We explain the process of transferring money in Germany via traditional, online, and mobile banking including costs, transfer times, and more.
Fortunately for expats, transferring money overseas in Germany is a fairly straightforward process. That said, there are several factors that you need to keep in mind when choosing where and how to do this. Fees, transfer time, exchange rates, safety, and the amount you are transferring, for instance, all come into play when making the decision.
There are several options for transferring money in Germany, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages. But while online and mobile banking is making it easier than ever to move your money overseas, ensuring that you are doing it correctly can still be nerve-wracking. With this in mind, this helpful guide is here to walk you through the process, including the following:
Looking for an easy way to manage your money when moving to Germany? Look no further than Wise. As well as its easy-to-use international money transfer platform, the financial experts at Wise have also come up with a new multi-currency account. This lets you receive local payments in euros and spend in Germany without any hidden fees.
Transferring money overseas in Germany
According to EUROSTAT, Germany transfers more money internationally than any other country in the EU. Indeed, the total outflow in 2019 was US$19 billion; this represents 17.6 % of the total outbound personal remittances of the 27 EU members. Most of the outflow from Germany is sent to countries like Poland, France, Romania, Czechia, Turkey, Austria, the Netherlands, China, and the United States.
There are many options when it comes to transferring money overseas in Germany. You can do it in a bank, in person, online, through mobile banking, or by using dedicated online money transfer services. Depending on which method you choose, the process can take from several hours up to several days, with varying costs. Exchange rates can also vary significantly between banks and online money transfer service providers; so this is something else to keep in mind.
Sending money overseas via a traditional bank in Germany
Most banks in Germany allow you to transfer money worldwide using a SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) code. You can do this either online, by using a bank app, or by visiting a branch in person.
The cost of transferring money overseas via a traditional bank
Banks in Germany generally charge a flat fee for transferring money internationally. This makes them a good option if you are sending large funds overseas. That said, they often add hidden fees and margins to their exchange rates which are not always transparent. These exchange rates can include an additional 5 to 7% margin which can quickly add up over time.
The euro is generally a stable currency, and below are some approximate exchange rates as of April 2021:
- US$1.2 = €1
- GBP0.9 = €1
- AU$1.6 = €1
- CA$1.5 = €1
- SG$1.6 = €1
Some transfers, such as those done online or through an app, can also incur extra fees. Fees can also be added to both ends of the transfer, which can increase the overall cost of sending money and decrease the actual amount that is received. With this in mind, it is important to make sure that you are aware of all the costs associated with transferring money overseas via a traditional bank in Germany.
The cost of transferring money via a traditional bank can also vary depending on the bank and the type of account that you have. Some banks, for instance, offer free international transfers for premium account holders. Therefore, it’s worth exploring this before transferring any money.
If you are sending money within Europe, the bank transfer may also qualify for the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) agreement. This facilitates banking across European borders by making international transfers the same cost as a local transfer. You can find out more about this at your bank.
How to transfer money overseas via a traditional bank in Germany
You will need to provide the following information when transferring money overseas from a bank in Germany:
- The complete name of the recipient
- Bank name and address of the recipient
- International Bank Account Number (IBAN)
- SWIFT/Bank Identification Code (BIC)
- Account number
Most international bank transfers in Germany take between one and five business days to process. Some banks also offer paid options to expedite this. That said, speeding up the transfer time can be costly. Therefore, it is better to plan ahead of time if you need to transfer funds within a particular timeframe and want to keep costs down.
Transferring money overseas via online and mobile banking
Many people prefer the convenience that comes with managing their finances through online and mobile banking rather than visiting the bank in person. And fortunately for expats in Germany, most banks offer online and mobile banking options via internet services and mobile apps.
Besides this, a number of online-only and mobile-only banks have emerged in recent years, including the following:
- bunq – an English website and mobile banking app
- N26 – an English and German website and mobile banking app
- Revolut – English and German website and mobile banking app
- DKB – the second-largest direct bank in Germany
- ComDirect – the third-largest direct bank in Germany
- Santander – offers online and telephone banking services
The cost of transferring money overseas via online and mobile banking
The fees associated with transferring money online via a traditional bank will likely be the same as if you went into a physical branch. Digital banks, such as N26, on the other hand, only impose a monthly account service fee. This might range from between €0 and €16.90 per month. However, as there are no other hidden costs, transaction fees, or foreign exchange fees on international transfers, this can be an appealing option for expats.
How to transfer money via online and mobile banking
Fortunately, using mobile banking apps is fairly straightforward, especially if you already have an account at a bank in Germany. In this case, you can simply download the bank’s mobile banking app and use your existing account information to create an app profile. You can then access all of the app’s features, including making international transfers.
If you don’t have an existing account with a German bank, however, then you will need to open an account before you can download and start using the bank’s app. When transferring money online or through a mobile banking app, you will need to provide the same information as you would if you were visiting a traditional bank. This includes the recipient’s name, bank name and address, IBAN, SWIFT/BIC, and account number.
Essentially, both traditional and mobile banks are safe and secure and have similar security protocols in place. These include high-strength ID protection (e.g., fingerprint or voice/face recognition), high encryption, and instant blocking on lost or stolen cards. You can read more about this in our Guide to mobile banking in Germany.
Online international money transfer services in Germany
Aside from traditional banks, there are several online money transfer services in Germany that allow you to send money overseas. The advantage of these is that you can transfer funds without having to step foot inside a physical bank. Most of these services are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the United Kingdom and are licensed as Electronic Money Institutions. They also have their own safety systems to ensure that your identity and money are kept safe.
The only drawback of using these services is that there are restrictions on the number of transactions that you can make per day. This is due to government regulations. That said, realistically, most expats don’t reach these limits.
Some of the online money transfer services available in Germany include:
To transfer money internationally via one of these online services, you first need to sign up for an account and verify your identity which doesn’t take long. That said, it can sometimes take several days to get your account up and running. Therefore, you might want to arrange this in advance if you are planning on transferring money on a particular date.
Once you have set up an account, you can start transferring money straight away. Depending on the service that you use, the money will be transferred within a matter of minutes to up to five days. Just bear in mind that fees can be anywhere between 0.5 and 4% of the total transfer amount.
To find the best exchange rates and save on fees when making international money transfers, you can use Monito’s online comparison tool.
The cost of transferring…
Read More: Transferring money overseas in Germany