When you’re buying a property in Europe from the UK, it inevitably means sending a significant sum of money to a recipient in an overseas location. Although there are plenty of ways to make international payments, not all payment methods offer the same level of efficiency, security, or cost-effectiveness. Due to this, it’s vital to research your options to find the best way to transfer funds abroad.

In this article, we examine the most popular ways to make international payments when you’re buying a property in Europe from the UK and give you the lowdown on what factors to consider when you’re sending large sums of money abroad.

Buying a Property in Europe from the UK: What Payment Methods Can You Use?

If you’re making an international payment within Europe, the two most popular payment methods are SEPA and Target2, but which one is best suited for property purposes? Read on to discover the differences between these two international payment methods and find out which one is right for you.


Payments made throughout the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) offer the same convenience as regular domestic transfers. In fact, SEPA was designed and created to simplify the process of sending and receiving money throughout Europe. Using shared financial standards and infrastructure, SEPA payments are carefully regulated, so you can have full confidence that your funds will be securely processed.

Although the UK has now left the EU, this won’t prevent you from making a SEPA transfer if you’re buying a property in Europe from the UK. As well as covering the countries within the EU, SEPA transfers are also available in the UK, Switzerland, Norway, Monaco, Lichtenstein, Andorra, San Marino, Vatican City, and Iceland.

Within the SEPA framework, there are three types of transfer options:

  1. SEPA Credit Transfer
  2. SEPA Instant Credit Transfer
  3. SEPA Direct Debit

When you’re buying a property in Europe from the UK, you’re likely to be making just one or two large-scale payments, so SEPA Direct Debit (recurring payments) won’t be relevant. However, a SEPA credit transfer or SEPA instant transfer could be viable options.

SEPA Credit Transfer

A SEPA credit transfer enables you to send large sums of money across borders, so it’s ideal for international property purchases. There is a maximum amount of funds you can send via a SEPA credit transfer but, with limits set at €999,999,999.99, it’s suitable for the majority of property purchases.

Most SEPA credit transfers are completed within one business day, so it’s a relatively fast way to transfer funds. However, cut-off times mean that your payment could take longer, depending on what time of day you initiate it. Furthermore, some banks and financial service companies have their own cut-off times, so be sure to check this in advance.

SEPA credit transfers are generally free or low-cost, but charges can be applied. When you’re transferring large sums, such as for a property purchase, you could be charged a flat fee or a fee based on a percentage of the transfer amount.

SEPA Instant Credit Transfers

SEPA instant transfers enable you to send funds to a recipient’s account within seconds, so it can be a good option if you need to make a quick transaction. However, the maximum amount you can send via a single SEPA instant transfer is €100,000, which isn’t sufficient for the vast majority of property purchases.

If you need to send funds for a deposit on a property, however, a SEPA Instant Credit Transfer could be a fast and relatively low-cost way to facilitate this.


Another safe and secure way to send funds abroad if you’re buying a property in Europe from the UK is via the TARGET2 system. This is a European settlement and clearing platform that is the leading option for sending large-value transactions. As there are no minimum or maximum transfer limits, you won’t run into issues if you’re sending large sums to complete a property purchase.

Available Mon-Fri between 8 AM and 7 PM, TARGET2 transactions are completed instantly, so the recipient won’t have to wait to receive the funds. Typically, senders will be charged a fee to send funds via the TARGET2 system, but this can vary depending on what payment provider you choose. To minimise your expenditure, be sure to compare all options before you initiate the transfer.

Beware of Unnecessary Delays

If a large-value payment is outside of your usual transactions, then it could be flagged as potential money laundering. This will obviously delay the transaction and could lead to you missing important payment deadlines, which is a worry if you are purchasing a property.

To prevent this from happening, be sure to use an established international payment transfer method and choose a payment provider who can provide expert assistance with cross-border payments.

How to Make an International Payment When You’re Buying Property in Europe from the UK

Once you’ve decided which payment method you want to use, you’ll have to arrange the transaction and approve the funds being moved from your account to the recipient’s account. If you don’t already have an account with your preferred payment provider, you’ll need to set this up in advance to ensure there are no delays when it comes to transferring the funds.

One of the most critical aspects of this type of transfer is factoring in the currency exchange rate. If you’re buying a property in Europe from the UK, you’re likely to be converting from GBP to EUR and the available exchange rate will have a substantial impact on your costs.

Often, it’s possible to ‘hold’ an exchange rate in advance, which lets you take advantage of favourable rates. Although this helps you secure a currency conversion at a lower-than-market rate, it could mean that you end up paying over the base rate if it drops between the time you ‘hold’ and the time you make the exchange.

Alternatively, you could take your chances and simply accept the current exchange rate at the time you need to make the transfer. Whichever option you go for, rest assured that making an international payment is faster and easier than you think.

Making International Payments with PayAlly

Our dedication to localising international payments means we’re adept at helping our clients transfer funds across borders. Whether you’re purchasing a pied-a-terre in Paris, a villa in Madrid, or a commercial building in Berlin, our experienced team are on hand to provide all the assistance you need. Enquire now>