Whether you’re transferring money to help a family member, sending a gift for a friend’s birthday, or making a payment, it’s important to understand the maximum amount for an international transfer. That way, you know exactly how much you can send at any given time.
When making an international bank transfer, the maximum amount you can send often varies depending on the bank. Thresholds can also differ across defined periods, from maximum limits per transfer, to daily, weekly and monthly caps.
Our guide will help you learn more about the rules and maximum amounts for international transfers, so you’ll know what to expect next time you send money to long-distance friends and loved ones.
In this article
- The different types of international transfers
- What is the maximum amount for an international transfer?
- How to increase your transfer threshold
- Some interesting rules to be aware of
- FAQs and guides
There are two main types of international transfers available – SEPA and SWIFT.
SEPA (single euro payments area) relates to money transfers that use euros as the currency. The transfer has to be between two banks that form part of the SEPA zone.
SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) transfers work outside of the SEPA zone, using a foreign currency to complete the transfer. They are generally the most common type of international transfer.
The maximum amount for an international transfer can vary between banks. Some banks may also offer different exchange rates and charge various transfer fees for international transfers.
Usually, SEPA transfers deal with international payments within the SEPA zone the same way as domestic transfers – though this may vary between banks. Outside the SEPA zone, banks are free to apply their own limits and tariffs to each money transfer.
As a general rule, banks adhere to a cap of €15,000 for instant SEPA transfers. However, certain banks may still place lower limits on SEPA and SWIFT transfers. If you’d like to find out how they affect you, it’s important to confirm with your bank personally.
The maximum amount for an international transfer is subject to the periods defined by each bank. For example, the following banks offer varying limits, which may be subject to change:
- Société Générale – €4,000 per day to an external account.
- LCL – €2,000 over three days.
- Caisse d’Épargne – €5,000 per transaction, €10,000 per day, €20,000 per week, and €25,000 per month.
- BNP Paribas – €6,000 per day.
- Hello Bank – €6,000 per day (SEPA or SWIFT).
- Banque Populaire – €20,000 per day, €60,000 per month.
- Crédit Agricole – €3,000 per day.
- La Banque Postale – €3,000 per day for a registered beneficiary; €500 per day for an unregistered beneficiary.
Money transfers are monitored by TRAFCIN, a department of the Ministry of Economy and Finance. Its aim is to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorism, which includes auditing abnormal financial flows. Therefore, your bank may ask you to justify your international transfers according to its compliance criteria – so you might want to consider this when arranging larger transfers.
How long do international transfers take?
Though it can vary between individual banks, you can typically complete a SEPA transfer in less than 48 hours.
SEPA transfers are known for being a quick alternative for international transfers within the European SEPA zone, whereas SWIFT transfers can take three to five working days to complete.
If you’re looking to change or increase your international transfer limit, some banks may be flexible for individual cases. If they agree to waive the limit, you may be able to negotiate new terms personally with your bank.
Whether your bank will allow you to increase your threshold is at its discretion. To start this conversation with your bank, you should get in touch by:
- Speaking to a banking representative in person.
- Enquiring via online banking.
- Calling a representative on the telephone.
In most cases, you should be able to make an international transfer straight from your bank account. However, some accounts may need the bank to activate an international transfer first. Before you get started, here are a few important factors to note:
- You can’t transfer money from a savings account – If you want to transfer some savings internationally, you have to make an internal transfer from your savings account to a current account first.
- You must register a beneficiary before making a transfer – All beneficiaries must be registered and verified before sending money their way, which you can often do online.
- It can take up to 72 hours to complete the registration of a beneficiary – This is important to be aware of for short-notice transfers. After this time, future payments will not have this delay.
- What are the fees associated with international transfers?
- What is the delay for a bank transfer?
- How to receive a bank transfer from abroad