How I Transfer Money from Spain to the U.S.

Living abroad complicates life, and that includes transferring money from Europe to the U.S. I have a bank account here with Santander (yes, I know, they’re evil), as well as one back home with a local bank. Whereas transferring money within Spain and the European Union is beyond easy, transferring money back home was proving to be more difficult.

Last year, I found myself in a complicated situation. I had purchased plane tickets for me, Mario, and my in-laws on my credit card, all gain more points and thus more frequent flyer miles. Before this point, I had used Paypal and found it to work just fine. However, this time the amount was too high, and Paypal wouldn’t let me transfer more than $2500 at a time. Frustrating, because I needed to pay my credit card bill! What was I to do?

Luckily, I soon found out about my favorite service: Transferwise.Transferwise allows you to send money without any of those hidden fees, and I love it! I paid about $10 to transfer over $2500, and the exchange rates were the best I’ve found! And my money arrived in less than five business days. That’s quick!

But how does it work?

1. You transfer the money to their bank account, whether in the U.S. or in Europe

I did this at my bank. I just walked in, gave them the transfer information, and signed. That was it! I’m sure you may even be able to do this online.

2. They send the money to your other account.

For example, from Spain to the U.S., I provided them with my routing number. No Swift numbers, no IBANs, nothing. Just the plain old routing number as well as your account number, full name, and the state in which you have the account. All of the numbers that can be found easily on your checks. Since the money’s sent via a U.S.-based checking account, there are no charges to receive the transfers. (You can also use a debit card, but there is a price limit.)

From Spain to the U.S., you’d have to provide them with the number found on your libreta.

3. You take out the money!

Or use it to pay credit card bills or buy things off Amazon. It’s really that easy.

How much do they charge, exactly? €1 or 0.5%, or whichever is larger. Of course, you’ll be charged the equivalent in your currencies. As many banks will charge €10 or have large minimums, Transferwise is especially good for relatively small transactions.

Check it out!

Note: I did not get paid by Transferwise to write this article; I just like what they do. If you click on my link to use Transferwise, your first transfer is free and I get a chance to win a bonus gift! Thank you.

 

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13 comments

    1. It’s not so bad. Just don’t pick Santander like we did. Only good if you have a certain amount of money in your account at all times.

        1. I highly recommend La Caixa. Setting up an account with them was no muss, no fuss and they have amazing online banking. When my bag got stolen, I went online to request a new debit card and I had it within a week. When I had to transfer all my money back to the USA and close my account, it was very easy too. I would easily use them again if I were to move back to Spain. :)

  1. I, too, have Santander. I was super reluctant to sign up with them after all the horror stories I’d heard but, alas, that’s the bank that my boyfriend’s family uses where they know everyone who works there, so Santander it was. It hasn’t been too bad except the 500€ minimum average balance that my account has to have is killer on an auxiliar salary. Anyways I’ve done TransferWise transfers with them both online and in the bank and I prefer online. They’re both equally complicated, but online I have the peace of mind of knowing that I personally typed everything in correctly and I’m comfortably in my own home. They charged me around 0.20€ to do the transfers though, both online and in the bank.

  2. Thank you so much for posting this. My boyfriend and I were planning on doing a transfer today actually, but I had no idea how to do it!

  3. Ah! I just put a similar disclaimer at the bottom of my latest blog post that is jam-packed with links to businesses. I just liked what they all did and was happy to pass on their info. I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t always need to “get something in return” when promoting brands we believe in. And thanks for the info! Handling money over here can get tricky and don’t even get me started on the exchange rate and fees. Oy vey.

  4. This is an extremely helpful post – thanks Kaley! I’ll be closing down my bank account in July before I move home forever (wahhhh), so this is really good to know.

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