Bank transfers from the eurozone to the UK
Thread poster: Estefanía González

Estefanía González  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:06
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
Oct 13, 2011

Hi everyone,

I just moved from Germany to London and I have a couple of questions regarding bank transfers from the eurozone to the UK.

I have a German bank account – with the Commerzbank – in which I receive all the payments in EUR since most of my clients belong to the eurozone.

I have already made a bank transfer in EUR from my German my account – the Commerzbank – to Barclays – my UK bank account- and some money has been lost with the bank fees. I also have the weird feeling - maybe I am wrong – that the banks apply the exchange rate with a bit of tolerance in their favour.

The question is:

How do you manage bank transfers from the eurozone to the UK?

- Do you transfer the money in EUR so that the bank transfer is considered as a SEPA transaction? Or is it better to make the bank transfer from the start in GBP?

- Can you recommend a UK bank that does not charge monstrous fees in incoming transfers in Euros?

Thanks a lot in advance for your help.

Kind regards,

Estefanía


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Anne Lee  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:06
Member (2003)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Worthwhile having a separate euro account Oct 13, 2011

The exchange rate applied by banks to euro payments is undoubtedly in their favour. I have accepted this as unavoidable for many years, but I am now considering opening a euro account which would be attached to my normal business account. It would mean that I could maintain euro payments at their nominal value and that I could choose when to convert or withdraw them. It would mean not being charged twice when transferring euro payments abroad. Euro payments would automatically be directed to the euro account, so I would not have to quote a different account number on my invoice. The downside is that my bank imposes a monthly charge on this sort of account, which is 4 or 6 pounds per month. This has stopped me from opening such an account to date, but I am quite sure that it would be beneficial to open the account regardless of the charges.

[Edited at 2011-10-13 10:58 GMT]


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Richard Foulkes  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:06
German to English
+ ...
HSBC Oct 13, 2011

I've never been charged by them for receving payments in euros to my current account. I invoice my eurozone clients in euros, they pay in euros and HSBC converts it to GBP at their exchange rate. The rate probably isn't the best but I like the convenience.

I haven't looked into the idea of UK-based euro account for a while so it would be interesting to see if anyone knows of a fee-free solution (not likely!).


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Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:06
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
UK bank euro account Oct 13, 2011

I have two Barclays accounts – one in sterling, another in euro. I invoice euro customers in euro, quoting my euro account IBAN etc. This works very well, and there is no cost – the amount I invoice is what I receive.

From time to time I ask them to transfer money from the Euro account to the sterling account. The exchange rate is acceptable, and far better than tourist rates. I can also withdraw euro at my local Barclays – very convenient for holidays etc, safer than credit cards, and I sometimes sell euro to friends and neighbours because I can offer a far better tourist rate them the bank.

There are disadvantages – no online access, no easy way of transferring funds elsewhere, the rate of interest on the balance is very small.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:06
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Same here Oct 13, 2011

Richard Foulkes wrote:

I've never been charged by them for receving payments in euros to my current account. I invoice my eurozone clients in euros, they pay in euros and HSBC converts it to GBP at their exchange rate. The rate probably isn't the best but I like the convenience.

I haven't looked into the idea of UK-based euro account for a while so it would be interesting to see if anyone knows of a fee-free solution (not likely!).


I likewise have a current account at HSBC in the UK and my European clients transfer the sums which I invoice to them in euros to this account. HSBC converts them to Sterling but makes no bank charges. The bank also sends me postal confirmation of the amounts credited so I can check which clients and which invoices were concerned.
I'm perfectly happy with this arrangement.
Jenny


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Sonia Hill
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:06
Italian to English
First Direct (HSBC) Oct 13, 2011

Richard Foulkes wrote:

I've never been charged by them for receving payments in euros to my current account. I invoice my eurozone clients in euros, they pay in euros and HSBC converts it to GBP at their exchange rate. The rate probably isn't the best but I like the convenience.

I haven't looked into the idea of UK-based euro account for a while so it would be interesting to see if anyone knows of a fee-free solution (not likely!).


