Perhaps you have an upcoming need to transfer money to France. Or, you’ll soon find yourself transferring money from France to UK. Whichever direction you’re making the transfer, this guide will explain the best companies to use, the fees you need to be aware of (very often hidden) and what you can expect from the transfer process.
As a general rule, our extensive research has uncovered the best way to send money to France is by using a specialist international payment (money transfer) company. From a service, cost and efficiency point of view, these companies outperform banks in every aspect. In fact, the only exception we could find to this was when large multinationals were sending tens of millions each year in bank transfers to France. For individuals and SMEs, specialist FX companies were easily the better option (read on for our analysis why).
If you happen to be one almost 100,000 Brits who currently own property in France or one of the thousands looking to buy or sell their property in France this year, this guide will also determine the best way to send money to France from UK (or make a bank transfer from France to UK) specifically for property transactions and other large-sum requirements. Whether you are transferring buying property in France and need to transfer money from UK, selling in France and need to send funds back to UK, or make frequent transfers like mortgage payments – this guide will help you save time and money.
How to Send Money to France [Our easy 4-Step Process]
Follow these four simple steps and you’ll be transferring money from France to UK or transferring money from UK to France in no time. All while finding the best payment solution and most appropriate payment provider for your needs.
Step 1: Choose a Provider (w / local support available in English or French)
Choosing the most suitable money transfer company for your payment needs is the single most important decision you’ll make before you send money to France. It will have the biggest influence on the fees you pay and it will also influence the transfer options you have at your disposal (including the ability to hedge against FX market movements).
There are literally hundreds of providers to choose from when sending money from France to UK or UK to France in 2022. Banks remain the most popular option (some 80% of individuals still use their bank to send money to France) yet they now form only a small fraction of the total number of companies that can handle bank transfers to France.
Generally speaking, the financial institutions that facilitate money transfers to/from France fall under four main categories:
- UK / French Banks (e.g. Natwest or Lloyds for UK, BNP Paribas in France)
- Currency Brokers
- Online Money Transfer Providers
- Remittance Companies
Similarly to transferring money from Spain to UK, all of the above categories support GBPEUR transfers.
⭐ Best Way to Transfer Money From France to UK / UK to France ⭐
Companies operating in France and the UK. These firms top our rankings for cost, credibility, and overall level of service.
- #1 Rated on MTC
- Industry Leader with £10bn in Annual Turnover
- No Transfer Fees, Great Rates
- 16 Offices in Spain
- Top Notch Guidance with Expertise in the French Market
- Headequarters Outside of London - Lower Staff Costs Rolled Over to the Client
- Quick Onboarding Process and Highly Professional
- Trading Desk with 100+ Years of Experience
- Excellent Online System
- Competitive Exchange Rates
- Many Satisfied Corporate Clients
- Many Hedging Options
- Clients Accepted Globally
- Expertise in Australia with Local Offices
- Regulated in UK and EU, local offices in France (including a dedicated section on Moneycorp website)
- Very well known and respected in the FX industry, the first company to ever offer non-bank foreign exchange services
- Many consumer and business industry awards, as well as 95% positive reviews from clients
- Sophisticated hedging offering
- 99% Positive Customer Feedback
- Known for Great Guidance and Service
- Excellent Website
- Operating for 15+ Years
If you’re short on time and need to move quickly, we strongly recommend any of the four providers highlighted here. Not only are they cheaper than UK and French banks, in the case of Currencies Direct, moneycorp and Key Currency, there is a French speaking staff readily available to help and there is a significant value proposition that goes beyond sending money from point a to point b.
Things like dedicated account management, dealer guidance and FX hedging are only available through specialist currency brokers. If you’re buying a property in France one option available through these brokers is to fix today’s exchange rate for the future with a forward contract. Banks will not let you do this unless you have a special high-net-worth account. Wise does not offer hedging functionality but we’ve included them for their slick online system and french translation which is arguably unparalleled for customers seeking a purely online solution.
