Frequently asked questions

Here's a list of the most common frequently asked questions for travelling.

General

Making a payment overseas

Receiving money from overseas

Travelling abroad


General


Do I need to let you know before I travel?

We ask customers to let us know they’re travelling if their destination is outside the EU and Turkey.

Can I buy foreign currency or travellers cheques from you?

If you have a Co-operative Bank current account you can purchase foreign currency and traveller's cheques free of charge in any of our branches or over the phone on 03457213213^.

We no longer offer travellers cheques.

Can I use my debit or credit card to withdraw cash overseas?

You can use your debit or credit card overseas to withdraw up to £250 in local currency at cash dispensers (ATMs) that display the Visa or PLUS logos, or over the counter at any bank that displays the Visa sign. Cash withdrawals are subject to a charge made up of a cash withdrawal fee and a non-sterling transaction fee. Depending on the amount you withdraw and how you plan to spend the money (e.g. in one lump sum or lots of small transactions) it may be more convenient or cost effective to pay direct by card.

How much cash can I withdraw overseas?

You can use your debit or credit card overseas to withdraw up to £250 in local currency at cash dispensers (ATMs) that display the Visa or PLUS logos, or over the counter at any bank that displays the Visa sign. Cash withdrawals are subject to a charge made up of a cash withdrawal fee and a non-sterling transaction fee.

Can I use my debit or credit card to pay for goods and services overseas?

Once you are abroad you can use your debit or credit card to pay for goods and services e.g. in shops and restaurants directly at the point of purchase, just as you would at home - this is fast and convenient and saves the need to carry large amounts of cash. You will be charged a non-sterling transaction fee for this service.

What are your exchange rates?

Exchange rates between the pound and other currencies vary every day. For card transactions, we use the Visa Scheme exchange rate which can be found at the Visa website. For an up to date daily rate for currency purchases, please contact us on 03457213213^.

There is often a very wide difference between the exchange rates offered for buying or returning foreign currency - the buyback rate is never as good as the rate at which it is sold. Try not to obtain too much currency and then having to return as this could save you money.

Some shops, hotels etc in other countries may offer to undertake transactions in pounds for you. If they do so it will be at their exchange rate and may not be as good as the Visa Scheme Exchange Rate.


Making a payment overseas


How do I send money abroad?

There are four ways to send money abroad; S.W.I.F.T., US Structured, SEPA and through Real Time Euro Payments. Please note that there may be a charge for these services.

Which payment method should I use?

If you are sending Euros abroad then you should do so through either a SEPA or Real Time Euro Payment. For urgent payments please request a Real Time Euro Payment as these will be completed same day albeit for a higher tariff. Should you wish to send funds in any other major currency, a S.W.I.F.T. or US Structured payment can be used. A US Structured payment is ideal for sending low value dollar amounts to the USA.

What currencies can I make a foreign payment in?

We only deal in all major commercial currencies. These include:

AUD (Australian Dollar), CAD (Canadian Dollar), DKK (Danish Kroner), EUR (Euro), HKD (Hong Kong Dollar), INR (Indian Rupee), JPY (Japanese Yen), NZD (New Zealand Dollar), NOK (Norwegian Krone), PLN (Polish Zloty), SGD (Singapore Dollar), ZAR (South African Rand), SEK (Swedish Kroner), CHF (Swiss Franc), USD (US Dollar)

If you would like a payment made in another currency other than that stated above, you can send the transfer in Sterling with the instruction for it to be remitted in the local currency. The beneficiary bank will then convert the payment according to its rate of exchange, before crediting the recipient’s account. We may also buy another currency if you need to make an alternative currency payment, however there will be additional charges for this on top of the usual agent’s fees.

How can I request a foreign payment?

 

You can request a foreign payment by calling our Customer Services Team on 03457213213^ the business banking team are available (8am - 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am - 12pm on Saturdays). Alternatively, you may also visit your local branch for advice on which payment service best suits your needs.

What happens if the payment details I supplied are incorrect?

Please try to ensure that all the details you provide are correct. In the event that details are incorrect, even for a slight error such as a spelling mistake on the account holder’s name, the beneficiary bank may reject the transfer and either contact us to inform us there is a discrepancy or return the transfer to us. We will then contact you to obtain the correct information which we will then pass on to the beneficiary bank or use to re-send the transfer. There are charges associated with amending an overseas payment, which can be found in our International Banking Tariff found below. The beneficiary bank may also make a charge.

How can I cancel a foreign payment?

Once your transfer has been sent we are unable to stop it. We cannot guarantee that funds can be recalled or payment instructions amended, as the beneficiary bank is not obliged to return the funds. If you would like to proceed with a cancellation or amendment, charges will be applied by us as well as any further charges from the beneficiary bank. If the transfer was sent in a foreign currency, you may be subject to an exchange rate loss if the payment is recalled and paid back into your account.

How are the Co-operatives Bank's exchange rates determined?

Our rates of exchange are set at 8:30am each day and will apply to all transfers below £20,000 made before the respective cut-off time for that day. They are based on current market rates and are comparable to those used by other banks and building societies within the UK. For transfers over £20,000, our dealers will negotiate the best possible rate for you at the time the payment is processed.

How can I find out your exchange rates?

Unfortunately we do not have the facility to display our exchange rates daily on the website. You can find out the exchange rate which will apply to your payment by calling our Foreign Services Team on 03457 55 8888^ (lines are open 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday).

