – details are processed immediately
* BIC & IBAN checking facility to minimise errors that could cause delays
* Regular transfers made easy – details are saved so repeat payments are even easier.

Send any amount to any destination and pay £19.50** via branch or telephone banking and just £9.50 via online banking. Please note that other banks involved in the transaction may apply their own charges.

You'll need the following information for the destination account:

* Euro payments: The BIC and IBAN are required for Euro transfers to an EU /EEA country*
* Rest of the world: Beneficiary Name and Bank details.

^The transfer is usually in the beneficiary's country within 1-2 bank working days via the correspondent bank, however, credit to the beneficiary's bank is subject to local banking practices and time zone differences.

http://www.halifax.co.uk/bankaccounts/internationalpaymentservices.asp

P.S. Banks always charge for international transfers, irrespective of where you're sending funds to.

[Edited at 2009-04-14 22:28 GMT]


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:22
Member (2008)
Italian to English
The same problem, but the other way round Jul 13, 2009

I have the same problem but in the opposite direction, i.e. receiving payments *from* countries in the Eurozone into my UK bank account in GB pounds.

Typical example: my invoice to the agency was for Euro 783.44. The agency covered all bank charges at their end, but when the money appeared in my UK bank account (Natwest) I received GBP 668.71.

I have asked around about other banks, and was told that Smile (the Cooperative Bank) charge less, but that turned out not to be true.

Does anyone out there, in the UK, know of a bank that doesn't apply punitive exchange rates Euro-GBP and doesn't add a massive charge on every transaction?


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Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:22
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
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Try HSBC Jul 13, 2009

If I was to receive Euro 783.44 from an European client, HSBC would deposit around 730-740 in my account. That is a rough calculation, of course, but I honestly have been pleasantly surprised at their exchange rates and fees when receiving money from abroad.

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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:22
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Thanks Jul 13, 2009

Burrell wrote:

If I was to receive Euro 783.44 from an European client, HSBC would deposit around 730-740 in my account. That is a rough calculation, of course, but I honestly have been pleasantly surprised at their exchange rates and fees when receiving money from abroad.



Thanks, Burrell - I assume the 730-740 was £ sterling. I'll look into HSBC


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Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:22
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes Jul 13, 2009

Yes, of course, pounds. I have a current account with them and a business account but the money is paid into my current account. You also do not have to pay any fees for receiving payments, at least not from EU.

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Tom Ellett  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:22
Swedish to English
+ ...
UK bank charges – no rhyme or reason Jul 16, 2009

Bizarrely, the Bank of Scotland (BoS) charges me £6 to £8 on incoming payments that have been remitted in sterling by the foreign bank, whereas if the payment is sent in currency and converted to sterling when it hits my account, the charge is only £3.

I guess the higher charge on sterling payments is because BoS has been deprived of the opportunity to gouge me on the exchange rate.


[Edited at 2009-07-16 01:41 GMT]


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Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:22
French to English
+ ...
Exchange rates not quoted Jul 16, 2009

Burrell wrote:

If I was to receive Euro 783.44 from an European client, HSBC would deposit around 730-740 in my account. That is a rough calculation, of course, but I honestly have been pleasantly surprised at their exchange rates and fees when receiving money from abroad.



Like Tom, I've not been happy about the exchange rates charged by Natwest recently. They are still their commercial rates, as opposed to the tourist rates which are even worse, but there seems to be a much wider margin between their buy and sell rates than there used to be. I've been with them for years and have investigated other possibilities over the years, but always decided that Natwest was the best option for me. I know they charge a flat fee of £1 for transfers up to £100 equivalent and £7 thereafter. I have one client in Switzerland who I charge in pounds (can't remember why!) and there is no commission payable for such transfers.

I switched to Abbey once, after they maintained that they would impose no charges for incoming Euro transfers. When the first payment come through, I found they'd deducted £20 in fees and when I quibbled they said it was out of their control and due to the clearing bank as they had to use an intermediary! I was furious and closed the account forthwith - talk about misselling! May be different now they're part of Santander of course, but I wouldn't trust them again on principle!

I checked out the HSBC website after Burrell's comment and sure enough they say there is no commission charge for incoming Euro payments up to a certain amount (which I can't find now I come to search again!). However, I can't find their current exchange rates anywhere, which worries me slightly. I really don't want to jump out of the frying pan into the fire. How recent was your sample?

I'm considering setting up a bank account abroad when I go over on holiday this year, but much will depend on their charges, of course. I'm also not sure how that would work taxwise - would I have to take currency fluctuations into account when working out the sums I'd actually received for tax purposes?

The whole business is a minefield!


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:22
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Good post Jul 16, 2009

Thanks Claire

That was a good, comprehensive post.

My clients in Italy can be difficult about me charging too much - but they don't realise how much I'm losing on every transaction. This places UK-based translators at a disadvantage as compared to colleagues who are based in the Eurozone.

I, too, investigated HSBC after Burrell kindly suggested it but found it impossible to identify their exchange rates and transfer charges - so I'm grateful that you were able to find something.

It seems there's no way out of this unless the UK suddenly sees sense and applies to join the Euro (but under present conditions the UK would not meet the basic critieria anyway).

One way around it might be, as you say, to bundle together all your incoming Euro payments into a Euro account somewhere else in Europe, and then occasionally do one big transfer into Natwest- thus paying the charge only once instead of every time.

But for people like me who are based only in the UK, there would be difficulties about maintaining a non-UK bank account.


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Helen Shiner  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:22
Partial member (2008)
German to English
+ ...
Banking with HSBC Jul 16, 2009

I bank with HSBC. They do claim not to make a charge for incoming payments from the Eurozone. I cannot, however, relate to the figures provided by Burrell. A recent example (8 July 2009): the payment was 742.76 euros; I was credited with GBP 629.51.

[Edited at 2009-07-16 11:22 GMT]


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Helen Shiner  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:22
Partial member (2008)
German to English
+ ...
Banking with HSBC Jul 16, 2009

I bank with HSBC. They do claim not to make a charge for incoming payments from the Eurozone. I cannot, however, relate to the figures provided by Burrell. A recent example (8 July 2009) - payment was 742.76 euros. I was credited with GBP 629.51.

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