Metro Bank international transfer: Fees, rates and transfer time

TransferWise content team
6 minute read

Though only founded in 2010, Metro Bank has quickly grown in popularity in the UK. You can’t yet make online bank transfers, but if you’re willing to go into a branch in person, you might want to find out a bit of information before you make the trek. You may find that you might be able to save money if you use a service like TransferWise instead to transfer internationally. But more on that later.

Here’s your guide to what you need to know, and how much it will cost you to transfer money internationally with Metro Bank.

A quick example before we get started.

A theoretical online bank transfer (although you’ll have to go to your nearest Metro Bank if you’re using them) sending £1000 from the UK to a dollar bank account in the US.

Provider Fee Exchange Rate Total Cost
Metro Bank (UK) £25 exchange rate + markup £25 + exchange rate markup + possible correspondent bank fees¹
TransferWise £4.78 The real exchange rate - the same one you find on Google £4.78

It seems clear that Metro Bank’s fees are higher. Plus, you’ll have to show up in person to make your transfer.

However, if the fees alone aren’t reason enough to consider an alternative, that isn’t taking into account any exchange rate markup — on average a spread of an additional 4-6%. In addition, there are normally 1-3 intermediary and recipient banks who also charge fees.

Those costs start adding up. Fast.

To make sure you really know what you’re getting before you commit, compare the exchange rate you’re being offered with an online currency converter to find out how much your international transfer is really costing you.

What are the fees for an international transfer with Metro Bank in the UK?

Here are the international transfer fees that currently stand at Metro Bank:

Metro Bank international transfers Regular fees²
Incoming international transfer No fee
Outgoing international transfer SEPA transfer (within EEA): £10SWIFT transfer: £25
Additional fees may apply Check with a staff member if you might end up having to pay any additional fees

While the numbers above are those currently given by Metro Bank, they might not apply exactly for your particular circumstances, so you should check with Metro Bank directly to be sure.

Exchange rates

It’s crucial to know what sort of exchange rate you’re getting, whenever you make a foreign transfer. As this could end up being just as serious a cost as the fixed fees you have to pay.

When you request your transfer, ask for an indicative current exchange rate, but be aware that the actual rate used might be different from that, depending on when the transfer is actually processed. You probably won’t be able to find out the exact rate that will be used, in advance. According to Metro Bank:

We may change our foreign-exchange rates immediately and without telling you beforehand.³

If you check the exchange rate on Google or XE, you might be disappointed when you head into your bank and ask about this. The rates set by banks will generally not be as beneficial for you, because those online rates are the mid-market rate, whereas banks are able to choose their own when they convert your money.

Additional fees from Metro Bank

If you want to make international transfers online with Metro Bank, you’ll need a Business Online Plus or Commercial Online Banking⁴ account - a normal current account won’t cut it. Both of these accounts cost a monthly fee. Metro Bank does also offer euro and US Dollar Currency Accounts and Foreign Currency Accounts⁵, but these cost monthly fees too, and you still need to have one of those two business accounts if you want to make online transfers.

Bear in mind that even if you do have one of these accounts and can make transfers online, the costs that come with transferring internationally may differ from those listed above. So check with a representative at Metro Bank if you want to be certain of the fees applied.

Additionally, whenever you make a SWIFT payment there may be further fees charged by other banks involved with the transfer - not just the bank receiving the money but also any intermediary banks that are involved. With Metro Bank, these charges are generally paid by the recipient - which means that less of your money than you expect might make it to its destination.

A cheap and transparent alternative: TransferWise

If you want to make an international transfer online, with no hidden fees and the same fair exchange rate you can find on Google, take a look at TransferWise. There are no intermediaries involved who can charge you extra fees, and it uses the mid-market exchange rate, which is a better value for you than a rate chosen by a bank. There’s only a single fee, based on the amount you transfer, and it’s always stated upfront so that you know exactly how much money will be sent and received.

And if you often need to make international payments or have access to money in multiple currencies, a borderless multi-currency account from TransferWise might be the answer. With a borderless account, you can keep money in up to 28 currencies and send and receive money easily in pounds, euros or US dollars. It’s like having local accounts in those currencies, so you can cut back on transfer fees and stop worrying about fluctuating exchange rates. It’s free to set up, and there are no hidden charges for this - and no monthly fees either.

Take a look at TransferWise now, and see how much you could save.

How do you make an international bank transfer with Metro Bank?

If you have a personal account with Metro Bank, you have two options:

  • You can make your international transfer in store or over the phone if you’re set up with telephone banking.
  • Current account holders can’t make an international transfer online. Some business customers can use Metro Bank’s online service for international payments, however.

Make sure you have your own account details, as well as those of the account you’re sending money to.

What do I need in order to make an international money transfer?

This is the information you’ll need about the account you’re sending money to:

  • The recipient bank’s name and address
  • The recipient bank’s SWIFT code (our SWIFT/BIC finder can help you out if you haven’t been given it)
  • The recipient's IBAN, or international account number
  • The recipient’s full name as written on their bank account
  • The recipient’s address
  • The currency and amount to be transferred, taking into account any and all fees you might be liable to

What do I need or what should I give to the sender in order to receive an international bank transfer?

You should check with the sender about exactly what information they need from you, to be on the safe side. However, as a general rule they’ll need:

  • Your full name and address
  • Your IBAN or account number
  • Metro Bank’s SWIFT/BIC code: MYMBGB2L⁶
  • The amount and currency you wish to receive

How long does an international bank transfer with Metro Bank take?

It depends on your payment method and the destination of the transfer. Within the EEA, a SEPA transfer of pounds or euro should be there within 1-2 working days.⁷ For transfers going outside of the EEA, it could take up to around 5 working days.⁸

Contact / Help - More questions around your transfer?

  • Check Metro Bank’s website for basic information about the bank and contact details.
  • They don’t have much information on international payments online, so you might need to give them a call: 0345 08 08 500 for personal customers.
  • Metro Bank prides itself on its customer service and long opening hours, so if you’re near a branch then you could consider paying a visit.

Transferring money internationally through your bank can be a complicated task, especially if you can’t do it online. However you choose to move your money, make sure you know what the costs will be, and how much money will make it through to its destination.


¹, January 20th, 2018

², January 20th, 2018

³, January 20th, 2018

⁴, January 20th, 2018

⁵, January 20th, 2018

⁶, January 20th, 2018

⁷, January 20th, 2018

⁸, January 20th, 2018

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