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Ulster Bank is currently one of the Republic of Ireland’s leading banks, but not for much longer. In February 2021 it announced that it would be gradually withdrawing from the Republic of Ireland, with its operations in Northern Ireland set to continue.¹
From April 2022, customers will begin to receive letters notifying them of a date when the bank will close their accounts.
But the closure hasn’t fully happened yet, at the time of writing, and it’s still possible for Ulster Bank customers in the Republic of Ireland to do things like making international transfers.
Ulster Bank international transfers are only one of your options if you need to move money from the Republic of Ireland to another country, whether the UK or further afield.
In this article you’ll hear about how you can make an international transfer with Ulster Bank, and also find out about one alternative using the specialist money transfer service Wise.
You'll see that Wise lets people send money abroad at the lowest possible true cost. Using only real exchange rates and no hidden-fees.
Ulster Bank international payments can be made in several ways, and there are differences in cost too.
Here are the methods²:
- Standard transfer: this is the normal method, available with online banking
- Urgent transfer: this is like a standard transfer but gets there quicker
- Foreign draft: this is a slower transfer that you can make from an Ulster Bank branch
As for the fees, let’s take a closer look.
Ulster Bank charges for international transfers are as follows:
|Transfer type||Standard transfer fee³||Urgent transfer fee⁴|
|€ to SEPA destinations||No fee||€18.38|
|Non-€ to SEPA destinations||No fee||€12.70|
|€ to rest of world||€0.51||€19.05 or €24.50 for transfers above €5,000|
|Non-€ to rest of world||No fee||€19.05 or €24.50 for transfers above €5,000|
SEPA, by the way, is the Single Euro Payments Area, which is most places in Europe – including the UK, even though they don’t use the euro.
Foreign drafts are done in a branch, so someone from Ulster Bank will be on hand to give you the fees.
When banks make international transfers, your money sometimes travels via various intermediate banks, which can charge additional fees. The recipient bank may also charge a fee.
Generally speaking when Ulster Bank makes these transfers, any such fees are charged to the recipient, not the sender.³ The exception is urgent transfers outside the SEPA zone: for those transfers, you can choose whether you or the recipient pays.⁴
With Wise, there are bank accounts all over the world. Local ones. With local currency. Which means you won’t have to use intermediary banks to get your money from one country to another. And you won’t be charged any additional international transfer fees by your bank.
International bank transfers at Ulster Bank will have to be converted into a foreign currency, unless you’re sending your money somewhere in the eurozone.
But what rate will Ulster Bank convert your money at? The vast majority of banks don’t use the mid-market exchange rate when converting money, but rather set a rate of their own.
Ulster Bank posts its currency exchange rates⁵ online, but as rates change with the market, the rate for your currency conversion could have changed by the time you place your transaction. To find out if it’s good value, you can compare the rate there to the one in an online currency converter like Google or Wise.
Ulster Bank also publishes the list of currency spreads ⁶ which are approved by the central bank. This is the difference to the mid-market rate that the bank is allowed to charge. Here is a sample of some popular currencies and their spread:
|British Pounds||Up to 6% (max of 3% either side)|
|US dollar||Up to 6% (max of 3% either side)|
|Australian dollar||Up to 6% (max of 3% either side)|
|Indian rupee||Up to 10% (max of 5% either side)|
|Swiss franc||Up to 6% (max of 3% either side)|
But what is a spread, and what do those percentages even mean?
The spread is the difference between the buy and sell price of a currency. So when you buy a currency, for instance you want to exchange euros for pounds, you will get a different rate as you would when you change those same pounds back to euro’s. The mid-market rate is the rate that lies between these two, and this is often the rate that banks use to trade between themselves.
So there’s a problem when banks use their own exchange rates: very often, these results are effectively even more costly than any fees the bank charges. Less of your money will make it through to its destination, because it’s converted at an unfavourable rate.
