Barclays international transfer in the UK: how it works, fees, and rates

Gert Svaiko

Barclays UK customers can send international payments online, using the app, by phone or in branch.¹ There’s a pretty long list of options, with different fees and processes for each. This guide walks through all you need to know to get the best value for your transfer.

And to help you compare the features and fees of Barclays against an alternative, we’ll also introduce a money services provider Wise for low cost international transfers with the fair mid-market exchange rate.

Example: 1,000 GBP to EUR bank account in Germany

To get started, let’s compare Barclays to Wise - an alternative provider which offers fast, safe online transfers with the mid-market exchange rate.

In this case, we’re sending a payment to a friend in Germany. As it’s a euro denominated payment, it’ll be sent using the SEPA system by Barclays. That means there’s no upfront cost - but that doesn’t mean your payment is free. After all, Barclays still has to make a profit somewhere. The full costs of international payments can include:

  • Upfront transfer fees
  • Exchange rate markups
  • Third party fees

We’ll look at all these different costs in more detail in a moment. When it comes to Barclays you’ll want to check out a couple of things - the exchange rate and the third party fees.

Exchange rates are tricky because they move around all the time. However, the easiest way to keep up with the exchange rate is to use a reputable online currency converter.

Compare the rate you get here with the one Barclays offers you, to see if there’s a fee being added here. This extra charge is called an exchange rate markup, and is commonly used by banks when making foreign currency transactions for retail customers. More on that later.

The second - and possibly even more pricey fee - is third party costs. Third party costs usually creep in when payments are sent using the SWIFT system and can be paid by the sender, recipient, or both, depending on the payment type. They’re deducted as the payment passes through the system, so if you’re not aware of them, they can mean your recipient gets less than you expect.

Not all international transfer providers send money in the same way. Modern alternatives like Wise have found smart ways to send payments which avoid many of the pitfalls of traditional banks.

Here’s what we mean; let’s compare the fees of sending money to Germany with Barclays and Wise when you pay in via bank transfer:

ProviderFeeExchange rateTotal cost
Barclays³No upfront fee for SEPA transfersBarclays exchange rate + potential markupPotential exchange rate markup + possible third party fees
Wise£4.28*The mid-market exchange rate - the same one you find on Google£4.28*

*fee calculated on 21-03-2023 9:50am GMT

Learn more about Wise

Please see the Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise fees & pricing for the most up-to-date information on pricing and fees.

How do you make an international bank transfer with Barclays?

The easiest way to send money abroad with Barclays UK is using the online banking system. Here’s how:²

  • Log into Barclays online banking
  • Click on Move Money and choose International Payment from the menu
  • Follow the on screen instructions to enter the transfer details
  • Complete the verification step for security
  • Check and confirm your transfer and you’re done

What do you need to send money abroad with Barclays?

The exact details you need to send an international payment vary by destination country. That’s simply because different countries have different banking protocols - so you’ll need to double-check the full details for the country you’re sending to before you get started. Here are the details you’ll need to send to some of the most popular destinations from the UK.

To make a SEPA payment in euros, or an international payment in other currencies, to a country in Europe, you’ll need to confirm:¹

  • The transfer amount
  • The full name and address of the person or business you’re sending the money to
  • The recipient’s IBAN
  • The recipient bank’s SWIFT/BIC code (for non-SEPA payments)

When making a payment to someone in the USA, here’s what you’ll need:¹

  • The transfer amount
  • The full name and address of the person or business you’re sending the money to
  • The recipient’s IBAN
  • The recipient bank’s SWIFT/BIC code or routing number

How long does it take to transfer money abroad with Barclays?

The length of time your international bank transfer will take depends on where you’re sending to, how you arrange your payment, and whether or not you can meet the daily cut-off time. Place your transfer after the cut-off and it may not be processed until the following business day.

You can get a full rundown of the delivery times - as well as the costs - involved when sending money to popular destination countries on the Barclays website.

