France receives over $25 billion in remittances from countries such as Spain, the United States, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland. These are the top remittance corridors each sending over $2 billion per year.
This money is usually sent in hundreds of thousands of transactions through banks, online money transfer services, international cheques, money orders, PayPal among others. Every sender is looking for a channel that is simple, has the lowest possible risk level, offers the best exchange rates and lower transaction fees.
Whether you are sending money to your family, friends or repatriating your income, you need a transfer solution that responds to your needs. If you are one of the over 2 million French immigrants out in the diaspora looking for the best way to send money home, read along for insightful information on the various ways available to send money, the information you’ll need to provide, the features and benefits involved and so much more.
Sending money to France is simple and easy. Follow these steps to get started.
There are multiple ways to easily send and receive money in France but these will largely depend on the provider you decide to use. Below you will find everything you need to know about sending and receiving money.
There are three main ways you can transfer money from your country of domicile to France: the banking system, online money transfer, and in-store cash transfers.
Sending money through the bank is one of the most used ways to transfer huge sums of money. This is because of the perceived safety and reliability of the banking system. Barclays and HSBC are some of the top international banks with a wide presence in almost every city in France.
If you initiate a SWIFT transfer through a bank with a presence in France, your transfer will take a much shorter time to get to the recipient. However, if you make the same transfer to high streets bank in France such as Crédit Agricole (CA), Société Générale, Banque Populaire (BP), La Banque Postale, or Crédit Mutuel that have no connection with the sending bank, the transfer will have to go through correspondent banks. This can potentially cause delays and you may incur additional fees in the process.
Another aspect of the banking system is that it uses exchange rates that are far much lower, over 5% off the mid-market rate. This means you’ll get less of the other currency for every unit of the sending currency.
For you to send through the banking system, both you and the recipient must have bank accounts. If the bank doesn’t allow for telephone transfers and has no online banking option, you’ll have to make the transfer in person at the branch. You may pay up to $25 in transaction fees.
Online money transfer companies such as TorFX, Currencies Direct, OFX and TransferWise have become the go-to solutions for both business and personal transfers. These companies give senders a clear advantage over banks.
Setting up a transfer on any online money transfer platform is very simple and fast. Save for the first time where your details will be verified, going forward, transferring money should even be a 5-minute task.
Once you set up your account, you’ll be prompted to pay for your transfer. There are various modes of payment dependent on the provider you’ve chosen and the country your sending from. Typical transfer payment options include debits cards, credit cards, direct debits, and bank transfers.
Paying via debit or credit cards is a little costlier, but it makes the funds available faster to the provider. In turn, this shortens the time the provider takes to send the money to the recipient.
The other bit that you’ll have to decide on when sending money via money transfer providers is the payout option. Some providers only allow for direct deposits to banks while some such as Xoom have 934 pickup locations in France from where you can collect your transfer in cash.
To make transfers more convenient, most online money transfer providers have developed downloadable mobile applications running both on Android and iOS platforms. Using these apps, you can make a transfer, track it, lock in exchange rates, add recipients, review past transactions and so forth.
Apart from banks and online money transfer services, there is another channel that is dominated by Western Union and MoneyGram, the cash transfer option. You can make these transfers from scratch at a designated store or begin the process online and then complete it at a store.
Through Western Union, you can send directly to the recipient’s bank account at a fee that is as low as €1.90 per transfer. Alternatively, Western Union has 10,000+ agent locations you can send to starting from €2.90 per transfer.
You can pay for your transfer in cash, through a bank transfer, a credit card or debit card. Cash and debit/credit card transfers are the fastest. Your money arrives in minutes.
Instead of sending money to the recipient’s bank or to an agent location, you can give your family or friends the gift of talk. Mobile reloads take minutes and the recipient gets a text message that their prepaid number has been topped up.
In France, Xoom has partnered with Viber to allow for direct top-ups from abroad through the Xoom platform.
When sending money to France, you’ll need to provide some information to ensure the transfer goes through to the right person. The information required varies from one provider to another but in general, you’ll need the following:
Money transfers to France can be received in two ways: direct bank deposits and cash pickups.
Direct Bank Deposits – Money transfer providers such as TransferWise, Xoom, OFX, Currencies Direct and TorFX have partnered with almost all banks in France. This allows for direct bank deposits from their respective platforms. If you send your transfer by 4 PM France time, it should be delivered the next day.
Cash Pickup – Xoom, Western Union and MoneyGram allow for cash collection by the recipient at any agent location close to them. Unless the location is a bank branch where the recipient can collect the cash and deposit it immediately, it is advisable to send small amounts through cash pickups for security reasons.
Looking at the descriptions senders give when making their transfers and how the recipients use the money, there is a clear trend on the push and pull factors behind the remittances. Some of the common reasons include:
Depending on the family arrangement, some French nationals leave their loved ones behind. This calls for regular remittance and income supplementation support hence the periodic remittances.
Mortgages in France are more competitive than in the United States. Most of them are structured as fixed interest instruments necessitating regular remittance from beneficiaries to cover the periodic interest plus principal payments. You can get mortgages that last even up to 20 years.
Expats including French expatriates are often paid directly to their home accounts. The other option is for them to be paid in their host country accounts and then transfer the earnings back home. This calls for low-cost, and exchange rate-friendly transfer providers such as TorFX, OFX and Currencies Direct.
French expatriates who live and work outside France can still invest in pension schemes in their host countries. Upon retirement, the consolidation of their pension dues can be transferred through online money transfer platforms.
France has one of the robust economies with attractive yields on investments. French nationals in the diaspora may send money home directly into investment accounts.
It is a common practice for suppliers and contractors to demand payment directly into their accounts in France. Depending on the business arrangement, such payment could be frequent or irregular.
If you want to send money to France either from the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, North Africa or any other region, using a money transfer service provider can be advantageous. Here are some of the benefits to consider.
Before you hit the ‘Send’ button on your transfer to France, there are certain things that you need to consider. They could potentially save you from lost opportunities or spare you the inconvenience.
With its diaspora population continuing to grow, remittances to France will become increasingly significant. Therefore, there is a need to fully understand the money remittance network and how to save on fees, maximise on exchange rates, and reduce the time taken to send money to family and friends in France.
Sending money anywhere else in the world is as easy as sending money to the France. If you’re looking to send money to another country, here is the list of the most popular destinations.
Jonathan is the founder and editor of MoneyTransfers.com. Jonathan is highly experienced in the currency transfer market, having previously worked in the FX trading industry, alongside being an avid traveller. Using his knowledge he identified a need for transparency and further education to help people save money on their money transfers, leading to the creation of MoneyTransfers.com