How to transfer money abroad

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Options for sending and receiving money overseas

The options for sending money overseas vary in speed, convenience and cost. Which method you choose will depend on how much money you want to transfer, how often, and how quickly it needs to arrive.

Which method you choose will depend on how much money you want to transfer, how often, and how quickly it needs to arrive.

Before you transfer money abroad

Both you and the beneficiary (the person who will receive the money) will normally have to pay a fee when you send money overseas. The amount the beneficiary actually gets will depend on this fee, and on the exchange rate between the two currencies.

Before you send the money, speak to the beneficiary to make sure the method you choose works for both of you.

Exchange rates change constantly, so it’s also important to check exchange rates on the day you plan to transfer the money so you both know how much money will arrive.

Using credit and debit cards overseas

If you are going abroad yourself, you may find that using a credit or debit card is easier than transferring money overseas. Usually, you can use your card as you would at home, but some cards may charge fees for cash withdrawals as well as spending, so check these before you travel.

With a credit card you pay off all or part of the balance each month. If you have a debit card, payments will come straight out of your bank account.

The bank or company who deal with your card services will convert the amount you spend to the local currency automatically. The exchange rate they use will be shown on your statement.

Find out about HSBC credit cards

Bank and building society transfers

Most banks and building societies offer international money transfer services. You'll usually need an account with a bank or building society to use their international transfer service.

Some banks allow you to transfer money to linked banks overseas without having to pay a fee. If you're sending money to somebody overseas on a regular basis, you may both want to open accounts with linked banks. This is a cheap and convenient way to send money, especially if the beneficiary stays in one country.

HSBC's Global Transfers are free for Premier and Advance account holders, and can be used to send up to 200,000 US dollars at a time.

More about HSBC bank accounts

Sending money through your bank or building society

To make a transfer, ask your friend or family member to tell you:

  • their BIC (Bank Identifier Code)
  • their IBAN (International Bank Account Number)

All countries use BICs, but not all use IBANs. If the person you're sending to doesn't have an IBAN, just use their bank account number.

If you're sending money in euros within the Eurozone, you must give the IBAN.

Otherwise, the money may be sent back and you may have to pay a penalty charge.

Receiving money from overseas

To get a payment from overseas, you will need to give your BIC and IBAN to the person sending money to you. You can find these on your bank statement.

Find out more about HSBC International Services

HSBC account holders

If you have an HSBC bank account, you can transfer money to over 150 countries in 77 currencies. Charges for this service vary depending on what type of account you have, how much money you are sending, and where it’s going to.

Apply for a HSBC current account

If you have an HSBC Premier account, you can make fee-free money transfers to 35 countries using HSBC Global View

HSBC Advance customers can also use this service, for a fee.

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Everyone's circumstances are different and what applies to one person may not be right for someone else. The suggestions above are based on a general assumption of each circumstance and they are not intended to provide advice or recommendation.