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Send Money to Europe

This guide will explain what you need to know about sending money to Europe. It will help you reduce transfer time, get better FX rates, reduce fees and choose the best money transfer method for your needs. Furthermore, we share the top money transfer companies for sending money to Europe and explain their advantages.

Updated: 20/09/2022
Read time: 14 minutes
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The European economy

Europe has a population of around 748 million people across 50 countries – the largest, Russia, and the smallest being the Vatican City. Despite being the second-smallest continent by surface area, it is the third most populous after Asia and Africa. The largest national economies of Europe include Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Spain, while the combined GDP of the 27 countries that make up the EU was estimated to be 14.45 trillion Euros in 2021.

Nations in Europe use different currencies, however, the main one is the Euro. It was a product of the formation of the European Union in 1999. At the time of writing, 1 Euro is equivalent to 1.07 USD. 

Europe was one of the first regions of the world to develop an economy, which was based on industrial development and commercial agriculture. The rich economic resources make it one of the leading economies in the world today. 

Money transfers within the European borders are safe and regulated. The top regulatory bodies include the Financial Conduct Authority, European Banking Authority, and Wire Transfer Regulation. You can trust the quality of money transfer companies and banks that these regulatory bodies have vetted. 

How to set up a money transfer to Europe

To assist those of our readers who have never sent money to Europe, we have created a section on the required information, available transfer methods, and step-by-step process. 

Ways to send money to Europe

We understand that choosing the top money transfer options can be confusing with so many out there. Here is a list of the most commonly used ones and there is enough variety to match the needs of each sender. 

Let us take a closer look at the best ways of sending money to Europe:

  • Bank transfer: you can make wire and SWIFT transfers to Europe using specialist money transfer companies. The transaction time of these transfers is around 2-7 business days. Expect to pay around $20-50 per transaction, which is expensive compared to alternative transfer methods. 
  • Cards: companies like VISA and MasterCard allow for card transfers to Europe quickly. Also, most people have a credit or debit card, which means you do not need to make a new account to start sending money. The downside of using card transfers is the cost. It is typically around 1.5-3% of the transaction amount. It’s worth noting that this fee becomes particularly significant when sending large sums of money. 
  • Cash pickup: the sender can choose cash pick up when transferring money, which means the recipient will need to visit a specified branch. The sender only needs the name of the recipient and transaction amount. Another advantage is that the recipient does not need a bank account to receive money. 
  • Balance transfers: this is arguably the best way of sending money to Europe. Balance transfers are mostly instant and charge low fees. The only caveat is that the recipient needs to have an account with the same specialist transfer provider. Companies like Wise offer balance transfers with transparent fees and keep both parties updated on the transaction status. 
  • Home delivery: the sender can use home delivery to deliver cash straight to the recipient’s address. This method is convenient for recipients that do not have a bank account. However, the destination country in Europe must have a service that provides home cash deliveries.

How to send money to Europe

There are multiple ways of sending money to Europe that are worth knowing so you can choose one that is most convenient. We share a few options that you can use today and discuss their pros and cons to give you a balanced overview. 

  • Account top up: many money transfer companies allow you to send funds with balance transfers. However, before you can initiate a transfer, the digital account must be topped up. You can do this using payment options like credit card and bank transfer. The extra step of topping up your balance can be overcome by linking a payment method to the account. This will be automatically used when a transfer is initiated. 
  • Mobile app: using the same money transfer account you can send funds using a mobile app. Check the Google Play and App Store to determine if the company offers an app for download. Also, inspect the app’s profile page to check if international money transfers to Europe is one of the offered features. The app overall user score should be considered to determine the quality you can expect. For example, Azimo has an app user score of 4.1 on Google Play and 4.7 on the App Store. This indicates a high-quality experience for both operating systems. 
  • Phone call: senders without an internet connection can use phone call to send money to Europe. The process requires you to share information to pass the security test and the recipient details. Not all specialist transfer providers offer phone calls as a way to send money, so check to see if it is available. 

What is needed to send money to Europe?

The recipient information required to send money to Europe depends on the transfer method. Bank transfers require details such as bank name and address, account number, and recipient name. You will also need the SWIFT code when transferring money via SWIFT transfer. Many European banks support this transfer method, so it is a viable choice. 

