A Guide on the Cheapest Way to Send Money to Spain

A Guide on the Cheapest Way to Send Money to Spain

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When sending money to Spain, your goal should be to get the most amount of EUR on the receiving end in as quick amount of time as possible.

As expats, we’ll always have to pay fees and deal for banks skimming exchange rates, but we can still pick a money transfer service provider that will yield the most cash in the end.

Having said that, this guide will show you what to watch out for when transferring money into Spain and reveal the cheapest services to use depending on how much you want to send.

Before you get started on your transfer to Spain, however, check out Monito, a service that shows you which money transfer service providers are offering the best rates on any given day.

What to Watch Out for When Sending Money to Spain

Before you transfer money to Spain, here are three important things you must keep in mind.

Transfer Fees

Generally speaking, you’ll pay one (or more) of the following fees when sending money to a bank account in Spain.

  • fixed fees
  • percentage fees
  • combination fees

Let’s have a look at each one in more detail.

Fixed Fees

Fixed fees are the first type of transfer fee you’ll come across when transferring money to Spain. This kind of fee doesn’t change with the amount of money you send.

If you send USD1,000 or USD10,000 you’ll be charged the same amount, but the total does vary between banks and online money transfer service providers.

Bank of America, for example, charges USD45 no matter how much money you send to Spain, making a bank transfer one of the cheapest options for transfers over USD10,000.

Percentage Fees

Percentage fees are another type of transfer you’ll find when sending money to Spain. However, percentage fees fluctuate with the amount of money you send.

Wise charges a percentage fee of 0.48 percent on USD1,000 transfers, meaning you’ll pay roughly USD4.80 in percentage fees (not including ACH bank debit transfer fees, which we’ll cover later).

Another thing to remember is that when transferring money with a credit card, you will also have to pay a 1 percent to 3 percent fee of the total amount you send to Spain.

Combination Fees

The third type of fee you’ll come across when transferring money into Spain is the combination fee, which is a mix of a the first two fees.

PayPal uses this payment structure for international money transfers. Fee types, however, don’t always determine which service is cheaper or more expensive.

Having said that, you also have to factor in exchange rates when getting cash into Spain, and we’ll cover that in the next section.

Exchange Rates

When sending money to Spain, it’s not often that banks and online money transfer service providers will give you mid-market exchange rates – except for Wise.

Also, the online money transfer service providers that don’t charge transfer fees – like Xendpay for the first GBP2,000 – make their money by taking a small cut of the exchange rate but do not disclose this.

The exchange rate fee could be around 2 percent to 3 percent of the mid-market exchange rate found on XE.

Aside from transfer fees and exchange rates, you also have to think about transfer speeds.

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Transfer Speeds

Transfer speed may not be a factor for you when transferring money into Spain, but it pays to know how long your money will take to get into your account.

Using services like Wise, Xendpay, or banks will usually take one to three business days.

When using Western Union or PayPal, you could get your money a lot faster, but be prepared to spend much more in transfer fees.

Now that you know what to consider when transferring money to Spain, let’s look at your options.

Money Transfer Service Options

When it comes to sending money from overseas into your Spanish bank account, you have quite a few options.

Xendpay

If you’ve never used Xendpay before, it’s a great choice because it offers a “pay what you want” model for the first USD2,275 you send to Spain.

xendpay

This doesn’t mean your transfer will be free. Xendpay takes a percentage of your money during the currency exchange, which usually amounts to 2 percent to 3 percent.

Moreover, if you use a credit or debit card to pay for your transfer, you will be charged a 2.3 percent fee even if you’re transferring under the USD2,275 limit.

Even with that, they tend to be one of the cheaper options for people looking to send money to Spain.

For example, a USD1,000 to Spain through Xendpay would get you EUR840, just a tad bit more than Wise. This makes Xendpay the cheapest way to send money to Spain, even when compared to banks.

Once you go over your USD2,275 limit, Xendpay adds in additional fees depending on how you pay for your transfer. Here they are:

  • wire transfer — 0.5 percent fee
  • credit card — 2.3 percent fee
  • debit card — 2.3 percent fee

As for transfer speed, when transferring money to Spain using Xendpay, it’ll take one to three business days to receive your money.

Security is also important to Xendpay. It offers data protection and takes part in anti-money laundering initiatives. It also uses up-to-date internet security protocols.

Xendpay is available online or for Android and iOS.

Wise

Wise is an online money transfer service provider that offers mid-market exchange rates, which makes them a viable choice for expats in Spain.

Wise (Formally TransferWise) Logo

When you use Wise, you’ll pay a percentage fee. Moreover, when compared to other providers its rates are competitive.

On a USD1,000 transfer to Spain, for instance, Wise charges a percentage fee of USD10.43 along with the USD2.59 bank fee for ACH transfers — the least expensive option on its website. In the end, you’d wind up with EUR835.68.

That USD1,000 transfer would cost more, however, if you paid with a wire transfer, debit card, or credit card – keep in mind credit card companies take 1 percent to 3 percent of your transfer.

  • wire transfer — USD5.64 fee
  • debit card — USD11.27 fee
  • credit card — USD37.44 fee

Wise transfers are also quick. You’ll get your money in one-day if initiate the transfer on Mondays through Thursdays.

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When it comes to your money’s security, Wise has a fraud team, sends real-time notifications so you know when money has been moved into or out of your account, and offers data protection.

Wise is available on laptop or Android and iOS app, and verifying your account takes a few minutes if you have all your requirements in order.

Check out our in-depth review of Wise.

Bank Transfers

If you’re sending a few thousand dollars to Spain, it’s best to use an online money transfer service like Xendpay or Wise and forgo banks altogether.