I switched to First Direct (part of HSBC) after being charged for incoming transfers by Lloyds. I do exactly the same as Richard and Jenny and don't get charged for bank transfers made by my clients in euros. The exchange rates seem reasonable in comparison to those used by other banks, and even more so if you compare them to the rates applied by Paypal.


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Anne Lee  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:06
Member (2003)
Dutch to English
+ ...
clarification about HSBC account Oct 13, 2011

The monthly charge I referred to earlier was to retain any euro payments at nominal value in a sub-account with the same number. Like the rest of you with HSBC accounts, incoming amounts in euro are automatically converted to pounds without a fee being charged. However, if I chose to keep the euro amounts separately in a euro account, I could avoid having to convert euro into pounds and then back into euro for any payments I have to transfer abroad. I could also wait until the exchange rate is more favourable to me before converting in either direction.

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becci_rad
Germany
Local time: 04:06
German to English
Transferring from an EU account to a UK account Oct 13, 2011

I live and work primarily in Germany but still have an account in the UK which I keep open for when I'm back home. In terms of a solution that isn't aimed at facilitating regular payments from clients, I have always been happy with the service offered by XE.com.

I had always used XE to check interest rates and saw that it also allows you to make payments and transfers from one currency/country to another. I have never had problems with the service, the transfer is rather speedy and, as far as I remember, I have never been charged from either my German bank nor my UK bank.

You have to register which is straightforward, and before you commit to a transaction XE will tell you what the converted rate will be if you go ahead with the transaction (no shock when you check the amount a couple of days later!). Also I read loads of reviews before using the service which were all rather positive.

Hope that helps!


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Estefanía González  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:06
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Affiliated banks and currency brokers? Oct 13, 2011

Hi again,

Thanks a lot your interesting and very useful input.

What do you think of the possibility of opening an account with an affiliated bank in a country that uses euro? Let’s say, an account with Santander in Spain and another one with Santander in the UK. Do you think this would reduce the fees and offer interbank exchange rates?

What do you think of currency brokers for the transfer of bigger amounts?

I hope I am not mixing too many questions in one thread.

Thanks again,

Estefanía


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Gillian Searl  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:06
Member (2004)
German to English
British banks ripping people off Oct 14, 2011

As long as you use SEPA transfers in Euro including the IBAN and BIC codes there shouldnt be a charge from either bank. Of course you can debate the exchange rate. I do this almost on a daily basis to my UK account held with First Direct (which is the only bank I can honestly recommend in the UK). If a UK bank is charging you to receive money they are ripping you off and you need to have a discussion with them. UK banks still charge for transfers to the Eurozone (which is frankly also a rip-off but as yet an unresolved one).

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Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:06
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
@Gillian Oct 14, 2011

I am currently with HSBC (who actually own First Direct now). Can you say anything about why you prefer First Direct to HSBC?

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Samantha Payn  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:06
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Multiple accounts for multiple currencies Oct 14, 2011

Peter Linton wrote:

I have two Barclays accounts – one in sterling, another in euro. I invoice euro customers in euro, quoting my euro account IBAN etc. This works very well, and there is no cost – the amount I invoice is what I receive.

From time to time I ask them to transfer money from the Euro account to the sterling account. The exchange rate is acceptable, and far better than tourist rates. I can also withdraw euro at my local Barclays – very convenient for holidays etc, safer than credit cards, and I sometimes sell euro to friends and neighbours because I can offer a far better tourist rate them the bank.

There are disadvantages – no online access, no easy way of transferring funds elsewhere, the rate of interest on the balance is very small.



I have three Royal Bank of Scotland accounts, one in dollars, one in euros and one in sterling. There seems to be no charge for maintaining these accounts, but I am charged commission for receipt of funds from customers. With the dollar in the doldrums I'd rather leave funds in a dollar account in the (possible vain) hope that when it recovers I'll notice and transfer funds.
I note with interest (pun intended) what becci_rad says about xe.com, which I have only ever used to check exchange rates ...
I will also have a discussion with my bank following Gillian Searl's post, since I always quote IBAN and BIC for my customers.


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Bank transfers from the eurozone to the UK

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