Nationwide international transfer: Fees, rates and transfer time

20.03.18
7 minute read
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Nationwide is the world’s largest building society and a major player for current and savings accounts in the UK. There are several ways you can make an international transfer with Nationwide, using either SWIFT or SEPA payment methods. However, you may just find you could get a better deal with a provider like TransferWise. But more on that, later.

Here’s a guide to how to make an international payment with Nationwide, and how much it costs.


A quick example before we get started.

A theoretical online bank transfer sending £1000 from the UK to a dollar bank account in the US.

Provider Fee Exchange Rate Total Cost
Nationwide (UK) £20 exchange rate + markup £20 + exchange rate markup + possible correspondent and recipient bank fees¹
TransferWise £4.78 The real exchange rate - the same one you find on Google £4.78

It seems clear that Nationwide’s fees are higher.

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 payment with Nationwide in the UK?

Nationwide international transfer fees

These are what Nationwide charges for their international transfers. With FlexOne and FlexStudent accounts the fees are waived, and you also don’t have to pay if you transfer from a FlexBasic account to an EEA account, in pounds sterling.

Nationwide international transfers Regular fees
Incoming international transfer No fee
Outgoing international transfer SWIFT: £20, or no fee with certain accounts¹SEPA: £9, or no fee with certain accounts²
Additional fees may apply See Additional Fees section below

While the details in the table above are Nationwide’s general fees as they currently stand, particular cases might be different, and you should check directly with Nationwide if you want to make sure.

Exchange rates

International transfers through a bank - or a building society like Nationwide - have a further cost that isn’t charged as a fixed fee. They can choose the exchange rate they use to convert your money into the destination currency, which can make a big difference to how much money is actually received.

Nationwide has its own set of exchange rates. Unusually, Nationwide is able to give the exact exchange rate before the transfer is made, if it’s a transfer in euros or certain other currencies³. So you should be able to see the real cost of the transfer before it happens.

However, bear in mind that Nationwide also gives itself the freedom to change the exchange rate whenever they see fit:

We can make changes to our exchange rates, which are reference rates, at any time.⁴

If you check that rate against the exchange rate on Google or XE, don’t be surprised if it’s not as good: the rate you’ll see on those websites is the mid-market rate - the only one that’s fair to use, but not the one generally given by banks and building societies to customers.

Additional fees

While Nationwide doesn’t charge for receiving money into your account, you might be required to pay other banks’ fees if the sender of a SWIFT transfer requests this. And if you make a transfer yourself to outside the EU, the intermediary banks that are involved in your transfer might charge additional fees, meaning that less money than you expect might end up making it to its destination. As the sender, you can choose who pays these fees.¹

A cheap and transparent alternative: TransferWise

There’s an alternative way to get your money abroad: TransferWise converts your money at the same rate you can find on Google or XE, and only charges one low fee per transfer, which is based on the transfer amount, and is always stated clearly before you pay.

Having a borderless multi-currency account can be an even more efficient way to operate in multiple currencies. You can hold money in up to 28 currencies, and even use local account details in pounds, euros, USD and Australian dollars. The money doesn’t cross borders, and intermediary banks don’t get involved, so if you’re often needing to switch between currencies, the borderless account can simplify the whole process.

See for yourself if you can get a better deal with TransferWise.

How do you make an international bank transfer with Nationwide?

With Nationwide, you can make your international payment online, or go into a branch and do it in person. That applies whether you’re making a SWIFT payment or a SEPA credit transfer. Take your card with you if you go to a branch, and make sure you know your login details if you choose to do it online - you might need your card reader too.

