Domestic and International
including UK, Europe, US, Canada, and Australia
Click here for International (below)
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which often saves you money! For more information, see my disclosures here.
In Germany you can only transfer money to friends and family locally via bank transfers (high-street banks and challenger banks).
High street banks
You’ll need a Girokonto account (checking or current account) to initiate bank-to-bank transfers for local payments in Germany. You can’t use your savings account (Sparkonto) to transfer money.
You can initiate a transfer via online banking by entering your recipient’s sort code or at a local branch by filling up the remittance form/slip (you’ll need more extensive information for this – such as their IBAN number, name, address, and BIC code).
They are completely app-based and offer instant transfers between their own customer accounts or to other German bank accounts for free.
However, transfer limits apply for both Revolut and N26 (daily, monthly, and per transaction limits) based on account type and location.
Transfer limits and fees can vary depending on the bank.
International money transfers to Germany or from Germany can be a tricky prospect with many great options to choose from.
Here is the deal:
The key is to choose the right service to match your needs.
For example, some services are better for smaller amounts while others are far better for larger amounts. To help with this we divide up who does what best and explain why. This is a great start, but there are a few more important things you need to know.
Let’s dive in.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which often saves you money! 🙂 For more information, see my disclosures here.
The amount you are sending
The other country involved
In the past, services like Western Union (review) or MoneyGram may have been your only way to send cash from Germany. These days there are less expensive services which also have excellent customer service for sending money to family or friends.
If you can send money to a bank account, see our next section which will almost certainly be cheaper and easier too.
If you are looking for an inexpensive alternative to Western Union or RIA, Azimo (review) may be a good choice because they enable home delivery, mobile wallet transfers, and prepaid mobile top ups to over 200 countries.
If you really need cash, RIA is generally a little cheaper than Western Union, but Western Union agent locations are integrated pretty much everywhere (including PostBank and many agent outlets). Here is their agent locator.
For the majority of people sending amounts below €7000 where a bank account can be used to receive the money, Wise (review) is our top pick due to its combination of competitive fees, extremely transparent fee structure, great service and smooth online experience.
But depending on your needs, others may be better.
For example, CurrencyFair (review) will generally be the least expensive in this category due to its P2P business model and it does also offer more control over your money.
WorldRemit (review) is also a strong choice if you need the ability to send cash and still want a first rate service for sending money to a bank account.
For larger transfers, being able to speak on the phone can be critical to ensure transfers run smoothly. This is due to money laundering laws in Europe and worldwide which mean that as amounts increase (above €7000 EUR) banks and money transfer companies need to do more to comply with regulations. Generally this just means you need to provide more ID and companies designed to handle larger amounts tend to do this at the outset. However banks (particularly the sending bank) often have their own set of rules like daily limits which can complicate things. This is why services with strong telephone support are so important in this category and a money transfer service can be extremely helpful in the whole process.
If you would much prefer to speak in German, XE (review) is our top choice.
All three score highly in all important aspects for this category including great online services, low costs and telephone support.
For a quick overview and to save money, don’t miss the snapshot table below.
From the UK to Germany
Sending cash can be expensive by Western Union will be able to get it done.
For your larger transfers from the UK to Germany, OFX and TorFX offer great rates and robust phone support.
From Germany to the UK
If cash is required in the UK, Western Union may be your best bet just simply because of its network of locations. It will also most certainly be more expensive than sending to a bank account.
For those large and extra large transfers OFX is generally recommended or TorFX if you prefer having a dedicated customer service person allocated to your transfers.
They’re all registered in the UK (regulated by the FCA) and licensed to handle large transfers in the UK and across Europe.
For your EUR-EUR micro transfers, WorldRemit lets you move money with zero fees. The money arrives in your recipient’s account the next day.
For countries that don’t use the EUR (like Sweden), CurrencyFair and Wise offer great rates.
From the US to Germany
For affordable next day transfers, Wise offers low fees and a relatively fast service.
