Send Money to Germany Efficiently

Information verified correct on December 5th, 2016

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Sending money from the UK to Germany presents multiple options and this guide can help you pick the best one.

History shows that Germans have lived in the UK for hundreds of years, with traces of German ancestry even making it to the British royal family. As per the 2001 UK Census, more than 260,000 German-born people lived in the UK. The 2011 UK Census accounted for over 260,000 German-born people in England alone, at which point Wales was home to over 11,000, Scotland to over 22,000, and Northern Ireland to almost 4,000.

UK and Germany have maintained strong trade ties since the late Middle Ages, and both are part of the European Union. In 2013, UK ranked number three in the list of Germany’s foreign trading partners.

Instances of people sending money from UK to Germany continue to rise, and with widespread use of the Internet, you have considerably more options than before.

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Banks vs money transfer services

Niklas Zimmermann had to relocate to UK because his business required him to, and since his stay in the UK limited to around a year, he decided to leave his family back in Germany. Now that he’s here, he wishes to send some money back home every month, and given his family’s existing lifestyle, he figures that sending GBP1,000 per month should suffice.

While Niklas has the option of turning to his bank to go through with the transfer, he’s not sure if it’s his best bet, so he decides to compare his options. He compares his bank with a leading money transfer company, and this is what he finds.

Money transfer service 1Money transfer service 2
Exchange rateGBP1 = EUR1.3318GBP1 = EUR1.3723
Transfer fee£25£0
Amount received for £1,000EUR1,298.48EUR1,372.33
Transfer timeThree to five daysOne day
Transfer optionsBank accountBank account
Difference ofEUR73.85

Niklas intends sending the money directly to his wife’s bank account, so he does not consider companies that allow cash pickups. From this comparison, he sees that using the second service provider gets the money to his wife much sooner, and she also stands to receive around EUR70 extra for every GBP1,000 he transfers.

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How do I compare transfer companies when transferring money to Germany?

Given the number of options you get when it comes to sending money from UK to Germany, it’s in your best interest that you compare them across different parameters.

  • Exchange rate and fees. You may come by a seemingly great exchange rate, but paying high fees might offset any benefit you think you could receive. The converse holds true as well, where a service provider that does not charge any fees might offer a poor exchange rate. Therefore, what you should look at is the amount the recipient stands to receive.
  • Options in sending money. If you wish to initiate such a transfer in person you can visit a bank’s branch, and some money transfer companies have stores and kiosks across UK. Some businesses let you initiate fund transfers over the phone, and most let you do this online.
  • Options in receiving money. The simplest way for the recipient to get the money is directly into a bank account. In the absence of a bank account, the recipient can visit a physical outlet to collect cash.
  • Transferring using the same bank. If you and the recipient have bank accounts with the same bank you can use its service and look forward to paying reduced fees as well as quicker turnaround times.
  • Processing times. Transferring funds to a German bank account can take in between one and six days, depending on the bank or the money transfer company you choose to deal with. If you want the recipient to collect cash, the transfer can happen almost immediately.
  • Minimum transfer amount. This aspect requires your attention if you don’t plan to send much money. Some service providers require that you send a minimum of £1,000, but some let you send as little as £1.
  • Customer support. God service providers are ones that offer support via phone, chat and email.
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How to send money to Germany from the UK

The method you choose to send money from UK to Germany might boil down to personal preference, and the options you have fall under these two basic categories.

  • Banks. Sending money to Germany using the services of a bank in UK is easy, and most banks let you do this. Bear in mind you’ll have to pay a fee, and the time the process takes can vary from one bank to the next. If your bank account comes with a chequebook, you can think about sending a cheque via mail. You can also contact banks to purchase money orders.
  • Non banks. Money transfer companies like Western Union and MoneyGram have physical outlets in UK as well as Germany. They allows you to send money in-person or online, and the recipient can collect cash or get the money directly in a bank account. With businesses like PayPal, both you and the recipient should have a PayPal account, and the recipient needs a bank account to withdraw money after the transfer. Some online money transfer companies only let you transfer money to bank accounts.
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Emergency cash transfers in Germany

If you’re in Germany and end up losing your wallet, not all is lost because you can still think about getting emergency money in different ways. Before you do that, make sure you cancel all your debit and credit cards. Once you get this out of the way, you can think about getting emergency money using the following methods.