Global Payment Provider Moneycorp Launches Moneycorp France
On the 1st September 2022, industry leader moneycorp announced it would be opening a local French office to better serve France’s SME community when they send money across borders. The Paris office will be headed up by Cyril Léger who has 20 years of experience in the French finance market. Holding previous roles in treasury and FX for both fintechs and banks. Starting with a team of six, Moneycorp France has ambitions to quadruple its headcount in the year ahead. On top of SMEs, the offering is available to large corporations, financial institutions and even banks. Thus, we assume, taking advantage of Moneycorp Financial Risk Management Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for the provision of designated investment business such as FX options.
This is a relaunch of moneycorp’s offices in France (used to have offices previously, which were shut down and are now re-oepend).
Analysing Bank Fees and International Payment Costs in France and the UK
French Bank Payment Fees
There is a significant difference in cost depending on whether the transfer is made to one of the 34 member states of the SEPA network (of which the UK remains despite Brexit) or if a transfer is made to the rest of the world. The maximum cap on payment fees to the rest of the world is quite frankly extortionate.
BNP Paribas International Transfer Fees are as follows:
-Free next day delivery
-0.50 EUR for same-day delivery
-7.00 EUR surcharge for payments to Switzerland
-0.25 EUR for next day delivery
-5.25 EUR for same-day delivery
|Rest of World||-Min 7.00 EUR, Max 100.00 EUR|
-Min 7.00 EUR, Max 100.00 EUR
-5.00 EUR surcharge for paper/branch
-7.50 EUR surcharge to pay by cheque.
SEPA transfers with Societe Generale are slightly more expensive than with BNP when made online but significantly more when made in branch/by paper. On the plus side, they do not implement an extra charge for SEPA transfers to Switzerland but like BNP however, they do charge significantly more for non-SEPA transfers,
Societe Generale International Transfer Fees are as follows:
-0.21 EUR for next day delivery
-0.60 EUR for same-day delivery
|-15 EUR for next day delivery 19 EUR for same-day delivery|
|Rest of World|
-0.85% of transfer with a Min charge of 12.00 EUR and Max charge of 70.00 EUR
-1.00% of transfer with a Min charge of 17.00 EUR and Max charge of 75.00 EUR
-1.00% of transfer with a Min charge of 24.00 EUR and Max charge of 80.00 EUR
-1.10% of transfer with a Min charge of 26.00 EUR and Max charge of 90.00 EUR
Crédit Agricole – Britline (English speaking arm of Credit Agricole Normandie)
To its credit, Crédit Agricole charges no more in fees for payments made in-branch than it does online. It also charges a lower % than BNP Paribas and Societe Generale for international transfers made to the rest of the world but crucially, however, it makes no mention of an upper payment fee. Meaning large payments could incur huge payment fees. There have also been reports that Crédit Agricole recently started to impose a new €18 flat fee on any bank transfers coming from Britain.
Crédit Agricole International Transfer Fees are as follows:
-Free for next day delivery
-0.90 EUR for same-day delivery
-Free for next day delivery
-0.90 EUR for same-day delivery
|Rest of World|
-In Euros outside of the EU: 6.00 EUR to 21.10 EUR depending on the amount sent
-Outside of the EU in another currency: 0.10% with a min fee of 16.35 EUR
-In Euros outside of the EU: 6.00 EUR to 21.10 EUR depending on the amount sent
-Outside of the EU in another currency: 0.10% with a min fee of 16.35 EUR
UK Bank Payment Fees
UK bank fees are structured more simply than French banks and can be summarised in the table below:
|UK Bank||Online||Business (online)||Telephone/Branch|
|Lloyds Bank||£0 to EEA / £9.50 ROW||£15||£21|
|Natwest||£0 to EEA / £10 ROW||£15||0.3% (£21 – £40)|
|HSBC||£0 to EEA / £5 ROW||£17 – £30||£0 to EEA / £5 ROW|
Like French Banks, the most glaring differential in UK international payment fees is between those made on the SEPA network and those made to other countries around the world (though UK banks are on average cheaper than French banks for rest of world payments). This is good news for individuals making international payments between France and the UK as it means there are little to no payment fees. One thing to watch out for is French banks implementing a ‘receiving fee’ for payments coming from the UK even though they arrive via the SEPA network (e.g. Crédit Agricole’s €18 fee for receiving transfers from the UK) . They get around this by charging a receiving fee to ‘non-EU countries’ as opposed to ‘non-SEPA countries’ – a bit cheeky considering the money is still received through the same low-cost network as opposed to SWIFT.
