Barclays International Transfer: Fees and Exchange Rates

This article will cover everything you need to know about Barclays international transfers including: how much they cost, how long they take, and how to arrange your payment.

Despite being one of the biggest banks in the UK, sending your international transfer through Barclays may not be the best option available. There are many alternatives which can be cheaper, faster and more convenient, like Wise, Western Union and OFX.

Barclays international money transfer comparison

Let’s start with a comparison of Barclays international bank transfers against a few specialist providers. In this example, we’re sending an online payment to a friend, and we want them to receive 5,000 EUR in the end:

ProviderTotal costTransfer time
Barclays 125.59 GBP Next day if arranged by 3pm
Wise 14.88 GBP 80% of payments arrive in 24 hours
Western Union 35.52 GBP Up to 2 days
OFX 46.27 GBP

1 - 2 business days

*Fees and rates correct at time of research - 24th November 2021

In the example above, Wise is the cheapest. In fact, you could save 110.71 GBP by making your transfer with Wise instead of Barclays.

In this example, the Barclays international transfer fee was actually 0 GBP. It’s pretty common for banks to use no upfront transfer charge - but that doesn’t mean the total cost is zero. In this case, the real fee you pay is wrapped up in exchange rate costs, and you may need to cover third party costs too. More on fees later.

When it comes to transfer time, you’ll need to hit a 3pm cut-off time to have your money arrive the next day with Barclays. Wise payments are often instant for major currency routes, and 80% of all payments arrive in 24 hours.

Getting started with an international money transfer provider is usually easy. These services specialise in online and mobile payments, so have an intuitive customer experience and plenty of help on hand if you need it.

Barclays international transfer fees

Figuring out the total cost of an international transfer isn’t always as easy as it should be. The costs can include a few different things:

  • Transfer fee
  • Exchange rate markup
  • Third party charges
International payment typeBarclays transfer fee
Send an international payment online

Free - exchange rate markups and third party charges may apply

Send an international payment by phone or in a branch (Non-SEPA)

25 GBP + any relevant exchange rate markups and third party charges

Send an international SEPA payment by phone or in a branch

Free - exchange rate markups and third party charges may apply

Send an international business payment

Non-SEPA payments made in a branch or by phone cost 25 GBP + any relevant exchange rate markups and third party charges

Other transfer types depend on the account you hold, ranging from 0 - 15 GBP each

Receive an international payment SEPA and euro payments from the EEA are free

Other payments over 100 GBP in value cost 6 GBP to receive

Barclays exchange rate

Although the Barclays website shows live mid-market exchange rates[6], these aren’t the rates offered to most customers making international transfers. Instead, a magin - an extra fee - is added to the mid-market rate to calculate the customer exchange rate. Here’s how Barclays explains their international transfer exchange rate:

“The foreign exchange rate for a specific transaction amount is calculated by applying an FX margin to the reference exchange rate.”

This extra cost - which is also commonly called a markup - can make a big difference to the overall price you pay for your transfer. Here’s how it mounts up when you send different amounts with Barclays:

Sending in GBP so your recipient gets:Barclays exchange rate fee
1,000 EUR 25.12 GBP fee
5,000 EUR 125.59 GBP fee
10,000 EUR 251.12 GBP fee

Fees and exchange rates correct at time of research - 24th November 2021

As we noted above, Barclays doesn’t have an upfront transfer fee for their international payments when arranged online. However, that doesn't mean they’re actually free.

To give a comparison, here’s a reminder of the total costs - including exchange rate markups - from the providers we looked at earlier. This is what you’ll pay with each if you want your recipient to end up with 5,000 EUR in their account in the end:

Barclays additional fees

If you’re sending a payment in the Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA), Barclays recommends using the SEPA payment option to avoid additional costs. If you choose to use a regular international transfer instead, extra costs may be levied by the recipient’s own bank.

If you send a standard non-SEPA international transfer, third party charges may apply which are called Overseas Delivery Charges. These fees can be deducted by intermediary banks processing the payment as it passes through the SWIFT network, or by the receiving bank. When you set up your transfer you may be able to choose whether you want to cover all these costs, split them with the recipient, or have the recipient pay the full third party charge.

