The French economy is among the most dynamic in the world. From value-added manufacturing to tourism, it excels in many sectors. As a result, massive amounts of capital move in/out of France daily. According to Trading Economics, hundred of millions of EUR in international money transfers to France are made daily.
However, many businesses and individuals still use banks to move their capital. Every time they do, they pay excessively high fees.
Below, we’ve outlined the international transfer fees charged by France’s top banks:
|Bank||International Wire Transfer Fee|
|Crédit Agricole||54.70 EUR-66.70 EUR+ (direct debit fee + SWIFT fee + foreign exchange commission)|
|BNP Paribas||24.50 EUR-104.50 EUR+ (transfer fee + foreign exchange commission + reception costs [optional])|
|Société Générale||29 EUR-90 EUR (foreign exchange commission + correspondent fee)|
|Caisse d’Épargne||52.45 EUR minimum (0.1% direct debit fee + correspondent fee + 0.05% foreign exchange commission)|
Every time you repatriate your pension, pay your mortgage back home or send money to business vendors, you pay dearly. Note that the above charges don’t even include their fat exchange rate margins. Depending on the currency pairing, these institutions charge a price that’s 2-5%+ off interbank (the real rate of exchange).
However, more French citizens/foreign expats are discovering the lower rates and margins offered by international money transfer companies. In many cases, you can save hundreds or thousands of EUR per transfer.
Our Top 3 Money Transfer Companies for France Transfers
Whether you need to transfer money from France to UK, (or transfer money from UK to France), you ought to pay less. Below, we’ve chosen the best firms for international money transfer to France (and vice-versa).
Money Transfer Providers – Your Low-Cost Alternative to the Banks
The evidence in favour of online international money transfer providers is overwhelming. So, why on Earth do French residents and expats keep using France’s top banks? For one, it’s easier. Why bother digging up paperwork and filling out online forms when you could just stick to the status quo?
We’ll be honest – habits are hard to overcome. However, the numbers are very much in favour of online money transfer providers. Find these statistics, and it’s hard to justify to continue using banks to move cash.
Here’s a quick example. Let’s assume you’ve retired to the French Riviera, but still pay a mortgage back in London. Monthly, this commitment costs you 1,500 GBP (or ~1,680 EUR). If you use BNP Paribas, they’ll start you off with a fee that’ll set you back at least 24.50 EUR. That’s 1.5% of the transfer, straight away, as a minimum.
Then, they’ll change your money at the EUR/GBP rate of 0.8837. To pay your mortgage, you’d need to come up with 1721.91 EUR. That sounds okay, but what if you could send at the interbank rate? When we wrote this review, EUR/GBP interbank rate sat at 0.8938. With no fees to pay, your obligation drops to 1678.23 EUR.
Of course, you can’t access the interbank rate, fee-free. But online money transfer companies get breathtakingly close. Let’s repeat this transaction with Currencies Direct. Usually, they offer exchange rates that come within 0.5% of the interbank mark.
Applied to our example, you’d pay a EUR/GBP price of 0.8893. Minus fees, you’d only pay 1686.72 EUR to cover your mortgage. In other words, you’d save roughly 34 EUR monthly, or 408 EUR annually.
So, how do money transfer providers do this without going broke? Unlike banks, they don’t have massive overhead costs. Additionally, money transfer providers don’t have to deal with yield-chasing shareholders. Thanks to this advantage, they can cut deep in the market share of the banks with low margins. Increased customer flows allow them to parlay these thin margins into healthy profits.
Others still fear online money transfer providers. Sure, they might not like their bank, but the thought of being cleaned out by a hacker petrifies them. Others lack practical knowledge when it comes to online commerce, so they keep using their banker.
Here’s the thing, though – financial regulators watch the activities international money transfer firms just as closely as the banks. Both institutions have to follow the same rules – so, in the unlikely event that something goes wrong, you’re protected.
Why People Transfer Money From France
Daily, many millions of Euro moves in and out of France. Some transfer money to France from USA, while others send cash transfers to France. Here are a few reasons why individuals move capital into and out of this country.
Buying Overseas Property
For decades, owning property in France has been seen as a status symbol. From chalets in the Alps to flats in the French Riviera, these properties are hotly sought after. And so, every year, thousands transfer money from UK to France.
However, the process itself can be challenging. First and foremost, going in without direct knowledge of local markets is a bad idea. You also won’t want to buy anything sight unseen. And so, you’ll have to spend tonnes of time on the ground.
