If you need to make an international money transfer, many people’s first instinct is to turn to their bank.
If you’re with Barclays, one of the UK’s big 5 banks, are they a good option for making an international money transfer?
I’ll explain all the details you need to know, without the confusing financial jargon to make your choice easier for you.
Does Barclays charge for international transfers?
Barclays will charge you to make an international bank transfer.
There are actually two types of charges from Barclays that you need to be aware of.
- Transfer fees
- Exchange rates
Transfer fees are flat-fees that apply every time you make an international transfer.
Below is a table of Barclays international transfer fees.
The transfer fees above are for payments from the UK to another country.
If you receive an international transfer to a UK Barclays account, you’ll be charged £6.
You’ll see from the different transfer fees, Barclays would prefer it if you didn’t bother one of their staff with your international transfer.
They’d rather you went online and handled it yourself.
If you require someone to help you, as you can see, they charge you extra.
Transfer fees apply each and every time you wish to make a transfer.
The biggest cost to any international transfer comes from the exchange rate.
From my research, Barclays exchange rates typically cost you between 3% to 4% of the total amount you’re transferring.
If you were to transfer £100,000 for example, an exchange rate margin of 4% could cost you £4,000.
This is a huge cost!
As a rule of thumb, banks charge larger exchange rate margins than currency brokers.
Good luck with trying to nail down an exact cost ahead of time.
I’ve found that Barclays make it really difficult to find their exact exchange rate margins.
Typically, you get a better exchange rate the larger the amount you’re transferring.
But, surely the amount you’re being charged should be clear?
You usually only find out exactly how much they’re charging you right before you hit send or agree to the transfer in branch.
This is after you’ve gone through the rigmarole of setting up the transfer online, or taking the time to visit a branch.
By that point, most people have made so much effort, and taken so much time, they’d rather get the transfer done rather than shop around and compare.
Barclays don’t want you to compare money transfer providers.
How long does Barclays take to process international transfers?
An international money transfer with Barclays takes a varying amount of time depending on when the money is being sent to and from.
According to Barclays, an international transfer takes up to 4 working days in transferring money within Europe, or up to 8 working days if your international transfer is outside Europe.
The key thing to remember with the processing time is that it is outside of Barclays’ control.
The time an international transfer takes is due to clearing time at the recipient bank.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing that can be done to speed up this process.
It’s just the nature of the business.
This means, if your international transfer does take a few days, don’t panic.
However, in my experience, international transfers are quicker than the 4 or 8 working days stated by Barclays.
The best thing to do is factor the clearing time into your plans and give yourself plenty of time.
That way, you won’t get caught out by any deadlines and everything will run smoothly.
Can you do international money transfers from the Barclays app?
The Barclays online banking app can be handy for making international payments quickly and helps avoid transfer fees, but that doesn’t mean it is your best option.
Using the Barclays app you will be subject to large exchange rate costs from Barclays.
Online banking apps are designed to be quick and easy to use.
As a Barclays customer myself, I often use the online app to make small domestic bank transfers.
But I wouldn’t use it for sending money abroad.
If you’re making a large international transfer you should take your time and find the best and cheapest provider.
Because the Barclays app is so quick and easy, it can be easy to miss the exchange rate charges.
These are hugely important! You don’t want to skim past them.
For large international transfers, I would consider using a currency broker where you can get an informed service and a better exchange rate.
For smaller international transfers, I would recommend checking out the best money transfer apps, where you can do it all yourself but won’t get any personalised service.
How do Barclays international transfer fees compare to other providers?
Big high street banks like Barclays are renowned for charging high exchange rate margins.
Compared to other banks, Barclays fees are relatively good, but they are typically much higher than currency brokers.
Remember, the exchange rate margin is more important than transfer fees.
Exchange rate margins do tend to change with market volatility, but from what I’ve seen, Barclays are one of the better banks in the industry.
But, to reiterate, I would avoid using banks for international money transfers.
Barclays hides the exchange rate until the very last moment and does everything possible to encourage you to complete the transfer online, without the support of an expert.
A currency broker, also known as a money transfer specialist, is usually the cheapest option for international transfers.
Barclays international transfer limits
Banks often set limits on the maximum amount you can transfer in one go.
Barclays have a maximum transfer limit of £100,000 when transferring money to other people and a limit of £250,000 when transferring between your own Barclays accounts.
These limits can often be annoying. Not only can it take multiple attempts to make a large transfer, but if you don’t know about the limits, your transfers can be blocked.
Limits just needlessly slow the process down.
Currency brokers have no limits.
Plus, as experts, they can often make you aware of bank transfer limits ahead of time and tell you exactly how to avoid any unnecessary delays.
How good is Barclays Customer Service & Support for international transfers?
Customer service at banks can be notoriously patchy.
One interaction can be fantastic, the next can be a nightmare.
When it comes to international transfers, banks are typically not very helpful.
At Barclays, you have to pay £25 to speak to someone over the phone or even to use a branch to make an international money transfer.
That, for me, speaks for itself.
International money transfers are not their priority, and frankly, they’d rather not waste time dealing with it.
If you’re dealing with a life-changing decision like buying or selling a house for example, that’s not the attitude I’d want from someone managing the currency transfer!
I wouldn’t be confident that the person you’d deal with knows the finer details about currency exchange and international transfers.
Are Barclays a good option for international money transfers?
To summarise, I would recommend avoiding Barclays for international money transfers.
Barclays charge large exchange rate margins.
They also make it difficult for you to find out exactly how much you’ll be charged until the last possible moment.
You’re encouraged to conduct your international transfer by yourself through the online app.
It incurs yet more charges if you want the support of someone over the phone or in a Barclays branch.
Our recommendation would be to use a currency broker.
To get you started, our recommended broker is Key Currency.
They’re known for their exceptional service and low currency margins.
Alternatively, get comparison quotes for your transfer below.