Transferring Money to Ireland
You’re planning on sending money to Ireland, and you’re extremely relieved to be living in modern times, when it’s as easy as it’s ever been. We’ve come a long way from attaching banknotes to the feet of carrier pigeons.
Transferring money today is a much simpler business, but there are still longer, more expensive options, and quicker, more affordable ones.
On this page, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know about sending money from the UK to Ireland, including typical costs, useful tips, and the best ways to do it.
A bird's-eye view of Dublin, one of the Irish cities you may want to send money to
How to transfer money to Ireland
To send cash on its way to someone in Ireland, you don’t need to use the services of a bank. It’s only one of your options.
These days, there are usually three options to choose from: banks, P2P (peer-to-peer) currency exchange platforms, and foreign exchange brokers.
Allow us to take you through each one.
Transferring money with a bank
This is the traditional option. You can send an international wire transfer from one bank to another through the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) network.
The SWIFT network comprises more than 10,000 banks in 200+ countries, so it’s certainly wide-ranging.
However, it’s also an expensive choice. There are usually several fees associated with SWIFT transfers, such as those charged by the sender and recipient banks, along with any charged by the intermediary banks.
Unless the sender and recipient banks have a strong relationship with one another, there can be up to three intermediary banks involved – which is a lot.
After all, banks typically apply a mark-up to the exchange rate, which is usually around 4-6% above the mid-market rate (the one you see on Google).
There’s more info on fees further down the page.
Transferring money with a P2P currency exchange platform
In the past decade, the arrival of internet-based peer-to-peer foreign currency exchange platforms has radically changed the market.
These platforms are generally much cheaper than the services offered by banks, mainly because they use the real, mid-market exchange rate, and charge very low fees.
In 2019, The Daily Telegraph reported that the exchange rates used by P2P platforms were on average 4% cheaper than those used by banks.
Importantly, these companies also offer a strong level of security. Every responsible P2P platform operating in the UK is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
These services are called “peer to peer” because they match you with someone else around the world.
For example, if you’re looking to send £100 to Ireland, a company like Wise will find someone who’s looking to send around €115 to the UK, and use this pairing to fulfil the exchange.
If they can’t find anyone to match your transfer request, P2P platforms will simply buy the currency from the usual interbank markets – although this can then make the transfer more expensive.
That’s why exchanges in very common currencies (e.g. dollars, pounds, euros, and yen) are so cheap on P2P platforms – because there’s always demand on both sides. Users literally trade between themselves, without any dealers getting involved.
Transferring money with a foreign exchange broker
Foreign exchange (FX) brokers are useful if you’re sending very large sums of money abroad, i.e. over £3,000. They charge fees for their services, but will typically waive (or reduce) these fees for larger transfers.
FX brokers also add a mark-up to the exchange rate, but this is typically much smaller than the mark-up usually applied by banks.
The key benefit of using an FX broker is the ability to set up a forward contract. This means you can set up future international money transfers with today’s exchange rate, so you won’t be affected by any negative changes.
This Irish wolfhound has little use for money
How much do money transfers to Ireland cost?
It varies, based on what service you’re using, how much money you’re sending, and how you’re paying for it.
If you use banks to send an international wire transfer, you’ll be dealing with a marked up exchange rate and a sending fee, while your recipient will have to pay a receiving fee.
According to research by Finder in May 2020, you can expect UK banks to charge up to £40 as a sending fee for an international money transfer, and up to £7.50 as a receiving fee.
Meanwhile, on average, banks add a 4% mark-up to the mid-market exchange rate.
In contrast, P2P currency exchange platform Wise’s fees for sending pounds to Ireland currently range from a 0.85% fee on transfers of £100, to a 0.22% fee on transfers of £844,826 or more, with an added flat fee of just 20p.
Wise also states that transfers to Ireland should arrive at their destination within four hours, at most.
It also depends on how you pay for the transfer. For example, using a business debit card to transfer pounds with Wise incurs a 0.69% fee, while a credit card incurs a 2.45% fee.
Find out today how much it’ll cost you to use Wise.
How long does it take to transfer money to Ireland?
Again, there’s a bunch of variables at play which can affect the length of time it takes to send pounds to Ireland. These include:
- The service you’re using
- The number of banks involved (SWIFT transfers can involve up to three intermediary banks)
- Whether the transfer falls on a weekend or public holiday
In general, the standard length of time for any international money transfer is between 0-5 business days, with banks generally taking longer than P2P platforms.
For instance, if you send money to Ireland through NatWest, a standard transfer will take 2-4 working days.
Or if you choose to transfer money to Ireland with HSBC, it’ll “normally be credited by the next working day”.
In contrast, sending money abroad via P2P exchange platforms like TransferWise is typically much quicker.
For example, if you send £10,000 from the UK to Ireland via Wise, it’ll usually be in your recipient’s account in the next three hours.
