Co-operative Bank International Transfer: A Full Guide 2023
Looking to learn about Co-operative Bank international transfers? This guide has all you need - including the costs, delivery times and how to make your first Co-operative Bank international bank transfer.
The Co-operative Bank has been in existence for over 150 years - but that’s no guarantee they’ll be the cheapest or easiest option for your overseas payment. Providers like Wise, OFX and Western Union can often offer better rates and lower fees. More on that later.
Co-operative Bank international money transfer comparison
The Co-operative Bank offers a few different international payment options - including SEPA transfers, Target 2 payments, US structured payments and SWIFT transfers. The fees and delivery times vary quite widely between these payment options, so picking the right one is important.
Depending on the details of your Co-operative transfer, you may pay the following fees:
Transfer fee - paid to the Co-op directly, although this fee can be waived for SEPA transfers
Exchange rate markup - the Co-operative uses a 4% exchange rate markup, which can push up the costs of your transfer significantly
Intermediary bank fees - these costs apply in SWIFT transfers, and can sometimes be paid by either the sender or the recipient
Let’s start with a comparison of the costs and delivery times involved when sending an international transfer with Co-operative Bank compared to some specialist providers.
Here we’ll use the fees that would apply for a payment of 1,000 GBP to a friend in France, assuming we want the end amount to be received in EUR.
|Provider||Total cost||Transfer time|
|Wise||4.28 GBP||50% of payments are instant, 90% of payments arrive in 24 hours|
|Western Union||No transfer fee, but exchange rate markups apply||Up to 2 days|
|OFX||No transfer fee, but exchange rate markups apply||1 - 2 business days|
|Co-operative Bank UK||No SEPA payment fee - an exchange rate markup of 4% applies||Next working day|
*Fees and exchange rates correct at time of research - 8th February 2023
**The speed of transaction claims depends on individual circumstances and may not be available for all transactions
SEPA transfers with Co-op don’t have a specific transfer fee, but the exchange rate markup is an extra cost, which is also pretty tricky to spot. If you need your euro payment to arrive faster you can arrange a Target 2 payment with the Co-operative Bank - this has higher fees, which we’ll cover later.
Specialist services like Wise have less complicated pricing compared to banks, with no exchange rate markup and the fee you pay split out for transparency. Where specialist services do use an exchange rate markup this is often smaller than the markup applied by a bank. All in all, you’ll normally find you pay less when sending money overseas if you pick a specialist service rather than a bank.
Getting set up with an international money transfer specialist is usually pretty easy, and payments can be made 24/7 online and through providers’ mobile apps.
Co-operative Bank international transfer fees
Here are the Co-operative Bank international transfer fees for different payment types:
|Transfer type||Co-operative Bank transfer fee|
|Sending a SEPA transfer in euros, within the SEPA area||No transfer fee|
|Target 2 EUR transfers||£25 plus postage, transmission and agents charges where applicable|
|SWIFT payments||0.25% - with a minimum charge of £13 and a maximum charge of £35 plus postage, transmission and agent's charges where applicable|
|US structured payments||£8|
|Receiving an international transfer|
Payments under £100 - no fee
Payments in EUR or SEK - no fee
All other payments - £6
Co-operative Bank exchange rate
The Co-operative Bank uses an exchange rate markup of 4%. That means they’ll take the Google exchange rate for the currency you need, and add in a fee of 4%, which pushes up your overall costs.
4% might not sound all that high but it can quickly add up. To put it in context, if your bank added a 4% exchange rate markup to the rate that was used for your transfer, here’s the cost you’d have to add into your payment:
Sending 1,000 GBP - the exchange rate markup would add 40 GBP to the total
Sending 5,000 GBP - the exchange rate markup would add 200 GBP to the total
Sending 50,000 GBP - the exchange rate markup would add 2,000 GBP to the total
As you can see - small changes to the exchange rates quickly end up costing way more than the transfer or intermediary fees often added by banks.
Here’s a reminder of how each of the providers we looked at earlier calculate the costs and the exchange rate they pass on to customers - in this case we are sending 1,000 GBP to a friend, so they receive it in EUR in the end:
Co-operative Bank: No transfer fee, 4% exchange rate margin applies
Wise: 4.28 GBP transfer fee - no other costs
Western Union: No transfer fee, exchange rate margin applies
OFX: No transfer fee, exchange rate margin applies
Co-operative Bank additional fees
If you’re sending a payment with the Co-op to anywhere other than the US or EEA, agent or intermediary charges will also apply. That’s in addition to the transfer and exchange rate fees you’ll pay.
These extra fees creep in when payments are sent using the SWIFT network. The Co-operative bank will work with partner banks to process the transfer, and each agent or intermediary can deduct their own fee for the service they offer. Depending on the type of transfer you’re making, you may have the option to pay these fees yourself, or you may decide to pass the costs onto the recipient. In this case, the amount the recipient gets will be lower.
