Paying by international bank transfer

Sending money by international bank transfer is very easy, even if you have never done it before. Banks are familiar with sending money this way and they will help you, but you must give them clear instructions.

An example helps to illustrate

If the bank quotes a Euro exchange rate on the day of 1.273000 and we have quoted you £450 then you will be asked to pay Euro 572.85. The calculation is:

450 X 1.273 = 572.85

You will also be asked to pay an additional transfer fee, which in our experience averages about £6-10. Anything more and you should consider asking another bank to do the transfer, or at least question it.

If you or the bank hides the fee by subtracting the amount from the money you send, we cannot tell if the bank is being dishonest. To date, we have always given our guests the benefit of the doubt, given the disreputable behaviour of banks in the last 20 years.

For direct transfers we also use Transferwise (now Wise) which has very low charges for transfers, compared with banks.

In extremis, if you have to pay by credit card, we will accept payments through Paypal, but we ask that you add 3%, which is the standard fee.


We have always quoted our prices in Pounds Sterling, but have found that at least half of our customers pay the wrong amount. We have got used to unexpected or unexplained charges by our bank, but most of the time it seems that people send the wrong amount of money. We assume this is not a deliberate act by our guests, but down to misunderstanding.

Maybe the process of sending money in a different currency is unclear or that the bank has asked you whether you wish to transfer your charges to us. A few words about both seem necessary.

When we quote you £450, we expect to receive exactly £450, less anything our bank charges (varies from nothing to £6).

Like budget plane tickets or a sofa from Ikea, you pay the ticket price plus any surcharges if you are using a credit card. The supplier of goods passes this cost to the customer and so do we.

Bank transfers attract variable fees. Some are very low and some are quite high. The exchange rate may also hide the real cost of transfer. But the way to look at it is that if you buy a product in another currency on the internet, you will pay the exact amount in that currency at the prevailing exchange rate calculated by your card provider. You don’t always have a lot of choice over the timing of your payment.

The question is, how do you send the exact amount? There is no mystery.

First how not to do it. If you ask your bank to send your estimate, then we will almost certainly receive the incorrect amount. You do not have to estimate anything, rather you ask your bank to do the calculations for you so the correct amount is sent.

Here is how to do it right. Tell the bank you want to send £450 in sterling. You will be quoted the exchange rate (remember this is the bank’s offer rate, not something you found in yesterday’s newspaper, nor on the internet and not the moneylender down the road). This is often more competitive than the tourist exchange rate, but it is always a good idea to check the rate is reasonable, as some banks like PayPal build margin into the exchange rate.

If the bank asks you whether you wish to transfer the charges to us by reducing the amount you send, the answer is a categorical NO! This would encourage banks to charge what they like and is contractually dubious.