Crucially, however, it’s important to remember that payment fees aren’t your primary concern when you transfer money to France.
Using Lloyd’s Bank as an example, we’ll demonstrate why the focus should be on the exchange rate and the FX spread applied:
|Payment Value in GBP||Current margin for sending money outside the UK or in a foreign currency|
|0 – £10,000||3.55%|
|£10,000 – £50,000||3.55% – 2.40%|
|£50,000 – £100,000||2.40% – 2.10%|
|£100,000 – £250,000||2.10% – 1.50%|
|£250,000 and above||1.50%|
Lloyds Bank makes for a very interesting use-case as they are the only UK bank that actually provides transparency around the FX margin they apply to international transfers. In fact, we believe their margins to be lower than that of other UK and French banks. Some banks can charge 4-5% on international wires.
When we talk about the ‘FX margin’ this is the difference between the interbank exchange rate at the time and the rate you’re offered as a client. Choose a different provider and you might be able to trade closer to the interbank rate.
The fintech payments giant Wise is also transparent about the FX margin they take. Or in their terms the ‘variable fee’. So let’ see how this compares with Lloyds,
A £20,000 bank transfer to France will see you hit with a 3.55% FX margin through Lloyds. That means you’d be set to lose £710 in the exchange rate margin. By contrast, a £20,000 money transfer from the UK to France with Wise incurs a variable fee of 0.41%. Meaning you’d lose just £82. By selecting Wise to send money to France, you could save £628 on a £20,000 transfer compared to using Lloyds.
On a £200,000 transfer, the FX margin with Lloyds is 2.1%, compared to the same 0.41% with Wise. This means you could save a staggering £3,380 by opting for Wise on a transfer of this size.
What’s more, you might be able to save even more by working with a currency broker on larger transfers. Not only in standalone costs but in your timing of the trade too. Wise only allows customers to accept the exchange rate provided to them on the day of the transfers and provides no guidance around how currency markets have been moving and what might influence the exchange rate as things move forward.
Large currency swings can have an even bigger impact on your overall cost than the FX margin applied. A prime example of this was the Brexit referendum, when it was announced that Britain voted to leave the EU, GBPEUR moved from 1.30 down to 1.18 overnight. The unexpected announcement caught out a lot of Britons who were hoping to buy a house in France and soon found out their money would not go anywhere near as far. Whilst moves are not always this extreme, timing a trade correctly can still be the difference in hundreds or thousands of pounds.
This is why we primarily recommend using a currency broker to transfer money to France. These companies charge no fees, provide competitive FX margins and can guide you through the foreign exchange solutions that can improve your timing when transferring money from France to the UK.\
Step 2: Register With Your Selected Provider
Upon registering with any financial service, new customers are required to complete an identification and verification check. This will show to the company that you are the person you say you are. These obligations, also known as Know Your Customer or KYC, are conducted by payment companies at the point of account opening and it should take no longer than a few hours for the company to review your documents and activate your account. These days, it’s quite common to take a ‘selfie’ with your ID held next to your face, with the aim to remove as many manual processes as possible. To learn more about this, read our guide which runs through the KYC documents required to sign up with a money transfer service.
Step 3: Format Your Payment Details to Transfer Money to France
Once your account has been onboarded it’s time to format the details of your bank transfer from France to UK / UK to France. If you’re working with a currency broker you’ll have the option to do this either online or over the phone.
