One of the usual roadblocks every expat would hit sooner or later when they move to Germany is about transferring funds to a bank account in their home country from their German bank account. It might be a savings account you may not want to close or to help support family or friends; we got you covered!
First stop: Online money transfers
When it comes to transferring funds, online money transfers are cost-effective, faster, and more convenient. Unlike traditional banking, it does not incur additional costs such as handling charges.
Wise - formally TransferWise
In 2011, Wise launched with the goal of making international money transfers cheap, fair, and simple. Globally, millions of people and businesses use their multi-currency account to manage their money.
Wise offers a multi-currency bank account which you can use as your everyday bank account to receive salary, pay rent, make online shopping, etc.
With a Wise account, you get a physical debit card for free as well as unlimited virtual debit cards that you can use to pay online and use them as virtual debit cards in Apple Wallet and Google Pay, or even withdraw money at an ATM with NFC capabilities.
It is possible to add money to your account in 19 currencies. These include AUD, BGN, CAD, CHF, CZK, DKK, EUR, GBP, HRK, HUF, JPY, NOK, NZD, PLN, RON, SEK, SGD, TRY and USD.
The real exchange rate is always used when you convert money between any of the 50+ currencies in your account.
You can also receive money in 11 currencies using your account details. A plus is that there are no fees associated with opening or maintaining an account.
Just like Wise, Revolut too won’t ask you to visit a branch or bury you in paperwork. Opening an account in Revolut takes just less than a few minutes, and you can do everything straight from your phone.
With Revolut, you can send and receive money in 30+ currencies with no hidden fees. Plus, transfers are almost always instant and free between Revolut friends anywhere in the world!
Additionally, Revolut offers to fix you up with discounts and cash back offers from your favourite brands, so you can save when you spend. You just need to use your Revolut card when you shop.
Revolut also offers splitting of bills with anyone, even if they’re not on Revolut. You just need to enter the numbers and Revolut will do the math. You can split bills from restaurant to rent.
WorldRemit is another money transfer service that is simple, fast, secure, and low cost. They offer international money transfer and remittance services in over 130 countries and 70 currencies since 2010.
Across 130 countries, WorldRemit supports 70 different currencies. With WorldRemit, you can send money overseas using bank deposits, mobile money, or cash pickups, making it convenient for your family and friends to receive the money.
How to send money from a German bank account internationally?
While different companies have different processes to do this, the general approach would be to
Create an account
Once you’ve done your research and decided which service to use, you need to create an account using your email address or phone number
Documents required to create an account
Visa / residence permit
Tax ID (optional)
Add the details of the bank account where the money will be sent.
After creating the account, you need to verify your identity. It can either be done through postident, or it can be done through a video chat with a representative. Upon verification of your identity, you can send money immediately after verification is complete.
Adding the recipient would be the next step. In order to do this, you would need their bank account number, their bank identification code (swift code or IFSC code, depending on the country where the bank operates), and the name of the recipient.
The recipient details required may vary depending on the target currency and location.
Send the money
As soon as the recipient is added to your account, you can choose the amount to send. Depending on the app you use, you may receive a live currency exchange rate, a comparison with competitors, etc.
Wise, for example, offers the option of locking the current exchange rate for a few hours. This means you can still transfer on the locked exchange rate even if the rate goes down.
As soon as you finish the transfer, the app will make a request to your bank (the bank account you added while creating the account) to get the money from your bank to the app. As soon as the app gets a confirmation from the bank that the amount is available in your account, the app converts the equivalent amount to the target currency and transfers it to the target bank.
Some apps wait until the transfer from your bank to the app is completed and money arrives to the apps account. This will take more time to complete your transfer and your money to arrive in the target bank account.
Generally, the whole process could complete in seconds to days or even weeks in case of a holiday season or if the transfer is initiated on a weekend.
Traditional money transfer
If you are not into the online way of doing things, you still have the opportunity to transfer money the old fashioned way.
You may approach your bank in Germany for a bank transfer or cash remittance services.
We observed a handful of money exchange services like Western Union Money Transfer, etc. operating in Germany