Send money to Europe
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It has become increasingly common for Australians to send money overseas to Europe, whether for work or study. In fact, in 2019 alone, countries in the European Union received a combined total of $119 billion in remittances, according to the World Bank.
If you're sending funds to family, friends or business partners in Europe, choosing the right provider for you can ensure that your international money transfer is as safe, fast and affordable as possible. So to help you out, we’ve covered all the must-knows below, including how to compare different IMT providers and the key steps you’ll need to take to complete your transfer.
Remember this guide is for people sending money to Europe. If you’re planning a Contiki tour or a business trip to anywhere in the Euro Zone, head on over to our travel money section instead.
What’s the best way to send money to Europe?
As with many other financial products, you’ll find yourself spoiled for choice when it comes to picking an international money transfer provider. That’s why shopping around is key to helping you find the best IMT deal for you.
Generally speaking, if you’re making large or regular transfers to Europe, you’ll have two main options: bank or foreign exchange specialist. Both banks and FX specialists have pros and cons, so weigh those up before making your decision:
More than just money-keepers, banks offer credit and loans, let you earn interest on your savings, and help you transfer money from Australia to another.
- Familiar, reputable names
- Convenience - you can use your existing bank account
- In-branch services are available if you prefer face-to-face support
- Can be more costly - less competitive exchange rates and transfer fees
- Not every bank lets you transfer money online, excluding customers who aren’t able to make their transfer during business hours
- Watch out for maximum transfer limits - banks often cap your money transfer at your daily withdrawal or ‘pay anyone’ limit.
Foreign Exchange Specialist
Foreign Exchange (FX) Specialists are IMT experts who help you from start to finish with your conversion for a myriad of currencies and transfer your money to multiple countries across the globe. They include providers like TorFX, OFX or Send. Most FX specialists send to Europe on a regular basis, so they’ll likely offer you a discounted exchange rate and fee compared to most other options, like banks or PayPal.
The good thing about FX specialists is that they usually have leaner operations and therefore less business expenses, which means the savings can then get passed on to you, the customer. You may not be familiar with some of the names, but they are certainly as safe as the well-known IMT agents and banks. For one, all FX specialists featured on our site adhere to strict compliance measures, such as being authorised by and registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
The other bonus with these specialists is that you don’t have to transfer around the business hour clock, allowing you the freedom to pick and choose the time of your transfer online.
- Just as safe - ASIC-regulated
- Sharper pricing - better rates and lower transfer fees than the banks
- Online transfers available 24/7
- No in-branch services
- Minimum transfer limits may apply - this could range from $50 up to $10,000, so make sure the provider you’ve chosen permits the amount you’re looking to send.
This piece was in collaboration with Katherine O'Chee and Maria Gil.
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- Transact online 24/7 with fast settlement & extremely competitive rates.
- Quick and easy account setup, supports multiple payment methods including debit/credit card, bank transfers and wire transfers.
- Transfer over $250 and receive a $7 coupon. Use Promo code INSTAREM5. T&Cs apply. Offer ends 10th Jan 2024
When comparing money transfer providers for Europe, what should I look out for?
At the end of the day, all IMT providers will have something unique to offer to their customers. From exchange rates transfer speeds, there’s a whole host of features that these providers are competing on to stand out from the crowd. So, before you lock in a deal with your existing bank or an IMT agent, it’s best to make sure their offering fits in with your needs and budget:
- Exchange rates: It’s probably obvious, but money transfer agents make their profit with the exchange rates and fees they charge you. However, they don’t all offer the same exchange rate, with each provider adding their own markup on top of the mid-market or ‘real’ rate (the one you see on Google). While this may look like a variation of just a few decimal points, it’s worth noting that even a small difference in the exchange rate matters, as it translates to your recipient getting less or more Euros for the same amount of Aussie dollars sent. The bigger your transfer, the greater your savings when you opt for the better rate.