And then, you’ll have to choose a money transfer provider. As you do, ensure they offer the currency you need. For purchases within France and the EU, this won’t be a problem. Most money transfer firms in France allow transfers in GBP, EUR, and even currencies like HRK.
But, what if you wanted to buy property in an “exotic” nation? When choosing a money transfer provider, find out whether they deal in the local currency.
Next, check to see if they have a cap on transfer sizes. If they do, this is a serious issue, as many real estate transactions can exceed these limits. For instance, Transferwise caps transfers at 1.2 million EUR. In France, many properties sell for much more than that.
Finally, be sure your provider offers hedging tools. There’s nothing worse than a last-minute shift in rates. If this happens to you, this shift may leave you short on funds.
Consequently, the more money you are moving, the riskier things get. Here’s why – these days, the world is more unstable than ever. All it takes for markets to move 1% or more is a click-bait headline. Even a glitch in automated trading software can cause a flash crash. It doesn’t matter whether a real threat exists or not – these market moves can cost you thousands of EUR.
Protect yourself by using hedging tools like forward contracts or stop-loss orders. In the first case, you’ll lock in a guaranteed rate. In the second, your trade will cancel if rates fall below a certain level. Either way, you’ll sleep easier at night.
All money transfer providers we recommend offer these services. What’s more, each provider also employs dedicated dealers, who offer expert advice. The only difference between the three is in the margins they take. On this measure, TorFX is best. On most trades, they average a spread of 0.5%. Currencies Direct sits around 0.7-0.9%, while Moneycorp charges 1% or more.
As your transfer gets bigger, TorFX becomes a progressively better choice. However, despite their fatter margins, Moneycorp may be your only good option in certain countries. With 120 currencies, they have nearly global reach.
Overall, though, TorFX gets the nod from us.
Solution – TorFX
Making Mortgage Payments From Abroad
France has long been a beloved holiday and retirement destination for many Britons. However, some holders of French real estate may still have a mortgage back in the British Isles.
And so, even as they get in turns at Chamonix, they must still deal with their obligations in the UK. Here’s the problem, though – over months and years, ongoing fees can skim thousands of EUR/GBP from your account.
Stem the bleeding – transfer money from France to UK by using an online money transfer provider. Do so, and you’ll stop paying fees and ridiculous margins. But, that’s not the only way these providers can help you. By setting up a forward contract, you can shield yourself from unfavourable market movements.
On these measures, TorFX is the best of our favoured money transfer providers. It’s true that all three lack fees, have excellent customer support, and offer hedging tools. But, TorFX’s margins are clearly better. Over many months of mortgage payments, that difference can save you even more.
With an average margin of 0.5%, the competition doesn’t come close. But, on the odd occasion a competitor does have a lower rate, TorFX will price-match it. Because of this, TorFX is your best choice for paying a mortgage in another country.
Solution – TorFX
Recovering Overseas Profits
France is a fantastic place to live if you’re an online seller. The beaches of the French Riviera and the Alps make an excellent backdrop for a successful entrepreneur.
However, the life of an online shop owner is far from easy. One of the most significant issues – gross margins when repatriating profits from foreign marketplaces. For instance, Amazon is infamous for its sky-high currency conversion fees. At 3.5%, you can expect to lose hundreds or even thousands of EUR every year.
Here’s how: if you move 20,000 USD back to France every month, Amazon takes 3.5% of that. That adds up to 700 USD, or 8,400 USD annually. That is borderline insane – but you don’t have to put up with it.
Some money transfer companies in France offer online sellers receiving accounts. This arrangement allows you to move money domestically from online marketplaces. Because of this, you avoid crazy-high conversion fees. Meanwhile, when you transfer funds using a money transfer company, you pay a much fairer exchange rate.
In our view, Currencies Direct is the best option for online sellers in France. They don’t just have receiving accounts – they offer specialised services for e-commerce customers. To be fair, Moneycorp also offers online seller solutions, but they have bigger margins than Currencies Direct.
Solution – Currencies Direct
Sending Cash Gifts to Loved Ones
You might call France home, but your kids might be working, studying, or travelling abroad. To help them, you may occasionally transfer money from France to UK. Alternately, you might be a newly landed expat. Every month, you try to send whatever you can to your family back home, who need all the help they can get.
No matter your situation, beware the usual suspects. Your bank, Western Union, Moneygram, and many other remittance services often charge fees that are far too excessive.
