Nationwide international transfer in the UK: how it works, fees, and rates

Gert Svaiko

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.

Example: 1,000 GBP to USD bank account in the US

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:

ProviderFeeExchange RateTotal Cost
Nationwide (UK)£0 - £20 (depending on the account)¹Exchange 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.


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 do you make an international bank transfer with Nationwide?

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

What do you need to send money abroad with Nationwide?

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

How long does it take to transfer money abroad with Nationwide?

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

Receiving money from abroad with Nationwide

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

What are the fees and rates for an international transfer with Nationwide in the UK?

Nationwide international transfer fees for SEPA and other payments

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 transfersRegular fees
Incoming international transfer³
  • No fee
Outgoing international transfer¹
  • SWIFT: £20, or no fee with certain accounts
  • SEPA: no transaction fee
Additional fees may apply
  • See Additional Fees section below

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.

Nationwide exchange rates

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.

Sign up 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.

*Savings based on £250 price point comparison when sending AUD, EUR, INR, USD.

Additional fees from Nationwide

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.

Contact / Help - More questions around your transfer?

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.

Sources used:

  1. Nationwide - Current accounts – Interest rates and charges
  2. Nationwide - Foreign exchange rates
  3. Nationwide - Swift and SEPA international payments
  4. 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.

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