If you're sending or receiving money internationally, you might wonder how banks make sure that the transaction are processed safely.
One important tool used to make sure that payments go smoothly, is called a SWIFT code.
You might also see SWIFT codes described as BIC codes, which is short for Business Identifier Code. Although this code is only a few characters long, it shows which bank, and where, you're transferring money to, to help make sure the cash makes it to the right person.
Whenever you're making an international transfer to an Natwest account, or if someone is transferring you cash to a UK based Natwest account, chances are that you'll be asked for a BIC/SWIFT code along with a few other details.
You can find everything you'll need to transfer your money safely, here:
|Bank Name||National Westminster Bank Plc|
|SWIFT/BIC Code for Natwest||NWBKGB2L|
|Bank address||Premier Place, Devonshire Square, EC2M 4XB, London, United Kingdom|
|Beneficiary Account Number||Complete Natwest 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 unique identifier codes, used by banks all over the world, to make sure your money goes to the right place when you transfer it to a different account. They're written in an agreed standardised format to avoid confusion, and are especially important if you're moving your money internationally.
You'll find SWIFT codes 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.
If you want to send or receive money internationally, the first thing you’ll need is a SWIFT code or BIC. This makes sure that the money being transferred makes it to the right bank. However, you'll need to give a bit more information to show which exact account within the bank the money should go to.
If your money is going to the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein or Hungary, you'll need an IBAN. This code, which stands for International Bank Account Number, identifies the country the account is in, the bank, and the account number.
The system is slightly different in the US, where you might also hear about routing numbers. Although these have a similar function to SWIFT codes, routing numbers are only used for bank transfers within the US. SWIFT codes on the other hand, are globally agreed, and tend to be used for international money transfers.
Every branch of a bank has it’s own unique SWIFT code. You can get the correct SWIFT code for your Natwest branch here. However, if you don’t know the branch code you can still use the correct 8 character Head Office SWIFT code, and the payment will be routed to the branch automatically.
Making international money transfers can be expensive, so to avoid any nasty surprises, it's worth checking the costs involved before you decide which provider to use. Your home bank might not offer the best deal. Firstly they’ll add administration costs, which can be pretty steep. And then - even if your bank says they offer fee-free transfers - the exchange rates used are often poor. This can mean you pay more than you have to.
Instead you could find a better deal with a specialist service like TransferWise. International money transfers with TransferWise use the real mid-market exchange rate, with only a small transparent fee. And they’ll transfer your money quickly and safely, so you can sit back and relax knowing it’ll arrive where it needs to and when it needs to.
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