How to receive a bank transfer from abroad

Money By Fabien Lesage Jun 2, 2022

Receive a bank transfer from abroad, in brief

Whether your birthday is coming up or someone owes you money, understanding how to receive a bank transfer from abroad makes collecting money far easier.

With this straightforward guide to receive a bank transfer from abroad to France, you’ll be able to prepare for any payments properly.

We’ll examine how to receive money from abroad, how long a transfer takes and what potential fees and delays to expect.


In this guide


The different ways to receive money from abroad

Money transfer

You can receive money from abroad via a bank transfer directly from the sender’s bank account into yours.

To receive a bank transfer from abroad, you’ll need to provide the sender with your:

  • Bank details
  • Full name
  • Bank account number
  • Sort code
  • IBAN/SWIFT codes (these will be on your online banking account).

Receive the money in cash

In some cases, you can receive money as cash. All you’ll need to do is visit your local branch or pickup point. You’ll need to take the transaction number and a valid ID to be able to collect the cash. Some providers may also offer home cash delivery for an additional charge if you’d rather have it delivered to your door.


Some money transfer services have digital or mobile wallet options. It’s still quite a new service and isn’t as common as other options, but it can be a hugely convenient and straightforward way of receiving a bank transfer from abroad.

Money orders and cheques

One of the most traditional ways of receiving money is by cheque, and some people still prefer this method. Your sender can request a bank draft from their bank or financial institution and then send the cheque to you. You can then deposit it in your bank account.


How long does it take to receive money from abroad?

It can take between one and five days for a bank transfer from abroad to France to clear, but it can depend on which method of transfer your sender uses. In some cases, it can be instantaneous (this is typically the case with cash transfers). Other methods may take longer.

The overall transfer time depends on various factors, such as the:

  • Transfer provider
  • Country of origin
  • Destination
  • Currencies involved
  • Type of transfer
  • Date and time the sender initiated the transfer (weekday, public holiday, etc).

On more common transfer routes, bank transfers from abroad to France are more likely to be instant. However, for rarer routes, you may have to wait longer.


What can impact the amount you receive?

Suppose you receive a payment of €300 from abroad. However, when you check your bank statement, you only see an incoming amount of €250. This may be due to many factors. Before you call your sender or bank, make sure your money transfer hasn’t been impacted by any of the following.

Exchange rate

The foreign exchange rate can significantly impact how much you receive. If you know how much money you’re being sent, you may be able to estimate the amount you’ll receive using the exchange rate. But be aware that some banks apply a markup on the rate you’ll see online and offer a slightly different rate of exchange.


Some banks charge a fee to receive a bank transfer from abroad to a French account. This is more common when receiving money from abroad because the bank may have to change the currency of the payment.

You may also find some money missing from your payment if your sender has opted to deduct their own costs from the amount they send, rather than paying transfer fees upfront.

The total cost of these charges will depend on the bank you use.


Fees associated with an international transfer

The sender pays most of the fees associated with an international transfer so that the recipient does not have to pay additional costs when receiving the money.

However, you may have to pay some of the costs associated with receiving funds from abroad. These can include:

  • Intermediation fees – Most international money transfers are sent via the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), a global network of banks for processing international payments. Money transfers move through one or more intermediary banks before reaching your account. These intermediary banks may charge a fee, which the sender can choose to pay upfront or have deducted from the amount sent.
  • Receiving charges – Money transfer fees and most other charges are normally the sender’s responsibility. However, your bank may charge a fee for processing and depositing payments in a foreign currency. They’ll generally deduct the cost from the total amount you receive.


What is the maximum amount you can receive from abroad?

While there’s no real limit on how much you can receive in a bank transfer from abroad to France, most banks curb the amount that can be sent in a:

  • Single transfer
  • Day
  • Week

If you’re supposed to receive a large lump sum, your sender may have to arrange to send the money in several smaller chunks.

Your bank may also have limits on how much they can automatically convert into another currency, which could curb the amount you can receive.

Remember, there may also be some legal complications when receiving bank transfers from specific countries. Speak to your bank to check for any limits that could impact the transaction before arranging to receive a bank transfer from abroad.


What information do you need to give to the sender?

The amount of information you need to provide to your sender depends on how you’re planning to receive the money.

For example, if you’re going to collect the cash in person, you’ll need to provide your:

  • Name
  • Address
  • ID

If you have the money transferred to a digital wallet, you’ll need to give your sender the specific details of your eWallet account to ensure a smooth transfer.

Receiving a bank transfer from abroad typically requires giving your sender the most information. In these cases, you’ll have to provide your:

  • Full name
  • Home address
  • Bank account number (or IBAN)
  • Bank’s SWIFT or BIC code
  • Bank’s name and address


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