If you have a requirement to transfer money to Spain or send money from Spain to UK, you’ll want to find a solution which is safe, fast and low in cost. The first important point to be aware of is that you DON’T HAVE TO use a bank to transfer money from UK to Spain. Nowadays, there are a number of safe methods to send money to Spain from UK.
In fact (and this will always be dependent on your own personal priorities, values and objectives) we believe the best way to transfer money from UK to Spain is by using a specialist, non-bank, international payment company. Such service provider easily operates alongside your existing bank account and is almost always cheaper than a bank to send money to Spain. Read this guide to learn how to send money to Spain from UK, as well as our recommendations for the cheapest way to send money to Spain and the best way to transfer money to Spain.
If you happen to be one of the million Brits who currently own property in Spain or one of the thousands looking to buy or sell their property in Spain this year, this guide will also determine the best way to send money to Spain from UK (or make a bank transfer from Spain to UK) specifically for property transactions. Whether that’s buying or selling a property in Spain, repatriating rent or paying overseas mortgages.
Cheapest Way to Send Money From Spain to UK [4 Steps]
Follow four simple steps and you’ll be transferring money from Spain to UK or UK to Spain in a speedy, safe, and cheap, manner.
Step 1: Choose a Payment Provider (w / offices in UK + Spain)
Knowing the huge impact it can have on cost (more on this below), choosing the correct international money transfer service is the most important decision you’ll make ahead of sending money to Spain if you want to save money. It will also influence the speed and safety of your transfer.
When it comes to sending money from Spain to UK or UK to Spain, there’s a whole bunch of providers you can choose from; some well known like PayPal and others you may not recognise at all. It’s not just about choosing a recognised brand though – every provider has their own specialist areas and accompanying advantages and disadvantages.
The following range of financial institutions can all assist in different ways to send money from Spain to UK:
⭐ Best Way to Send Money From Spain to UK / Spain to UK⭐
Based on Security, Speed and Cost; companies operating in Spain and UK
- #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 Spanish Market
If you need to make a decision fast, we’d recommend using any of the above three providers. They are almost certainly going to be cheaper than UK or Spanish banks, and they offer a whole range of value-adding functionalities that banks don’t (not for private customers or SMEs anyway). This includes dedicated account management, telephone guidance and a suite of FX payment products. If, for example, an individual is looking to buy a property in Spain, they may want to fix the exchange rate with a forward contract and guarantee today’s rate for a point in the future. For most individuals, the bank simply won’t allow them to do this but the above companies will.
In the case of Currencies Direct, they have been in Spain since 1999 and have 18 branches spreading from the Costa Blanca to the Costa del Sol. Clients can visit the team in-branch or speak to them over the phone in English or Spanish. Currencies Direct’s offices in Spain are in places like Marbella, Valencia, Fuengirola, and Playa, where there’s a big international community (with many Brits who moved).
Other providers have offices in the EU, and some even specialise in UK-Spain money transfers like Smart Currency Exchange, and Lumon currency, and of course Britian’s Favourite relocation programme – A Place in the Sun, run their own currency exchange at A Place in the Sun Currency service.
Using Remittances Providers from UK – Spain Money Transfers?
Unless you have a requirement for the beneficiary to pick up cash at the other end of your Spain to UK money transfer, we’d suggest ignoring remittance companies. Highly publicised remittance companies like Moneygram or Western Union are notoriously expensive and better suited for instances where cash needs to be sent to remote destinations around the world. Newer breed remittance companies like Remitly are cheaper than Western Union but again are better suited for cash delivery and mobile top ups. They’re also likely to be more expensive than currency brokers and money transfer companies for a bank transfer from Spain to UK.
As you get familiar with the market, you’ll see that some currency brokers can also act as purely online money transfer providers given the quality of their online platform. Let’s explore the role that each of these companies performs in the market here.