- Fees: In addition to the exchange rate, each financial institution, whether it’s a bank or FX specialist, will likely charge transfer fees for converting your Australian dollars into Euros. There’s no standardised fee structure that applies across the whole industry, but you can expect to pay either a flat fee or a percentage-based fee in most cases. Some providers may even promise ‘fee-free’ transfers, but bear in mind this doesn’t mean your transfer will come at no cost at all; there’s still the exchange rate markup and other third-party fees (e.g. from the receiving bank) to factor in.
- Transfer limits: Looking to move your entire retirement savings over to Berlin, or just sending a small cash gift to your Parisian relative? You’ll find that some banks or money transfer specialists only accept transfers above or below a certain amount, while others don’t have any restrictions at all. Have a look around to get an overview of which service will support your transfer amount.
- Transfer speed: IMT agents do their best to transfer money to your desired European destination as quickly as they can. But it may not always be the timing that you or your recipient prefer. If it’s urgent business, choose a provider that will ensure your transfer is made in a timely manner. Because Europe is a popular sending destination, you may find that your money reaches your recipient’s bank account in as little as one business day. But to be on the safe side, try to leave a three to five business days’ gap between sending and receiving the funds.
- Online vs phone or in person: Do you prefer face-to-face customer service or would you rather the convenience of making your money transfer from the comforts of your own home? Unlike banks, online IMT specialists have no physical branches that you can visit, but they usually do offer their services over the phone, online or even via an app. The benefits of making an international money transfer online instead of in-person is that it comes with fewer fees (e.g. $0 as opposed to $30-$32) and there are also no queues or business hours to worry about.
How do I send money to Europe online?
So, you’ve selected a foreign exchange specialist like TorFX or WorldFirst to help you send money to Europe. The next step is figuring out how to begin your transfer online. The exact process will vary from provider to provider, but it should look something like this:
Remember, online transfers are available 24/7 which means that should you encounter any hitches, there’s likely to be online help available around the clock too.
What transfer details do I need to provide?
As mentioned above, you’ll need to provide a few transfer details to successfully move your funds to the right account in Europe:
- Your recipient’s name and address
- Their bank account number or IBAN (International Bank Account Number)
- The full name and address of their bank
- SWIFT/BIC code (the bank’s unique identification code)
- The amount you’d like to send
- Your sending and receiving currency (e.g. Aussie dollars to Euros).
Be mindful that not every country in Europe uses the Euro, but in saying that, the Euro may be accepted either way. So it’s always a good idea to double check which currency your recipient prefers, whether that’s euros or the Danish krone (if they’re from Denmark).
Is it safe to send money to Europe online?
That depends. But if you’ve opted for a reputable online money transfer agent and followed basic safety precautions (like having a secure password and using your private data instead of public WiFi), then your money should be in safe hands. Here’s a few tips on how to spot a reputable IMT provider:
- They’re authorised by ASIC (Australian Securities and Investment Commission). This means they’re required to both have an internal dispute resolution process in place and be a member of AFCA (Australian Financial Complaints Authority), giving customers an avenue to make complaints should anything go wrong. If your provider is ASIC-regulated, they’ll have an Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence number, which you can find on their website, usually in the footer.
- They have a customer service team that can answer questions every step of the way, helping you navigate jargon, track exchange rates and manage your international payments. Visit your provider’s website to see whether they offer dedicated account managers to their customers - these are experts who know about your specific circumstances and can offer support directly.
- They give you an avenue to track your funds, whether that’s an confirmation email with a tracking number or real-time tracking via their app. That way you’ll be able to keep an eye on your money, from the moment it’s left your account to the moment it arrives in Europe.
Which countries in Europe accept Euros?
The Euro is the official currency of 19 different EU member countries (otherwise known as the ‘Euro Zone’). They are:
- The Netherlands
That said, even if the European country you’re sending to has another official currency, the Euro may still be accepted. So it’s best to confirm the receiving currency with your recipient or money transfer provider beforehand.
Ready to start sending money to Europe? Scroll to the table above to compare a few top exchange rates for AUD/EUR transfers today. Or head on over to our international money transfers hub for even more offers from bank and foreign exchange specialist providers.