Introduction to this document

Foreign payments checklist

Overseas suppliers will more than likely want to be paid in their local currency straight into their bank accounts as this saves them additional transaction charges and delay in clearance of funds. However, your standard online package from the bank may not allow you to make direct payments into non-UK accounts. In that case you’ll need to know what alternatives are available.

Europe v R.O.W.

The UK banking community generally divides the world into: "Europe" - the 27 countries of the European Community as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland; and "Rest of the World" (ROW). Within Europe, you can pay £10-£20 to transfer money outside the UK. However, any fees due to the overseas bank will be payable by the recipient. For the ROW, you can pay £20-£27 per transfer. Again, the overseas bank will make a charge, but you can choose to pay only your bank’s charges, to pay all the charges or to have the recipient pay all the charges. Speeds of transfer may be summarised as either: (1) “standard” - transfer arrives in up to four working days; or (2) “urgent” - transfer arrives in one to two working days (in countries with electronic banking systems). Obviously, you can expect to pay more for the swifter service.

Use our Foreign Payments Checklist to decide on the transfer method to suit you.

Branch visit

If you visit the branch to make this transfer, make sure you have all the information you need.

Although the Money Laundering Regulations talk about (up to) €15,000 being an ID-free amount, your bank may actually have a significantly lower limit for allowing a payment to be made without ID. Some banks set this as low as £1,000, so paying an invoice of €600 would not require proof of ID, whereas paying two invoices in one payment which together exceed this limit would. It’s always best if you take your passport or other photo ID with you to the bank, just in case.