View our International Banking Tariff (PDF)

Please note, all foreign transactions are done at your own risk. We will do everything that we can to get the funds to the receiver with the information that you provide. The Co-operative Bank cannot be held responsible if the information you supply is insufficient or incorrect or if there is a delay caused by the foreign banks. When we process a foreign transaction, if all the information you have given us is correct your transfer will usually be received within 1 - 4 working days. However, funds may sometimes be delayed by the banking practices of other countries.

What is S.W.I.F.T.?

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial telecommunications (SWIFT) can be used to make an electronic payment of any amount in most currencies to almost anywhere in the world.

When should I use S.W.I.F.T.?

This payment process is best for urgent or high value transactions, as there is no limit on the amount that can be transferred.

How long will it take for a payment to be received?

Completion of a transfer will normally take between one to four working days.

What will I be charged for using this service?

Please see our International Banking Tariff (PDF) for charges related to this service

What information will I need to provide for a S.W.I.F.T. payment?

The minimum information required to make a S.W.IF.T. transfer is the currency you wish the payment to be made in, the beneficiary’s name and account number as well as the name and address of the receiving bank. In addition, please try to provide an IBAN and BIC code whenever possible. 

You will also need to agree to the declaration below:

Declaration
We may need to disclose limited information to third parties where reasonably necessary. This is for the purposes of the prevention and detection of crime, prosecution of offenders, for the purposes of national security or where required by law. This may mean that the information could be transferred to countries that do not provide the same level of data protection as the UK.

What is SEPA?

The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) is a uniform set of standards which have been implemented by most European banks since 2008. They are designed to enable you to make and receive card and electronic payments in Euros simply, cheaply and efficiently across Europe, regardless of their location.

How long will it take for a payment to be received?

Completion of a SEPA payment will be within two working days.

What are the benefits of using US Structured payments?

This service is a more cost-effective way of sending US dollars to the United States, as well as having no limit on the amount you can send (subject to the funds being available in your account).

How long will it take for a payment to be received?

Completion of a US Structured payment will be within five working days. If your payment is urgent, please request it via S.W.I.F.T. payment.

How much does a US Structured transfer cost?

Please see our International Banking Tariff (PDF) for charges related to this service.

How long will it take for a payment to be received?

Real time Euro payments (TARGET) are completed on the same day. Payments can be made between 08:30am and 2:30pm and are settled on a real time basis which is irrevocable.

How much does a Real time Euro payment (TARGET) transfer cost?

Please see our International Banking Tariff (PDF) for charges related to this service.


Receiving money from overseas


What is the easiest way to receive a payment from overseas?

The fastest and most secure way of transferring funds into your account is through an electronic transfer. In order to receive a payment, you will need to provide the sender with the following information:

  • Our name in full - The Co-operative Bank plc
  • Our S.W.I.F.T. address - CPBKGB22
  • Your account name, sort code and account number or IBAN

We will send you a letter confirming receipt of any payments made through our cross-border payments system, showing the amount received and any deductions made from the original amount requested.

Can I pay a foreign cheque into my account?

Although we do not recommend that you receive paper-based payments from abroad, we can arrange to clear these on your behalf. Should you receive a cheque in a foreign currency, you can either hand it in or post it to your local branch and we will credit your account accordingly.

Please make sure the cheque is made payable to you, sign the back of the cheque and either:

  • Pay the cheque in at the branch of any Co-operative Bank or
  • Post it to your nearest branch together with a paying in slip

We will choose to process foreign cheques in one of two ways; negotiation with recourse or collection.

Negotiation with recourse
This is where we will credit your account on receipt of the cheque by our Overseas Financial Services team, before we actually receive the funds from the issuing bank. We will endeavour to credit your account within five working days and can only send a cheque for negotiation if it is issued in the same currency as the country that the cheque is drawn on.

Fees will be payable depending on the value of the cheque and you can view these in our International Banking Tariff below. If your cheque is returned unpaid, your account will be debited on the date of its return in addition to any other charges. The cheque will be returned to you with reasons and charges for non-payment.

Collection
Cheques which are high value, originate in high risk countries or are drawn in a currency different to that of the country it is drawn on will be sent for collection. Payment is credited to your nominated account after we have received the funds or are sure the cheque will be paid. How long this takes will depend on the country the payment is coming from and the foreign bank, however normal timescales are six to eight weeks.

Cheques sent for collection will also incur fees which can be found in the International banking Tariff below. Please note, the issuing bank may also charge for cashing the cheque and remitting the funds

Please note that we reserve the right to decide whether a cheque can be sent for negotiation or collection, and we can only negotiate a cheque if your account is being operated fully within the terms and conditions.


Travelling abroad


Can I use my card abroad?

You can use your Visa debit or credit card to withdraw funds from any cash machine which displays the Link/Visa logo anywhere in the world. For details of ATM locations, please use the Cash Machine Locator. Your card can also be used to purchase goods at any outlet which carries the Visa logo.

If you’re travelling outside of the EU or Turkey you need to let us know that you are travelling abroad and intend to use your card.

Is there a daily withdrawal limit when I use my card abroad?

You can use your Visa debit or credit card to withdraw £250 Sterling equivalent daily in the local currency.

Will I be charged for using my card abroad?

Yes, there are charges for using your card abroad. The charge will depend on what type of card you have and how you use it.

Can I deposit any left over foreign banknotes or travellers cheques back into my account?

Foreign banknotes can be paid back into your bank account by visiting your local branch. To deposit a traveller’s cheque into your account, you can either hand it in or post it to your local branch and we will credit your account accordingly.

Please sign and counter sign the travellers cheque and:

  • Pay the cheque in at the branch of any Co-operative Bank or
  • Post it to your nearest branch together with a paying in slip