Let’s assume you want to send 300 EUR to your parents back in Morocco. If you sse BNP Paribas for instance, their minimum fee will slice 8% of the send amount. And then, their exchange rate, which can be 5% or more off interbank for less common currency pairings, will only add insult to injury.
Contrast that with the best money transfer companies in France. Moneycorp is the best of the lot, as they offer fee-free transfers. But, more importantly, they have the lowest minimum send of our top three (50 GBP, or approximately 55 EUR). Because of this, Moneycorp is our choice for remittances, making it a fantastic option for remittance senders.
Solution – Moneycorp
Sending/Receiving Freelance Payments
Are you running your freelance business from France? We don’t blame you – Paris, Lyon, and Nice are all fantastic places to live the remote work lifestyle. However, as you invoice clients the world over, you’ll have to deal with a costly problem – currency exchange.
Like your colleagues, there’s a good chance you use PayPal to get your money. If so, stop – every time you do, you surrender 3-4% of your hard-earned money to this corporation. Worse yet, they offer no protection against stormy FX rates. If the market shifts against you, that’s an involuntary pay cut.
Every one of our top three money transfer companies in France offers a better way. They have far better exchange rates than PayPal, and they offer hedging tools that will safeguard your money.
However, Currencies Direct business tools are the easiest to understand for small business owners. Together with their dedicated dealers, they’re our choice.
Solution – Currencies Direct
B2B Money Transfers
France can be a tumultuous place at times. However, business still thrives here, as this nation offers a quality of life that is second to none. While many of these enterprises serve consumers, many more provide products and services to other businesses.
These services don’t come cheap, though. From supplying raw materials to consulting, sellers submit millions of EUR in invoices daily. Because of this, even the slightest unexpected move in FX markets can put vulnerable businesses in a tough spot.
To protect themselves, smart firms make good use of hedging tools. In doing so, they give up a small amount of equity in return for cost certainty.
Now, every one of the firms we recommend offers forward contracts and stop-loss orders. But who is the best? In our mind, TorFX comes out on top. This firm has a decided advantage in one key area – margins. TorFX’s margins average 0.5% off interbank. At the high end, these margins can get as thin as 0.15%.
There’s no debate – if you move large amounts of capital, you’ll want to go with TorFX.
Solution – TorFX
State of International Money Transfer in France
For decades, both French citizens and expats have made liberal use of international money transfer companies to transfer money from France to USA (and other places). However, only recently have new upstarts challenged the older incumbents.
Before that time, the banks did whatever they wished. Moneygram and Western Union weren’t banks, but they didn’t rock the boat. Because of this, their clients grumbled – and then paid whatever they charged.
Thankfully, finance entrepreneurs knew there was a market for cheaper transfers. And so, Moneycorp, Currencies Direct, TorFX, and World First hit the markets in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. Those well acquainted with cash transfers became their first customers, but the best days for these providers were ahead.
As the 2010s dawned, people’s confidence in e-commerce increased. As they began shopping more online, money transfer companies came along for the ride. Then, Transferwise took cash transfers mainstream with their “interbank rate” trades. This market entrance not only increased interest in online money transfer, it drastically increased competition. As it stands now, it is now far cheaper to transfer money from USA to France.
However, as you may know, the banks are still alive and kicking. They have a core base of customers who fear (or don’t understand) online money transfer. But, as time passes, the percentage of tech-savvy people will only rise. And, more and more, they are learning about how much less international online cash transfers cost.
In the future, circumstances will force banks to compete with their online rivals. When this happens, money transfer costs will only fall further.
Other Money Transfer Options in France
When you need to transfer money from USA to France, our top three recommendations aren’t your only options. There are dozens of options available for individuals and business looking to move money to/from France. Below, we’ll talk a little about the other services that French citizens and expats use to move cash to/from this country.
In the money transfer world, Western Union (WU) was the original pioneer. In 1872, they used their telegraph network to make the first-ever cash transfer. That’s why many people call money transfers “wire transfers”, as WU sent them over their telegraph wires.
For generations, Western Union was the only show in town. After World War II, they were one of the only non-bank money transfer providers. Because of this, they priced their transfers like a bank. Even today, despite the presence of competition, they continue to charge big fees and fat margins. Yet, because of their massive cash agent network, they are still the world’s top money transfer provider.