And if you change your Wise payment method from a wire transfer to a debit card, you can cut down the time it takes even further.
It rarely if ever takes as long as an international wire transfer, because there are no intermediary banks involved.
What are the minimum and maximum limits on Ireland money transfers?
When it comes to maximum and minimum limits, there’s usually a bit of a trade-off between banks and P2P platforms.
Generally speaking, you pay higher fees to send cash via banks, but you can send larger amounts of cash; meanwhile, P2P platforms keep fees low, but also impose smaller limits on how much you can send.
For example, Wise allows transfers of no more than £10,000 per day (if paying via debit or credit card), whereas HSBC allows you to send up to £50,000 online, and as much as you want from a branch.
However, if you’re not looking to send vast sums of money abroad, P2P foreign exchange firms also come with very favorable rules for minimum payments.
Transferwise simply requires you to transfer at least £0.01, while services such as Western Union require a minimum payment of £1.
While some banks also do not impose a minimum limit on payments, their large flat fees can make small transfers rather uneconomical.
What are the tax implications of transferring money to Ireland?
Please be advised that while every effort is made to keep this information up to date, MoveHub does not provide tax advice, and you should always consult a tax professional about your unique circumstances.
Tax implications for the sender in the UK
Robert Salter, a senior advisor who specialises in expatriate tax at Blick Rothenberg, told us: “Innately, the transfer of money from the UK to Ireland should not create any direct tax charge as such on the amount being physically transferred.
“That is, for example, assuming you have a UK-based individual (tax resident in the UK), transferring money to Ireland where the individual isn’t a tax resident.
“However, as one needs to pay for such services (e.g. via a bank or similar), one would potentially be liable to pay VAT on the provision of the service.
“For example, if the individual transferring the money is in the UK and the service provider is a UK bank, VAT would be charged on the commission that the bank invoices to the UK-based individual.
“It should also be noted that if we are dealing with someone who is UK tax resident and UK domiciled, simply transferring their money into a foreign bank account (whether in Ireland or elsewhere), would not by itself take the funds out of the UK Inheritance Tax (IHT) Net.”
Tax implications for the recipient in Ireland
If the money has been earned by someone who pays tax in Ireland, transferring it to Ireland could trigger a tax charge.
The only seeming exception is if the transferred funds were earned before that person was an Irish tax resident.
But as Salter explained: “Care needs to be taken in this whole area.
“For example, it isn’t always straightforward as to whether someone will be regarded as ‘tax resident’ in Ireland. Similarly, the concept of domicile can be extremely complex, and could easily need to be considered in detail on a case-by-case basis.
“Realistically, this would require guidance from a specialist Irish-based tax advisor.
“One also needs to potentially consider why the money is being transferred to Ireland – for example, if one is buying a property in Ireland, whilst the transfer of the money to Ireland shouldn’t trigger a tax charge, the purchase of the property does potentially create a liability to Irish stamp duties.
“Finally, is one transferring funds from a UK pension scheme into an Irish pension scheme?
“Specialist advice should be obtained in such cases, but again, it could trigger a tax liability depending upon what type of pension arrangement in Ireland the money is going into – that's whether it is recognised as a qualifying overseas pension scheme (QROPS) or not.”
Salter advised that readers should follow the UK government’s guidance on the subject of pensions, which is as follows:
You pay 25% tax if you either:
- live outside the UK, Gibraltar or the EEA
- move to live outside the UK, Gibraltar or the EEA within 5 years
Otherwise you do not pay tax.
You can get tax refunded if you move to the UK, Gibraltar or an EEA country within 5 years of the transfer. To claim, tell your UK scheme’s administrator and your overseas scheme manager you’ve moved using form APSS 241. They’ll put the tax refund back into the pension it was taken from.
What keeps my money safe when I send it to Ireland?
There are governing bodies in the UK and Ireland whose job it is to ensure that every bank and P2P currency exchange platform is operating responsibly, so that every customer’s money is protected.
Money transfer safety measures in the UK
All P2P currency exchange firms with registered offices in the UK are administered by HMRC, so they’re compelled to follow all UK Money Laundering Regulations.
Plus, as ‘payment institutions’, all money transfer firms are monitored by the Financial Conduct Authority. Before sending your money with any currency exchange company, you should check to see if they’re on the FCA register.
Money transfer safety measures in Ireland
The Central Bank of Ireland supervises more than 10,000 financial service providers to ensure that they act responsibly and effectively.
This includes supervising money transfers in accordance with the 1995 Consumer Credit Act, and ensuring that transfers don’t break any laws – particularly those surrounding money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
You should now be much more knowledgeable about how to transfer money from the UK to Ireland. As you can see, there are multiple options available to you, and they each come with their own benefits.
If you’re tempted by a P2P foreign currency exchange platform, look no further than Wise.