Royal Bank of Scotland international transfer: fees, rates, transfer time

Zorica Lončar
11.11.21
5 minute read

Just signed up for a Royal Bank of Scotland account? RBS is one of the biggest banks in the UK, serving over 3.3 million personal customers¹. Whether you’re a new customer or just thinking about joining RBS, one of the useful things you’ll need to know about is how to send an international transfer.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of making a Royal Bank of Scotland international transfer. This includes the details you’ll need to set up your transfer, how much it costs and how long it takes.

Crucially, we’ll also talk you through the sometimes confusing world of exchange rates, to make sure you’re getting the best deal before you hit ‘send’.

But first, a quick example to illustrate how much an international payment could cost you.

Let’s do a theoretical overseas bank transfer, sending £1,000 to a EUR country like France or Germany. Here’s how much it’ll cost using RBS, compared to a money transfer specialist like Wise.

ProviderFeeExchange rateTotal cost
RBS£0 to £15 depending on delivery time²Exchange rate + markup³£0 to £15 + exchange rate mark-up
Wise£3.69The real exchange rate - the same one you find on Google£3.69

Looking at this example, you might think that RBS is the clear winner when it comes to fees. After all, it charges no fees for standard international payments (this increases to £15 for urgent transfers).

But the thing to look closely at is exchange rates, as a markup on the mid-market rate can make your transfer much more expensive overall. We’ll look at this in more detail in just a moment.

Royal Bank of Scotland international transfer fees

The exact fee you’ll be charged by RBS depends on whether you choose a standard or urgent transfer. Also, what account type you have, and where you’re sending to. But here are the main charges you need to know about:

RBS international transfersRegular fees⁵
Sending money outside the UK - online banking£0 for standard payments - £15 for urgent payments
Sending money outside the UK - telephone or in-branch£0 for standard EUR payments - £22 for standard non-EUR payments - £20 for urgent EUR payments - £30 for urgent non-EUR payments
Receiving an international payment£0 for EUR payments - £1 for non-EUR payments under £100 - £7 for non-EUR payments over £100

Royal Bank of Scotland exchange rates

RBS uses its own standard exchange rates which typically include a markup on the mid-market rate³. This is the one you’ll find on Google or XE.com, and the rate offered by Wise for international transfers of all kinds.

When you set up an overseas payment with RBS using online or mobile banking, you’ll be given a guaranteed exchange rate. But if there’s a reason the payment can’t be made right away (such as being future-dated) then you’ll be given an indicative rate. The actual rate used when your payment is eventually processed may differ from this.

A cheaper and transparent alternative - Wise

If you want to send money overseas for the fairest possible exchange rate, Wise is the perfect solution.

Make an international transfer with Wise and you’ll always get the real, mid-market exchange rate. This is the one you’ll find on Google, with no expensive mark-up added on top. There’s only a tiny, transparent fee for overseas payments, and you’ll know exactly what you’ll pay before you hit ‘send’.

Wise is FCA regulated and uses sophisticated security measures to protect your money, so you can send with confidence.

If you regularly send and receive money internationally, check out the Wise multi-currency account. This lets you hold 50+ currencies at once, and switch between them for small currency conversion fees - and of course, the mid-market rate. You can even receive money for free, depending on the currency.

Join Wise today

How do you make an international transfer with the Royal Bank of Scotland?

Ready to set up your first payment with RBS? There are a few different ways you can do it - online, mobile app or in an RBS branch.

Online

Follow these steps to make an international transfer online²:

  1. Login to RBS online banking
  2. Select ‘Payments and transfers’ from the menu
  3. Under ‘International payments’, click to start a new payment
  4. Select an existing payee, or create a new one
  5. Enter the country, currency, amount and how quickly you need the payment to arrive (i.e. Standard or Urgent)
  6. Check that you’re happy with the fee and exchange rate details
  7. Provide the recipient’s account information - we’ll look at what you’ll need next
  8. Give a reference for the payment
  9. Choose the account you want the payment to be made from and the date you’d like it sent
  10. Follow the on-screen instructions to authorise the payment - you may need the card reader linked to your RBS account
  11. Check the details and confirm.

Mobile app²

You can also make an international payment with the Royal Bank of Scotland mobile banking app. Once you’ve downloaded the app and signed in, you’ll need to follow the on-screen instructions to start your payment. These are broadly the same as the online banking instructions, but you should be able to set up your transfer in just a few taps.

In branch

The Royal Bank of Scotland international transfer limit is £10,000 a day⁶ for payments sent through digital banking. If you want to send more than this, or you simply prefer to arrange your transfers in person, you can pop into your nearest RBS branch. Take your debit card and a form of ID with you, along with the recipient’s details.

What do I need in order to make an international transfer with the Royal Bank of Scotland?

To send money overseas with RBS, you’ll usually need the following to hand²:

  • The recipient’s International Bank Account Number (IBAN) or account number
  • Their bank’s BIC (Bank Identifier) or SWIFT code - you can find or check SWIFT/BIC codes here.
  • Your debit card
  • The card reader linked to your RBS account.

There may also be country-specific requirements, depending where you’re sending to. You can check these on the RBS website.

What do I need in order to receive an international transfer with Royal Bank of Scotland?

If someone in another country wants to send money to you here in the UK, here’s what you’ll need to give them²:

  • Your IBAN - you’ll usually find this on the ‘account details’ section of your online or mobile banking
  • The correct Royal Bank of Scotland SWIFT code or BIC - use this handy tool to find or check your SWIFT/BIC code.

How long does an international bank transfer with the Royal Bank of Scotland take?²

It all depends which option you choose for your payment - Standard or Urgent. A Standard payment takes between 2-4 days to arrive, provided you submit your payment by the cutoff time. This is 3pm for mobile banking and 4pm for online banking.

You’ll pay a fee for Urgent international payments with RBS, but they are much quicker. It takes between 1-2 working days, if you submit your transfer before the cutoff time of 3pm (applies to both mobile and online banking).


And that’s pretty much it - all the essentials you need to know about Royal Bank of Scotland international transfers. We’ve covered ways you can start a transfer, whether you’re a mobile banking fan or prefer to visit a branch in person, along with fees, exchange rates and timescales. Plus, the details you’ll need to send and receive overseas payments as an RBS customer.

Remember, it’s crucial to check and compare exchange rates before making an international transfer with any provider. Upfront fees may seem low, but a bad rate can make your payment cost a small fortune. It’s well worth taking the time to do your homework, especially if you regularly send and receive money worldwide.


Sources used for this article:

  1. NatWest Group - Royal Bank of Scotland
  2. RBS - send money abroad
  3. RBS - card currency calculator
  4. Wise - send money
  5. RBS - fees
  6. RBS - how can I make an international payment

Sources checked on 19-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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