What bank details are needed for an international bank transfer from the UK?

Gert Svaiko

Need to send money to friends and family abroad, or pay a business for goods or services? Whether you’re sending a birthday gift or covering the rent for your holiday home, you’ll need to know how to make an international bank transfer.

Making an international payment is often quick and simple these days, especially via online banking. But you’ll still need to make sure you have the right bank details for your recipient. This is what we’ll focus on here in this guide, showing you how to make a payment overseas from your UK bank account.

But remember - banks aren’t the only option when it comes to sending money overseas. You can also send money with Wise for low fees and the mid-market exchange rate. It’s safe, reliable and super easy to set up online, plus you can swerve those high bank fees.


Learn more about the Wise International money transfer

Please see the Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise fees & pricing for the most up-to-date information on pricing and fees.

How to transfer money to someone else’s bank account abroad?

You have several options for sending money abroad. The right one for you all depends on your circumstances, bank and where you’re sending to. Some of the possibilities are:

  • Sending cash - This sounds very simple, especially if you simply use the mail, but it’s also insecure. If your money goes missing, you may have little comeback. Using Western Union or a similar service provider can be safer, and may accept cash over the counter. Again though, that can pose risks with security and scams. If you choose this option, make sure you’re using an official provider.
  • Bank transfer - Sending money to someone else’s bank account directly from yours is a secure option. It’s straightforward in some cases, especially now online banking is the norm. However, it can be tricky if your bank doesn’t support the foreign currency you want to use. It’s also useful to know that banks often send the money to the recipient as an international SWIFT transfer, which means that there can be up to 3 intermediary banks involved and they can each charge you a fee, and many receiving banks charge a fee as well.
  • Using a specialist provider - This option gives you added flexibility, especially if you use a provider like Wise which supports a lot of currencies. You pay the money into the provider’s account, then they exchange your money to the correct currency of the recipient and pay the sum directly into the recipient’s bank account.
  • International Money Order - One of the oldest options, this way of paying may allow you to hand over cash at a Post Office or pay online, depending on the company you use. A major drawback is that there can be a hefty fee involved when the recipient wants to cash the order.

What details are needed for an international bank transfer from the UK?

What details to give for a bank transfer will depend on the country you’re sending to, and the currency.

To give you an idea of what you’ll need, take a look at the table below. If you’re unsure, you should always check with your bank. They’ll be able to let you know the requirements for the country you’re sending to.

Country you’re sending toLocal currencyDetails you’ll need
US¹US dollars (USD)
  • Recipient name & address
  • Routing number
  • Account number
  • Possibly BIC/SWIFT code
Australia²Australian dollars (AUD)
  • Recipient name
  • Bank name
  • Account number
  • BSB (equivalent of sort code)
  • BIC/SWIFT code
Spain (and other eurozone countries)³Euro (EUR)
  • Recipient name & address
  • Bank name
  • Account number
  • BIC/SWIFT code
  • Possibly IBAN
Poland⁴Polish zloty (PLN)
  • Recipient name & address
  • Bank account number
  • IBAN
  • Possibly BIC/SWIFT code
India⁵Indian rupee (INR)
  • Recipient’s name
  • Account number
  • Recipient’s Indian Financial System Code (IFSC)
  • Possibly BIC/SWIFT code

Can’t find some of the information you need, or want to double-check that it’s correct? Simply use our BIC/SWIFT code checkerand IBAN checker.

Which additional details are necessary to transfer money from the UK to the USA?

Want to send money across the pond? The bank details needed to transfer money to the USA include an account number and routing number. The latter is also known as an ABA routing number or routing transit number (RTN), and it’s a 9-digit number assigned to each financial institution in the United States.⁶

You’re likely to need these details along with the recipient details, and perhaps the bank’s SWIFT/BIC code too. International bank account numbers (IBANs) aren’t used in the US.

For an easy and affordable way to send money from the UK to the US, check out Wise. Wise converts your pounds to US dollars using the fair mid-market exchange rate without a mark-up or spread on top.

Send money from the UK to the US with Wise

Please see the Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise fees & pricing for the most up-to-date information on pricing and fees.

What does reference mean when transferring money?

You’ll often be given the option to add a reference when sending a bank transfer. This is a message to the recipient, so that they can easily identify the purpose of the transaction.

For example, you could enter an invoice or receipt number if paying a business. Or write “birthday gift” when sending money to a friend or family member.

Is it safe to give out your bank account number and details?

You should always be careful when disclosing bank or other financial details, especially to someone you don’t know. You shouldn’t ever give out your PIN or the three-digit security code for your card, or any online banking passwords.

However, it’s generally considered to be safe to share your bank account details.⁷ This is because your account number and sort code can’t be used to access your account or your money. And ultimately, you’ll need to give out your bank details if you want to receive a payment.

How long does a bank transfer abroad take?

It all depends where you’re sending to and how many banks are involved in the transaction. But generally speaking, international bank transfers should clear within 2-5 days.⁸

What are the fees for an international bank transfer?

The cost of an international transfer depends on your bank, the currency and amount, and where your recipient is in the world.

You can usually expect to pay a bank fee - check with your bank to see how much this will be. There may also be intermediary and receiving bank charges on top of that.

But that’s not all. There’s also currency conversion to think about. Banks tend to use exchange rates that include a margin or mark-up on the mid-market exchange rate. This is essentially a kind of hidden cost, and could end up making your transfer more expensive.

But, if you send money with Wise instead of a bank, you don’t have to worry about high fees or poor exchange rates. You’ll only pay a small transparent fee per transfer, and you’ll always get the mid-market exchange rate - no strings attached.

Register with Wise today

Please see the Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise fees & pricing for the most up-to-date information on pricing and fees.

And that’s it - everything you need to know about sending an international bank transfer.

We’ve mainly looked at the details you’ll need from your recipient, but other info on fees, exchange rates and transfer times should also prove helpful. You should now be all set to make your first international payment.

Sources used:

  1. Telegraph - Send money to USA from UK
  2. Key Currency - Transfer money from UK to Australia
  3. Telegraph - How to transfer money to Spain from the UK
  4. WorldRemit - Poland bank transfer
  5. Telegraph - Send money to India from the UK
  6. WorldFirst - Routing numbers
  7. Sumup - What is a sort code?
  8. Inpay - How long do international bank transfers take?

Sources last checked on date: 18-Dec-2022

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 Wise Payments 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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