Online money transfer companies typically offer the lowest fees and the most competitive exchange rates if you want to send money to Germany – often beating your local bank by a longshot. You’ll need to send cash if your recipient doesn’t have an account with a supported bank, so compare options to find the best deal for your situation.
Top picks are our selection of some of the best money transfer products and services, based on our extensive research and market experience. Our top picks are displayed at the top of some pages to help you make decisions faster, but our top pick may not be the best pick for you.
Sign up and send money with a digital money transfer specialist in four steps:
Sign up for a free account. Pick a provider and sign up for a free online account using your contact information, proof of ID and preferred payment method.
Provide transfer details. Submit your recipient’s contact information and pick a delivery method. If transferring to a bank, you’ll need their German bank account details.
Confirm transfer details. Double-check your payment method, expected fees and destination.
Save your receipt. Record your receipt’s confirmation number to track the progress of your transfer to Germany. Some money transfer providers send a text or email when your transfer is complete.
What’s the best way to send money to Germany?
Online money transfer providers typically offer the strongest exchange rates and lowest fees on money transfers to Germany. Some offer cash pickup in as little as a few minutes, while others transfer to bank accounts. Sending money through PayPal or your bank is also an option, but you’ll typically face higher fees and weaker exchange rates when going that route.
Digital money transfer services
Companies like XE and Wise specialise in foreign currencies, making them some of the most cost-effective transfers. Most offer transfers directly to your recipient’s German bank account, often in as little as a day or two.
Services like MoneyGram and Western Union allow you to transfer cash for pickup at a local branch in Germany – often in 15 minutes. While it’s a fast way to send money, you’ll pay for the convenience in weak exchange rates and high fees.
The euro is a popular currency, so your local bank may be able to exchange them. If your bank supports euros, beware of high fees and wide margins on the exchange rate compared to digital and other options when sending a wire transfer to Germany.
Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending £1,000 to Germany
Let’s say you need to send £1,000 to family in Germany. Here’s what you might face as far as fees and exchange rates as of 31 July 2020.
Digital money transfer service
£20 + additional correspondent bank fees
1 GBP = 1.10 EUR
1 GBP = 1.074 EUR
1 GBP = 1.083 EUR
Slowest and most expensive
The bank option ends up being the slowest and gets the smallest amount of money to your recipient in Germany. If you go with the digital money transfer service, your recipient ends up with EUR€44.75 more than the bank offers. If speed is crucial, a cash transfer can typically have your transfer to Germany in as little as 15 minutes – just make sure there’s a cash pickup location near your recipient before sending.
How to get the most out of your money transfer to Germany
Weigh costs and fees against convenience to best compare transfer providers that send money to Germany. Consider:
Exchange rates. The GBP-EUR relationship fluctuates often, so using a service that allows you to lock in exchange prices may help you save money down the line if the euro rises against the pound sterling.
Transfer fees. Transferring money overseas nearly always requires fees, but they might be hidden in the exchange rate. When sending large amounts, it may be cheaper to pay a flat fee to secure a stronger GBP-EUR exchange rate.
Transfer limits. How much you can send varies by company, and different amounts can attract higher or lower fees. Shop around for the best deal on the amount of euros you’re sending to Germany.
Turnaround. Transferring money through a local bank can take a business week or longer. If you need the funds delivered quickly, seek out a digital specialist that offers instant transfers to Germany.
Sending limits. Comparing prices for one large transfer instead of many small transfers is typically easier, so picking the service you use based on how much you’re sending is a valid strategy for saving money.
Transfer methods. Whether you want money sent to a German bank account or picked up as cash at a local agent, narrow down a company that matches your preferred delivery method.
How to send an emergency cash transfer
When urgency trumps cost to get your money to Germany quickly, look for money transfer companies that support cash pickup in minutes. You can pay with a credit or debit card for fast pickup, but fees are higher than other methods.
How to send money to Germany without a bank account
If you don’t have a bank account, you can still use cash transfer services to send money to Germany. Similarly, a recipient can get the money with a cash transfer if they don’t have a bank account. These services are widely available around the world and although they’ll typically not be the cheapest available, they can be fast and convenient.
Germany’s exchange rates explained
The exchange rate determines how much one country’s currency is worth in another country’s currency. When a country’s currency is strong, it yields more money when exchanging it in a country with a weaker currency. Because both are relatively stable global currencies, the GBP-EUR relationship typically doesn’t make sharp movements. Factors that influence the exchange rate include interest rates, economic stability and inflation.
It shouldn’t cost a fortune to send money to Germany. Compare money transfer companies that specialise in foreign transactions for the strongest rates, lowest fees and flexible delivery. For transfers to other countries, rely on our country specific guides the next time you need to make a transfer.
Zak Killermann is a writer at Finder. He’s ghostwritten hundreds of articles on fintech, finding his love for publication at St. Cloud State University. Traveling internationally for nearly half his life — and getting burned once by an OTC money exchange — Zak's vowed not to settle for anything short of the mid-market rate again.
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