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Santander International Transfer

Santander is a customer-focused Spanish bank that entered the UK market in 2004. Globally, the banking group has over 125 million customers, 11.5% of which are served by Santander UK, and the group is the 16th largest banking institution in the world. This review will take you through everything you need to know about Santander before using the bank to make international transfers, including the exchange rate margins it applies when transferring between different currencies.

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About Santander

Santander was founded in Spain in 1857 as Banco Santander (which is still the trading name of the bank today). With its headquarters in Madrid, Santander is primarily known for its extensive European coverage – but in recent years the bank has been expanding globally across both North and Central America and in Asia.  Within the UK, Santander has 1,400 branches, and some of its subsidiaries in the country – such as Abbey National – have recently rebranded under the Santander name. 

Santander exchange rates and fees

Santander charges both a transfer fee and an exchange rate margin on top of the mid-market rate for customers making international transfers. Here the rates and fees to expect when making a transfer with Santander. 

Exchange rates

Santander charges an average margin of 5% above the mid-market rate for transfers involving a currency conversion. Whether you are moving Sterling to US dollars, Australian dollars, or Euros, expect to pay about the same margin. This is on the higher end of margins charged among banks, and is much higher than you’ll find with specialist money transfer services.

Fees

Standard electronic transfers to overseas bank accounts are charged at £25 with Santander. However, SEPA Euro transfers are free of charge. You or the beneficiary can pay all the fees. Alternatively, you can split the charges at the point of sending.

Additional Costs

The beneficiary may be charged SWIFT and intermediary fees by the receiving bank. Santander do not control these fees, so check with your recipient before sending funds.

Santander pros and cons

Santander is a well-established bank that has many years’ experience facilitating large interbank transfers within Europe and beyond. However, before using its services, it is important to know its drawbacks and benefits.

Pros

  • Wide range of currencies: The bank supports a total of 147 global currencies
  • Physical presence: Santander has a presence in 10 main markets and can help customers make payments to almost every destination worldwide
  • Online chat: Customers can access online support via chat service 

Cons

  • High exchange rate margins: Santander adds about 5% above the mid-market rate thus making transfers costly
  • Transfer speeds: Transfers outside the UK can take up to 4 working days to be completed.
  • Transfer fees: When making small transfers – £5,000 and below, the fees charged as a percentage of the transfer amount can be quite significant.

Santander Swift Codes

BankCountryCity
Banco Santander Rio SaArgentinaBuenos Aires
Banco Santander Sa Sydney BranchAustraliaSydney
Santander Consumer Bank GmbhAustriaVienna
Banco Santander Bahamas International LimitedBahamasNassau
Santander Bank And Trust LtdBahamasNassau
Banco Santander Central HispanoBelgiumBrussels
Santander Benelux SaBelgiumBrussels
Banco Santander Brasil SaBrazilSao Paulo
Banco Santander Brasil Sa Grand Cayman BranchCayman IslandsGeorgetown
Banco Santander ChileChileAntofagasta
Banco Santander ChileChileArica
Banco Santander ChileChileChillan
Banco Santander ChileChileConcepcion
Banco Santander ChileChileCoyhaique
Banco Santander ChileChileCurico
Banco Santander ChileChileIquique
Banco Santander ChileChileLa Serena
Banco Santander ChileChilePuerto Montt
Banco Santander ChileChilePunta Arenas
Banco Santander ChileChileRancagua
Banco Santander ChileChileSantiago
Santander Investment Sa Corredores De BolsaChileSantiago
Banco Santander ChileChileTalca
Banco Santander ChileChileTemuco
Banco Santander ChileChileValdivia
Banco Santander ChileChileValparaiso
Banco Santander ChileChileVina Del Mar
Banco Santander Sa Shanghai BranchChinaShanghai
Banco Santander De Negocios Colombia SaColombiaBogota
Banco Santander SaFranceParis
Banco Santander SaGermanyFrankfurt Am Main
Banco Santander Sa Hong Kong BranchHong KongHong Kong
Santander Financial Products LtdIrelandDublin
Banco Santander Mexico Sa Institucion De Banca Multiple Grupo Financiero SantanderMexicoAcapulco
Banco Santander Mexico Sa Institucion De Banca Multiple Grupo Financiero SantanderMexicoChihuahua
Banco Santander Mexico Sa Institucion De Banca Multiple Grupo Financiero SantanderMexicoGuadalajara
Banco Santander Mexico Sa Institucion De Banca Multiple Grupo Financiero SantanderMexicoHermosillo
Banco Santander Mexico Sa Institucion De Banca Multiple Grupo Financiero SantanderMexicoLeon
Banco Santander Mexico Sa Institucion De Banca Multiple Grupo Financiero SantanderMexicoMazatlan
Banco Santander Mexico Sa Institucion De Banca Multiple Grupo Financiero SantanderMexicoMerida
Banco Santander Mexico Sa Institucion De Banca Multiple Grupo Financiero SantanderMexicoMexico
Casa De Bolsa Santander SaMexicoMexico
Banco Santander Mexico Sa Institucion De Banca Multiple Grupo Financiero SantanderMexicoMonterrey
Banco Santander Mexico Sa Institucion De Banca Multiple Grupo Financiero SantanderMexicoPuebla
Banco Santander Mexico Sa Institucion De Banca Multiple Grupo Financiero SantanderMexicoTijuana
Banco Santander Mexico Sa Institucion De Banca Multiple Grupo Financiero SantanderMexicoToluca
Banco Santander Mexico Sa Institucion De Banca Multiple Grupo Financiero SantanderMexicoVeracruz
Santander Consumer Bank AsNorwayLysaker
Banco Santander Peru SaPeruLima