Double check you’ve input the correct beneficiary details to avoid delay and, in the worst case scenario, end up transferring money from France to the UK / UK to France and having it land in the wrong bank account.
All UK and French bank accounts are formatted as an International Bank Account Number (IBAN). The International Bank Account Number (IBAN) is the standard governing European bank account numbers and one of the cornerstones of SEPA. It’s this IBAN that you need to input when you send money from France to UK / UK to France.
If you’re transferring money between your own accounts, speak to your bank to confirm your IBAN or use an IBAN generator to find the correct details. If it’s going to friends or family, ask the beneficiary to confirm their IBAN.
Once the beneficiary has been set up, either input the amount of GBP or EUR you want to convert, or the amount of GBP / EUR you want to receive at the end of the currency exchange. As you make the payment you’ll then be able to lock-in the exchange rate. At this point, you’ll enter into a legal contract to purchase the amount of currency requested.
Step 4: Fund Your Trade and Payment Will Process
Once you’ve set up your trade to send money to France or send money from France to the UK, it’s time to fund it. Some companies allow settlement via debit card but the most common way to fund your payment is via a local bank transfer. Your chosen provider will supply the account number you need to fund as soon as you’ve set up your trade.
Take note of any details you’re asked to include in the reference too. By closely following what you’re asked to include, you can ensure the payment is processed quickly.
The companies we deem to be the best way to send money to France or the best way to transfer money from France to UK all have a local EUR bank account and a local GBP account. Meaning customers can make fast, local transfers to settle their trade, leaving the international element to the international payment experts.
Nowadays, it’s very common for transfers within Europe to be complete within a matter of hours or even minutes. A SEPA instant credit transfer can be as fast as 10 seconds.
Should I Use a Remittance Provider for UK – France Money Transfers?
The two most prominent remittance firms operating in France are Western Union and Moneygram (two of the most recognised names in the foreign exchange industry globally). There are various Moneygram France Locations which make it easy for recipients to pick up cash but the problem lies with their fees – they are very expensive and you could lose 5%+ of the transfer. There are new remittance companies like WorldRemit and Small World Money Transfer France who are cheaper than Moneygram France but they are more expensive than both currency brokers and money transfer companies when you send money to France from UK via bank transfer. Remittance companies should only be used when the recipient has to pick up money in cash (i.e. they have no bank account).
⭐ Best Way to Transfer Money From France to UK / Best Way to Transfer Money From UK to France – By Every Use Case⭐
We explore some of the most popular reasons to send money to France here and provide our recommendations on the most suitable payment provider for each.
Best Way to Send Money to France – Overseas Property Purchase
As of 2020, it was estimated that 200,000 Britons owned a holiday home in France and some 86,000 Britons owned a second home in France. A change in visa rules for UK nationals visiting the EU, which limits them to just 90-day visits per 180 days, has naturally dampened demand for some, but there are still many British nationals choosing to move across the channel for the chance of owning a château or even a small village.
Currencies Direct has over 20 years’ experience and a team of dedicated currency experts based in France to help you make the most of your money. When it comes to currency exchange and paying your Notaire, Currencies Direct are well versed in the process and will advise on the best way to transfer money to France and how you may want to hedge against market movements to ensure you stay within budget. You may choose to fix today’s exchange rate for the future with a forward contract.
They even work closely with partners throughout the entire property industry in France too – from wealth management to mortgages to tax specialists – so if you have a question or need an expert helping hand, Currencies Direct is a great place to start.
On the flip side, if you’re wanting to sell your home in France and transfer the proceeds back to the UK, Currencies Direct can help with this too. Changes for UK citizens with homes in France means they will only pay a 7.5% social levy rather than the 17.2% social charge (prélèvements sociaux) when selling or renting their property. The same amount it would have been pre-brexit.
Best Way to Transfer Money From France to UK – Repatriating Rental Income / Paying Overseas Mortgage
If you do happen to be repatriating rental yields, you’ll also be bolstered by the reduction in social levy tax in France to 7.5%, just like those selling their property.