Wise takes a different approach: it uses the real mid-market exchange rate – the same one you see on online currency converters like Google. It’s fully transparent about the fee it charges so you know exactly what the full cost of your transfer actually is.
With Ulster Bank, transferring money abroad from the Republic of Ireland is certainly an option, at least while the bank is still operating in the country. But there are other options too.
One of them is Wise. Wise always uses the real mid-market exchange rate and charges a clearly stated fee that you can confirm before making the transfer – you always know exactly what you’re paying, and what your recipient will get. It also doesn’t charge extra to get your money through to its destination quickly.
Wise is easy to use online or via its app, so it’s worth taking a look to see how could save you time and money.
There’s a surprising amount of stuff to think about when you make an international transfer – not just with Ulster Bank. Here are some more common questions, as well as the answers for you.
As mentioned earlier, there are several different ways you can make an international transfer with Ulster Bank. Let’s go through step by step.
To make a standard or urgent transfer with Ulster Bank, the online service is a great option to use. It’s simple, too:
- Log on to Anytime Internet Banking online, or use mobile banking.
- Select ‘International payments’ on the menu.
- If you’ve paid this person before, simply choose them from the list. Otherwise, select ‘Pay someone new’ or ‘Get a quote for paying someone new’.
- Enter the payee’s information including their bank details. Online, you’ll need to use a card reader to complete this step.
- Select the amount you want to send – take care to get the currency right.
- Choose whether you want a standard or urgent transfer, and confirm the details.⁷
While it’s also possible to send money internationally as a foreign draft, you should ask in an Ulster Bank branch about the process for this as it’s handled in person.
|Read more: Ulster Bank Student Account|
Here are the timings for standard and urgent international transfers with Ulster Bank³⁴:
|Transfer type||Standard transfer time⁴||Urgent transfer time⁵|
|€ to SEPA destinations||Next business day||Same business day|
|Non-€ to SEPA destinations||2-4 working days||1-2 business days|
|€ to rest of world||2-4 working days||1-2 business days|
|Non-€ to rest of world||2-4 working days||1-2 business days|
Foreign drafts, on the other hand, can be up to 5 days after the recipient has lodged – so they could take longer than an online transfer.²
Through Anytime Internet Banking, the limit is €13,000 per day.⁷
As well as logging into online banking yourself, you’ll need to provide details of your payee, unless they’re already saved from a previous payment.
You should provide⁷:
- IBAN (International Bank Account Number) if they have one.
- Account number and NCC (National Clearing Code) if there’s no IBAN.
- SWIFT/BIC (Bank Identifier Code) if the payment is urgent or non-euro.
If you’re receiving international payments to an Ulster Bank account, you’ll likely need to provide the following info.
You should provide⁸:
- The bank’s full name, Ulster Bank Ireland DAC
- Your IBAN – look in your online account or on a statement
You should provide:
- The bank’s full name, Ulster Bank Ireland DAC
- Your account name and number or identifier
- The name, address, and sort code of your Ulster Bank branch – look it up online or ask if you’re not sure
If you need support from Ulster Bank Ireland, they have a few contact options:
Phone (Anytime Telephone Banking - General Enquiries): 0818 210 260 (From the Republic of Ireland) | 00353 1804 7475 (From Abroad)
Online support via the service Cora
In a branch
Check the Ulster Bank Support Centre⁹ for full details.
|Read more: Bank of Ireland international transfer|
- Ulster Bank Important Customer Notice: Ulster Bank Ireland DAC presence in the Republic of Ireland (previous update, 19 February 2021)
- Ulster Bank Help and Support: Sending money abroad
- Ulster Bank Transfer methods: Standard Transfer
- Ulster Bank Transfer methods: Urgent Transfer
- Ulster Bank Currency Exchange Rates
- Ulster Bank Approved charges
- Ulster Bank Support Centre: How can I make an international payment?
- Ulster Bank Help and Support: Receiving money from abroad
- Ulster Bank Customer Service Support Centre
Sources last checked on date: 20 February 2022
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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