Transferring your pension to Spain
Updated: Nov 13
A Money Matters guide brought to you by Currencies Direct
How to make the most of moving your pension overseas
If you’re retiring in Spain, chances are you’ll need to transfer your pension, either in full or as monthly payments. There are a few different options available and finding the right method for you can save you significant time and money.
In this guide, we break down what your options are and how you can get the most out of your money when transferring a UK pension to Spain.
Your pension options
Broadly speaking, there are two main routes you can take. Note that it’s always best to speak to a pensions expert who specialises in moving pensions overseas, as they’ll be able to offer you tailored advice.
The first route is to move your pension into a qualifying recognised overseas pension scheme (QROPS). A QROPS can bring potential tax benefits, and you can choose to hold or withdraw your pension in a currency of your choice.
However, not everyone is eligible. Some pensions, such as UK state pensions, cannot be transferred into a QROPS.
In addition, while you can currently transfer a pension into an EU or European Economic Area (EEA) QROPS tax free, if you move your money to outside the bloc then the UK will issue an overseas transfer charge (OTC) of 25%. Although there haven’t been any changes to the rule yet, there is a possibility that this 25% charge could apply to EU/EEA QROPS in the future.
The other option is to keep your pension in the UK and transfer the funds overseas, usually on a monthly basis. The downside here is that fluctuations in the exchange rate can affect how much you receive for each transfer. Meanwhile, some providers charge transfer fees, which can eat away at your funds.
Fortunately, there are ways you can protect against currency volatility and get the most out of your money transfers.
Cost-efficient overseas transfers
If you want or need to keep your pension in the UK, then you’ll need to find a cost-efficient way of moving that money to Spain, as fluctuations in the currency market can have a big impact on your funds.
For instance, in September 2022, GBP/EUR moved between a high of €1.17 and a low of around €1.09. Say you’re transferring £2,000 a month from your UK pension to Spain, that eight-cent difference amounts to a €160 fall in your monthly income.
Additionally, some banks charge transfer fees of up to £30 per transaction, further chipping away at your money.
The best way to get the most from your overseas transfers is to work with a specialist currency provider. With competitive exchange rates and expert guidance, they can help you to navigate market volatility while getting a great deal on your transfers. That means you’ll have more certainty when budgeting and more money in your pocket.
Working with Currencies Direct
While there are many currency brokers out there and our policy is not to endorse particular companies, we acknowledge the generous support of Currencies Direct.
As one of the longest-standing foreign exchange specialists in Europe, Currencies Direct deliver an exceptional service but with a personal, friendly approach. They've won the MoneyAge ‘Money Transfer Provider of the Year’ award four times and have an Excellent rating on Trustpilot, with thousands of five-star reviews.
They offer a range of tools, paired with expert support, to help you get the best deal on your transfers.
For example, with Currencies Direct you can set up regular monthly payments. Without you having to lift a finger, cash from your UK account can be transferred to your Spanish bank. You can even fix the exchange rate for six months, so you’re protected against any negative market movements and you can budget effectively.
Once you register with Currencies Direct, you’ll get a dedicated account manager – your very own currency expert there to give you guidance on market movements and the options available to you.
You can talk to your account manager over the phone, make transfers 24/7 online, or even pop in to one of the 18 local branches Currencies Direct has dotted across Spain.
Whether you’re already settled in Spain or are just getting ready to retire, often the best thing to do is speak to a specialist for tailored guidance and support.
An expert in overseas pensions can help you find the path that’s best for you. Meanwhile, we recommend talking to the friendly team at Currencies Direct to get an excellent deal on your currency transfers.
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Before you go! We have partnered with Currencies Direct to bring you expert information about currency exchange. We benefit from their generous support to help keep our Infoline and support services open. If you plan to use a currency exchange provider, by clicking on the Currencies Direct link here or on our website, they will, additionally, give us an extra donation for every currency transfer that you make through them - at no extra cost to you at all. What a great way to support Age in Spain!
If you haven't yet used a currency exchange service, or you want to compare Currencies Direct's rates with your usual service provider, click on this link to get a no obligation quote.
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