Using banks, though, makes sense when you have to send large sums of money – like USD10,000 or more. This is because banks charge a fixed fee (as opposed to a percentage fee) along with their exchange rate fees.

So instead of paying a 3 percent fee of USD300 on a USD10,000 transfer, you’d pay a fixed fee of just USD45 if you used Bank of America. Barclay’s in the U.K., to contrast would charge a fixed fee of GBP40.

However, these banks don’t always reveal exchange rate fees. But in general, they have been known to charge between 2 percent and 4 percent in exchange rates fees.

Bank transfers are just as fast as online transfers as well. The money will reach your Spanish bank account in one to two business days.

Using banks could be a bit more or hassle, however, because if they don’t have a dedicated transfer service on their website, you’d have to call them or go to the bank to make a transfer, which may not always be an option.

Western Union

You should only use Western Union to send money to Spain in the event of financial emergencies, as their fees are quite high compared to banks and online money transfer service providers.

western union

Western Union doesn’t disclose its transfer fees, but it usually charges between 4 percent and 5 percent of the mid-market exchange rate.

So, if you send USD1,000 to Spain using Western Union and a bank transfer, which would take up to four days, you’d only get EUR823.

For same-day transfers using credit or debit cards, you’d pay the following fees:

  • credit card – USD29.99 fee
  • debit card – USD2.99 fee

Western Union is one of the more established money transfer providers, so even if it is expensive, you can guarantee your money will be secure.

Moreover, Western Union’s website is a lot more user friendly than if you were sending money to Spain using a bank’s website.

PayPal

You can use PayPal’s Xoom to send money to Spain as well.

For a USD1,000 transfer into Spain, Xoom would take 2 percent to 4 percent of your transfer in exchange rate fees in addition to a debit or credit card fee of USD30.49, which means you’d get EUR826.10 in the end.

As you can tell, Xoom is one of the more expensive options on this list. But it’s transfer speed is quite good. You’ll have your money in Spain in under three hours.

Because Xoom is a subsidiary of PayPay, you can guarantee your money will be secure during the transfer. It uses data encryption and fraud monitoring on every transfer.

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Its website is user friendly, too, and links to your PayPal account. You can also Xoom on Android and iOS.

ATM Withdrawals

ATMs in Spain normally charge a fee of around EUR0.95 to EUR5.95 to withdrawal money, but there are a few banks that do not charge fees, such as Kutxabank, Ibercaja, and Banca March.

Having said that, by law each ATM in Spain must show what fee it’s charging. So, if you want to know whether an ATM is free or not, slide your card in and wait for the pop-up screen to display the fee – or not.

Just because an ATM in Spain is free, however, doesn’t mean you won’t have to pay any fees in your home country. Banks outside of Spain usually charge a USD2 to USD5 dollar withdraw fee and a 2 percent to 3 percent currency exchange fee.

This means a withdrawal of USD1,000 from an ATM in Spain could get you EUR819.28 on average.

Cryptocurrency

Spain does have Bitcoin ATMs in and around Barcelona, Madrid, and all around the region of Malaga.

If you have to withdrawal from a Bitcoin ATM while in the country, check out this Bitcoin ATM locator. Because of the volatility of cryptocurrencies, it would be hard to give a fair percentage of fees.

Moreover, there are a few shops that you can use your Bitcoins in, such as Zalando, Foot Locker, Mango, and El Corte Inglés.

The Best Method to Send Money To Spain

According to the table below, Xendpay is your best choice when transferring money into Spain, even for amounts of up to USD10,000.

However, as you get past USD10,000, bank transfers tend to give you more EUR in the end.

MethodSpeedUSD1,000USD10,000
Wise1 to 3 daysEUR835.68EUR8,360.77
Xendpay1 to 3 daysEUR840EUR8,406
Bank Transfers1 to 2 daysEUR799.55EUR8,405.53
Western Union1 to 5 daysEUR823EUR8,230
PayPal1 dayEUR826.10EUR8,261
ATMInstantEUR819.28NA

With these numbers in mind, let’s look at the options that are best for expats from specific countries.

Country-Specific Recommendation

If you’re sending money to Spain from the U.S., the U.K., or Canada here are your best options for transfers.

United States

Xendpay is your best choice when sending up to USD10,000 to Spain from the U.S. But once you pass the USD10,000 mark, your next best choice it to use a bank transfer.

However, make sure you bank charges a fixed fee and not a percentage fee. If they charge a fixed fee that is lower than Xendpay’s percentage fee, go with a bank transfer. If not, stick with Xendpay.

United Kingdom

If you have to send money from the U.K. to Spain, Xendpay is your go-to pick, especially since they have a “pay what you want” option for international transfers of up to GBP2,000.

For larger transfers, you can still stick with Xendpay, but as you increase the transfer amount over GBP10,000, you may want to use a bank such as Barclay’s. Barclay’s charges a fixed fee of around GBP40 for transfers to Spain.

Canada

When sending money from Canada to Spain, use Xendpay to get the most EUR on the receiving end, as they beat out Wise when it comes to total amounts received just by a tad.

For transfers up to CAD10,000, Xendpay is still a viable option, but once you pass that number Scotiabank may be a better choice.

The bank charges just CAD19 for international money transfers into Spain.

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Now, on to You

Now that you know the options you have when sending money to Spain, you can make the best choice based on how much you’re going to send and from which country you’re transferring from.

However, remember to check out Monito to find out which money transfer service providers will get you the best rates on your next transfer into the country.

Jason Newey is a Brittish expat living in Thailand. He has been a freelance writer and English teacher since 2001, having worked in China, Australia, Spain, and Thailand. Apart from teaching and writing, he has a great love for football and considers himself a die-hard Aston Villa fan.

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