4 simple steps to transfer your pensions

Do you have one or more pensions you no longer pay into? We can help you combine your pensions into our award-winning* Retirement Account from our partners Scottish Widows. Our 4-step process will show you everything you need to know about how a transfer works.

*Source: Defaqto Annual Product Ratings – April 2023



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Check if it's right for you

We'll go through the things you'll need to check when deciding if transferring is right for you.

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Understand your options

Before you apply, you'll need to make some decisions about how you want to invest and access your pension.

Don’t worry, if you're not sure we can help.

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Apply online in minutes

The online application only takes minutes to complete. You'll need to have your existing Pension details to hand.

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Wait for your transfer to complete

This usually takes a few weeks but can take   longer for some types of pensions, or if we need to contact you for more information.

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View your pension

Once the transfers have been made into your new Retirement Account and you receive your policy documents, your pension is live and ready to view.  

With the Lloyds Bank Mobile Banking app you’ll be able to see at a glance how much your total combined pension is worth – anytime, anywhere.

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Ready to get started?

Let’s take a look at each step in more detail and get you closer to transferring your pensions.

1. Check if it's right for you

To combine your pensions into a Retirement Account, you need to be:

  • Transferring a total value of more than £10,000 across one or more pensions
  • A UK taxpayer
  • Living in the UK
  • Under the age of 74

We accept most pension transfers, however transferring might not be right for everyone so it’s important to check a few things first which we explain below. You need to be careful that you don’t lose any guarantees or features, and you should also compare the charges and funds. You can find the details in your policy documents or you can speak to the providers of the pensions you are looking to transfer.

There are some reasons why you can’t transfer your pension online. If any of the following apply to you or if you are unsure, we’d recommend that you speak to a financial adviser, who will normally charge you for this advice. 

  • An employer, or someone other than you, is currently paying into the pension.
  • Your pension is with a final salary (defined benefits) scheme.
  • You’re taking an income or you’ve taken a tax-free lump sum from the pension.
  • Your pension is subject to a bankruptcy order, or pension earmarking or sharing order, or other receiving orders.
  • Your pension has been set up using ‘disqualifying’ pension credits from a pension sharing order (i.e. the pension sharing order applied to a pension already in payment or income drawdown).
  • Your pension is with an overseas provider.
  • Your pension comes with guarantees or features that you don’t want to lose.
  • You only want to transfer part of your pension.

There are a few important things you'll need to check. Click on the questions below to find out more.

  • Some pensions come with extra guarantees. These can be valuable, and you’d lose them when you transfer. That’s why we don’t accept pensions with: 

    • A Guaranteed Annuity Rate: in most cases, this means you’d get a higher income for life when you retire than you’d get at today’s annuity rates.
    • Guaranteed Conversion Option: this allows you to convert your pension into a fund. This fund then gives you access to a wider, more flexible range of benefit options. At today’s rates, this fund is unlikely to be worth as much as your original pension.
    • Section 9(2B) rights: these would provide you with an income that’s based on what you earned at the time this pension was set up.
    • Guaranteed Minimum Pension: some older pensions set up by an employer might offer this benefit. You’d receive this if your employer’s scheme was contracted out of part of the state pension. To find out more, you can contact your scheme administrator.
  • Ask yourself: what benefits and features do I have, and how valuable are they to me? It’s important to consider that you’d give these benefits up when you transfer. If you’re unsure please check with the providers of the pensions you are looking to transfer.

    The types of features to look out for include:

    Protected tax-free lump sum – this gives you the right to take more than 25% of the value of your pension as a tax free-lump sum from the age of 55.

    Protected pension age – giving you the right to access your pension benefits before the Normal Minimum Pension Age (NPMA) of 55 (rising to 57 in 2028).

    Life insurance, Critical illness or Waiver of premium cover – you’d give these up when you transfer as you wouldn’t get these in the Retirement Account.

    Pensions invested in a With-Profits fund – this could reduce your share of profits if you transfer out before a certain date.

  • All pensions have charges. Before transferring your pension, compare your current fees and charges with the Retirement Account charges. You can find these details by checking your policy documents, or through your online portal if available. Alternatively, you can speak to your pension providers to understand their charges.

    We won’t charge you for transferring in or setting up your pension, but you should check if your existing provider will charge you to transfer out.

    If you’re unsure then we’d recommend that you speak to a financial adviser, who will normally charge you for this advice. 

