Check out our comparison of PayPal vs. bank transfers in the UK, including fees, transfer times, limits, exchange rates and more.
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 money services provider like Wise. But more on that, later.
Here’s a guide to how to make an international payment with Nationwide, and how much it costs.
Let’s start by looking at a theoretical online bank transfer sending £1,000 from the UK to a dollar bank account in the US with Nationwide and Wise when you pay in via bank transfer:
|Provider||Fee||Exchange Rate||Total Cost|
|Nationwide (UK)||£0 - £20 (depending on the account)¹||Exchange rate + potential markup²||£0 - £20 + potential exchange rate markup + possible third party fees|
|Wise||£4.64*||The mid-market exchange rate - the same one you find on Google||£4.64*|
*fee calculated on 21-03-2023 10:15am GMT
It seems clear that Nationwide’s fees in total are potentially higher.
What isn’t often mentioned is that, on average, banks and money transfer providers often mark up an exchange rate to make money on converting your currency.
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.
In addition, there are normally 1-3 intermediary and recipient banks who also charge fees.
Those costs start adding up. Fast.
If you value transparency and don’t want to pay for exchange rate mark ups, consider checking out Wise. You can send and hold money in multiple currencies around the world, with low, transparent fees and the fair mid-market exchange rate.
With Nationwide, you can make your international payment online, or go into a branch and do it in person.³ 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.
Using online banking, you’ll find the right option under the ‘Move money’ tab - it counts as an ‘other payment’, so click through to that and follow the instructions.³
In a branch, a teller should talk you through the process.
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. However, there’s no guarantee that the recipient’s bank will return the payment.⁴
Once you’ve logged into online banking, you’ll need to know a few details about the person or organisation you’re transferring the money to; such as:³
- The recipient’s 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
- A card reader
To make a payment in branch, here are some additional things you need:³
- Bank card
- Valid passport or driving license
- Proof of address
SEPA payments should get there within 1 working day. SWIFT transfers within the EEA in a non-EEA currency may take around 4 working days. SWIFT transfer to outside the EEA may take longer.⁴
Here are the details you need to receive money from abroad with Nationwide:³
- Your full name and address, as written on your bank account
- Your IBAN
- Your account number
- Your sort code
- Nationwide’s BIC/SWIFT and the intermediary BIC
- The amount and currency you wish to receive
These are what Nationwide charges for their international transfers. With FlexOne, FlexStudent and FlexGraduade 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.¹
|Nationwide international transfers||Regular fees|
|Incoming international transfer³|
|Outgoing international transfer¹|
|Additional fees may apply|
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.
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.²
Here’s what they say about their exchange rate:²
”Both our standard rate and the ECB rate vary and so the latest rates available to us will be used to calculate the total currency conversion charge.”
This means that Nationwide has its own set of exchange rates, and they also likely include a mark up when making currency conversions.
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 currencies. So you should be able to see the real cost of the transfer before it happens.³
If you check that rate against the exchange rate on Google or other reputable currency converters, don’t be surprised if it’s not as good: the rate you’ll see on those websites is the mid-market exchange rate - a fair rate to use, but not the one generally given by banks and building societies to customers.
Or, if you’re looking for an easier way - choose an international transfer provider like Wise which uses the mid-market exchange rate every time, with no markups and no hidden fees. Sending money with Wise could be up to 9x cheaper* than leading UK high street banks.
*Savings based on £250 price point comparison when sending AUD, EUR, INR, USD.
Nationwide doesn’t charge for receiving money into your account. However, if you make a transfer yourself to outside the EU, the intermediary banks in the SWIFT network 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.
If you have any questions or need further help, you can reach Nationwide:
- Over the phone by first picking the topic here (this will give you the correct phone number to call)
- Nationwide also invites questions over social media, such as via Twitter.
However, you choose to make your international transfer, make sure it’s done at a rate that’s fair and fees that are transparent - and that you know how much of your money will make it to its destination.
Also, compare the costs of sending money with Nationwide against the low fees and convenience of the Wise's international transfer service - the smart and easy way to manage your money across borders for less.
- Nationwide - Current accounts – Interest rates and charges
- Nationwide - Foreign exchange rates
- Nationwide - Swift and SEPA international payments
- Nationwide - FlexOne Terms and conditions
Sources last checked on date: 21-Mar-2023
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.
Ria Money Transfer®1 and Instarem®2 offer easy digital international money transfer services from the UK. Ria Money Transfer specialises in personal...
Ria Money Transfer®1 and WorldRemit®2 are both trusted and established international money transfer services which allow you to send payments abroad from the...
Looking to send money overseas from the UK? Perhaps you have family in other countries, have bills to pay on a holiday home or want to send an international...
If you’re sending money to a different country, you’ll need to know when it’ll arrive. This is why many transfer services offer tracking, so you can check in...
Need to send money over to Pakistan? The act of sending money overseas is nowadays a widespread phenomenon. Whether it’s expats supporting their families back...