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Sending money outside the UK: top tips

Whether you’re sending money to a loved one or you’re paying for something outside the UK, there are a few things to consider.

Here are some tips to help make sure it’s a smooth process.

How do international payments work?

You can send money outside the UK via:

  • a bank
  • a building society
  • a high street firm
  • a foreign exchange broker

What do I need to send money outside the UK?

You'll need the bank code and account number of the person or business you’re sending money to. Find out about what an IBAN is and a BIC (or SWIFT) code.

You might need an account to transfer money outside the UK. There may also be fees for sending or receiving the money, so it's a good idea to check this beforehand.  

You can transfer your money using:  

  • bank transfer
  • debit card
  • credit card

Other services may offer different methods for transferring money outside the UK. Take some time to find the right one to suit you. For example, if you need to send money regularly, you may want to look for a service that allows you to do reccurring payments – like a bank transfer.

Explore: Reasons for sending money outside the UK

How long do international payments take?

International payments can take longer than other types of payment. The time they take can vary depending on the currency. 

For example, if you're sending money with HSBC to the EEA in euros or sterling, it should reach the account the next working day. 

Payments outside the EEA can take up to 4 working days or longer.

Find out more about how international payments work with HSBC.

Is it safe to send money outside the UK?

It pays to be careful when sending money outside the UK. Be sure to take some time to find the right international money transfer service. That way, you can feel confident your money is secure and will arrive safely. 

Always check that the company is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). You can check a company's status on the Financial Services Register.

If you’re sending someone an international payment through HSBC online banking for the first time, we’ll ask you to authorise your payment using your Secure Key. This checks it's really you and increases your protection against possible fraud.

How to send money between global accounts

If you have bank accounts in different countries, you may need to transfer money between them. This could be a regular occurrence or a one-off, but it’s worth noting that there may be a fee for doing this with some providers.

HSBC Global View and Global Transfers let you transfer money between globally linked accounts without a fee. You’ll also be able to see your eligible international accounts in one place and set up recurring payments, if needed.

Using the HSBC Global Money Account

With the HSBC Global Money 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.

Tips for sending money outside the UK

Make sure the service offers the coverage you need

If you know you're going to be sending money outside the UK to several different countries, it may be convenient to use one service that covers all of them.

For example, HSBC's international payments service enables you to send money to more than 150 countries.

You can now also use the HSBC UK Mobile Banking app to send money to existing payees.

Check exchange rate information and fees

Exchange rates can fluctuate quickly, so check the information you’re shown on websites is up-to-date. It’s important you input the exact amount you're looking to send as this may affect the rate you're offered.

It’s also a good idea to check if there are any fees or charges for sending, or receiving, the money. Fees may vary between money transfer services and for the amount you’re wanting to send.

Explore: How do exchange rates work

Learn the jargon

There may be some terms you’re not familiar with when it comes to sending money outside the UK, such as IBAN and BIC or SWIFT code. Getting to know these terms and what they mean may help make sending money outside the UK easier. 

Be organised around regular and future payments

If you're going to send money outside the UK regularly to the same person, you could consider setting up a recurring payment. 

You may also be able to set up future payments so you don’t forget to make a one-off payment you know is coming up.