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Sending money outside the UK: key words and definitions

When sending money outside the UK you may see some words or phrases you've not come across before.

Here are some definitions of the key things to know.

International Bank Account Number (IBAN)

An IBAN helps banks identify an account being used for making and receiving international payments.

If you're with HSBC, you can find this number at the top of bank statements near your account number.

Bank Identifier Code (BIC)/SWIFT Code

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

If you’re with us, you can find your BIC or SWIFT code at the top of your bank statements near your account number, the same as with your IBAN.

Find out more about what IBAN and BIC codes are

HSBC Global Money Account

With this account, you can order a debit card and there are no HSBC fees for using it to make payments outside the UK. Other non-HSBC fees may apply.

Global Money is only available in the latest version of the HSBC UK Mobile Banking app. You’ll need to have an eligible HSBC current account. This excludes our Basic Bank Account, Amanah, Appointee and MyAccount.

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 you could use it to pay for holiday accommodation in euros.

There are no charges for opening an HSBC Currency Account.

Foreign 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.

Explore: How do exchange rates work?

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 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 a payment to be taken from your account on a later date.