Transferring money from UK to Spain with:
Compare the variety of ways to transfer money from UK to Spain and vice versa (with a focus on British audiences):
|British Banks||Currency Brokers||Online Money Transfer Companies||Remittance Companies|
Wise (formerly TransferWise)
Use your existing bank, no need to register with another provider
Safe & secure
Handle payments of all sizes
Branch network if prefer to make payments in-person (though usually more expensive)
Various hedging tools to manage exposure in currency market
Guidance from a dedicated currency specialist
Trade online or over the phone
Handle payments of all sizes
No payment fees
Slick online offering can make payments in minutes.
Lower FX spreads compared to banks and usually transparent
Lower payment fees
Can arrange cash pick-up
Choose to settle deals either online or by visiting a local branch
Hedging tools not made available to private clients and SMEs
Expensive payment fees
Wide FX Spreads
Can’t speak with a currency specialist
FX spreads smaller than banks but not always transparent.
Other than Currencies Direct, few currency brokers have a branch network in Spain.
No hedging tools, must accept the FX rate at the time you want to make the payment
No guidance from a currency specialist
No branch network
Wide FX spreads (perhaps still smaller than bank FX spreads)
No hedging tools, must accept the FX rate at the time you want to make the payment
If you want to keep things simple, it might seem easiest just to use your existing current account provider. This does, however, come with some serious red flags when it comes to cost. When you transfer euros to pounds, there are two ways a bank or payment provider will make money. Firstly, there’s the payment fee charged. This is a fixed cost and it’s usually quite evident how much this fee is. Banks are infamous for charging high payment fees which can be up to £25 per international transfer. Secondly, there’s the FX spread applied. Banks are also notorious for wide FX spreads (a variable payment fee that works as a % of the total transfer). It’s the FX spreads which will soon start to dwarf payment fees and could cost you thousands of pounds if you’re not careful transferring money from Spain to UK.
Similar fees are incurred in transfers from USA to UK as well.
UK Bank International Wire Transfer Fees
|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|
For international payments sent online to Spain and the European Economic Area (EEA), the good news is that the majority of banks charge no payment fees to private customers. Fortunately, the introduction of the SEPA payment scheme in 2009 democratised euro payments for all member states and radically reduced the cost of EUR payments. However, should customers wish to arrange the payment on the phone or in-branch the fees could be anywhere from £21 – £40. Businesses are charged an average of £15 for international payments. What’s more, banks will charge customers to receive overseas payments and there’s also a chance that the sender and receiver may incur more payment fees from correspondent and beneficiary banks.
Currencies Direct, Key Currency and Moneycorp charge no payment fees whatsoever to private clients. It doesn’t matter if payments are made to the EEA or to the rest of the world, or if payments are made online or over the phone, there are no payment fees.
As we’ve already touched on, the cost incurred in the FX spread can soon start to dwarf the payment fee. Let’s take a look at the FX rates applied by Lloyd’s Bank to demonstrate this:
|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%|
The FX spread is the difference between the actual interbank exchange rate at the time and the rate you’re offered as a client (learn more about exchange rates for international bank transfers here). It’s very rare that banks actually publish the FX spread they apply. Normally, they choose to hide behind the obscurity of simply providing an FX rate and leaving it to customers to make their own calculations. In this regard we have to give kudos to Lloyds for being the only UK bank to publish their spreads and we can only assume the banks that choose not to give customers an even worse rate.
A £10,000 money transfer from UK to Spain incurs a 3.55% FX spread with Lloyds. That’s £355 a customer is set to lose in the exchange rate margin. With Wise a £10,000 money transfer from UK to Spain incurs an FX spread (or variable fee in Wise’ terminology) of 0.41%. Meaning the customer stands to lose just £41. By opting for Wise to send money to Spain from UK, customers could save £314 on a £10,000 transfer. On a £100,000 transfer, Lloyds applies a 2.1% spread. Customers could save £1,690 by opting for Wise on a transfer of this size. The same spread would apply on receiving funds in foreign currency from Spain in Euro to UK in Sterling.