Answers to key questions about Santander

Before using any provider to transfer money, there are certain things you need to be aware of. Here is what you know about Santander.

Can I open a Santander account in any country?

No, you can only open an account with Santander if you are a legal resident within the UK or the EU. Residents of other countries cannot sign up for accounts.

Does Santander have an app?

Yes. Santander mobile banking app is available both on the Play Store and App Store. Some of the app features include:

  • Checking pending and historical transactions
  • Freezing lost or stolen cards
  • Moving money locally and across borders
  • Managing beneficiaries

Are there transfer limits?

Yes. Personal accounts have a daily online transfer limit of £25,000 while business accounts have a £100,000 limit.

How long do transfers take with Santander?

Transfers take between 1-4 days to be delivered depending on the destination. Most EU transfers are delivered within one business day.

What customer support options are available?

You can reach Santander customer support through any of the following ways:

  • Telephone: You can call customer support on 0800 9 123 123 Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm.
  • Email: The customer service team is available on email at customerservices@santanderconsumer.co.uk.
  • Online chat: Customer service agents are available on chat Monday to Friday, 10am – 4pm and Saturdays 10am – 2pm.

How to open an account and transfer money with Santander

Opening an account online or at a branch and sending money with Santander is simple and straightforward. It takes about 15 minutes. Below is a step-by-step summary of how to go about it online.

Opening an account

1. About you: Give your name, date of birth, nationality, marital status, and email address.

2. Contact details: Enter your phone number and residential address.

3. Employment details: Provide your employment status and your current level of income.

4. Account options: State the purpose of your new account and how funds will be paid into it.

5. Review and submit: Check that all the details are correct and click on ‘agree and submit’.

Sending money

1. Log onto the online banking platform

2. Click on ‘Payments & Transfers’

3. Click on ‘International payments’

4. Follow the onscreen instructions and ensure all the details are captured correctly (e.g. amount being transferred and beneficiary details) before submitting.

Summary

Santander is a reputable bank with a geographical presence in 10 main markets. It is one of the largest banks in the UK supporting over 14 million customers, and with the bank’s pool of 147 global currencies customers can transfer funds to almost any country. It is only possible to sign up to a Santander account if you are in the UK or an EU country, however.

Having said that, Santander is not the best provider if you want to transfer funds fast and at a low cost. While the fees it charges are relatively small, the average exchange rate margin of 5% is among the highest around. If you want to save money making an international transfer, the best way is to enter the details of the transfer you wish to make in our comparison tool, which will then show you your best options in seconds to save you time and money.