I've just had a payment sent to me via Wise, from US to UK, but after a week the funds hadn't arrived and I double checked the details.

I bank with Nationwide, but the sender has used their intermediary SWIFT which is actually HSBC.

Unfortunately, where this might have been salvageable using an IBAN, they have instead used my eight digit account number (Wise ask for either IBAN or account number), from which I would imagine it is impossible to tell which bank this should be with.

Nationwide have told me the sender should initiate a trace on the payment, but is there anything else we can do? Is there any hope for this payment reaching me or being returned to the sender?


1 Answer 1


First of all, this question does not make sense because Wise is Wise, SWIFT is SWIFT.

Wise, by design, work this way:

  • Sender sends USD to Wise's bank in the US through local payment network i.e. Fedwire (ABA Routing Number), ACH of US, Credit Card, Debit Card, and in rare cases USD SWIFT from a non-US bank.
  • Wise's US bank aggregates the payments of thousands of customers and sends to Wise's UK bank every few minutes.
  • Wise's UK bank sends GBP to Recipient's bank, again, through local payment network i.e. CHAPS/BACS/FPS (Sort Code + Account Number or IBAN).

The whole point of using Wise is to skip SWIFT for the international leg.

So if the sender used Wise in the first place, the sender should give you a screenshot of Wise showing where the money is, e.g. not arrived at Wise's US bank, not arrived at Recipient's bank.

Nationwide (Recipient's bank) has no obligation to help you in any way unless Wise has proven that the funds in UK have been sent to Nationwide.

You as Recipient also have no obligation in solving whether the funds are sent from Sender's Overseas bank to Wise's US bank (supposedly via SWIFT as you said). The contract is between Sender and Wise, not Wise and Recipient.

As tested in Wise's user interface, Sort Code cannot be empty if Account Number is filled, and IBAN has checksum mechanism.


  • Whilst this is true if you choose to send an international payment, if you choose to send your payment in USD (which the sender probably shouldn't have done) then you are given the option of SWIFT. The user then has three fields to complete - Full name of the account holder, SWIFT/BIC Code, IBAN/Account Number. So my name is correct, but they entered the intermediary bank's SWIFT code (HSBC) and my local account number (Nationwide). It's a bit of a mess!
    – risko
    Dec 16, 2021 at 10:11
  • I don't have personal experience with SWIFT, but if it works like ACH then: If the account number doesn't exist at HSBC the funds should be automatically 'returned to sender' from HSBC. If the account does exist, but the name doesn't match, then if HSBC's computers catch the mismatch it should be automatically returned, or at the very least a hold placed on the funds pending verification. Either way you should contact the Sender, Wise, and HSBC, in that order.
    – Tiberia
    Dec 18, 2021 at 23:18

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