Whenever you send or receive money internationally with your bank, you'll be asked for the relevant bank details to make sure the payment arrives safely. One thing you'll usually need, is a SWIFT code, also known as a BIC code - short for Business Identifier Code.
Banks often charge a hidden fee in the exchange rate, which can make your transfer more expensive than it should be. If you send money with the bank, your recipient could end up with a lower amount in their account because of these hidden fees. Luckily, there is an alternative to SWIFT payments with the bank.
You could get a better deal with a company like TransferWise. TransferWise use the real mid-market exchange rate for international money transfers, with only a small transparent fee. It’s safe, and can often even be quicker than using your normal bank. This leaves you to relax, as your cash is transferred securely, at the lowest possible cost to you.
You can check the cost of using TransferWise here.
If you want to make an international transfer to a Santander account, or if you have a UK based Santander account, and someone is transferring cash to you from overseas, you need the BIC/SWIFT code along with Santander IBAN and details like the bank address.
This unique code made up of numbers and letters shows which bank you're transferring money to, and where in the world the account is registered. It’s important to have this, to help make sure money transferred arrives in the right account.
You can find everything you'll need to transfer your money safely, here:
|SWIFT/BIC Code for Santander||ABBYGB2L|
|Bank address||2 Triton Square, Regent's Place, London, NW1 3AN, United Kingdom|
|Beneficiary Account Number||Complete Santander bank account number of the recipient (don't forget to include leading zeros)|
|Beneficiary Name||The name of recipient’s account as it appears on a bank statement|
SWIFT codes are used by banks to make sure your money goes to the right place when you transfer between accounts. They're internationally agreed, unique ID codes, and especially important if you're moving your money to an account registered in another country.
You'll find SWIFT codes are made up of several different pieces of information, with 8 or 11 characters, and a mix of letters and numbers:
AAAA - Bank Code
BB - Country Code
CC - Location Code
DDD - Optional Branch Code
You'll need a code which will consist of 8 characters for the bank's main office, or 11 characters if you want a specific branch.
A SWIFT code, or BIC, makes sure that the money being transferred makes it to the correct bank, and the right branch of that bank. However, to complete the transfer you have to specify which exact account within that bank you want your money to go to.
If you’re sending a transfer to the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein or Hungary, you'll need an IBAN, which stands for International Bank Account Number. This code identifies the country the account is in, the bank, and the account number.
If you’ve got a bank account in the US, you might also hear about routing numbers. Although they’re similar to SWIFT codes, they’re only used for bank transfers within the US. SWIFT codes, on the other hand, tend to be used for international money transfers.
Each branch of a bank has its own SWIFT code. You can check a full list of SWIFT codes for your Santander branch here - although as long as you use the correct Head Office code, your payment will still be routed to the right branch for you.
International money transfers can be pricey, so it's worth checking the costs involved. Your regular bank might not offer the best deal. There will be administration costs added to any transfer, and even if your home bank claims to offer fee-free transfers, the exchange rates used are often poor. This means that you pay more than you should to move your money.
You could get a better deal with a specialist service like TransferWise. TransferWise use the real mid-market exchange rate for international money transfers, with only a small transparent fee. It’s safe, and can often even be quicker than using your normal bank. This leaves you to relax, as your cash is transferred securely, at the lowest possible cost to you.