How to Send Money to Italy Without Breaking a Sweat

Information verified correct on December 7th, 2016

Leaning-Tower-of-Pisa-Italy

Finding the best way to send money to Italy from the UK can be easy if you know what to look for.

While ties between the UK and Italy have witnessed ups and downs throughout history, the two countries have been working to rebuild a healthy relationship. Both are members of the European Union (EU), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Group of Eight (G8) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), over 130,000 Italian-born residents were living in the UK in 2011, and this number increased to over 140,000 in 2013. In 2014, around 42,000 Italians received National Insurance numbers in the UK. This increased noticeably to 57,000 in 2015.

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If you wish to send money to Italy from the UK, you have multiple options. This guide will help you pick the right one.

Case study: Banks vs money transfer companies

Francesco Rossi moved to the UK in search of greener pastures while his ageing mother and younger sister remained in Italy. Within a short time, he was fortunate enough to find a job he liked and decided to start sending some money back home. He felt he could send around £1,000 each month.

While Francesco had an account with a leading bank in the UK, he wasn’t sure if that was the best way to send money back home to Italy. Upon comparing his options, this is what he found.

UK bankMoney transfer service
Exchange rate£1 = €1.2445£1 = €1.3061
Transfer fee£35£0
Amount received for £1,000€1,200.97€1,306.14
Transfer time1-12 daysOne day
Transfer optionsBank accountBank account
Difference of€105.17

Francesco opted to go with the money transfer company, which comes as no surprise considering the savings. Not only did his mother receive a little extra money, it got to her much quicker. Since money transfer companies update their exchange rates periodically, Francesco decides to compare his options every time he wants to initiate a transfer.

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How do I compare transfer companies when transferring and receiving money via Italy?

You have to pay attention to several aspects when comparing money transfer companies.

  • Exchange rate and fees. These can be deceptive, especially when high fees accompany a seemingly great exchange rate or vice versa. A simple yet effective way to pick the better deal is to compare how much money the recipient stands to receive.
  • Ways to send money. If your bank has facilities to conduct an international money transfer to Italy, you may be able to initiate the process online, over the phone or by visiting a branch. Some money transfer companies let you send money in person through stores and kiosks across the UK. Many of these businesses operate online and some money transfer companies let their customers initiate transfers over the phone as well.
  • Ways to receive money. The recipient can receive funds directly into the nominated Italian bank account. Another option is to collect the money in person at a cash pickup centre.
  • Transfer options. Some money transfer companies let you make regular scheduled payments so you don’t have to go through the entire process each time you want to transfer funds. If you’re hoping for better rates in the future, or if you wish to lock-in rates that seem favourable at any given time, you can deal with companies that offer forward contracts and market orders.
  • Turnaround time. When you transfer money to a cash pickup centre, the transfer can occur almost instantly. If you’re transferring money to a bank account, the turnaround time depends on the service provider you work with as well as the recipient’s bank.
  • Using the same bank. If you and the recipient have accounts with the same bank, you can consider using its services to send money to Italy. This can result in a quick turnaround time and savings in fees.
  • Minimum transfer amounts. Some banks and money transfer companies have minimum transfer limits in place, which can be £500 or even £1,000.
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How do I send money to Italy from the UK?

There are a few ways you can send money to Italy from the UK.

  • Banks. Many banks in the UK offer international money transfer services, which you can use to send money directly to Italian bank accounts. If you have a chequebook linked to your bank account, you can send a cheque via mail. You can also purchase a money order from a bank, which you can send via mail as well.
  • Non-banks. Money transfer companies such as Western Union and MoneyGram let you send money to bank accounts and cash pickup locations. You can also send money through PayPal if you and the recipient both have accounts, which you can open easily for free.

How do I receive money from Italy in the UK?

Here are your options when it comes to receiving money from Italy in the UK.