Online, you’ll find the right option under the ‘Move money and manage payments’ tab - it counts as an ‘other payment’, so click through to that and follow the instructions. In a branch, a teller should talk you through the process.⁵

Should you make a mistake entering the recipient details, make sure to contact Nationwide straight away. They may be able to cancel an outgoing transfer or recall it within 10 working days of the payment having been made. Bear in mind that they’re more inclined to try doing this if you have made a mistake on more than one payment or if someone has fraudulently set up the payment from your bank account. However, in the case of a recall, they cannot guarantee that the money will be returned by the recipient bank. As this often requires the recipient’s approval, which they have no obligation to give.⁶

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

Once you’ve logged in, you’ll need to know a few details about the person or organisation you’re transferring the money to. Such as:

  • The recipient name and address
  • The recipient’s IBAN or account number
  • The recipient bank’s name, address and BIC (for SWIFT transfers, outside the European payment area. Use a SWIFT/BIC finder to work out the BIC if you don’t know it)
  • The currency and amount to transfer

If you’re transferring more than £2,000, you’ll also need to take your ID with you, if you’re setting the payment up in a branch. Your passport or both parts of your driver’s licence will suffice.⁷

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

If you’re receiving a SEPA transfer, you should provide the following information to the person sending you the money⁸:

  • Your full name, as written on your bank account
  • Your address
  • Your IBAN
  • The country in which you want to receive the payment
  • The amount and currency you wish to receive

You won’t be able to receive a SEPA credit transfer onto your savings account. So please check with a representative at Nationwide whether your account qualifies to receive this type of payment before you ask someone to transfer to you.⁹

What you’ll need to provide to the person sending you a SWIFT transfer is a little more detailed¹⁰:

  • Your full name, as written on your bank account
  • Nationwide’s BIC: NAIAGB21
  • Nationwide’s intermediary bank’s SWIFT: MIDLGB22
  • Your account number or IBAN (if you’re receiving into a current account, use the one on your bank statement. If you’re receiving into a savings account, use GB97NAIA07009333333334)
  • If you’re receiving into a savings account, also provide your Account Roll number
  • The amount and currency you wish to receive

How long does an international bank transfer with Nationwide take?

How long does it take normally to arrive to the destination account?

SEPA payments should get there within 1 working day, or 2 if you’ve requested the transfer via post⁹. It’ll be the same day if you do it before 11.30 am¹¹. Within the European Economic Area (EEA) and in an EEA currency, SWIFT payments generally only take 1 day as well. SWIFT transfers within the EEA in a non-EEA currency may take around 4 working days. SWIFT transfer to outside the EEA may take longer⁹.

Contact / Help - More questions around your transfer?

  • Check the Nationwide website for contact details depending on the service you need.
  • Nationwide also invites questions via Twitter.

However you choose to make your international transfer, make sure it’s done at a rate that’s fair - and that you know how much of your money will make it to its destination.

Sources

¹ https://www.nationwide.co.uk/support/payments-and-transfers/specialist-payments/swift-payments#xtab:fees-and-charges, January 21st, 2018

² https://www.nationwide.co.uk/support/payments-and-transfers/specialist-payments/sepa-credit-transfers#xtab:charges, January 21st, 2018

³ https://www.nationwide.co.uk/support/service/foreign-exchange-rates

⁴ https://www.nationwide.co.uk/~/media/MainSite/documents/products/current-accounts/shared/P3120-FlexOne-Terms-conditions-update.pdf

⁵ https://www.nationwide.co.uk/support/payments-and-transfers/specialist-payments/swift-payments#xtab:make-a-payment-online

⁶ https://www.nationwide.co.uk/support/payments-and-transfers/specialist-payments/sepa-credit-transfers#xtab:sepa-faq-4

⁷ https://www.nationwide.co.uk/support/payments-and-transfers/specialist-payments/swift-payments#xtab:make-a-payment-in-branch

⁸ https://www.nationwide.co.uk/support/payments-and-transfers/specialist-payments/sepa-credit-transfers#xtab:receive-a-sepa-payment

⁹ https://www.nationwide.co.uk/-/media/MainSite/documents/support/payments-transfers/P1078_OverseasPayments.PDF

¹⁰ https://www.nationwide.co.uk/support/payments-and-transfers/specialist-payments/swift-payments#xtab:receive-a-swift-payment

¹¹ https://www.nationwide.co.uk/~/media/MainSite/documents/products/current-accounts/shared/P3118-Current-Account-terms-conditions-update.pdf, January 21st, 2018

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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