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How to transfer money internationally in Barcelona

Written by Eric

If you are new to Barcelona and are still trying to get the hang of how the Spanish banking system works, here are a few notes to help you understand how to transfer money internationally.

Cash to Cash

Western Union, MoneyGram, and Ria are the most popular ways of sending money abroad. Go to any of these centers and give them the amount of cash you want to have transferred.  The house will convert the currency from the home country into Euros and transfer it. You can also do your transactions on-line.  Please check with the provider about service fees, which vary from the amount sent, expedite costs, and if the transactions are done online or in person.

Related article: How to save money in Barcelona

Transaction apps

Photo via Visualhunt

Photo via Visualhunt

There are several apps for your mobile that allow you to receive the money needed in no time.  All you need is to sign up and link your Bank information with your app. PayPal, Google Wallet, Square Cash, and Venmo are some of the most popular ones. There is no need to walk in an office. There are a ton of uses for these apps, other than transferring or receiving money.  Check out their web pages to see which one is suitable for your needs.


Did you know that Facebook messenger has its own payment system?  Send a message to someone on Facebook, hit the dollar sign ($), put in the amount to send, as well as your debit card information and you’re done!

Related article: Banks in Barcelona

Bank Transfers

Do you have doubts about the IBAN and BIC/SWIFT Code?  This important information is needed to get your cash deposited into your European bank account.  The International Bank Account Number (IBAN) Bank Identifier Code (BIC) and The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication Code (SWIFT) consist of 8 or 11 characters.  The first eight digits are in reference to the primary office.  You would see the numbers like this in your account:

AAAA   BB       CC      DD

   (1)        (2)        (3)       (4)

Photo via Visualhunt

Photo via Visualhunt

(First) four characters: bank code (only letters)

Next two characters: 1 alpha – 2 country code

Next two characters: the location code (letters and digits)

(Last) three characters: normally refer to the branch code

Once this information is in hand, the amount to be transferred, as well as processing fees are applicable. Depending on the bank, you may have to wait 1 to 5 business days for the money to be in your account.

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About the author


Eric is an American English teacher with a passion for Barcelona.

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