  • If you already have an existing Scottish Widows Pension (such as a workplace pension) that you are still contributing to, you might want to consider combining into this first  . You can find out more information about how to do this on the Scottish Widows website.

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2. Understand your options

Our Retirement Account offers simple, ready-made investment solutions to suit your needs and a range of ways for you to access your pension benefits.

Make sure to consider the options available to you so that when it comes to applying, you can tell us when you want to retire and how you want to invest and access your money at retirement.

If you’re not sure of your risk appetite or how to take your pension at retirement, you can choose the default option. This is a balanced Governed Investment Strategy (GIS) that targets flexible access at retirement. This could suit a typical customer and reflects what we most commonly see in terms of risk appetite and retirement options. The default strategy is not personalised to you, and it may not meet your needs at retirement, so please consider this when making a decision about your investment options. You can always revise this at a later date if you change your mind or your circumstances change.

If you're unsure what to choose, you can always seek financial advice. There will be a charge for this service.

Read more about the options to invest and access your pensions

3. Start your online application

Once you’ve decided transferring is right for you and you understand your options, you can complete the online application form. This only takes a few minutes. Remember to have your existing pension details to hand. You can usually find most of this information on your annual benefit statement or on an online portal, if available. If you're not sure where to find this information or you want to locate an old pension pot, you can contact your past employers to help, or use the government pension tracing service to find the details you need.

For each pension you want to transfer you'll  need:

  • Your National Insurance number
  • Your existing pension providers name
  • The policy number
  • The scheme name (if it’s an old workplace pension)
  • A recent transfer value - this must be a minimum of £10,000 across the pensions you'd like to transfer
  • To tell us how you want to invest and access your pension.

You must have all of the above to complete your application

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4. Wait for your pension transfer to complete

Typically, this takes a few weeks, depending on the type of pensions you're transferring and whether we have all the correct details.  If we have any questions about your application, Scottish Widows may need to contact you by phone or secure email if:.  

  • There is information missing from your application or if there’s something we need to check
  • You have a pension which was set up by your employer, it might be managed by trustees. If so, you will need to get permission from these trustees before you transfer to us.

We’ll be able to keep you updated on the progress of your application through SMS text message. You'll need to tick this option in the application.

You can help speed up the process by providing full and accurate information on your application.

Frequently asked questions

  • You can call  Scottish Widows 0345 601 2585 Monday-Friday 9am-5pm to discuss your retirement options, however, we are unable to provide advice . Calls may be monitored and recorded. Calls cost may vary depending on your service provider.

  • Before you decide to transfer, you might need advice or guidance.

    What is guidance?

    When you visit us online or speak to Scottish Widows, this is guidance, helping you make an informed choice. However, this isn't the same thing as advice, and you won’t receive a recommendation of what to do next.

    What is financial advice?

    This is what you get from a Financial Adviser. They’ll talk to you about what your finances look like today, and your plans for tomorrow and recommend the best products to suit your situation. They’ll normally charge you for their advice.

    If you plan to take money from your pension soon after you transfer to Scottish Widows , this is an important decision. You could get free and impartial guidance about your pension options through Pension Wise from Moneyhelper. This is a government service that offers clear and simple guidance online or over the phone.

  • There are several things to think about that may affect your decision:

    • Your age and health
    • If you plan to stop working altogether or reduce your hours
    • If you’ve got any financial dependants
    • Whether you’re looking for a fixed or flexible income
    • Your expected outgoings during retirement
    • You plan to use additional savings or assets outside your pension
    • How much you expect to get from your State Pension (if you’re eligible, this should be paid to you when you’re in your mid to late 60s)
  • We want to give you a clear picture of what it will cost once you set up a Retirement Account, that's why the charges are clear and transparent. View a breakdown of the Retirement Account charges, including an example of how that might look.

  • View an example illustration (PDF, 1.5MB) to get an idea of how your pension might perform over time. You can look at different transfer and contribution values to see how this could impact your retirement income. Once your Retirement Account has been set up, you'll get a personalised illustration in your welcome pack.

  • Every little counts when it comes to planning for your retirement, so it’s worth tracking down any pensions you might have forgotten about.

    If you can remember who the provider was, it could be worth getting in touch to see if they can help. Similarly, if it was a workplace pension, you could contact your past employer to get more information.

    Otherwise, The Pension Tracing Service might be able to help.