How long does a Barclays international money transfer take?

Barclays international transfer times vary by country and currency being sent. For most popular transfer destinations, your payment will arrive the next day as long as it is arranged before the cut-off time[7]. Cut-off times depend on how you’re sending your transfer, and the currency involved.

Here’s a rundown of the delivery times for Barclays compared to a few popular specialist providers:

  • Barclays: Usually available next day if arranged before relevant cut-off time
  • Wise: 80% of payments arrive in 24 hours
  • Western Union: Up to 2 days
  • OFX: 1 - 2 business days

Pros and cons of transferring money abroad with Barclays

Pros:

  • Familiar and secure service
  • Arrange your payment online, by phone or in a branch
  • No upfront transfer fee for online payments
  • Next day delivery for most major currencies

Cons:

  • Exchange rates include a markup
  • Total overall costs can be high
  • Setting up a transfer in a branch may cost you 25 GBP

Sending your international transfer with Barclays may seem like an obvious solution - but the exchange rate markups can push up the costs against alternative providers. They also make it harder to calculate the total cost of sending your transfer, compared to a specialist which uses the mid-market exchange rate and a transparent charge.

How to make an international transfer with Barclays

You’ll be able to set up your payment with Barclays in a few ways:

  • Transfer using your online or mobile banking service
  • Send your money by phone
  • Visit a branch to arrange your transfer

Sending non-SEPA payments by phone or in a branch does come with an upfront transfer cost. There are also a small handful of destination countries where Barclays will require you to arrange your transfer in branch. These include Algeria, Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Falkland Islands, Georgia, Nepal and Uruguay.

What information do you need to make an international transfer with Barclays?

Here’s the information you’ll need to send a Barclays international money transfer:

  • Your recipient’s name and address
  • The address of the recipient’s bank
  • Your recipient’s bank account number or IBAN
  • Your recipient’s bank’s SWIFT/BIC code (Non-SEPA payments only)

Transfer limits and available countries

The Barclays international transfer limit may vary depending on the destination country. There are also account limits which cap the maximum value of payments made each day. Usually these are 50,000 for personal customers, and 100,000 for Premier or business customers[8].

You can send Barclays international bank transfers to over 200 countries, in more than 50 different currencies. The countries and currencies available are regularly updated but you can get the live Barclays A - Z country list here.

Receiving money from abroad with Barclays

If you’re expecting a payment from overseas into your Barclays account you’ll need to give the sender your account’s IBAN and the Barclays UK SWIFT/BIC code to make sure the money arrives safely. It’s free to receive SEPA and euro payments from the EEA, and regular international transfers under the value of 100 GBP. If you’re expecting a larger payment you’ll pay a 6 GBP fee when it is deposited into your account.

Barclays SWIFT code

The Barclays SWIFT/BIC code is: BUKBGB22

A SWIFT code is a unique identifier issued to banks around the world. It’s used to make sure that payments arrive safely into the recipient’s account - a bit like giving a postcode when you’re writing your postal address.

Conclusion

Choosing to transfer money abroad with Barclays is a familiar and comfortable option - but it may not be the cheapest, fastest or most convenient. While the best choice for you will depend on the particular payment you’re making, and your own personal preferences, specialist providers can often offer an intuitive user experience, low costs and bank beating exchange rates.

Shopping around and comparing a few different providers before you set up your international transfer is the best way to know you’re getting the right fit for your specific needs.

Interested in making international transfers with banks? Read our guides on HSBC, Lloyds, Santander, NatWest, RBS, Nationwide, Halifax

Barclays international bank transfer FAQs

How much does a Barclays international transfer cost?

There is no transfer fee to send a personal international transfer online or using the Barclays mobile banking service, but sending a non-SEPA transfer in a branch costs 25 GBP. Exchange rate costs and third party charges may apply.

How long does a Barclays international money transfer take?

Barclays international transfers can arrive the next working day for many destination countries.

How to transfer money internationally with Barclays?

Send a Barclays international payment online, in the Barclays app, in a branch or by phone.

By Ileana Ionescu
Updated 2 February 2022