£60 bank charges to send £100 to a friend in Nepal

Sending £100 to help a friend who had suffered during the Nepal earthquake turned in to an expensive business. Photograph: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

Sending £100 to help a friend who had suffered during the Nepal earthquake turned in to an expensive business. Photograph: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters


We wished to send £100 to a Nepalese friend following the terrible earthquake, and paid our bank, Santander, a £25 administrative fee. However, we were upset to hear that our friend has received only £65, as an extra £35 has “disappeared” in further bank charges en route to Nepal.

Santander says it is not responsible for the other bank’s charges, but at no time were we warned that this would happen. This seems very unjust, at a particularly difficult time for him. The banks have gained on his misfortune, which doesn’t feel fair or ethical.

It’s not fair to blame Santander for the receiving bank’s charges although, ideally, you would have been told that the receiving bank would likely impose its own fees. However, the first rule of sending money abroad – and the moral of the tale – is not to go anywhere near your high street bank.

The charges they levy are hugely undercut, and the service is usually vastly improved, by the many currency companies that operate in this area – and this is always the way to go. There are many to choose from: CaxtonFX, HiFx or Azimo to name but three of the well-established names.

Had you used the latter, for example, your friend would have received 15,678 Nepal rupees – at an effective fee of just over £2 – helped by the fact that it is waiving its normal £1 charge for transfers to Nepal at the moment.

The big banks continue to get away with charging £25 in such instances because people aren’t aware that there is an alternative.


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