Nationwide International Transfer: Fees, Transfer Time And Exchange Rates

Planning to transfer money abroad with Nationwide? This guide covers everything you need to know - how much international transfers with Nationwide cost, how long they take, and how to make one.

Despite having a proud history stretching right back to 1884, Nationwide might not be the best option if you need to send an international payment. Services like Wise, Western Union and OFX can be cheaper, faster and more intuitive to use.

Nationwide international money transfer comparison

Whenever you send an international payment there could be up to 3 different fee types to watch out for:

  • Transfer fee - this is often the easiest to spot and can be low, or even free
  • Exchange rate markup
    • this can be the highest fee, but it’s often hard to see
  • Intermediary bank fees
    • you may not see these in advance so your recipient gets less than they expect

We’ll dive into what these fees look like, and how they work in a moment. Let’s start with a comparison of the costs and delivery times involved when sending an international transfer with Nationwide compared to some specialist providers.

Here we’ll use the fees that would apply for a payment to a friend in France, assuming we want the end amount received to be 1,000 EUR.

ProviderTotal costTransfer time
Nationwide No Nationwide transfer fee

Intermediary or agent bank fees + exchange rate margin apply
1 working day
Wise 3.14 GBP 80% of payments arrive in 24 hours
Western Union 7.11 GBP fee included in the exchange rate used Up to 2 days
OFX 21.11 GBP fee included in the exchange rate used 1 - 2 business days

*Fees and exchange rates correct at time of research - 24th November 2021

Nationwide’s exchange rates can be found online. They include a markup on the mid-market exchange rate which can vary by currency. It’s common for banks and building societies to use a markup of up to 3% which can really push up the total costs of your payment. You may also run into intermediary costs if your transfer is sent using the SWIFT network - these aren’t always predictable which can mean it’s impossible to know in advance exactly how much your transfer will cost in total.

International money transfer specialists can often offer customers a better exchange rate compared to banks - and may also have faster delivery times thanks to more modern payment networks. Getting set up with a specialist provider like Wise, Western Union or OFX is usually easy, and payments can often be made online or in a provider app, 24/7.

Nationwide international transfer fees

Here are the international transfer fees when you transfer money overseas with nationwide:

Payment typeNationwide international transfer fee
SEPA payments in the EEA No transfer fee
All other foreign currency payments 20 GBP

FlexStudent, FlexGraduate and FlexOne accounts may have international transfer fees waived[7]
Receive an international payment Free

Nationwide exchange rate

Nationwide publishes the exchange rates used for international payments online. Rates include a markup - an extra fee - but this isn’t explicitly shown unless you’re sending a payment to an EEA country:

“When you ask us to make a payment to an account in an EEA country in euros or another EU/EEA currency, we will provide you with our charges for carrying out the currency conversion. These are calculated by comparing our standard outbound exchange rate against the latest foreign exchange reference rates issued by the European Central Bank (ECB).”

What this means is that, when Nationwide processes EEA payments they’ll split out the fee added to the exchange rate so customers can see it more easily. For other payments you’d need to compare the Nationwide exchange rate with the mid-market rate for your currency to see the markup being used. Check the live Nationwide exchange rates here.

The markup added to the Nationwide international transfer exchange rate may vary by currency - but it’s not uncommon for banks to add a 3% fee to the rates issued for customers. This can quickly mount up -

  • Sending 1,000 GBP - the exchange rate markup would add 30 GBP to the total
  • Sending 5,000 GBP - the exchange rate markup would add 150 GBP to the total
  • Sending 50,000 GBP - the exchange rate markup would add 1,500 GBP to the total

As you can see - even a small change to the exchange rate can mean a much bigger overall fee. Here’s a reminder of the total costs - including exchange rate markups - from the providers we looked at earlier. This is what you’ll pay with each if you want your recipient to end up with 1,000 EUR in their account in the end:

  • Nationwide: No transfer fee, but exchange rate margin + any relevant intermediary fees will apply
  • Wise: 3.18 GBP
  • Western Union: 0 - 2.90 GBP transfer fee, exchange rate margin applies
  • OFX: No transfer fee, exchange rate margin applies

Nationwide additional fees

Nationwide international money transfers which are processed through the SWIFT network may incur extra fees:

“If you make an overseas payment it may pass through one or more banks on its way to the recipient's account. Banks who are based outside the EEA or the UK may deduct fees from your payment before it reaches the recipient. This could mean that the money the recipient receives is less than the payment you sent to them.”