However, the fact that they’re #1 in the world doesn’t mean you should use them. Here’s why: Let’s say you want to send 100 EUR to Morocco. Before you send a single Euro, WU slices off 4.90 EUR or 4.9% of the send amount. Then, they exchange your money at the EUR/MAD rate of 10.6281. At press time, the EUR/MAD interbank rate is 10.8237 – that’s almost 2% off Western Union’s rate.
If you’re looking to send remittances, you’re better off sending through Moneycorp. However, if you need to go through a provider that offers cash pickup, we recommend WorldRemit. In barely a decade, they’ve built a cash agent network that is starting to rival Western Union. When you send through WorldRemit or Moneycorp, your loved ones will get far more.
Many people out there have good feelings about PayPal. Without them, online commerce as we know it wouldn’t exist. However, as useful as they were in the early 2000s, they now lack an advantage compared with the alternatives.
Over the last two decades, they’ve coasted on their brand name. To this day, they continue to use their positive perception to get away with charging high fees/margins. Every single time you transfer money from UK to France, these charges take far more money from you than necessary.
In France, PayPal starts by charging fixed fees of 2-4 EUR. Then, when they move your money, they’ll levy an exchange rate of 3-4% off interbank. Or, you could avoid this mess by using a service like Currencies Direct. By doing so, you can open a receiving account that will allow you to access fair exchange rates and no fees.
By the end of the 2010s, Transferwise had come out of nowhere to become one of the top money transfer companies in France. As it turns out, offering currency trades at the interbank rate is an attractive business model.
Now, they aren’t magically conjuring up profits. To make money, Transferwise charges a small, percentage-based fee on every transfer. Despite that sizable amount (especially on larger transfers), this arrangement often gives them the #1 or #2 cheapest rate in many markets.
But, if that’s the case, why don’t we recommend them? As great as Transferwise is, they fall short of the competition when it comes to substantial transfers and business services. On the first count, they have a maximum transfer limit. In France, Transferwise does not permit moves of more than 1.2 million EUR. If you want to buy a property in Cannes for example, this cap can cause issues.
And second, Transferwise’s business capabilities are lacking. To be fair, they offer the ability to pay multiple contractors at once. However, at this moment, they don’t have hedging tools. In a world where the words of a politician can move rates by 1% or more, that’s a problem.
In time, we expect this situation to change. If Transferwise adjusts their operations in the coming years, we’ll consider ranking them in our top three.
Since the mid-2000s, World First has been providing business customers with cost-effective ways to send cash internationally. These days, they serve more than 300,000 customers and move 70 billion GBP (~78.6 billion EUR) annually. From businesses who need to transfer money from USA to France to high net-worth individuals sending money out, their customer base is diverse.
How they have they achieved such mass appeal? By offering expert advice and skinny margins. Even their smaller customers benefit from their wisdom and margins that start at 0.5% off interbank. If you move more than 5 million GBP per year, you can get rates as thin as 0.15% off interbank.
So, why isn’t World First in our top three? Just as Transferwise isn’t a great fit for business, World First doesn’t work for small senders. World First has a minimum transfer amount of 1,000 GBP (~1,120 EUR). If you’re paying a small mortgage, or want to send money home to loved ones, World First won’t be an option for you.
However, if you need to do medium/large transfers, and TorFX/Currencies Direct/Moneycorp aren’t working for you, give World First a look.
Concluding Thoughts – France Money Transfers
France is one of the world’s most internationalised countries. Its economy is vibrant, attracting business people and workers from all over the world. This fact means large amounts of money flows to/from France every day.
As more people use the internet to find banking fee solutions, they are finding international money transfer providers. Prior to 2000, the vast majority had no clue how to send money from France to USA. Today, dozens of companies offer an alternative to the banks.
Moneycorp, Currencies Direct, and TorFX do not charge fees, and their exchange rates have breathtakingly low margins. And, unlike the banks, they’ll take the time to answer your questions and concerns.
Ready to save thousands of EUR every year? Give these money transfer companies a shot.
Moving to France soon?
Want to try French cuisine more than once a month? Want to wake up staring at the Eiffel Tower? If so, you may want to move to France for good. But the road to your desired life can be quite tricky because of the cultural differences in particular. That’s why we created the article with the Best French Expat Blogs. To check it out, simply click the image below:
We hope that with all the new info found in this article, you will now know how to cheaply send money to France without the hassle of going to the bank and completing a lot of paperwork. Everybody should transfer money to France with ease, and thanks to the FX companies, now you really can.