HomeChallenger BanksSmile Digital Bank

Smile Digital Bank

Smile was the first digital bank in the United Kingdom. It first started as a trading division under The Co-operative Bank. This digital bank was set in motion in 1999 and immediately started offering complete banking services like credit cards, savings, current accounts, and investments.

As a digital bank, customers enjoy hassle-free banking devoid of queues and jargon. The idea is to compete effectively with the high street banks such as HBSC.

In this review, we whittle down how this challenger bank handles international money transfers.

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United Kingdom

About Smile Digital Bank

With Smile bank being a division of The Co-operative bank, all the funding came from the parent bank. The bank has continued to invest and launch new products since the early 2000s, winning numerous awards along the way.

Smile digital offers intuitive online banking and mobile app platforms. So, what do existing customers say about this bank?

Verified customers have penned their experiences. From Trustpilot, the review swing to both extremes, from ‘exceptional’ to ‘awful.’ 77% of the users rated the services as bad; however, the support team has responded to 97% of the negative reviews, offering assistance. Other sites seem to agree with the overall score for the services provided.

Can I use Smile Digital Bank for International Transfers?

Yes, Smile digital bank facilitates international money from and to the UK. Transfers are only possible using the online banking option. Customers can send to individuals and companies abroad.

Sending money outside the UK using Smile Digital Bank

The main requirement to transfer money overseas are:

  • Amount to transfer

  • International Bank account number (IBAN) of the recipient

  • Swift code or Bank Identifier Code (BIC) of the beneficiary’s bank

You can access this service by using the international payment section on the online banking system.

Sending Euros outside the UK using Smile Digital Bank

There are two options available for this type of transfer. The most preferred is the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). The other option is using the Real-Time Euro Payment (TARGET2), which comes in handy when the transfer is urgent.

Due to their urgent nature, TARGET2 transfers are completed within the same day. However, they attract a higher fee.

Account-holders who wish to send any other currency will have to use SWIFT or a US structured payment system. The US structured payment is best for lower value dollar transfers to the USA.

How long do transfers take with Smile Digital Bank?

Customers can expect the following delivery timelines for their international transfers.

ServiceLocationTime Taken
SWIFTGlobal1-4 Days
Structured USD PaymentsUSA1-5 Days
SEPA PaymentsEurope plus Iceland, Lichtenstein, Switzerland, Norway, and Monaco1 Day
TARGET2Sending Euros outside the UKSame day before 2 PM otherwise, 1-3 DAYS

Are there any transfer limits?

Smile Digital Bank stipulates the limits one can transfer from the UK.

ServiceMin AmountMax Amount

Can I use a Smile Digital Bank debit card when traveling abroad?

Smile digital bank aims to ensure customers experience the same quality of service with their debit card when abroad. You can use your debit card anywhere you see a Visa Logo.

The card allows you to withdraw cash or pay when outside the UK. Customers will be charged a fee when using the debit card to pay in currencies other than the Sterling pound. Smile Bank uses the Visa exchange rate, and on top, a 2.75% currency conversion is charged. In addition, withdrawing cash from foreign ATM providers may attract a fee.

Smile Digital Bank Exchange Rate and Fees

Smile Digital Bank in conjunction with The Co-operative Bank, charges fees and margins off exchange rates.

Exchange Rate

Exchange rates are set at the behest of the parent bank (The Co-operative Bank). While abroad, the Visa exchange scheme rate is applied when withdrawing currency other than the sterling pound.


Here are the fees Smile charges for transfers.

SWIFT0.25% of the Transaction Amount
Structured USD Payments£8

In instances where you see various payment options (shared, sender, and beneficiary), agent fees are involved.

Additional Fees

You will be charged £20 for any amendments, inquiries, and cancellations. The fees are a result of investigations of payments outside of the UK. However, if the error resulted from Smile bank, agents, or The co-operative Bank, the fees are waived.

Other charges also arise from payment transmission, agents, or postage fees. Additionally, the fee is dependent on the currency, destination, and transfer complexity.

How do Smile Digital Bank transfer fees compare to using a money transfer provider?

Compared to the more traditional money remittance companies, Smile Digital Bank charges are a bit significant. Urgent transfers (TARGET2) are expensive compared to other services. However, transfers within SEPA are free.

Some money transfer services like XE and Azimo offer transfers for free. For instance, Smile charges £8 for transfers from the UK to the US. However, the XE remittance company offers this transfer for free.

Smile Digital Bank Pros and Cons

Smile as a money transfer service has its upside and downside. See the breakdown below.


Extensive network - With Swift, agents, and correspondent banks, Smile bank can credit most banks globally.
Live Chat – Users can easily ask for support via live chat
Funds Receipt – Customers can receive funds in the UK via electronic banks from anywhere in the world.
Traveling Overseas - Customers can use a debit card when traveling across the world to make purchases.


Expensive – The transfer fees are expensive compared to the more traditional money remittance companies
There are additional fees charged for inquiries, cancellations or amendments.
Crediting timelines – Crediting bank accounts takes more than one day apart from the TARGET2 service.

Smile Digital Bank Additional Products

  1. Current accounts

  2. Mortgages

  3. Insurance

  4. Credit cards

  5. Saving and ISA


Smile Digital Bank came to be as a division of The Co-operative Bank. The main aim of this digital bank was to upstage the well-established banks in the UK. Apart from the traditional banking services, Smile bank offers international remittances from the UK.

When compared to other banks, Smile bank offers reasonable charges for international transfers. Finally, via Swift, SEPA, and USD structured payments, Smile covers all regions globally.

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Keith Hodges
Keith Hodges
Keith is a digital specialist with a background in the financial industry, both as a marketeer and a journalist. Keith joined in order to take the business to the next level and expand our offering in multiple international money transfer markets.