You will need fewer details when organizing a cash pick-up or home delivery. For home delivery, only the recipient’s name and address are required. For cash pickup, you only need the recipient’s name and possibly the collection branch. Some companies allow the recipient to collect money from any of their branches. 

The sender can find recipients signed up with a money transfer company by using only their name and email. Some users can be found with only the email address. It depends on the transfer provider and how the recipient has set up their account to be discoverable. 

Specialist transfer providers like Wise allow the recipient’s information to be saved for future use. It means the sender does not need to re-enter the information. Also, Wise allows users to remove security steps when sending money to trusted recipients to save time.

How to receive money in Europe

This section explains the different ways you can receive money in Europe to choose a money transfer method that matches your requirements. Each one has pros and cons that we will mention to give you a balanced overview. 

  • Bank account: if you have a bank account in Europe, then you can receive funds straight into the account. You will need to provide your bank account details to the sender. The waiting time for funds to arrive will be around 2-7 business days. The processing time depends on the amount sent and currencies involved in the transfer. Most banks do not match the mid market rate, which means you will get uncompetitive FX rates. Instead, consider using companies like Wise that regularly match the mid market rate for most currencies. 
  • Pick up location: the recipient can collect cash at a pick up location. The specific location depends on the nature of the transfer company. Some have many branches spread throughout Europe and the recipient can choose where to collect funds. When collecting funds the recipient needs to have their identity verification documents and the transaction number. 
  • Home delivery: this option is handy for recipients that do not have a bank account or a physical cash pick up point nearby. To receive a home delivery the recipient must share their name and address with the sender. Also, when the delivery person arrives, they will ask for identity verification documents before handing over the cash. 
  • Money transfer service: arguably the most flexible and useful way of receiving money is via a specialist money transfer service. That is because transfers are mostly instant and you can withdraw funds from the digital account using various methods. This includes card and bank transfer. Some of the top money transfer services you can check out today include WorldRemitWiseXECurrencyfairCurrencies DirectKey CurrencyInstarem and TorFX.

What is needed to receive money in Europe?

To receive money in Europe you need to share your personal details with the sender, which will differ based on the transfer method. For instance, to receive a bank transfer you need to share your account number, bank name, bank address, and the SWIFT code for SWIFT transfers. 

If you’d like to share fewer details with the recipient then you can receive a cash pickup transfer or home delivery. These only require the sharing of your name and address for home delivery. When a cash pickup point needs to be specified, you can share a preference that is nearby. 

You should also be aware of the tax laws that may result in the taxation of money received. There are no European laws that govern money transfers regarding taxes. You have to check the individual laws of the country where you are receiving money. For example, if you are receiving a gift transfer in the UK, then taxes will not apply. However, if the money you are being sent is income for a job or rental property, for example, then you will need to disclose this in your tax submission. 

To avoid legal problems with money transfers, especially if you are sending large sums on a regular basis, it is a good idea to hire a tax account. They can help you file tax documents with the relevant authorities that show you are not avoiding taxes. Also, keep a record of all transactions so you can share details at a later date when required. 

Things to consider when sending money to Europe

There are many reasons why you may want to send money to Europe using a money transfer company. We have created a list of the most popular reasons and have explained the most prominent information you should know. 

Income

When living in Europe, you could end up employed by a company that is based in another country altogether. One of the benefits of living in Europe is that you can move freely between countries and receive funds internationally. If you are receiving your salary via international transfer, you might need to consider:

  • Taxes: most countries in Europe require you to pay taxes on money that you receive from abroad for completed work. It must be declared with the tax authorities and hiring a tax account is a good strategy. 
  • Transfer speed: to receive money quickly you should choose a transfer method that supports balance transfers. It allows for instant money transfers, which means you do not have to wait extra days for your wage. 
  • Currency conversion: you may receive money in a different currency than that of your country. Choose a service that offers competitive FX rates such as Xe. They provide transfers to a network of 170 countries and offer multi-lingual support. 