If you’re happy to accept the exchange rate on any given day and you’re only interested in driving the cost of the transfer down with low charges and fees then Wise is likely going to prove your best option. The totally online platform is built around putting the onus of the transfer on the user and transferring money from a UK to a Spanish bank account with a no-fuss, low-fee approach.
However, opting for the provider with the lowest fees is not the only method to drive the cost of sending money from Spain to UK down. The timing of an foreign currency-denominated bank transfer is vitally important and large currency swings can even start to dwarf foreign exchange spreads. For example, if you were transferring money from Spain to UK in December 2020, you’d have received £0.92 to the €1. Transferring money from Spain to UK in April 2022 would have achieved £0.82 to the €1. A difference of 11%. It’s due to circumstances like this that we recommend currency brokers. They offer the advantage of both low fees and tight FX spreads, plus the expert guidance and accompanying foreign exchange solutions that can improve the timing of a wire transfer from Spain to UK.
Once you’ve been able to determine the right provider for your requirements, it’s time to initiate the money transfer.
Step 2: Register With Your Service of Choice
Upon registering with any financial service, you’ll have to complete an identification and verification check. I.e. who are you and how can you prove you are who you say you are. These ‘Know Your Customer’ obligations are conducted by payment companies for the purpose of adhering to anti-money laundering regulations. To learn more about this, we have guides which run through the KYC documents required to sign up with a money transfer service.
This process is always completed 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. The KYC process, which is notoriously slow with banks, has been identified as a pain point for customers by fintechs and money transfer organisations alike. To counteract the issue, most fintechs have purposefully built solutions that conduct most of the checks online and, when possible, removing any manual processes from the customer. Nowadays, you might simply find yourself taking a ‘selfie’ with your ID held next to your face.
Step 3: Format the Details of Your Bank Transfer From Spain to UK / Bank Transfer from UK to Spain
Once your account is approved and you receive 100% access, it’s time to format the details of your money transfer from UK to Spain or Spain to UK. You’ll do this either online or over the phone (if you’re using a currency broker as opposed to an online-only provider).
It’s very important to input the beneficiary details correctly to avoid delay and, in the worst case scenario, transferring euros to pounds to the wrong UK bank account.
All UK bank accounts are formatted as an International Bank Account Number (IBAN). It’s this IBAN that you need to input when you send money from Spain to UK.
If you have an invoice for the payment you’re making, the IBAN should be included on this. If you have no invoice and you’re simply transferring money from Spain to UK between your own accounts, you can use an IBAN generator to find the correct details. Simply input your UK sort code and bank account number into the IBAN generator and it will reveal the IBAN for your account.
Likewise, if you plan to transfer money to Spain, you’ll need the IBAN details of your Spanish account. Generally, payments to anywhere in Europe require an IBAN. Just like with the UK, you input your local Spanish bank account details into an IBAN generator.
Once the beneficiary has been set up, either input the amount of EUR you want to convert, or the GBP amount 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, customers enter into a legal contract to convert euros to pounds for your bank transfer from Spain to UK.
Step 4: Settle Your Deal and Wait for Funds to Hit the UK Account
Once you’ve set up your trade to transfer euros to pounds, Spain to UK, you’ll need to fund the deal in EUR. Similarly, if you transfer is outbound from UK to Spain, you’ll need to settle your trade in Pound Sterling.
The payment company of your choice will provide their account number for you to settle the trade as soon as you’ve set it up. Details will be displayed either through the online portal or communicated over telephone/email. The payment company will also highlight any details you’ll need to include in the reference. By closely adhering to the reference requirements you can ensure the funds are immediately settled by the payment company on your deal and converted to GBP.
Companies listed on this page and marked by us as “best money transfer from Spain to UK” all hold a local EUR bank account that can receive SEPA transfers, meaning you’ll just have to make a quick, low cost transfer from your EUR account to the payment company’s EUR account.
