Santander UK international wire transfer: Fees, rates and transfer time

Gert Svaiko

If you bank with Santander UK and are looking to send or receive money internationally, you may be overwhelmed with information about how to safely and transparently move your funds.

In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you’ll need to know about Santander international transfer, including what it costs. But fees aren’t all you should consider when choosing how to make your transfer. Many banks also markup exchange rates on international transfers by 4-6%. Plus, there are normally 1-3 intermediary and recipient banks who also charge fees.

Before we get into the guide, here’s an example on how Wise's wire transfer compares against Santander’s wire transfer when sending GBP to the US. Notice how Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate – the one you can see on Google – and how you see exactly the fees involved.

ProviderFee (19/12/22, 10:30 a.m. UTC)Exchange RateTotal Cost
Santander Bank (UK)Electronic transfer £25¹‘Santander reference exchange rate’⁵ (likely includes a mark-up)£25 + likely exchange rate markup + potential fees from intermediary and recipient banks
Wise£4.64The mid-market exchange rate£4.64

Learn more about the Wise International wire 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 send money abroad with Santander UK?

Santander UK gives its customers the option to conduct banking business in any of the following ways:¹

  • Online Banking
  • In person at the branch closest to you
  • By phone

On the Santander UK digital banking site

Santander UK maintains an online banking portal for all its customers. Note that if you are hoping to initiate an international bank transfer online with Santander, you’ll need a mobile device nearby, as you’ll be sent a One Time Passcode (OTP) to verify your identity

In person at a local branch

Let your teller know the details of your transaction, i.e. how much money, which type of transfer, and where it’s headed, and they’ll be able to process your fund transfer for you. Be sure and read below, on what information you’ll need to have ready before you head into your local branch.

By phone

Get a hold of Santander UK on 0330 9 123 123², and have your account information and the information of the recipient ready. This will include the PIN and login information you use to bank online.

What do you need to make an international electronic transfer?

In order to send money outside the UK from a Santander account, you’ll need the following information on hand:¹

  • Recipient’s full name and their account number or IBAN
  • Their BIC
  • Any specific routing information the recipient’s bank may require in order to accept funds from abroad.

Is there a transfer limit with Santander?

Using Online Banking, you may have a single transfer limit of up to £25,000. The maximum amount you can transfer in 24 h is £100,000

If you want to send larger amounts, then you need to make a CHAPS transfer – but it will cost you £25 to do so.⁴

Santander international transfer fees and rates

Santander doesn’t charge its customers to receive international money transfers, though you may get charged by the recipient’s bank. Below are the fees you can expect in order to move money around the globe. Note that intermediary fees can’t be predicted by your bank, and depend on the recipient’s bank and how it receives money from abroad.

Before choosing a transfer service, compare the offered exchange rate to the mid-market rate using an online currency converter. That way, you’ll have a better idea of what your transfer actually will cost you.

And, if you value transparent fees and want to avoid exchange rate markups, consider sending money with Wise. You’ll get a low transfer fee, no hidden costs, and the fair mid-market exchange rate.

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.

Santander international bank transfer fees

There are different options for who pays the fees.¹

With Santander, the default option is that you and the recipient share the fees. This means that you pay the Santander fees, and the recipient pays the receiving fees. You can also choose to pay all the fees - when you choose this option it will be more likely that your recipient receives the full amount, although Santander does state that they can’t guarantee this.

The 3rd option is to have the recipient pay all the fees, which will then be taken off the amount you send. Santander international transfer fees can be summarised as follows:

Santander UK TransactionFee
Incoming international transfer¹
  • None (from Santander)
Outgoing international transfer¹
  • £25 electronic transfer (standard)
  • No fee for electronic euro transfer (non-urgent SEPA)
  • £10 currency draft
Additional fees
  • See below

Santander UK exchange rates

Exchange rates change day to day, and banks don’t always use the mid-market rates or the rates you might find when you search on Google. If you’re sending money to a bank account that operates in a different currency, make sure and check with a Santander representative on the day you intend to send or receive money internationally, so you know what you’ll be charged (and whether that charge is marked up).

Generally, an intermediary bank will perform a currency conversion. However, when Santander receives a payment that is meant for you, and the money still has to be converted, they note that:⁵

You can make and receive payments to and from the UK and other countries. Payments and cash withdrawals in foreign currency: a) will be converted to/from pounds at our current exchange rate as at the date we receive the Payment Instruction for that type of transaction; b) may have charges deducted by other correspondent banks that are used in the routing of the payment

Their General Terms and Conditions⁵ also state:

Our exchange rates for foreign currency payments are based on our Santander reference exchange rates for the relevant currency. We have different reference rates depending on the size of the transaction and whether you are buying (if you are sending a payment) or selling currency (if you are receiving a payment into your account). Details of the relevant reference exchange rate will be displayed online when you make a payment and are also available in branch or by calling us on 0800 9 123 123.

Using a currency converter can help you compare Santander’s rate for that day with the mid-market exchange rate.

Additional fees from Santander UK

Santander UK international transferAdditional fees
Sending/recipient bank and/or intermediary bank(s)⁵Santander notes, “There may be third party Correspondent banks used in the routing of an international payment, that apply their own charges for processing an International Payment which may be deducted from the money sent by you. This will mean that the sum of money received by the beneficiary may be less than the amount of money you have sent.”

Speak to a representative to find out if your transfer will be subject to intermediary bank fees.

When does the transfer arrive to the recipient’s account?

How long your bank transfer with Santander takes depends on the region and currency you're sending the funds to. The transfer could arrive to the destination account on the same day or within 4 working days.¹

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

The fastest option Santander offers for transferring money abroad is an electronic transfer, which costs £25, and can be done online, by phone, or in person. This type of transfer arrives on the same-day as long as the transaction is headed to a USD or EUR account.¹

Does the amount of time it takes vary by destination?

Recipient accounts outside the EEA and the USA can expect to wait a bit longer, up to four working days from the initiation of transfer.¹

How to contact Santander UK?

If you need to contact Santander UK, the easiest way is to chat with them on their support website. There you can also find answers to most frequent questions, navigating their support pages. And finally, you can give them a call 7 days a week from 8am to 6pm at 0330 9 123 123

There are always logistics to consider when sending money abroad. By now, you will have everything you need to transfer money internationally with Santander. We’ve looked at different fees and charges, how long it takes for the money to reach the destination, and how you can initiate a transfer in the first place.

And it’s always best to compare different providers to potentially save some money. Remember that high street banks tend to add a markup to the exchange rate, whereas providers like Wise use the mid-market rate without markups.

Sources used:

  1. Santander - Making international payments
  2. Santander - Contact us
  3. Santander - Payments and transfers
  4. Santander - CHAPS payment
  5. Santander - General terms and conditions (April 2022)

Sources last checked on date: 13-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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