This is common under the SWIFT network, but may mean a smaller amount ends up in your recipient’s account in the end. It’s also not always possible to know in advance exactly what fees will be deducted. Specialist providers don’t always use the SWIFT network. By processing payment through their own networks, they’re able to cut out the extra intermediary costs, and pass the savings on to customers.

How long does a Nationwide international money transfer take?

The delivery times for Nationwide international payments vary based on currency and destination country:

Payment typeDelivery time
In and EEA currency, send to a country within the EEA Within 1 working day
Other currencies sent within the EEA Up to 4 working days
International payments outside the EEA

Delivery times vary - check the details when you arrange your payment

Banks and building societies like Nationwide don’t always offer the fastest payment service available. Let’s recap the delivery times for the providers we looked at earlier.

  • Nationwide: Within the EEA - 1 - 4 days, delivery times for other countries can vary
  • Wise: 80% 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 Nationwide

Pros:

  • No transfer fee for some EEA payments
  • Secure and familiar transfers
  • No fee to receive payments from abroad
  • Send transfers from a branch at the same cost as an online payment

Cons:

  • Outside of the EEA payments cost a steep 20 GBP
  • Non-EEA transfers take around 4 days or more to arrive
  • Exchange rate markups are used
  • You can’t arrange a payment in the Nationwide mobile app

How to make an international transfer with Nationwide

You can send an international payment in the Nationwide online banking service, or in a branch. You can’t set up a Nationwide international bank transfer in the mobile app. If you plan to send your payment in a branch you’ll have to take along your Nationwide account card, your passport or driving license and a proof of address.

Here’s how to get started through online banking:

  1. Log in to your online banking account
  2. Click on the Move money tab
  3. Select Other payments, then Make an international payment
  4. Choose the account you want to use and click Go
  5. Follow the prompts to add the recipient’s details and payment amount
  6. Check everything over and confirm when you’re happy

What information do you need to make an international transfer with Nationwide?

Whether you’re sending your payment online or in a Nationwide branch, you’ll need to collect some information first:

  • Recipient’s name and address
  • Recipient’s IBAN or account number
  • Name and address of the bank receiving the funds
  • SWIFT/BIC of the bank receiving the funds
  • a card reader

Transfer limits and available countries

You can send SEPA payments within the EEA, and SWIFT payments to a broad range of countries with Nationwide. A few countries are barred from receiving payments under international sanctions, but you’ll be able to easily see if your destination country is available when you start to set up your payment online or in a branch.

Transfer limits may vary based on destination country and account type.

Receiving money from abroad with Nationwide

There’s no fee to receive an international payment into your Nationwide account. You’ll need to give the sender:

  • Your name and address
  • Your account’s IBAN
  • The Nationwide SWIFT/BIC code
  • The SWIFT/BIC code for HSBC (Nationwide’s intermediary bank)

Nationwide SWIFT codes

A SWIFT code is a unique identifier assigned to banks and other financial institutions. In international transfers, the SWIFT code helps to guide your money to the right bank and account - so the payment arrives quickly and safely.

The Nationwide SWIFT code is NAIAGB21. You’ll also need to provide the SWIFT code for the intermediary bank used by Nationwide (HSBC) - that is MIDLGB22.

Conclusion

Using your normal bank or building society may seem an obvious choice when you set up an international transfer, but it can be an expensive one. Traditional institutions often can’t offer the best exchange rates, and may have slower delivery times compared to specialist providers.

Making your payment with a provider like Wise, Western Union or OFX could prove to be cheaper, easier and faster.

Interested in making international transfers with banks? Read our guides on Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, Santander, NatWest, RBS, and Halifax.

Nationwide international bank transfer FAQs

How much does a Nationwide international transfer cost?

There’s no transfer fee for some payments in the EEA, all other international transfers have a 20 GBP transfer fee. Exchange rate markups and intermediary costs also apply.

How long does a Nationwide international money transfer take?

Delivery times depend on the destination country. EEA payments can arrive on the next working day, other transfers will take 4 days or more.

How to transfer money internationally with Nationwide?

Make a Nationwide international bank transfer online or in a branch - the service isn't yet available through the Nationwide mobile app.