Most providers stipulate 1-2 working days when transferring money from Spain to UK or transferring money from a UK to Spanish bank account. However, nowadays, it’s very common for transfers to be complete within a matter of hours or even minutes. Particularly if you opt for an instant SEPA credit transfer in Europe or a faster payment in the UK.
⭐ Best Way to Transfer Money From Spain to UK⭐ [For Each Use-Case]
The answer to this question depends primarily on why you’re transferring money from the UK to a Spanish bank account. We explore some of the most popular reasons here and provide our recommendations on the most suitable payment provider for each.
Best For Money Transfer from Spain to UK – Overseas Property Purchase
Currencies Direct provides a range of FX hedging tools that can be particularly helpful when buying a property overseas, supported by a team of currency experts that are on hand to run through these solutions and the current state of the FX market. Arguably, the most important tool is a forward contract – allowing you to guarantee today’s exchange rate for up to two years in the future. Providing security around your budget and perhaps allowing you to bag a better FX rate by timing your forward contract correctly. Once living in Spain, you’ll also benefit from having local account managers and the opportunity to visit one of Currencies Direct’s 18 Spanish branches.
Best Way to Transfer Euros From Spain to UK – Repatriating Rental Income
When making a regular money transfer from Spain to UK (such as each month) you may want to work with a provider that offers automated regular transfers. This could be useful when repatriating rental yields or paying a mortgage overseas. When you set up a regular transfer with Currencies Direct you have two options; you can either agree to take the exchange rate it will be on the day or you can set each regular transfer up as a forward contract – locking in the current exchange rate for every regular transfer up to 2 years.
Best For Money Transfer From Spain to UK – Freelance Invoicing
If you’re sending money from Spain to UK because you happen to be invoicing a client in EUR then we recommend Wise as you won’t necessarily know how much you’re set to receive or when it is due, meaning it’s best to opt for a provider with guaranteed low spreads and low fees. They also have a multi-currency account solution which lets you hold balances in both GBP & EUR – allowing you to spend directly from these account balances or convert the balances into any number of currencies.
Cheapest Way to Send Money to Spain / Cheapest Way to Transfer Money From Spain to UK
This can be dependent on a number of factors but the biggest influence is how much it is you’re looking to transfer.
- Cheapest Way to Transfer Money from Spain to UK – Under $20,000: On purely cost alone, Wise will likely prove cheaper than a currency broker when you transfer money to Spain under £20,000 or when you’re transferring money from Spain to UK 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 cheaper but on standalone cost we’d recommend Wise for smaller amounts.
- Cheapest Way to Transfer Money from UK to Spain – Over $20,000: Currencies Direct and TorFX are two highly respected currency brokers offering both online trading and a team of foreign exchange specialists which are on hand to guide you through the transfer process. When sending large volumes, it’s worth seeing if you can negotiate the FX spread that’s applied when you transfer euros to pounds or pounds to euros.
Final Thoughts: International Bank Transfer From UK and Spain
If you have a requirement to transfer money from UK to Spain, don’t immediately think of your bank. UK & European banks provide one of the most expensive international payment solutions in the world. Fortunately, individuals and SMEs are finding an increasingly growing number of currency brokers and online money transfer companies that can send money from Spain to UK or send money from UK to Spain, many of which are focused on the GBPEUR corridor and have offices and are regulated both in UK and in the EU, with a few particular companies having local representation or offices in Spain itself. Choosing the right provider will depend on why you’re transferring money from Spain to UK but nowadays there are many specialist companies that have you covered.
The first time you are transferring money from a UK to Spanish bank account, it might be more time consuming as it could involve selecting and registering with a new international payment provider. However, once you’re familiar with the process and have your beneficiary details saved, future transfers can be made with ease. You can send money to Spain in just a few clicks online, through an app or by speaking with your account manager over the phone.