There are around 30,000 Belgians who reside in the UK and around the same number of Britons live in Belgium. Both states are members of the European Union as well as NATO. History shows that trade between the two regions dates back to the first century. In the 10th century, UK exported wool and imported cloth from the County of Flanders. The making of the Tower of London in the 13th century used Flemish bricks.
In the present day, around 8% of Belgium’s exports are to the UK, and more than 5% of its imports come from the UK. While UK is Belgium’s fourth largest export market, Belgium is UK’s sixth largest export market.
Given the trade and movement of people between these two regions, the need to send money to Belgium is common. A good thing is the Internet opens up considerably more avenues than before.
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Jeremy Mertens had to move to the UK because of work. While he shifted base, his wife and children remained in Belgium. This change in their domestic situation required him to send money to Belgium on a regular basis. His income allowed him to send around GBP1,000 every month.
He had the option of turning to his bank to go through with the transfers each month. However, he wasn’t sure if he would get the best deal there, so he decided to compare his alternatives. This is what he found.
|Money transfer service 1||Money transfer service 2|
|Exchange rate||GBP1 = EUR1.3244||GBP1 = EUR1.3516|
|Amount received for £1,000||EUR1,324.40||EUR1,344.87|
|Transfer time||One to three days||One day|
|Transfer options||Bank account||Bank account|
Since Jeremy had to transfer money directly into his bank account he did not include cash pickup options in his search. This comparison showed him that while the second service provider charged a fee, it still ended up getting more money to his wife. Besides, the first service provider could take up to three days to complete the transfer. The fact that he chose to deal with the second service provider comes as no surprise.
How do I compare transfer companies when transferring and receiving money from Belgium?
You have multiple options when it comes to sending money to Belgium. However, finding out which one works best for you requires that you pay attention to different factors:
- Exchange rate and fees. As you can see from the case study, the exchange rate does not necessarily indicate how good a deal you’re getting. This is because you may have to pay a fee for the service which could offset any benefit you might get through a seemingly competitive exchange rate. A simple way to find out if you’re getting a good or bad deal is to look at the total amount the recipient will get.
- Ways to send money. Given the widespread usage of the Internet, you can consider sending money to Belgium using a computer or your smart phone. Visiting a bank’s branch is an option. You can also find stores and kiosks run by money transfer companies.
- Ways to receive money. If the person you wish to send money to has a bank account carrying out an electronic funds transfer gets the money directly into the recipient’s account. Another option is the recipient visiting a physical location to collect the transferred money.
- Using a single bank. If you and the individual you wish to send money to deal with the same bank, you can consider using its services to send money. In such a scenario you can benefit through quick turnaround times and reduced fees.
- Minimum transfer amount. This can be a concern if you’re not sending much money. Some money transfer companies and banks have minimum limits in place, which can be £500 or £1,000. Some others let you transfer any amount over £1.
- Processing times. This aspect requires your attention if the recipient needs money in a hurry. Transfers than involve cash pickups tend to take place almost immediately. If you’re transferring money to a Belgian bank account the process can take one to six business days, depending on the service provider you choose.
- Customer service. You should ideally deal with a business that you can contact via email, chat and phone. If you prefer face-to-face interactions, look for a service provider with a branch near where you live or work.
How do I send money to Belgium from the UK?
Your options in sending money from UK to Belgium include:
- Banks. An easy way to send money to Belgium is to get in touch with your local bank. Transferring money to a Belgian bank account via your bank may require that you pay a fee. The bank you work with also has a bearing on the turnaround time. You can purchase money orders from your bank, which you can send via mail. You can also consider sending cheques via mail.
- Non banks. If the recipient wishes to collect cash from a physical location you can think about using the services of money transfer companies such as Western Union and MoneyGram. These businesses let you transfer money to Belgian bank accounts as well. With a service provider such as PayPal you’ll first transfer funds to the recipient’s account with the service provider, followed by the recipient withdrawing funds into a bank account. Some businesses limit their services to transferring money to bank accounts.
How do I receive money from Belgium in the UK?
