Opening a Barclays euro account

Wise

Every time that you convert your money from one currency to another, there are costs and fees to pay.

These charges can quickly mount up - so if you travel frequently in the euro area, then you might be considering opening a euro bank account to reduce or avoid the costs of currency exchange. Many banks in the UK offer bank accounts which operate in denominations other than pounds sterling. However, these bank accounts come with different terms, conditions, and costs, than the sterling accounts that you might be familiar with from British high street banks.

If you want to dodge the costs associated with euro accounts from traditional banks, there are also smart new alternatives like the euro account from Wise. If you want a great value service, at a reasonable price, then it pays to do your research, and look at both the familiar names, and specialists such as Wise.

To get you started, here’s the lowdown on how to open a Barclays euro bank account.

What is a Barclays euro bank account?

Put simply - it’s a Barclays bank account which operates in euro currency, instead of pounds sterling like a regular Barclays bank account. It’s important to note that a Barclays euro bank account has different terms, conditions and charges, to a regular sterling account.¹

Can I open Barclays euro bank account in the UK?

You can open a Barclays euro bank account if you’re aged over 18 and already have a regular sterling account with them. You can open both accounts at the same time if you want - but you’ll have to call into a branch of Barclays to do so.¹

A great alternative without the restrictions is to open a euro account from Wise instead. You can hold your money in euros, as well as dozens of different currencies in the same account. You can see your balance across currencies at a glance, and switch between them easily, using the mid-market exchange rate, and with only a small upfront fee to pay. The mid-market rate matters, because it’s the only real exchange rate, but it’s not always used by banks and money exchange services. Instead, it’s common for providers to wrap up their profit in the exchange rate they offer, meaning that the true costs of the transaction aren’t clear, and customers get a raw deal.

Benefits of a UK euro bank account: Who is it for?

A euro bank account is pretty much essential if you’re an expat and live full time in a country that uses euros.

Otherwise, if you’re a freelancer or entrepreneur and get paid or pay suppliers in euros, then having a euro bank account can also be a good idea.

And finally, if you’re a frequent traveller, or have a holiday home somewhere in the euro area, you might also find it useful to have a euro-denominated bank account, even if you live in the UK most of the time.

Having a euro-denominated bank account has a few advantages - including:¹

  • Avoid currency fluctuations by keeping your money in euros and exchanging it when the rates look good
  • You may get cheaper transfers, and avoid the high costs of international banks transfers on some payments made in euros
  • Having a euro account which is regulated by the FCA means that you can be sure the bank has to comply with strict regulations

Like most British high street banks, multi-currency accounts from Wise are strictly regulated, so you know your money is in safe hands. Unlike most traditional foreign currency bank accounts, a Wise multi-currency account also offers the following benefits:

  • Set up your account online, for convenience
  • Hold money simultaneously in dozens of currencies within one account
  • There is a small fixed fee to send money to an account in the same currency, regardless the amount
  • Get local bank details, so you can be paid like a local in the euro area, and also in the UK, the US and Australia
  • No service charge or regular monthly fee to maintain your account
  • Depending on where in the world you are, you may be able to get a debit card, to pay directly in stores and restaurants when you travel

The account from Wise is not a bank account. It’s a smart new way to hold and send your euros - as well as other currencies - at a low cost, and with many of the benefits of a more traditional account.

(Source¹ March 2018)

How much does it cost?

It’s important to know that the costs and fees attached to a Barclays euro account won’t be exactly the same as those which apply to your regular sterling account.

Here are some of the costs you need to understand if you’re considering a Barclays euro account. For the full details, see the terms and conditions linked in the source section just below here:

Service required1Barclays euro account fee¹
Paying euro notes into a Barclays euro account, in a Barclays branch in the UKFree
Paying notes of any other currency into a Barclays euro account, in a Barclays branch in the UK2% of the total paid in, minimum £10 (no maximum)
Electronic transfer from a sterling account to a Barclays euro account held in the same name - or vice versaFree - although there may be a mark up on the exchange rate applied
Electronic transfer into a Barclays euro account from any account not held in the same nameUnder the equivalent or £100 equivalent – free£100 and above – £6 If received in EUR, with a correct IBAN used, payment of under €50,000 - free
SEPA credit transfers out of the Barclays euro account, in eurosVia Online Banking - no feeIn Branch or by phone - £15
International Payment out of the Barclays euro account – standardVia Online Banking - no feeIn Branch or by phone - £25Additional costs may apply - see note below
International Payment out of the Barclays euro account – priorityVia Online Banking - no feeIn Branch or by phone - £40Additional costs may apply - see note below

As part of their terms and conditions, Barclays warn about potential extra charges in addition to those detailed above, when making international payments in currencies other than euros. Here’s what they say:

*“Overseas Bank will normally make a charge for delivering payment which will vary depending on Bank and country and this will be deducted from the amount sent. You can elect to pay a fixed charge in which case Barclays will absorb any costs and charges applied by foreign banks for delivering payment to the beneficiary. Overseas Delivery Charges for each destination country are available from your local branch.”*¹

If you choose a euro account from Wise, instead, the charges make much easier reading. Here they are:

Service requiredWise euro account fee
Account openingFree
Adding money to your Wise euro accountFree
Receiving money into your Wise euro accountFree
Setting up local bank details for the euro area, UK, US or AustraliaFree
Converting money to other currenciesLow and transparent fees, fixed depending on the transfer details - carried out at the real exchange rate
Withdrawing cash to a linked bank accountSmall, fixed fee, depending on the currency you’re withdrawing

How to open a Barclays euro account in UK

To open a Barclays euro bank account in the UK, you’ll have to visit your local Barclays branch in person. You can find a branch finder, linked below.

It’s worth calling ahead to check the documents needed to open a euro account with Barclays, but you can expect to need the following:²

  • Completed application form
  • Proof of identification - such as a valid passport or driving license
  • Proof of address - such as a utility bill or bank statement which shows your UK address
  • You’ll also need to have, or open, a Barclays sterling bank account before you can open your euro account

Branch Finder

If you’re a frequent traveller or get paid in euros for your freelance work, then you’ll want to cut down the costs associated with exchanging money from sterling to euros. Luckily you have a number of options. You could be eligible to open a euro bank account with a UK high street bank. However, it’s worth checking the restrictions and fees on these type of accounts.

Compare the costs of a euro bank account from Barclays, with a multi-currency account from Wise, to see which offers you the best deal.

Sources:
¹https://www.barclays.co.uk/content/dam/documents/personal/current-accounts/9911230LP.pdf (March 1 2018)
²https://www.barclays.co.uk/current-accounts/what-do-i-need-to-open-a-bank-account/ (March 1 2018)


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This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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