Receiving money from abroad with Barclays

If someone is making an international payment into your Barclays UK account, you’ll need to give the sender the following bank details to receive money

  • Your IBAN
  • Your Barclays SWIFT/BIC code

You’ll find your IBAN on any bank statement, or you can use this helpful tool to find, or check your SWIFT/BIC code. Don’t forget, sending money with incomplete or incorrect details can result in delays - or even mean your money goes to the wrong place entirely. Double check all your details before the payment is sent.

What are the fees for an international transfer with Barclays UK?

Barclays international transfer fees depend on the type of payment you’re making. They’re also split between upfront costs, exchange rate fees and third party charges. Here’s what you need to know.

Barclays international transfer fees table

Barclays UK international transferStandard fee
Receiving an international transferSEPA and euro payments from the EEA are free to receive¹

6 GBP fee applies to all other transfers¹

Sending an international transferSEPA credit transfers - free³

International payments arranged in-app or online - free³

International payments arranged by phone or in a branch - 25 GBP³

International payments sent to USD accounts may have a 3 GBP cover charge³

Barclays exchange rates

When setting up your international payment, Barclays uses the Barclays’ mid-market reference rate, but also adds a mark-up on that rate. Here’s what Barclays states on its foreign exchange webpage:⁴

“When you make your FX payment, the exchange rate is linked to Barclays’ mid-market reference rate at the time you execute the payment. A margin will be applied to your reference rate.”

So what does this mean? Well, banks and currency exchange services buy foreign currencies using the mid-market exchange rate - the one you’ll find with a Google search or when you use an online currency converter.

However, this rate isn’t often passed on to customers. Instead, banks and money transfer providers may add a mark-up to the rates they use, which is an extra fee. This makes it tricky to work out the true cost of your international payment.

Compare the exchange rate offered to you by any bank or transfer provider against the mid-market exchange rate to see the markup that’s been added. Or, if you’re looking for an easier way - choose an international transfer provider like Wise which uses the mid-market exchange rate every time, with no markups and no hidden fees.


Please see the Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise fees & pricing for the most up-to-date information on pricing and fees.

Additional fees from Barclays

There are a few other important costs to know about - particularly the intermediary or third party costs which can come as an unwelcome surprise.

Barclays UK international transferAdditional fees
Third party chargesDepending on how you structure your payment you may pay intermediary bank fees - more detail below
Cancelling a payment order20 GBP³
Tracing, cancelling, recalling or changing a payment20 GBP³

Intermediary fees are hard to spot but can make a big difference to your transfer cost. They’re usually applied when payments are sent through the SWIFT system. In this case, up to 3 partner banks - intermediaries - pass your payment along until it lands in the correct account. Each intermediary can charge a fee

Depending on where you’re sending money to, you may get the choice to pay these fees yourself, share them with the recipient, or have the beneficiary pick up the whole bill in the end.³

If you send and receive international payments frequently, consider using Wise.

Best of all, you’ll never get hit by hidden fees or sneaky markups when you need to switch currencies, as the conversions are always done using the mid-market exchange rate.

Sign up with Wise

Please see the Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise fees & pricing for the most up-to-date information on pricing and fees.

*Savings based on £250 price point comparison when sending AUD, EUR, INR, USD.

Contact / Help - More questions around your transfer?

If you need help with your transfer, you can call Barclays on 0345 600 2323. However, there are also some other ways to get help which may work out quicker:⁵

  • Reach out to Barclays verified social media channels
  • Try Apple Business Chat
  • Log into the Barclays app or Online banking to chat 24/7
  • Head to your nearest branch for face to face support

Whenever you send an international payment it pays to be aware of all the fees that may apply. They’re not always obvious, so doing a bit of homework - and comparing a few options - may mean you save money in the end.

Compare the costs of sending money with Barclays against the low fees and convenience of the Wise account - the smart and easy way to manage your money across borders for less.

Sources used:

  1. Barclays - International payments
  2. Barclays - Send money
  3. Barclays - Tariff for personal customers
  4. Barclays - Foreign exchange
  5. Barclays - Contact

Sources last checked on date: 21-Mar-2023

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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