Natwest international transfer: Fees, rates and transfer time

Wise
28.12.20
5 minute read

One of the UK's biggest banks, NatWest, offers several ways to make transfers abroad. You can choose standard or express transfers depending on how urgently you need to send the money and how much you want to pay for the service.

Here’s a guide to the details and costs you face if you make an international money transfer with NatWest.

A quick example before we get started.

A theoretical online bank transfer sending £1000 from the UK to a dollar bank account in the US.

ProviderFeeExchange RateTotal Cost
NatWest (UK)£0¹exchange rate + markup£0 + exchange rate markup + correspondent and recipient bank fees
Wise£4.25The real exchange rate - the same one you find on Google£4.25

NatWest doesn’t charge fees for standard international payments - which, at the first glance, might seem like a better and cheaper deal than Wise.

However, it’s important to take into account exchange rate markup - on average a spread of an additional 4-6%. Most banks give poorer exchange rate deals than the ones you’d find on Google.

On top of that, there are normally 1-3 intermediary and recipient banks who also charge fees. You can pick who pays the fees, but they are still there, regardless.

Those costs start adding up. Fast.

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.

Wise offers the real, mid-market exchange rate - the one you can find on Google, and a flat, transparent fee.

From the table above, it's easy to see that the total cost of NatWest transfer will leave you with uncertainty about the final and real costs of your money transfer.

What are the fees for an international transfer with NatWest in the UK?

NatWest international transfer fees

Here are the fees that NatWest currently says it charges for international transfers.

NatWest international transfersRegular fees
Incoming international transfer²
  • Up to £100: £1
  • Above £100: £7
Outgoing international transfer²
  • In euros, to Europe: no fee (standard); £15 (urgent)
  • By telephone, post/fax, or in branch: no fee (standard); £23 (urgent)
Additional fees may apply
  • See Additional Fees section below

These are the figures NatWest currently gives, but the precise details of your account and transfer might not perfectly fit into this category. You should get in touch with them to confirm the necessary details if you’re not sure.

NatWest exchange rates

Whenever you make an international transfer with a bank, there’s another cost to consider alongside fixed fees. Your money will be converted to the new currency at an exchange rate set by the banks. If you make your transfer online with NatWest, they’ll give you a quote³ based on their current exchange rate, but if the rate changes, your payment cost will change too.

Whatever the exchange rate ends up being, it’s very unlikely to be as favourable to you as the mid-market exchange rate that you’ll find on Google or XE, because it’s set by the bank.

Additional fees

If you’re transferring outside the EEA, additional banks - not just the bank receiving your money - might be involved in the transfer. That’s standard practice with a SWIFT transfer. These other banks sometimes charge fees, but because the fees aren’t set by NatWest, it can be very tricky to find out exactly what they’ll be when you make your transfer.

NatWest international transferAdditional fees per transfer
Agents’ fees (intermediary bank fees)
  • Any non-EEA transfer might incur fees from other banks involved in the transfer.
  • With NatWest, you can choose whether you’ll only pay NatWest’s fees, whether you’ll pay all fees, or whether the payee will cover all fees.⁵
Providing incorrect IBAN/BIC details
  • If you submit the wrong payment details, NatWest might charge any additional costs to you.⁶
Urgent transfer
  • £15 + possible overseas bank charge¹

A cheap and transparent alternative: Wise

Wise offers a different way to move your money abroad. It uses the same exchange rate you’ll find online at Google, and only charges one simple, upfront fee. You’ll be shown all the figures you need before you make the transfer, meaning that you can be completely certain about both the costs and the amount that will end up in the recipient’s account.

If you often need to move money internationally or send or receive international payments, a Borderless multi-currency account can help you even more. A Borderless account lets you hold money in dozens of currencies, cutting back on international exchange fees and reducing the uncertainty of fluctuating exchange rates.

You can also use local account details in pounds, euros, US dollars, Australian dollars, New Zealand dollars, Singapore dollars, Romanian lei, Hungarian forint, and Turkish lira - allowing you to send, receive and hold money internationally with ease. Even better, Wise Mastercard can be used in more than 200 countries.

Check out Wise now, and see whether - and how much - you could save on your international transfers.

Join Wise for free

How do you make an international transfer with NatWest?

There are a few ways⁷ to make international payments with NatWest: via app, online banking, in branch, fax or by post.

If you want to make the transfer online, don’t forget your NatWest card and card reader, as well as your login details. Log in and look for ‘Payments and Transfers’: there’s then an option to select ‘International payments’. Choose this and follow the instructions on the screen.

If you go to a branch, you may need your bank account details. A teller will talk you through the process.

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

This is the info you’ll need⁸ about the account into which you’re transferring the money:

  • The beneficiary’s SWIFT/BIC (a SWIFT/BIC finder can help you out if you haven’t been given it).
  • The beneficiary’s IBAN, if they have one
  • The beneficiary’s account number and national clearing code (NCC), if they don’t have an IBAN

What do I need or what should I give to the sender in order to receive an international bank transfer with NatWest?

To receive payments, you need to pass on more or less the same information to the sender. It varies from bank to bank, but here’s a full list of the info you might need to supply⁹:

  • Your account name and number
  • Your bank’s name: NatWest Plc
  • For euro payments, NatWest’s SWIFT
  • For euro payments, your IBAN
  • For other payments, your account name and number
  • For other payments, your branch name and address

How long does an international bank transfer with NatWest take?

You have 2 main options with NatWest: a standard transfer or an urgent transfer.¹ Standard transfer takes 2-4 working days to be cleared, while the urgent transfer takes 1-2 working days. The cutoff point for standard transfers is 16:00 UK time and for urgent transfers is 15:00 UK time.

Contact / Help - More questions around your transfer?

  • For further information, NatWest’s online support centre can help you out.
  • For general queries their number is +44 3457 888 444.
  • If you login, you can also chat with someone from NatWest via their website.

Whether you choose to make your international transfer with NatWest, Wise or another provider, make sure you know the full costs involved - both the upfront costs and the amount that the exchange rate will set you back. When your money’s at stake, it pays to be well informed.

Sources:

  1. NatWest UK - international transfer fee
  2. NatWest UK - international transfers
  3. NatWest - making an international payment and exchange rate
  4. NatWest - terms and conditions
  5. NatWest - fee options for international payments
  6. NatWest - providing wrong information
  7. NatWest - ways to make an international payment
  8. NatWest - necessary info for making a transfer
  9. NatWest - receiving international transfer

All sources checked on December 28, 2020


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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