For your larger transfers – $7000 USD/€7000 EUR and above – OFX offers excellent rates and is regulated by the FCA in the US and also has physical North American offices for their “dealers”.
From Germany to the US
For amounts below over €7000 EUR Wise is a winner.
Looking to transfer a large amount (€7000 EUR and above) – OFX is our top pick. Being regulated in the UK and US is also a great bonus along with 24/7 telephone support.
From Canada to Germany
While Wise’s fees are low, the money takes a bit to arrive in Germany (3-5 days). So if fast transfer isn’t a priority, you can save big with Wise.
For your larger CAD-EUR transfers to Germany, you can’t beat OFX’s rates and customer service. They also have an office in Toronto which can be very helpful.
From Germany to Canada
For your EUR-CAD transfers below €7000 EUR from Germany, Wise offers the best of speed, cost, and service (fees as low as €4 for sending €300-€500 EUR).
CurrencyFair is even more affordable for your smaller transfers (€7000 EUR and below).
For large transfers (above €7000 EUR) to Canada from Germany, OFX has affordable rates and great customer service.
From Australia to Germany
Wise is great for those smaller transfers (below $9500 AUD/€7000 EUR).
OFX is a fine choice for larger transfers (above $9500 AUD/€7000 EUR).
Both have offices in Australia which can be helpful.
From Germany to Australia
For smaller transfers, Wise is great below $9500 AUD/€7000 EUR.
OFX is once again our top pick for larger transfers (above $9500 AUD/€7000 EUR).
Both have offices in Australia which can be helpful.
Regulated (see Safety below)
Size of amount ideal for
|See exactly what you pay here and compare|
|3 free transactions, use code ‘3FREE”|
fee + %
|Get your first 10 transfers fee free|
|TorFX (review)||UK, Australia||Phone/ Online||UK, Australia||Large Amount||Margin on|
the exchange (no transaction fees)
|Click here to get all transactions free|
|XE (money transfer review)||UK,|
|XE charges no transfer fee|
|OFX may charge a fixed fee of $15, however if you click here you can avoid these fees all together.|
Cost is a huge deciding factor when you’re choosing the right money transfer company for your specific needs (and the reason we suggest you steer clear of international transfers with your bank).
Typically, transfer fees vary based on the amount, chosen speed, funding method, and the target currency.
Wise and OFX have the very low costs especially when you take into consideration that they both guarantee the rates you lock in while waiting for you fees to arrive.
Another important aspect people often miss is that both services maintain a huge network of local bank accounts as part of their back end infrastructure. Generally you will not have any thing to do with these accounts, but they mean that your bank accounts at either end of the transaction will not hit you with unexpected and often quite expensive fees.
Of course, online or by phone – great service always appreciated but this is one area that is super important.
The range of services offered and especially customer support if help is needed are particularly important.
For smaller transfers generally an online focused service can be ideal – helping to keep costs low and also provide a seamless (sometimes even enjoyable) experience.
When larger transfers come into play so do more regulations and with that potential snags in the smooth flow of funds. This is why we recommend services that have strong telephone support!
Everyone wants their money to arrive as fast as possible. Typically this comes at a significant cost.
The lowest cost options are generally the slowest, simply because of the time it takes banks at either end to transact.
To speed things up, some services (like Wise) enable you to optionally fund transactions with a debit card or credit card. Unfortunately in each case these options attract additional fees from the card operators which they need to pass on.
That said, if you are transacting within Europe and the UK, transaction times can be just a day or two even for least expensive options. Between Germany and North American or Australasia and you need to add an extra working day or two on to this.
Is your money safe with a currency transfer company?
All currency transfer companies are licensed financial institutions and are required to adhere to the same legal provisions applicable to banks.
They also use industry-leading encryption to protect your money and your personal data online (on their website and mobile apps) as well as conduct regular audits to prevent financial crimes (such as fraud and money laundering.