The co-operative bank international transfer: Fees, rates and transfer time

Wise
10.11.21
5 minute read

The Co-operative Bank is the “original ethical bank”, founded in 1872 and winner of numerous awards including Most Trusted Mainstream Bank at the Moneyfacts Consumer Awards in 2018 and 2019¹. It now has around 3.3 million personal customers and 85,000 business clients².

In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to make a Co-operative Bank international transfer. We’ll cover it all - including the details you’ll need and how much it costs. This should be particularly useful for people who live or work abroad, or who have friends or family living in another country.

A quick example before we get started.

Here’s a theoretical online bank transfer, sending £1000 from the UK to a US dollar account in the US. Let’s do a comparison of how much this transfer will cost you using the Co-operative Bank, and using a money transfer specialist like Wise.

ProviderFeeExchange rateTotal cost
The Co-operative Bank³0.25% (min. £13 to max. £35)Exchange rate + 4% markup£13-£35 + 4% exchange rate markup
Wise£3.84The real exchange rate - the same one you find on Google£3.84

As you can see from this example, making international transfers with the Co-operative Bank can be much more expensive - and that’s not even factoring in the 4% mark-up on the exchange rate. This margin is how banks and some money transfer providers make a profit, while providers like Wise use only the mid-market rate you’ll find on Google or XE.com.

Get started now

So, it’s always a good idea to compare the exchange rate you’re offered with an online currency converter to find out how much your international transfer is really costing you.

In addition, nearly all transfers sent internationally are sent via SWIFT. Which means there are often 1-3 intermediary banks in addition to the recipient bank that may levy fees of their own. Whether it’s you or the recipient that pays these fees, they do add up.

What are the fees for an international payment with the Co-operative Bank in the UK?

The exact fees you’ll be charged depend on the transfer details, including where the money is heading to. But here are the main charges and costs you need to know about:

Co-operative Bank international transferRegular fees³
Sending an international transfer - SWIFT0.25% (min. £13 to max. £35)
Sending an international transfer - SEPA (payments in EUR between EU member states)No charge
Sending an international transfer - Real Time Euro Payments (sending EUR out of the UK)£25
Receiving international payments⁵- No charge for payments of £100 or less - £6 for all other payments
Additional feesPostage, transmission and agents charges may apply

Co-operative Bank exchange rates

The Co-op Bank uses its standard exchange rate to convert your GBP into the recipient’s local currency. This rate includes a margin (mark-up) of 4%³ on the mid-market rate.

Under some circumstances, such as SWIFT payments where lots of other banks are involved, it’s also possible that an agent or correspondent bank, or the recipient’s bank, will apply its own exchange rate to the transfer. As these intermediary banks don’t need to worry about keeping their customers happy, they generally don’t offer a great deal.

How do you make an international bank transfer with the Co-operative Bank?

The easiest way to make a payment with the Co-op Bank is online. You’ll need to have an account, and be registered for online banking. Then you can simply follow these steps⁶:

  1. Login to your online banking account
  2. Select ‘Move money’ from the account you want to use to fund the payment
  3. Choose ‘Make an international payment’
  4. Fill in all of the required information - we’ll cover all the details you need for an international transfer in just a moment
  5. Check all the details and confirm the payment.

The bank’s online banking system will automatically choose the payment method that is the most economical. For example, sending EUR within the EEA will automatically be done by SEPA (at no charge to you). For all other transfers, your payment will be made via SWIFT.

If you’re not yet registered for internet banking or need help setting up your transfer, you can also call up the Co-operative Bank or pop into a local branch. You’ll find contact details here.

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

You’ll need the following to make an international money transfer with the Co-operative Bank:⁷

  • The full name and address of the person you’re sending the money to
  • The recipient’s IBAN (International Bank Account Number) and bank account number
  • The relevant SWIFT/BIC code, or routing code if you’re transferring to the USA
  • The recipient’s bank address
  • The amount you’d like to transfer and the currency you’d like to transfer the funds in.

You may also need to complete certain security steps, such as entering a code sent by text message or email to verify the payment⁸. So, it could be a good idea to have your mobile phone handy.

What do I need in order to receive an international bank transfer?

To make sure you get your money safely, the sender needs a few key details⁶:

  • Your full name and address, and that of your bank
  • Your IBAN
  • The correct Co-operative Bank SWIFT code or BIC
  • The amount being transferred - and the currency to be used. Don’t forget to take into account any charges you’re liable for.

You’ll find your Co-operative Bank IBAN number on any bank statement, and you can use this handy tool to find or check your SWIFT/BIC code.

Co-op Bank transfer times - how long does it take?⁶

It can take a few days to make your transfer, depending on where you’re sending money to.

EUR payments should reach the recipient by the close of the next working day, but non-EE/EEA payments can potentially take up to 5 working days. Within the EU, payments made in currencies other than EUR (to GBP for example), will take around 3 working days.

Is there any way to make a faster transfer for an extra fee?³

The fastest way to arrange a Co-operative Bank international money transfer is online, as you can set it up and send within minutes.

The bank doesn’t currently offer a way to speed up payments to the US or elsewhere outside of Europe.

However, if you need a EUR payment to be sent to Europe more quickly, you can arrange a Real Time Euro Payment (TARGET) for £25. This can potentially be received on the same day if processed by 2pm.

Need help with your transfer? Here’s how to contact the Co-operative Bank⁹

  • Call 03457 212 212 for help with online banking
  • Send a secure message by logging into online banking
  • Pop into your nearest Co-op Bank branch.

A cheap and transparent alternative: Wise

Whatever your reason for needing to send or receive money from abroad, you could get a better deal with Wise.

Wise doesn’t work the same way as banks do. For starters, we only use the real, mid-market exchange rate - so there are no mark-ups or hidden fees to worry about. There’s only a small transparent fee per transfer, and all payments are sent quickly and securely.

If you need to move money internationally often, the Wise multi-currency account could be the perfect money-saving solution. You can hold your money in 50+ different currencies, and convert it using the best available rates when you need it the most.

And if you live in one country but have freelance work or clients overseas, your Wise multi-currency account gives you access to local account details so you can get paid in the local currency for low to no fees. Even better, there are no intermediary banks involved, so no extra fees to worry about.

See for yourself if you can get a better deal with Wise by finding out how much your recipient will actually receive when you make your transfer.

Join Wise today


After reading our handy guide to Co-operative Bank international transfers, you should be all set to start sending money all over the world.

In most cases, sending money overseas should be relatively straightforward. However, there are a few pitfalls and hidden fees which can make it expensive and lead to nasty surprises.

So, wherever you’re transferring your money to, it’s smart to do your research in advance, to make sure you get the best deal for your situation.


Sources used for this article:

  1. The co-operative bank - about
  2. The Guardian - number of customers
  3. The co-operative bank - exchange rates
  4. Wise - send money
  5. The co-operative bank - account charges
  6. The co-operative bank - international payments
  7. The co-operative bank - ways to pay
  8. The co-operative bank - 2fa
  9. The co-operative bank - contact info

Sources checked on 12-Oct-2021.


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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