  • Banks. The sender can transfer money directly into your bank account using a bank or a money transfer company. The sender can also mail you a bank-issued cheque or money order.
  • Non-banks. You can collect transferred money by visiting a cash pickup centre. Money transfer companies like Western Union and MoneyGram have several physical locations in the UK. Alternatively, if you and the sender both have PayPal accounts, you can use its services for the money transfer.
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Emergency cash transfers in Italy

If you’re in Italy and end up losing your wallet, reporting your credit and debit cards as lost or stolen should be your first priority. With that out of the way, here are some ways to obtain emergency funds.

  • Cash pickup. Can you ask a friend or family member to send you some money through a money transfer company? If so, locate an easily accessible cash pickup centre and pass the details to the sender.
  • Cash advance through credit card. If you have an existing American Express, MasterCard or Visa credit card, you can get withdraw funds by visiting a local participating financial institution.
  • Travel insurance. If you purchase the right kind of travel insurance before going overseas, you can get emergency funds to deal with situations like flight delays and cancellations, lost and misplaced baggage as well as unexpected medical expenses.
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Western Union and MoneyGram cash pickup locations in Italy

Western Union and MoneyGram have several cash pickup locations across Italy. When collecting cash from any of these locations, you’ll have to provide an acceptable form of ID such as your passport or driver’s licence. If you plan to collect a large sum, you may want to call ahead of time to confirm availability of funds. Here are some money transfer locations in Italy.

Western Union

Rome

  • Intesa Sanpaolo 00226 Roma 16
    Via Anton Giulio Bragaglia 19 B C Com
    Roma
    +39-118019230
    Open 8:30am to 2:30pm, Monday to Friday, closed on Saturday and Sunday
  • Banca Popolare Di Milano
    Piazza Della Repubblica 54
    Roma
    +39-800464464
    Open 8:30am to 4pm, Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday

Milano

  • Secure Money Transfer Snc Di Solari
    Stazione Duomo Della Linea 1
    Milano
    +39-2-3652721
    Open 9am to 8pm, Monday to Sunday
  • Ciao Phone International
    Mm1 Metropolitana Piazza Cordusio Snc
    Milano
    +39-286-457950
    Open 9:45am to 7:15pm, Monday to Friday, closed on Saturday, open 10am to 7pm on Sunday

MoneyGram

Rome

  • Poste Italiane – #55195
    Via Terme Di Diocliziano 30
    Roma
    +39-0648886920
    Open 7:30am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
  • Poste Italiane – #55204
    Via Firenze 36
    Roma
    +39-064745687
    Open 7:30am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday

Milano

  • Poste Italiane – #38775
    Piazza Cordusio 4
    Milano
    +39-72482067
    Open 8:20am to 7:05pm, Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
  • Poste Italiane – #38001
    Piazza Cordusio 1
    Milano
    +39-0287914446
    Open 7:30am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
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Tips for picking up cash in Italy

While crime levels in Italy are generally low, you should remain cautious of petty crimes such as pick-pocketing and bag snatching, especially in big city centres. Remain vigilant on public transport as well as in crowded areas.

People who hire cars can become victims of thieves. There have been reports of robberies from cars in and around Rome, Pisa and Milan. Keep your vehicle locked and hide valuables. Thieves can spike drinks to steal from their victims.

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What are the steps to send money to Italy?

The steps you need to take to send money to Italy depend on the method you choose.

  1. Transfer to bank account. You’ll have to provide the recipient’s name and account number along with the bank’s name and SWIFT code. If you’re sending money through a money transfer company, you’ll need to provide your bank account, debit card or credit card details as well. The processing time depends on the service provider you choose as well as the recipient’s bank.
  2. Cash pickup. You’ll have to provide the recipient’s name as well as a desired cash pickup location. If you’re sending money online or over the phone, you’ll have to provide details of your bank account, debit card or credit card. You’ll receive a reference number, which you should pass on to the recipient. The transfer should take place almost immediately.
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