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Sending money outside the UK: key words and definitions

When sending money outside the UK you may see some words you're not familiar with.

Here are the definitions of some of the key things to know.

International Bank Account Number (IBAN)

An IBAN helps banks identify an account which can be used for making and receiving international payments.

For HSBC customers, this number is found at the top of bank statements near your account number.

Bank Identifier Code (BIC)/SWIFT Code

The international equivalent of a sort code, this is the unique identifying code of a bank. If you want to make an international transfer, you need to know the BIC of the individual’s bank the money is being sent to. BICs are also known as SWIFT codes.

For HSBC customers, this number is found at the top of bank statements near your account number.

Find out what IBAN and BIC codes are and how to find yours

Foreign exchange rate

Usually just called the exchange rate, this is the rate applied when you convert from one currency to another. Exchange rates move up and down over time. They can vary depending on which bank, or company, you use to make the exchange.

Live rate

A live rate is a currency exchange rate that's updated in real time.

Recurring payment

A recurring payment is when you set up instructions and authorise a series of payments to be taken from your account. These payments can be for regular or irregular amounts and at different times. Recurring payments work in a similar way to standing orders in the UK.

Future dated payments

Future-dated payments are made when you set up an instruction and authorise a payment to be taken from your account on a later date.

Currency accounts

Currency accounts allow you to hold and manage your foreign currency in one place. This account is separate from your current account and allows you to:

  • transfer money to other accounts in local currency

  • set up recurring and future payments

  • manage your account online

The benefit of a currency account is you can send money outside the UK without any exchange rates involved. For example, if you hold a euro account and need to make a payment for accommodation in euros.

There are no charges for opening an HSBC Currency Account.