International money transfers in the Netherlands

Need to make an international money transfer in the Netherlands? This guide explains how to do it securely and without breaking the bank.

The Netherlands is a leading country for online banking which makes it more convenient for expats who need to receive and transfer money internationally. However, you should be aware of the additional costs and security concerns that are tied to sending money abroad. Get informed with this guide that covers the following key topics:

International money transfers in the Netherlands

The Dutch Central Bank (DNB) is responsible for secure and reliable payment systems, including money transfers in the Netherlands. Dutch law requires all means of payment to meet the regulations for the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA).

As such, people and businesses can make and receive euro payments across the European Union (EU) as easily as transactions are made currently within national borders, using IBAN (International Bank Account Number) and BIC (Business Identifier Code). In this case, the payment or international money transfer will not generally incur an additional cost. 

Woman using her phone in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

However, if you transfer money to a SEPA country that does not use the euro as its currency, you might pay more due to the exchange rate. You will probably need to pay a fee to make an international money transfer to a non-SEPA country. These fees can vary widely depending on which Netherlands bank or service you use to make the transfer.

Online international money transfer services in the Netherlands

You have a number of options in the Netherlands for making an international money transfer. Some popular apps and money transfer websites include:

Before choosing a provider, be sure to use Monito’s comparison platform to check the costs and fees involved with each.

How to make an online international money transfer in the Netherlands:

  1. Open an account Most services will require you to make a password protected account that includes your personal details such as your date of birth and email address. You might need to also verify your identity. 
  2. Choose the amount to send – Now you can specify your currency and the currency that you want the service to transfer the payment into. 
  3. Determine the delivery speed – In most cases, you will have a choice of approximately how fast you want the transfer to be completed – usually between one and five days. However, you will usually pay much more in fees for a quick transfer. 
  4. Add recipient’s details – You will need your recipient’s name and  account number. You may also need to enter their email address or another contact method. Make sure you have these details ready.
  5. Pay the transfer amount and additional fees – You can now pay the money to your chosen transfer company via credit or debit card or via a regular bank transfer. The service provider may have different fees based on the payment options.
  6. Finish the transfer – After the money clears the service provider, they send it to your recipient. The transfer might take a couple of days, depending on which option you chose. Once the money reaches the recipient, you should get a notification from the service.

If someone has sent you money via an online money transfer service, your part is easy. As long as you have provided the sender with all the correct details, you should receive the money in your account and get a notification that the transfer was successful. 

Security for online international money transfers

International money transfers are very common and generally safe. In Europe, online providers are subject to European rules designed to protect people who use payment services. That said, there are a few things that you can watch out for to protect yourself and your money. 

  • Choose your provider carefully. Don’t just look at their rates; also look at their levels of service and methods of support in case something goes wrong.
  • Look online for the mid-market rate, also known as inter-bank rate. This is the real exchange rate that banks use to transfer money between themselves. You can find it on Google Finance, Reuters, and XE, among other sites. This way, you can tell if the service provider is offering you an unfair rate. 
  • Be aware of hidden fees, which banks and most providers add on top of the exchange rate. 
  • Make sure you know your recipient. Don’t fall victim to a money transfer scam.

International money transfers in the Netherlands by traditional bank

As mentioned, SEPA makes it easy and safe to transfer money to recipients to other SEPA countries. There’s no difference between domestic and cross-border euro payments in Europe. International bank account numbers (IBAN) are used for euro accounts and a bank identification code (BIC) is used to process payments between banks. If you’re going to transfer money to a bank in a non-SEPA country, you will pay a fee for the service and the difference in the currency exchange rate. 

If you’re doing business from the Netherlands that results in a lot of international money transfers, you might consider opening a Foreign Currency Account or a local account abroad. These options can help you to save money on transfer costs. You can ask your bank about the possibilities.  

Costs of international bank transfers

The amount that you pay for an international bank transfer can depend on if you are sending money to a recipient in the eurozone or the EU or to a bank in a country that does not use the euro and is not an EU member state. 

When you use a currency converter, you can view three rates. The mid-market rate is the fairest rate. Banks generally apply the sell- or buy-rate rate for transfers outside the eurozone or that involve foreign currency. This rate is not as favorable. Additionally, you will likely need to pay a fee imposed by your bank. Your recipient’s bank will likely also have a fee. You can often choose how you will pay:

  • OUR: you bear all costs. No costs may be withheld by the intermediary bank. The full amount will arrive at the beneficiary’s bank.
  • SHA: you share the costs with the recipient (shared). You will be charged a rate for this by your bank and the recipient will be charged by his bank. Usually additional costs are charged by intermediary banks. 
  • BEN: you will not be charged. The beneficiary bears all costs, including those incurred by your bank.

Money transfers to a European Economic Area (EEA) country can only be processed on the basis of shared cost allocation (SHA) due to laws and regulations. This applies to all currencies.

How long do international bank transfers take?

An international payment between EU banks generally takes five business days. You should contact your local bank if the payment has been delayed.

