If you want to transfer money to Europe, it’s important to choose the right type of transaction to ensure your funds arrive on time. Furthermore, selecting the right transfer method means you’ll reduce the fees and costs associated with cross-border transfers.

In this article, we’ll look at the various ways you can transfer money to Europe and what to consider before making a transaction.

How to Transfer Money to Europe

Whether you’re sending money as a gift, shopping for products online, paying employees or even funding a holiday home, there are plenty of ways to transfer money to Europe. The most popular (and most convenient) options include:


The Single European Payment Area (SEPA) was created to simplify and streamline cross-border payments throughout Europe, and it’s widely used to make these types of transfers. As well as including all EU member states, the SEPA network also includes the UK, Monaco, Vatican City, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Andorra, San Marino, Iceland and Norway.

Designed to facilitate fast and hassle-free payments within Europe, the extended SEPA zone means you can transfer money to Europe if you’re situated in a non-EU country that’s covered by the SEPA initiative.

There are three types of SEPA transfers that can be used to move funds:

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

As you might expect, SEPA Credit Transfers and Instant Credit Transfers are ideal for one-off payments, while SEPA Direct Debits are useful if you need to make recurring payments. A SEPA Credit Transfer usually completes within one business day and is often free or low-cost, whereas a SEPA Instant Credit Transfer costs a little more but is completed in seconds. However, SEPA Instant Credit Transfers have a maximum limit of €100,000, while SEPA Credit Transfers allow you to send up to €999,999,999.99.


SWIFT, also known as the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, operates across a much wider area. In fact, you can send and receive SWIFT transactions from more than 200 countries and territories. So, if you’re not in a location that’s covered by SEPA, you’ll still be able to transfer money to Europe by sending a SWIFT payment.

Although SWIFT transactions enable you to send and receive funds from more than 11,000 financial institutions, it can take a few days for these transfers to be completed due to the use of intermediaries. In addition to this, charges do tend to be a little higher for SWIFT transfers compared to SEPA transactions (although different account providers offer varying fees).


TARGET2 is a real-time gross settlement system that receives payment orders from central and commercial banks. Although transactions are made in Euros, the TARGET2 system can be accessed via banks and financial institutions in non-European countries, so it’s possible to transfer money to Europe from elsewhere in the world via TARGET2.

As a real-time system, the vast majority of TARGET2 transfers are completed within minutes but it’s worth noting that TARGET2 is most-suited to high-value transactions, such as commercial transfers or property purchases. The fees associated with this type of transfer generally dissuade people from using TARGET2 for low or moderate-value transactions, but it can be a good option when you need to move a significant amount of funds.

Multicurrency Account

With the right multicurrency account, you’ll be able to make SEPA, SWIFT and TARGET2 transfers with ease. However, this isn’t the only advantage associated with multicurrency accounts. Depending on your account provider, you’ll be able to localise international payments by gaining access to local account details. This increases transfer speeds, as well as lowering fees, thus making it easier and more cost-effective to transfer money to Europe.

What to Consider Before You Transfer Money to Europe

Although it’s easy to transfer money to Europe, choosing the right transaction method can save you money, accelerate the speed of the transfer and streamline your financial management. To help you choose the best way of transferring money to Europe, take a look at these four things to consider before initiating a transaction:

1. Where Are You Sending Money From?

Your location will determine which payment methods are available to you, so this should be one of your first considerations. If you’re inside the SEPA zone, for example, this may be a viable way for you to transfer funds to Europe. If you’re based outside the SEPA zone, however, making a SWIFT or TARGET2 transfer will be amongst your options.

2. How Quickly Do Your Funds Need to Arrive?

Before you decide how to transfer money to Europe, consider how quickly the recipient needs to be able to access the funds. If you’re settling a company’s invoice or purchasing an asset, for example, you may need to adhere to strict time limits, and choosing a fast transfer method, such as a SEPA Instant Credit Transfer, could be beneficial.

3. What Is the Exchange Rate?

When you’re transferring funds in a different currency, factor in the exchange rate to determine how much the recipient will actually receive. If you need to make an urgent transfer, accepting the spot price might be your only option, but if you’re able to plan your transfer in advance, you could accept a forward contract to lock in the current exchange rate. By doing so, you can prevent market volatility from lessening the value of your currency and gain certainty regarding future cross-border transaction costs.

4. How Much Will It Cost?

Although the exchange rate will have an impact on the value of your transfer, you’ll also need to factor in the fees or charges associated with your preferred transfer method. In some cases, you may want to pay a little more to accelerate the transfer process, but for non-urgent transfers, you may be content to wait longer and pay a lower fee.

Transfer Money to Europe with PayAlly

Our multicurrency account allows you to send and receive funds in 39 currencies, so transferring funds to Europe is easier than ever. With the option to send SEPA, SWIFT and TARGET2 payments, we make sure you always have access to the services you need. To find out more, talk to the PayAlly team today.