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How to Transfer Money Within Europe

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Last editedApr 20232 min read

When you need to send money to Europe, you’re faced with multiple options. Some are more time-consuming and costly than others, so it’s important to arm yourself with knowledge first. Whether you’re sending money to Europe from the UK or from within the Eurozone, here are the main methods to be aware of.

Europe money transfer options

Only a few years ago, transferring money within Europe could involve a tangle of red tape to unravel. However, with the new Single European Payments Area (SEPA) the process has become far easier. Here’s a quick rundown of the primary ways to send money to Europe from the UK or within the EU.

Credit Card

Credit card payments make it easy to send money anywhere in the world, provided your recipient accepts the card you’re using. Merchants will be charged a fee to provide this service, the cost of which might be passed on to the sender. Payment processors like Stripe help facilitate this type of transfer within Europe as well as the UK.

Bank Transfer

When sending money from one European business to another, bank transfers are the preferred option. They can also be used for recurring subscription payments and individual one-off payments alike when set up for direct debit. There are several payment processors that will facilitate this type of transfer. GoCardless works with the SEPA scheme allowing you to send direct debit payments from bank to bank provided they’re in Euros. However, peer-to-peer platforms like Wise can also be used to transfer money within Europe in multiple currencies.

Digital Wallet

From PayPal to Apple Pay, there are numerous mobile apps that let you link your bank account details to an online service. This enables any user to send money to Europe, as well as receive funds in return. To get started, you’ll need to set up an account and make sure that your recipient accepts e-payments from the provider of your choice. One thing to note is that digital wallets do come with higher transaction fees than some other methods on this list.

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What is SEPA?

The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) makes it easier than ever to transfer money within Europe. This new agreement enables cashless payments between participating countries. SEPA’s scope covers the entire EU as well as a handful of additional countries and territories, including the UK. Consumers and businesses can receive funds or transfer money to Europe using direct debit payments, card payments, or credit transfers.

The reasoning behind SEPA is that it streamlines electronic or cashless payments, even across borders. Rather than deal with separate systems in each country, banks can facilitate cross-border payments using the same currency. Businesses can send money to Europe from the UK provided that the transaction involves Euro as a currency.

How does SEPA work?

SEPA guidelines were created by the European Payments Council (EPC) with specific interbank rules and standards to keep the payment system running uniformly from one country to the next. The three schemes include:

1.       SEPA Direct Debit (SDD)

2.       SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT)

3.       SEPA Cards Framework (SCF)

GoCardless enables SEPA direct debit, which is very similar to UK-based direct debit. It uses a pull-based system directed by the merchant. For example, a customer in France could place an order from a business based in Germany. Once the customer has placed the order, the merchant will initiate the payment. The merchant’s German bank account will communicate with the customer’s French bank account to pull the payment through the SEPA system. To collect payments, the merchant will need the customer’s SWIFT/BIC code and IBAN.

Which method is right for you?

SEPA makes the whole European money situation far simpler than in the past. However, it’s important to remember that it’s not the only option. In some cases, international card payments or money transfer apps will be a better choice depending on the currency and country you’re dealing with.

Ultimately, the best method will depend on the currency you’re using, the type of payment you need to send, and the country the payment will be collected from.

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Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

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