Making an international bank transfer

An international transfer is the transfer of money in a currency from a country's bank account to the account of a bank or company in another country.

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The international bank transfer

International transfers can be made between bank accounts in the same currency (e.g. an international transfer in euros from a Swiss bank account to a euro account at a French or German bank) or in different currencies (e.g. an international transfer in Swiss francs from a Swiss bank to a euro account at a French bank).

How to make an international transfer?

The international transfer can be conducted in the same currency from one back account to another (for example, the international transfer in euros from a Swiss bank account to a French or German bank account) or in different currencies (for example, an international transfer of Swiss francs to euros from a Swiss bank account to a French bank account).

To make an international transfer, there are several options which are not all equal from a cost point of view (the fees for an international transfer can be a percentage based on the amount transferred or can cost nothing, depending on the bank and the type of international transfer chosen).

Here's an overview of the various types of international transfers available as well as information on how b-sharpe can help you significantly reduce your costs.

Please note: it's not possible with b-sharpe to transfer the same currency from one account to another without there being an exchange transaction made by b-sharpe. For example, you cannot transfer euros from your Swiss bank account to your euro account in Germany. However, a client who exchanges Swiss francs for euros via b-sharpe can transfer these euros to Germany.

Conducting an international transfer: your options

The main types of international transfers include the following:
  • a SEPA transfer from one euro account to another euro account
  • the classic international transfer from an account in one currency to an account in the same currency
  • an international transfer with exchange from an account in one currency to an account in another currency

The SEPA transfer (or "Single Euro Payment Area") allows an individual to conduct an international transfer from a euro account of a bank in the European Union and EFTA to the euro account of another bank in the European Union and EFTA. The SEPA transfer allows you to conduct international transfers as well as transfers within the same country. According to European regulations, the SEPA must ensure that a transfer between two countries is considered the same as a local transfer, both in terms of cost and transfer time.

  • Fees: SEPA transfers generally have very low or no transfer fees.
  • Types of accounts included: SEPA transfers only work for transfers in euros to euro accounts.
  • Countries covered by SEPA transfers: all European Union countries, Switzerland, San Marino, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.
  • Types of SEPA transfers: SEPA transfers can be recurring (in this case, the SEPA transfer is usually made to the same person or beneficiary every month) or occasional
  • Transfer time: for a SEPA transfer, it generally takes between 24 and 48 hours to receive the funds.

b-sharpe's advice:

  1. The SEPA transfer is the preferred transfer method, and should be used whenever possible. With the b-sharpe foreign currency exchange platform, you can exchange any currency for euros and make a SEPA transfer to a euro account at any bank in the European Union. With b-sharpe you won't pay any transfer fees for SEPA international transfers.
  2. For cross-border workers looking for a bank, it may be worthwhile to ask the bank if it charges for SEPA transfers. Some (though it's rare) charge for SEPA transfers that their customers send and even for those that their customers receive (some French, Spanish and Italian banks in particular)

The classic international transfer (also called a SWFIT transfer) allows you to conduct a transfer from an account in one currency to another account in the same currency in another country. In many countries, you can open accounts in foreign currencies which then allows you to make international transfers. For example, you can transfer Swiss francs from a Swiss bank to the Swiss franc account of a bank in France. With this type of transfer, the currency of the sender's account is the same as the currency of the recipient's account, or it could be different.

  • Fees: the fees for international transfers depend on each institution. In most cases, the sender decides if they'll pay the fees themselves, if the receipient will pay them or if they'll be shared.
  • Countries where traditional international credit transfers are available: potentially all countries, but banks actually maintain a specific list of countries where these transfers can be made.
  • >Transfer time: the time required to transfer funds depends on the institution, but it generally takes two to five days. Some banks offer an option which allows you conduct your transfer very quickly (in 24 to 48 hours).

b-sharpe's advice: it's less expensive to conduct a transfer between two countries when the currency of the sender's account is the same as the currency of the recipient's account. With its multi-currency account, b-sharpe allows you to link two accounts with different currencies for a nominal fee. b-sharpe allows you to transfer some twenty currencies in more than thirty countries for some of the lowest fees in the industry.

Please note:'s b-sharp currency exchange service does not allow a transfer between two accounts of the same currency.

The international transfer of an account expressed in a currency that's not the same as the currency of the recipient account

In this case, the international transfer is finalized with a foreign exchange transaction since the sender's currency is not the same as the recipient's. For example, you may need to transfer Swiss francs from a Swiss bank to a euro account of a bank in France. In this case, the bank in France will automatically exchange the Swiss francs for euros upon receipt of the funds...at an unattractive exchange rate and with fees that the issuer has no control over.

  • Fees: the same as for traditional international transfers. With this type of transfer, some foreign banks charge additional fees.
  • Countries where traditional international credit transfers are available: potentially all countries, but banks actually maintain a specific list of countries where these transfers can be made.
  • Transfer time: two to five days, with the option in some institutions of conducting an express transfer (in one to two days).

b-sharpe's advice: the international transfer of an amount in one currency to an account in another currency is to be avoided at all costs, since it's very expensive. It's preferable to transfer funds to accounts in the same currency (for example, transferring Swiss francs to a Swiss franc account). To do this, you would need to exchange currencies before transferring funds with a multi-currency exchange platform at reduced prices, such as b-sharpe.