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    • Alisonjane1
    • By Alisonjane1 3rd Jan 18, 12:34 PM
    • 6Posts
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    Alisonjane1
    European state pensions paid in UK
    • #1
    • 3rd Jan 18, 12:34 PM
    European state pensions paid in UK 3rd Jan 18 at 12:34 PM
    Hi there. Does anyone know how European state pensions are paid to accoutns in the UK. I worked in France and Belgium for several years and will get small pensions from both countries. What I can't seem to find out is if I will have to pay transfer fees on receipt of these pensions. My own bank (TSB) has told me a fee is payable every time an electronic transfer is paid into a UK account (£2 for a payment under £100 and £7 for a payment of more than £100).
    I was told by UK pension authorities in Newcastle that when UK pensions are paid in France etc there is no transfer fee.
    Can anyone enlighten me? Are there other banks that do not charge or who charge less? I cannot be the only person in this position.
    Thanks in advance for your help.
Page 1
    • steampowered
    • By steampowered 3rd Jan 18, 1:15 PM
    • 2,064 Posts
    • 1,939 Thanks
    steampowered
    • #2
    • 3rd Jan 18, 1:15 PM
    • #2
    • 3rd Jan 18, 1:15 PM
    I imagine these fees will be due to the currency conversion.

    A lot of the banks charge for converting foreign currency into pounds when you receive the payment. And you get hit twice because the banks may also give you a poor exchange rate.

    You could consider opening a Euro account. You can do this in the UK - plenty of the high street banks will let you have a UK account in a foreign currency.

    You could then use a specialist transfer service (like transferwise or hifx) to convert the money into pounds at a lower fee and better exchange rate. This also gives you control over when to do the transfer - e.g. you could change the money into pounds once every 6 months rather than once a month to save on fees.
    • JezR
    • By JezR 3rd Jan 18, 3:37 PM
    • 1,515 Posts
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    JezR
    • #3
    • 3rd Jan 18, 3:37 PM
    • #3
    • 3rd Jan 18, 3:37 PM
    With UK pensions paid overseas they are in general paid in the currency of the country, by whomever has the contract to administer the payments at the time (has been RBS and Citibank). You would need to check with the French and Belgian authorities as to their practice.

    As to an account in euros, as another option Revolut will set one up which can receive third party payments, which you can then convert to sterling through the app when you like.
    • Alisonjane1
    • By Alisonjane1 3rd Jan 18, 4:47 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Alisonjane1
    • #4
    • 3rd Jan 18, 4:47 PM
    • #4
    • 3rd Jan 18, 4:47 PM
    Thanks for replying. I am waiting for an answer from the Belgian authorities to see which bank/body they use but I had the impression that TSB would still charge me even if the money arrived in sterling, which I don't really understand!
    • woolly_wombat
    • By woolly_wombat 3rd Jan 18, 5:28 PM
    • 507 Posts
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    woolly_wombat
    • #5
    • 3rd Jan 18, 5:28 PM
    • #5
    • 3rd Jan 18, 5:28 PM
    If you have lived and worked in several different EU countries then you need to apply to the pension authority in the country where you are now living. Lots of details here, including the different retirement ages applicable to various EU states etc:
    https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/work/retire-abroad/state-pensions-abroad/index_en.htm

    In the case of the UK you need to contact the International Pension Centre in Newcastle. They should coordinate all the payments so I don't understand why a transfer fee would be due. Contact details here:
    https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/national-contact-points/united-kingdom/index_en.htm?topic=work&contacts=id-611493

    Are you claiming in the next few months, i.e. before the March 2019 Brexit deadline?
    • Alisonjane1
    • By Alisonjane1 4th Jan 18, 8:14 AM
    • 6 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Alisonjane1
    • #6
    • 4th Jan 18, 8:14 AM
    • #6
    • 4th Jan 18, 8:14 AM
    Hi Woolly Wombat. I have all the forms from Newcastle. I want to apply for my Belgian pension now as am elgiible for it in May. France will be next year. Hoping to get in before the Brexit deadline as again no-one can tell me whether this will affect me or not.
    The fees mentioned seem to be levied by the bank receiving the payments, because they will be coming from a foreign bank. I find it hard to believe that there is not another way. I wonder if this applies also to UK citizens living in mainland Europe, and if not why the same system cannot be used the other way round.
    Can anyone else shed any light on this?
    • greenglide
    • By greenglide 4th Jan 18, 11:02 AM
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    greenglide
    • #7
    • 4th Jan 18, 11:02 AM
    • #7
    • 4th Jan 18, 11:02 AM
    I wonder if this applies also to UK citizens living in mainland Europe, and if not why the same system cannot be used the other way round
    UK state pensions used to be paid by Citibank and I assume they still have the contract.