If making regular money transfers between France and the UK, you’ll want to consider a provider that offers automated regular transfers. When you establish a series of regular transfers with Currencies Direct you can either agree to either accept the exchange rate it will be on the day or set each regular transfer up through a forward contract. This guarantees the current exchange rate for every regular transfer up to 2 years.
If you’re a French resident looking to buy a property or pay a mortgage in the UK then moneycorp is recommended. Moneycorp offers all of the same functionality as Currencies Direct through its local French team based in Paris.
Best Way to Send Money From France to UK – Supplier Payments (B2B)
Moneycorp: Moneycorp is our no.1 rated business money transfer provider. Moneycorp France’s proposition includes their full suite of deliverable foreign exchange solutions that are specifically designed to support the needs of SMEs. The arrival of a French address also means that moneycorp can provide French companies with a genuine alternative to their legacy banks and providers. Offering superior service, smart technology, and competitive pricing.
Best For Money Transfer From France to UK – Freelance Invoicing
If you’re invoicing a client in EUR and have a requirement to convert this to GBP then we recommend OFX as a multi-currency account lets you hold balances in both GBP & EUR (amongst a number of other currencies). Aletrnatively, if you are looking for a debit card functionality attached to your account, we recommend using Wise allowing you to spend from these balances through the Wise debit card, make online payments to other bank accounts or convert the balances into any number of currencies and withdraw funds to your own primary bank account. Remember, there are no hedging tools available through Wise and you’ll have to just accept the rate on the day you want to trade. On the plus side, you have the comfort of knowing that Wise guarantees low spreads and low fees.
A valid Wise alternative would be Revolut.
Best Way to Transfer Money to France – Global Payroll
Papaya Global : Papaya Global seamlessly connects people, payroll and payments, so everything is consolidated, automated and easy. The all-in-one solution allows customers to automate their global payroll with a safe and regulatory compliant process. In total, payments can be made in any currency, anywhere to over 160 countries. The firm can provide guidance on local taxes, employment law, social benefits and staff contracts in both jurisdictions. And of course guidance on how to transfer money to a French bank account from the UK for the purpose of salary.
Cheapest Way to Send Money to France / Cheapest Way to Transfer Money From France to UK
Most currency brokers and payment companies work to one simple pricing rule – the more money you send, the better the exchange rate you’ll achieve. The exception to this is fixed priced providers like Wise. That’s why the general rule of thumb is that Wise proves the cheaper option for smaller transfers, whilst currency brokers can generally beat their rates on large transfers.
- Cheapest Way to Transfer Money from France to UK – Under €20,000: On purely cost alone, Wise will likely prove cheaper when you’re transferring money from France to UK under €20,000 or when you transfer money to France under £20,000. There’s a possibility that a currency broker might be able to provide guidance which improves your timing of a trade and thus make it more cost effective but on standalone charges we’d recommend Wise for smaller amounts.
- Cheapest Way to Transfer Money from France to UK – Over €20,000: When sending large volumes, it’s worth seeing if you can negotiate the FX spread that’s applied on your transfer. Speak with a currency expert over the phone from Currencies Direct or moneycorp to see what kind of rate you can achieve.
Summary: Bank Transfers to France
80% of individuals still use their bank to transfer money to France. This is despite the fact UK & French banks apply some of the worst FX margins around the world. Don’t fall into this group, or if you do, make sure it’s a conscious decision where you’ve considered alternative options. As always, we encourage readers to do their own research and conduct their own rate comparison. If you’re an individual or SME, we think it’s unlikely that you’ll come to the conclusion that a bank is the best way to send money to France. According to our analysis, they certainly aren’t the cheapest way to send money to France and they provide very little in terms of service and foreign exchange products. Choosing the right provider will depend on why you’re transferring money from France to UK and how much it is you’re looking to send. Compare a range of options at MoneyTransferComparison.com.