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Nationwide Mortgage Review

We're giving you all the facts you need to decide if Nationwide could be a good fit for your mortgage

A photo of Daniel Sharpe-Szunko, the author

By Daniel Sharpe-Szunko

Published on: 16 December 2022

13 min read

Nationwide Mortgage Review

If you have been out shopping in your town or city, chances are you have walked past a Nationwide branch countless times. Nationwide Building Society has been a leading figure in UK financial services for over 130 years, with branches on most of Britain’s high streets.

Nationwide is proud to be the world’s largest mutual building society, owned by over 16 million members. They offer many products and services and are one of the largest mortgage lenders currently operating in this country.

There are a lot of options available when it comes to choosing which lender is best for helping you buy your new home. Our hope is that this review can make things a little clearer. We will give you all the information that you need, to help decide if a Nationwide mortgage is the right choice for you.

Why choose a Nationwide mortgage?

Nationwide has a wide range of mortgage products to choose from. They can help people from first time buyers to landlords looking for their next buy to let mortgage.

This lender is popular with buyers, being chosen for mortgages by thousands of people across the UK. In fact, they won the MoneyFacts Remortgage Buyer’s Choice Award in 2021, as the nation’s top choice for remortgage deals.

About Nationwide

Nationwide began as the Co-operative Permanent Building Society, founded in London in 1884. As of 2022, they have bought and merged with over 250 other building societies, becoming the largest in the World. They rebranded as Nationwide Building Society back in 1970.

Nationwide is a mutual society, meaning it is owned by members rather than shareholders. If you are a member of Nationwide, you can access member-only products, including specific credit cards, loans and more.

To be a nationwide member, you don’t have to fill out special applications or pay for the privilege. You simply need to have a Nationwide current account, mortgage, savings account or business savings account.

With the rise of online banking, many people are worried that in person service will soon be a thing of the past. If you would prefer to speak about your mortgage or bank account face to face, you don’t need to worry. Nationwide has promised they will not close any of their branches until 2024 at absolute earliest.

Main areas of business for Nationwide Building Society include:

  • Mortgages
  • Savings & ISAs
  • Current accounts
  • Credit cards
  • Loans
  • Investments
  • Insurance policies

Thousands of people across the UK have mortgages with Nationwide. Nationwide helped 1 in 7 first time buyers take their first step onto the property ladder in 2021.

Here we have gathered information about the types of mortgage you could get with Nationwide, so you know what options are available to you.

Type of productMortgages
Repayment optionsCapital and repayment (you repay both the interest and capital on your loan each month)
Interest only (you repay only the interest every month, the full amount of the loan is repaid at the end of the mortgage term)
Types of mortgages availableTraditional mortgage or remortgage
Nationwide BTL mortgages (Buy to Let)
Nationwide Help to Buy mortgages
Nationwide Shared Ownership mortgages
Nationwide Helping Hand mortgage
Equity release lifetime mortgage (over 55s)
Retirement mortgages (over 55s)
Interest rate types availableNationwide fixed rate mortgage (interest rate charged stays the same for a set time, usually 2, 3, 5 or 10 years)
Nationwide tracker rate mortgage (interest rate charged will vary if the Bank of England changes their base rate)
Maximum mortgage loan£5,000,000 (with a 60% deposit on a 5-year fixed rate deal)
Maximum mortgage termCapital and Repayment: 40 years
Interest only: 25 years or up to retirement age (if this is sooner)
Loan to Value (LTV) options (deposit amount vs overall property value)60% LTV mortgage (deposit 40% of property value)
75% LTV mortgage (deposit 25% of property value)
80% LTV mortgage (deposit 20% of property value)
85% LTV mortgage (deposit 15% of property value)
90% LTV mortgage (deposit 10% of property value)
95% LTV mortgage (deposit 5% of property value)
Does Nationwide have early repayment charges (ERCs)?Not if you are on Nationwide’s Standard Mortgage Rate (SMR), Base Mortgage Rate (BMR) and some tracker rate mortgages.
You may be charged ERCs if you:  