    DWP pays the sterling amount to Citibank. Citibank then convert this into the currency of the country where the payment is to be made. I assume this conversion is done at the exchange rate applicable at the time and this amount is paid into the recipient's bank account. Since the is a payment in the currency of the account there should not be any extra charges. Of course the bank concerned may make charges for any payments in, other countries will not, necessarily have "free" banking as we do.

    This is a commercial agreement between Citibank and DWP, "reversing" it would make no sense and would be impossible. If the overseas pension chooses to make the payment in its own currency rather than in sterling there isn't a right lot you can do as someone will have to pay for the conversion.

    I had thought that state pensions accrued in EU countries were paid by DWP along with our state pension on there behalf so there would be no overseas payments?

    Of course BREXIT could change this, we have no way of knowing what will happen to the reciprocal agreements that are currently in place.
    • colsten
    • By colsten 4th Jan 18, 11:25 AM
    • 8,750 Posts
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    colsten
    • #8
    • 4th Jan 18, 11:25 AM
    • #8
    • 4th Jan 18, 11:25 AM

    I had thought that state pensions accrued in EU countries were paid by DWP along with our state pension on there behalf so there would be no overseas payments?
    Originally posted by greenglide
    I'd be surprised if it worked like that. As far as I know, each country will pay whatever you are entitled to in that country, into an account of your choice (in that country, or in another country). The only reason for a co-ordinated processing of the application by 1 country is to establish the amounts you are eligible for, as explained in the link woolly_wombat posted earlier.
    • woolly_wombat
    • By woolly_wombat 4th Jan 18, 11:58 AM
    • 507 Posts
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    woolly_wombat
    • #9
    • 4th Jan 18, 11:58 AM
    • #9
    • 4th Jan 18, 11:58 AM
    I want to apply for my Belgian pension now as am elgiible for it in May. France will be next year. Hoping to get in before the Brexit deadline as again no-one can tell me whether this will affect me or not.
    Originally posted by Alisonjane1
    A relative has a pension from France due for maximum payment in May 2019, i.e. post Brexit. He is currently planning to claim it a year early, which from memory would incur around a 4% reduction as allowed under the rules of his French pension, but in his case that will be more than offset by deferring his UK pension for a year.

    Uncertainty over the outcome of Brexit has led to this decision.


    Sorry, can't help with your original query re bank charges, but would be interested to hear the outcome.
    • greenglide
    • By greenglide 4th Jan 18, 3:34 PM
    • 2,970 Posts
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    greenglide
    A relative has a pension from France due for maximum payment in May 2019, i.e. post Brexit.
    Is this a pension from a French company and a French State Pension?

    A pension from a French "shouldnt" be significantly impacted unless they make an even bigger mess than they have so far. State pensions are subject to reciprocal agreements which could potentially suffer.
    • woolly_wombat
    • By woolly_wombat 4th Jan 18, 3:55 PM
    • 507 Posts
    • 323 Thanks
    woolly_wombat
    Is this a pension from a French company and a French State Pension?
    Originally posted by greenglide
    Yes, but for a period of only 4 years, so eligible under current rules but will it satisfy the minimum 15 years for France post Brexit?!

    Not taking any chances.
    • xylophone
    • By xylophone 4th Jan 18, 4:41 PM
    • 23,999 Posts
    • 14,010 Thanks
    xylophone
    Anything of interest here?


    https://transferwise.com/gb/borderless/?utm_expid=32817948-184.nwcfx9WqTgGsHOP9rYv_IQ.0&utm_referrer=https%3A %2F%2Fwww.google.co.uk%2F

    https://finecobank.com/uk/online/banking.html
    • Alisonjane1
    • By Alisonjane1 4th Jan 18, 5:58 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Alisonjane1
    I can apply for my French pension now but if I wait until next July (66 years + 2 months) it will be double but the Brexit thing is a concern as no-one can tell me what might happen if I wait. I have paid into the system and am entitled to this pension but who knows if they change the rules??
    I will post in this forum when I have heard back from the Belgian authorities.
    Thanks to everyone for your input.
    • Alisonjane1
    • By Alisonjane1 4th Jan 18, 5:58 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Alisonjane1
    Thanks for this. I will look into it.
    • Alisonjane1
    • By Alisonjane1 10th Jan 18, 4:04 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Alisonjane1
    Still trying to find out about payments!
    Hello again. I'm not much further forward with my enquiries apart from discovering that Santander does not charge for receiving payments from abroad (which is an improvement on TSB and Halifax), so it might be worth opening an account just to receive my French and Belgian pensions. Of course I still don't know how they calculate the rate of exchange, and how to compare their rates with other banks.
    Still no reply to my email to the Belgian authorities. Guessing that the next step is to phone them but will I get the right person who can answer mny question?? Am conscious of time ticking away and I know that it will take a while to process my pension application so really wish I had soem answers so I can complete the forms and send them off to Newcastle!!
    If anyone has soem up-to-date information I'd much appreciate it!
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