Receiving money from Belgium in the UK presents you with multiple options, which include:
- Banks. If your bank account allows electronic transfers you can receive funds directly into your bank account. However, your bank may charge for a fee for this. You can receive a cheque or a money order via mail and deposit it in your bank account.
- Non banks. If you have a PayPal account you can get sender to transfer the money online. In this case both should have PayPal accounts. Once the money gets to your PayPal account you can withdraw it into your bank account. You can also pick cash from a physical location if you get the money through a service provider such as MoneyGram or Western Union.
Emergency cash transfers in Belgium
If you find yourself in Belgium without any money, having lost your wallet, know that you can still get access to emergency funds in different ways. If you’ve lost your credit or debit cards, start by cancelling them first. With that taken care of, you can think of getting some emergency money using any of these options:
- Cash pickup. If you know someone who’s willing to send you money you can consider getting money through an international money transfer company. All you have to do is locate the closest cash pick up location and keep an acceptable form of ID handy.
- Cash through your credit card. Existing American Express, MasterCard and Visa credit card holders can think about getting emergency cash through local participating banks. The money you get credits to your account.
- Travel insurance. When travelling overseas,getting suitable travel insurance can be a good idea.You can find insurance covers that provide money to deal with situations like medical emergencies, lost or misplaced luggage and flight cancellations.
Cash pickup locations in Belgium/ Western Union / MoneyGram branches in Belgium
If you want to send money to someone in Belgium or if you wish to collect cash from a physical location when you’re in Belgium, you can use the services of businesses such as MoneyGram and Western Union. Both these companies have numerous locations in different parts of Belgium. When collecting cash from a physical location you’ll have to take an acceptable form of ID with you along with a reference number. Some locations from where you can collect cash in Belgium include:
- Travelex NV SA
Astridplein 29Antwerpen, 2000+32-080020002Open 8:30am to 6:15pm Monday to Friday, 10:00am to 5:15pm Saturday and Sunday
- De Sinjoor
Hoogstraat 27Antwerpen, 2000+32-3-2261117Open 8:00am to 5:30pm Monday to Friday, closed on Saturday and Sunday
- Bruxelles De Brouckere
Boulevard Anspach 1 5Bruxelles, 1000+32-78-155157Open 8:00am to 7:00pm Monday to Saturday, closed on SundayOpen 8:00am to 5:30pm Monday to Friday, closed on Saturday and Sunday
- Megastar Group
Boulevard Anspach 42Bruxelles, Bruxelles 1000+32-4-76731495Open 10:00am to 12:01pm Monday to Sunday
- Dagbladhandel Sonia Patteet
Klapdorp 15Antwerpen, 2000+32-3-24394Open 6:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday, 6:00am to 2:00pm on Saturday, closed on Sunday
Houwerstraat 2Antwerpen, 2060+32-3-36433Open 10:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
- Allo Media
Rue Van Artevelde 18Bruxelles, 1000+32-488445060Open 9:00am to 11:00pm Monday to Sunday
Boulevard Anspach 118Bruxelles, 1000+32-22019600Open 9:00am to 6:45pm Monday to Saturday, 9:30am to 2:00pm
Tips for picking up cash in Belgium
Petty crime rates in Belgium are similar to that in the UK. However, they are on the rise. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office suggests travellers to Belgium should take precautions to protect themselves and their belongings. If you collect money from a cash pick up location remain vigilant at all times. Pay extra attention at major train stations as well as on public transport, especially after dark.
Try to travel with a minimum amount of cash and credit cards when you go out. Leave valuables and documents in a secure place such as your hotel’s safe. Never leave your luggage unattended.Back to top
What are the steps to send money to Belgium?
The step involved in sending money to Belgium depends on the method you choose:
- Bank account transfer. If you wish to transfer money to a Belgian bank account you’ll need the recipient’s name, his or her bank account number, the name of the bank and the bank’s SWIFT code. If you’re using the services of an online money transfer company you’ll have to provide your bank details as well.
- Cash pickup. In case the recipient wishes to collect cash from a physical location you’ll have to select a desired cash pick up location and provide the recipient’s name. If you’re sending money for the first time, you may have to register with the chosen business by providing your contact details.