How long does a Co-operative Bank international money transfer take?
As long as you arrange your international transfer during banking hours, and before the Co-operative’s cut off times for the payment type you’re making, the bank will start to process your transfer immediately. If you miss the cut off, or set up your payment out of hours or at the weekend, they’ll initiate the process on the next working day.
Co-operative Bank international bank transfers take varying lengths of time to arrive, depending on the payment details:
|Payment type||Delivery time|
|SEPA payment||Next day|
|Target 2 EUR payment|
Same day if initiated by 2:00pm
May take up to 3 days if there are issues on the recipient’s bank’s side
|Structured USD payment||5 working days|
|SWIFT payment||1 - 4 working days|
Don’t forget that the Co-operative Bank may also need to do their own security and verification checks, which could slow down your transfer. These checks are in place to keep customers and their money safe - and to comply with the law in the UK and overseas.
Here’s a reminder of the delivery times for the providers we looked at earlier:
Co-operative Bank: Euro SEPA payments can arrive the next working day, other payments can take up to 5 working days depending on the transfer type
Wise: 50% of payments are instant, 90% of payments arrive in 24 hours
Western Union: Up to 2 days
OFX: 1 - 2 business days
Pros and cons of transferring money abroad with Co-operative Bank
Send money in a branch, online or by phone
SWIFT transfers can be sent to almost anywhere in the world
No fee for SEPA payments, although an exchange rate markup will apply
4% exchange rate markup applies
Intermediary charges apply for transfers outside of the US and EEA
SWIFT transfers can take 4 days, low cost USD payments may take 5 days
Making an international transfer with a bank can be reassuringly familiar - but usually specialist services can offer faster delivery times, lower overall costs and a better exchange rate.
How to make an international transfer with Co-operative Bank
You can send money overseas with Co-operative Bank online, using the mobile banking app, in a branch, or by phone. Assuming your account is eligible for online transfers, here’s what to do:
Log in to online banking
Select 'Payment and transfers' from the menu on the left side of the dashboard
Tap 'Pay and transfer', then 'Pay someone else'
Select 'International' and click 'Continue'
Tap the account you want to make a payment from, using the 'Select account' drop-down menu
Pick a payee from the 'Select payee' drop-down menu
Select the currency and enter the amount
Choose the charging method for the payment
Enter a reference (description)
If the payment will go through a third party (intermediary) bank, select 'Use bank to bank information' and enter the third party bank details
Click 'Continue' and use your security token to confirm the payment.
If you can’t access mobile or online payments, you may need to call the bank directly on 03457 212 212 to set up your transfer.
What information do you need to make an international transfer with the Co-operative Bank?
To send money abroad with Co-operative Bank you need to provide the following information:
The amount and currency to transfer
Your recipient’s name and address
Recipient bank’s SWIFT/BIC code
For some destinations you also need to give a reason for payment
Transfer limits and available countries
Co-operative Bank customers can send SWIFT transfers almost anywhere in the world. If you’re sending USD or EUR you also have the options of SEPA transfers and low cost USD payments.
Limits may apply to some payments, based on the account type you hold. You’ll be informed of the limits which apply to your account when you set up your transfer.
Receiving money from abroad with Co-operative Bank
If you’re expecting to receive a payment into your Co-operative Bank account from overseas, you’ll need to make sure the sender has:
The Co-operative’s address:The Co-operative Bank plc, PO Box 101, Balloon Street, Manchester, M60 4EP
The Co-operative Bank’s SWIFT/BIC code CPBKGB22
the IBAN or International Bank Account Number for your account
You may also need to give the sender your sort code and account number if they're sending money from a country that doesn't use IBAN
All of these details are needed to make sure international transfers can arrive in the right accounts without delays.
Co-operative Bank SWIFT code
SWIFT codes are unique identifiers which are issued to many financial institutions to help guide international payments to the right banks around the world. You can think of a SWIFT code as being like a post code - getting it right is essential if you want to make sure your money gets to you safely.
Co-operative Bank’s SWIFT/BIC code: CPBKGB22
Bank’s aren’t necessarily the best option for sending money overseas. They’ll often use inflated exchange rates, and the delivery times aren’t usually the best on the market. Specialist services have stepped in to offer international payments which can have faster delivery times - plus lower overall fees and better exchange rates.
Compare the costs of your transfer with the Co-operative Bank against alternatives like Wise, Western Union and OFX to make sure you get the best available deal for your needs.
Co-operative Bank international bank transfer FAQs
SEPA transfers have no Co-op fee, you can send money to the US for 8 GBP, and SWIFT transfers cost 0.25% of the transfer amount. Bear in mind there’s also a 4% exchange rate markup applied, which can work out to be more expensive than the transfer charge itself.
SEPA payments may arrive on the next working day - all other payments can take up to 4 or 5 working days.
Send money online, in the mobile app, by phone, or in a branch.