International payments outside the EU do not have a time limit so be sure to check the time estimate from your bank before you make the transfer. The transfer time can also depend on the country of the recipient bank. Some banks will enable you to pay extra for a faster transfer and your bank should be able to provide you with those details. 

How to make an international money transfer in the Netherlands by bank

Most banks require you to make an international money transfer online, either through the website or mobile app of your bank. You will need to log in to your account to get started. Then you can select the option to make a transfer and choose the currency. Here are the other things you should know for the transfer:

  • You will need to know the IBAN number for your recipient. The number starts with a two-digit country code, then two numbers, followed by several more alphanumeric characters.
  • If you transfer to a country where IBAN is not used, you will need to provide the BIC code, also sometimes called SWIFT. You can find the BIC code on the website of the receiving bank, or ask the recipient of your payment.
  • In addition to the BIC code, a National Bank Code is mandatory for a number of countries. This is shown automatically when selecting the country.
  • Some countries have other specific requirements and your bank should be able to provide you with those details. 
  • If your payment order is incomplete or incorrect, the foreign bank can refuse and return your order. Sometimes this happens after the bank has already deducted the extra fees. In that case, you will not receive the full amount that you have transferred.

How to receive an international money transfer in the Netherlands by bank

If someone wants to send money to your bank from their international bank, you will need to provide the sender with your IBAN number and they may need the BIC/SWIFT code of your bank.

Be sure you provide them with the correct name and contact information from your account. You might need to pay a fee to your bank to receive the money transfer. 

International money transfers via online and mobile banking in the Netherlands 

Online and mobile banking is very popular in the Netherlands so it’s easy to find a service to transfer money internationally in this way. Most Dutch banks already give you the option or even require you to make your money transfer via the bank website or mobile app.

Additionally, you can find banks that only provide their services online and do not have any physical locations in the Netherlands. These digital banks include:

Both of these online banks are a partner of Wise money transfer service, so the steps and experience will be very much the same. The banks enable you to pay a low monthly fee for international transfers. As such, it could be a good option if you plan to make international money transfers on a regular basis.

Wire transfers in the Netherlands

If you need to send money internationally without the use of a bank, a wire transfer might be a good option. Western Union and Moneygram are two of the primary wire transfer providers worldwide that operate in the Netherlands. With these services, you can send money online from your bank account, credit card, or debit card via the website or mobile app.

Additionally, they have physical locations throughout the country where you can take your cash to send it. Your recipient can also pick up cash from a location near them. In some countries, you can send and receive money from a mobile wallet. 

Here’s how a wire transfer typically works online: 

1. Start a transfer on the website or app by entering the destination country and the amount you would like to send. Choose the payout method: directly to a bank account, for cash pick up, or to a mobile wallet. 

2. Enter your receiver’s details.

3. Pay for your money transfer via credit/debit card or with your bank account.

4. You will receive a tracking number for your transaction. Share this number with your receiver to track the funds. If sending to a mobile wallet, the wire transfer service should send you and your receiver a confirmation when the money is delivered.

In order to to make the transfer in person, you can use the company’s website to find a participating wire transfer agent near you. A wire transfer can be completed within minutes or take 3-5 business days. As with all money transfers, you will pay more for your recipient to get the money faster. The other costs can vary, depending on how and where you send the money. Your credit card provider might also charge you if you use your card to transfer money so be sure to check in advance. 

Furthermore, you should pay close attention to the exchange rate if you are sending in another currency as it may not be the most favorable rate. Sending money via Western Union and Moneygram is secure, but beware of scams that use fraudulent claims to get you to send them money. Always double-check that you know exactly who you are sending money to. 

Foreign exchange brokers in the Netherlands 

Another option for transferring money abroad is a dedicated foreign exchange (FX or forex) company. The Netherlands has many brokers to choose from, but be aware that forex brokers are not required to become authorized by the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) to accept residents of the Netherlands as customers. Here is a look at some of the most popular options:

  • IG 
  • Saxo Bank 
  • XTB 
  • Swissquote 

If you’re planning to send large sums of money abroad, using a forex broker can be a convenient option. Some benefits offered by FX brokers include free transfers, online money transfers, better exchange rates, 24-hour support, and access to online tools such as foreign exchange alerts, and the ability to set your own desired exchange rate.

You must first deposit the funds you want to be transferred into the FX broker’s account. In general, this usually happens online, although other options exist such as direct payment from your bank. After this, they exchange your money and send it abroad. Keep in mind that your FX broker might offer a free transfer, but your own bank may charge a fee to transfer the money into the broker’s account. However, this will typically be the cost of a local bank transfer (or free) if you use a broker who has a bank account in the same country, or if it is a euro transfer within the EU and qualifies under the SEPA agreement.

Regulations to prevent money laundering in the Netherlands 

The Dutch Central Bank (DNB) and the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) supervise financial transactions. Therefore, it might not be possible for you to make a money transfer to certain countries that are being financially sanctioned by the Netherlands and the EU.

Your money transfers can also be scrutinized according to the country’s Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing Act. The Netherlands has recently updated laws against money transfer scams and different types of money laundering. Guilty persons face jail time of three months to eight years or a fine of up to €87,000. International money transfers in the Netherlands

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