I get a lot of questions every day from British people about the cheapest way to transfer money between the UK and Germany.
If you’re reading this article you’ll probably find yourself in one of two situations:
You’ve just got to Germany and you’re looking to find the cheapest way to transfer money from your English bank account to a German one.
You’ve been in Germany a while and you want to know how to transfer money back to England without getting hit with huge fees.
No matter what your situation is, In this article I’ve put together some advice to help you get your money into the right bank account with the lowest fees possible.
Throughout this article I’ll highly recommend that you use Transferwise. They’re the only service I can honestly recommend because they save you up to 90% on every single transfer.
The two few months I was transferring money between England and Germany I paid around £50 in fees total. Now in one year I pay less than £24. You can check them out here.
How To Cheaply Transfer Money Between Germany And England (And Avoid BIG Fees)
My best advice to you is to not send money through a bank transfer. Why?
Your bank will charge you huge fees for the pleasure of sending money. Especially if you’re new to Germany and want to transfer from your English bank account to Germany.
The first month I was in Germany I transferred just £160 to my Girlfriend and was charged £11.98 for the pleasure of doing so. For a normal payment of rent I would be charged £14-£16 every month. That would be an £192 per year on rent alone.
The second problem is that you get an exchange rate controlled by your bank, where they’re interested in taking a commission. They can take anywhere from 4% to 6% on your bank Transfers as well as their fees.
Lets say you needed to transfer a large amount of money to Germany or England, like €815, which is amount I had to transfer back in January to a German friend.
I don’t know about you, but if I need to send someone €815, I want them to receive €815. That only seems about fair, right?
Take look at what would have happened had I sent my money through my bank (Lloyd’s) and not TransferWise:
That’s right, of my €815 the recipient would only have received €782.08. A whole €33 less than they needed to receive!! You’d need to send €838 to for them to get the amount that they needed.
That’s exactly why you should avoid bank transfers.
With TransferWise – or other services should you choose to use them instead – you’re able to save up to 90% on each and every transfer.
Firstly they give you the current exchange rate, not what your bank thinks it should be. Instead they give you exactly what you should be getting.
Secondly, they don’t take a tonne of fees off the top. They have a fixed rate of 2% on transfers up to £400, and then an 0.10% on everything that comes after.
Don’t just take my word for it, though. They come highly recommended on TrustPilot too:
So you can feel safe, secure and happy in the knowledge that the right amount of money will get there for the least amount of fees.
How Many Times Will You Need To Send Money To England Or Germany?
Good question. And, that really does depend on you and your situation.
I’m a Freelance Writer and Blogger so I’m self employed. As it stands I get paid into my English bank accounts and need to transfer money to Germany every month for food, bills and rent. Luckily TransferWise is hooked up to my N26 Bank Account and I get the money in a few hours.
But instead of costing £192 per year it now costs me £24 per year. Which leaves me £168 better off and to spend on what I want.
Even if you’re only going to send money once a year (the average for people is around 10 or 12 times a year), why not have the cheapest option to get money back home? A few pounds or Euros is better in your bank account than it is with the Bank or PayPal.
You also get the simplicity of just paying with your debit or credit card, too. Meaning that if you’ve got the money in the right place, it’s as simple as ordering from Amazon.
It’s super simple to use too, just check out this video. (If you’re not going to do a bank transfer to TransferWise you only need the first minute or so).
How Does TransferWise Make It So Cheap?
Some say it’s magic. Other’s say that it’s Peer-to-Peer transfers.
Basically the way the transfer works is that they have two pots of money. One for the money that you want to send. Another for the money that the recipient wants to receive.
When you transfer £100 to Germany, what really happens is that your money never leaves England. Instead it stays there until there are other people who need to transfer a similar amount of money in Euros. (Or vise versa).
Then everyone is paid from the right pot. The person in Germany with the Euro pot, and the person in England with the pounds pot. It’s quite clever (and far beyond any maths I could ever produce myself).
It’s quite an interesting system and hopefully something big banks will start to do so it is as simple as transferring through your own bank. But, sadly, we’re not there yet.
How Long Do Transfers Take?
I’m yet to experience a transfer of under €400 that took longer than two days. For smaller ones of €100-150 I find I normally have them in a few hours.
TransferWise provisionally state that it’ll take around four days based on the local currency and restrictions on banking. For example if you need to send money on a Sunday – when nothing in Germany is ever open – it may take longer to process than mid week.
But, that’s a slight inconvenience for the amount of money saved.
All That’s Left To Do Is Transfer…
Thank you so much for reading this guide on the cheapest ways to transfer money between England and Germany. I hope you found it helpful.
Like I say, I highly recommend using TransferWise to save as much money as possible. You can get started straight away right here.
But you are free to use any of the others that you find too (please let me know in the comments if you find a better service).