  • Cash pickup. Is there anyone in the UK who can send you some money? If so, you simply need to locate the nearest cash pickup location of a money transfer company and pass the relevant details on to the sender.
  • Cash through your credit card provider. If you have an existing Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit card you can think about getting emergency funds through a local participating financial institution. Any money you get simply adds to your credit card account.
  • Travel insurance. If you get the right kind of travel insurance you can get emergency money to deal with a variety of situations like lost or misplaced baggage, medical emergencies, flight cancellations and delays, and so on.
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Cash pickup locations in Germany/ Western Union / MoneyGram branches in Germany

If you’re looking at sending money to someone in Germany, or if you want cash from overseas when you’re in Germany, you can turn to a money transfer company like Western Union or MoneyGram. Both have a number of locations spread across Germany. To collect cash from any such location, the recipient needs to present some kind of a reference number along with an acceptable form of ID. Some cash pickup locations in Germany are as follows:

Western Union

Berlin

  • Deutsche Postbank AG
    Rathausstr 5
    Berlin, Berlin 10178
    +49-228-55005555
    Open 09:00am to 07:00pm Monday to Friday, 09:00am to 04:00pm Saturday, closed on Sunday
  • Geco Hansa Center
    Hansastrasse 236
    Berlin, Berlin 13051
    +49-030-97996514
    Open 08:00am to 08:00pm Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday

Hamburg

  • Deutsche Postbank AG
    Alter Wall 38
    Hamburg, Hamburg 20457
    +49-228-55005555
    Open 09:00am to 06:30pm Monday to Friday, 10:00am to 01:00pm Saturday, closed on Sunday
  • B B Tabakwaren
    Moenckebergstr 7
    Hamburg, 20095
    +49-40-32526403
    Open 09:00am to 07:00pm Monday to Friday, 09:00am to 06:00pm Saturday, closed on Sunday

MoneyGram

Berlin

  • Eurochange AG
    Alexanderplatz IM S-BHF
    Berlin, 10178
    +49-030-2415097
    Open 08:00am to 08:00pm Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
  • Eurochange AG
    Friedrichstr. 80
    Berlin, 10117
    +49-030-2043735
    Open 10:00am to 07:00pm Monday to Friday, 10:00am to 03:00pm Saturday, closed on Sunday

Hamburg

  • Denizbank AG
    Grosse Johannisstr. 19
    Hamburg, 20457
    800-4886600
    Open 08:30am to 05:00pm Monday to Friday, closed on Saturday and Sunday
  • Reisebuero Clip
    Willy-Brandt-Str. 30
    Hamburg, 20457
    +49-407-2005050
    Open 09:30am to 06:00pm Monday to Friday, 10:00am to 02:00pm Saturday, closed on Sunday
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Tips for picking up cash in Germany

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office states that about two million British nationals travel to Germany each year, and most of these visits are trouble free. There have been instances of British nationals facing arrest in Germany because of possessing counterfeit currency. As a result, make sure you limit exchanging money at legitimate bureaux de change outlets or banks.

Crime levels in Germany are around the same as in UK, so you should take precautions to keep bag snatchers, pickpockets and muggers at bay. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office suggests you should exercise vigilance at railway stations, airports as well as Christmas markets, and you should never leave your valuables unattended.

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How to send money to Germany

No matter which method you choose you’ll have to provide some information, and the details you have to part with depend on the path you choose.

  • Transferring to bank account. If you want to send money to someone’s bank account, the details you’ll need to keep handy include the recipient’s name, his or her bank account number, the bank’s name as well as the bank’s IBAN and SWIFT/BIC code.
  • Picking cash. If the recipient wishes to collect money from a cash pickup location you’ll have to provide the recipient’s name and a suitable pickup location. If you’re dealing with a money transfer company for the first time, you may have to register before you can transfer money by providing your name and contact details.
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