Thanks to its beautiful countryside, vibrant cities and high standard of living, as many as 100,000 Brits now live in Germany. If you're thinking of joining them (or have German business interests or property) you'll need to transfer some of your money there.

International money transfers can cost a lot, especially if you just take the first deal you see on the high street where high transfer fees and poor exchange rates abound.

Shopping around is a must, and looking online will be the best way to find a good deal - many of the providers aim to offer similar exchange rates that banks reserve for their business customers. Here's how to compare the costs and features to get the best deal.

How to send money to Germany

Germany is part of the single European currency, so your Pounds will need to be changed into Euros before they're sent to a German bank account. The process generally works as follows:

  • Get a quote - in fact, get several!

  • Pick the cheapest suitable one

  • Let them know the details of the account you're sending funds to

  • Send your money to the provider by bank transfer or card payment

  • Your provider will then send the funds once they've converted them into Euros

  • If you need to, you can often keep track of the transfer online

  • You'll be able to withdraw the funds in Germany once they clear

What to look for in a cheap money transfer to Germany

Every transfer company will charge for their service, but a transfer will cost you less if you shop around:

Low fees

Providers always state their charges upfront, but these can depend on the total amount you wish to transfer.

Sometimes there may be a charge at the other end for receiving the money, so include this in the total cost when you compare quotes. If you're sending money to somebody else, rather than your own account, make sure they're happy to pay those fees first or include enough to cover the cost.

Competitive exchange rates

A more competitive exchange rate will get you more Euros to the Pound. Comparing quotes will help you find the best Germany exchange rate, which will greatly affect how good a deal you get.

What else to look for when sending money to Germany

Is it convenient to use?

Transfers can be made by phone, online or through an agent who will talk you through the process. Each provider will advertise how they'll let you transact, so keep an eye out for those that offer the method you'll find easiest.

How much do you want to send?

If you're sending a large amount, you may be able to find more competitive rates. If you were planning to send a few smaller amounts, think about transferring it all in one go instead if that pushes down the fees you'll pay.

How long will it take?

You'll find that how long it takes your money to reach its destination will vary between the different companies and the different transfers they offer - some will offer next day delivery, whereas others might take days.

Think about how soon you need the funds to get to Germany and ignore those that take too long. There may be extra charges for speedy transfers, so weigh up if it's worth it or not and include the cost when you add up the total price.

Regular payments

If you need to send funds on a regular basis - say if you need to transfer monthly pension payments to Germany - you won't want to have to go to the trouble and cost of setting up each payment individually. Instead, many providers will allow you to set up several scheduled payments in one go.

How to compare cheap transfers to Germany

Once you've worked out what timescale you need and how you want to set up your transaction, use our money transfer Germany comparison to find some companies that match your expectations. Also make sure that they definitely deal in Euros, although it's a widespread currency, so you shouldn't struggle!

Once you've found yourself a few suitable quotes, you can choose the one that will cost you least overall.