Overseas wedding

There are many wonderful locations to have a wedding in Europe, with the average couple spending around $5,000 for a wedding abroad – although, of course, this figure you be a high or low as you make it. Here is what you need to know before you start sending money abroad to fund the wedding of your dreams:

  • Transfer speed: A wedding requires you to book venues and catering companies in advance. Therefore, it helps if the recipient can quickly access the funds you are sending in order to secure your deposit. Find money transfer specialist that offers instant processing speeds. 
  • Fees: reducing fees allows the recipient to receive more money (and you to spend less!). The top money transfer services charge competitive fees that take only a small fraction of the transfer amount. 
  • Taxes: most countries do not charge taxes for gift transfers. However, you may be taxed for some expenses – it may be worth talking to a wedding planner or accountant who specialises in this area to ensure you are not going to be taxed unexpectedly for international transfers. 

Buying real estate

Sending money to Europe to buy real estate requires carefully considering the transfer company and method. Poor currency exchange rates and high fees can result in loss of money that can be avoided. Here is what you need to know when buying real estate in Europe:

  • Taxes: the taxes associated with buying real estate differs based on the country. You need to check the local laws based on where you are buying real estate. A local tax accountant can help you understand the tax laws and fill out paperwork related to the real estate buying process. 
  • Transfer cap: you may need to transfer a large amount of money when buying real estate in Europe. Make sure the transfer company has high cap limits that can support your requirements. 
  • Currency exchange: excellent FX rates should be a priority when using currency exchange services during a transfer. Find a company that can match the mid market rate to get a good deal. 

Pension

Many people from Europe and beyond will choose to settle down for retirement in another country. For example, Spain is the top destination for British Expats – many of whom choose to purchase a property by the sea for their later years. However, receiving your pension without paying high transfer fees and suffering long waiting times can be tricky. Here is what you need to know when receiving a pension in Europe:

  • Fees: to reduce transfer fees when receiving a pension you need to find a competitive transfer provider like Wise. They offer balance transfers that charge less than $1 for many international transfers. 
  • Taxes: some countries regard money transfers for receiving a pension as income while others do not. Therefore, some European countries will require you to pay taxes for pension income. 
  • Transfer speed: to receive pension money quickly you need to avoid lengthy methods like bank transfers. Choose a specialist transfer method that enables you to send money with instant balance transfers. 

Business

If you are a business owner, you may be sending international transfers to freelancers and contractors alike. Likewise, you might be a freelancer employed by a company overseas – regardless, you need to select the right transfer provider to save money on fees and avoid running into transfer cap problems. 

  • Money transfer service: select a specialist company that comes with business related transfer features. For example, Key Currency has experience handling large overseas business transactions and provides a dedicated agent to support customers. 
  • Transfer cap: the business income may be large, especially during the busy months of the year. You need a transfer provider that offers high caps so you do not run into limitations. 
  • Transfer speed: running a business requires cash flow, so your transfer provider must offer quick and reliable processing times. Services that provide instant speeds are ideal since the money can immediately be utilized to move forward with business activity. 

Benefits of using money transfer services

The various benefits of using money transfer services over bank transfer mean you should give them a try. If you are still not convinced, then take a look at the following list of advantages to help you take the plunge:

  • Worldwide coverage: the top specialist transfer providers offer a global network of 150-200+ countries. Most also include all European countries in their network, which means you will not face limitations when sending funds internationally. 
  • Save money on fees: specialist transfer companies offer balance transfers, which are a low cost way of sending money internationally. Services like Instarem have competitively low fees of 0.25-1% of the transfer amount. 
  • Currency exchange: you will find excellent FX rates from the top money transfer companies. Look for services that match the mid market rate, since those rates cannot be beaten elsewhere. 
  • Payment options: enjoying multiple payment methods is great if you want back up options. Most specialist transfer companies provide several ways of paying for transfers so you can pick one that matches your preferences. 
  • Faster transfer time: cutting down on transfer time means the recipient can get the funds in time for the intended use. This might be to pay bills or pay for a product. Balance transfers usually allow for instant processing times, which is a big advantage over bank transfers.

Frequently asked questions

What are the fastest ways of sending money to Europe?
How to reduce fees when sending money to Europe?
Can I send money to Europe with a mobile app?

Looking to Send Money Somewhere Else? 

Sending money anywhere else in the world is as easy as sending money to Europe. If you’re looking to send money to another country, here is the list of the most popular destinations.

April Summers

April is a trained journalist and the Content Editor for MoneyTransfers.com. She has 10 years experience writing about a diverse range of subjects, from financial services to arts and entertainment. When she’s not writing about global remittances she can be found daydreaming about her next holiday abroad.