Pay off your mortgage before the deal ends.
You overpay more than either 10% per year of the original mortgage amount or £500 per month, depending on the mortgage terms.
Switch to a new deal (unless you are within 3 months of the mortgage term ending).
You move or ‘port’ your mortgage to a new property and there are delays (you can move your mortgage over fully or partially, known as a ‘partial port’).
Fees charged for Nationwide mortgagesYou might be charged a ‘product fee’ on certain mortgages (up to £999), but this can be charged upfront so you will have a lower interest rate.

With mortgages, the amount you can borrow will vary depending on:

  • The amount of deposit you have saved (£s)
  • The type of mortgage you need 
  • The lender you are applying to

Nationwide currently offers a range of different mortgage types, but their overall highest amount available to borrow is set at £5,000,000.

Note: An amount this high will only be available in certain circumstances and you would need a deposit of at least 40% of how much the property is worth. Most buyers won’t need to borrow anywhere near this much for their mortgage. If you have a deposit between 5%-15% of the property value, the most Nationwide will lend will be £500,000.

On their website there is Nationwide mortgage calculator, where you can put in basic details to find out how much you may be able to borrow. You will need to submit:

  • The property price
  • The amount of deposit you have saved
  • The length of mortgage term you want
  • Whether you are applying alone or with another person (joint mortgage)
  • Your employment status (employed, self-employed, unemployed)
  • Your usual yearly income (before tax)
  • Any bonuses, overtime or commission you have received

These are all questions a Nationwide mortgage advisor or independent broker would ask as well, to determine how much you can borrow (known as affordability). This amount can also be impacted by things such as debts or a poor credit history.

How to contact Nationwide mortgages

You might need to speak to someone at Nationwide about your mortgage for a variety of reasons, including adjusting terms, remortgaging or something else entirely.

We know it isn’t always easy to know which phone number or email address is the right one for what you need. We have put together a list of contact details below, to make it a bit easier for you.

Note: the numbers for Nationwide are not free to phone currently (other than the 0800 number for over 55s enquiries). The exact cost to call will vary depending on your phone provider and you may wish to check this before calling.

Nationwide mortgage contact number for current mortgages

For enquiries about switching your mortgage deal, general enquiries about moving home, or updates on a current Nationwide mortgage application:

Tel. 03457 30 20 11

Opening hours: Monday to Friday – 8am-6pm / Saturday – 9am-12.30pm (excluding Bank Holidays)

To find out about borrowing more on your mortgage and general mortgage enquiries:

Tel. 03457 30 20 10

Opening hours: Monday to Friday – 8am-6pm / Saturday – 8.30am-4pm (excluding Bank Holidays)

Nationwide contact number for new mortgages

For first time buyer enquiries and remortgages:

Tel. 03457 30 20 10

Opening hours: Monday to Friday – 8am-6pm / Saturday – 8.30am-4pm (excluding Bank Holidays)

For remortgaging enquiries if you are over 55:

Tel. 0800 146 100

What does Nationwide look at before approving your mortgage?

When applying for a mortgage, lenders will need to assess various things. This includes how much you have saved for your deposit, your annual income and occupation and the type of mortgage you want.

Below we have highlighted some of the things that Nationwide will look at before deciding if they will approve your application:

Lending criteriaNationwide mortgages
Acceptable depositsUK savings accounts or ISAs e.g. Help to Buy ISA: you will need to show one months’ bank statement dated within the last 42 days.
Savings accounts (outside the UK): you will need to show 3 months’ bank statements.
Forces Help to Buy (FHTB) loans: available to people in the armed forces and there are various attached conditions. It is a good idea to consult an advisor if using an FHTB loan.
Builder’s cashbacks/deposit: accepted on Shared Ownership mortgages and a letter from a solicitor will be needed.
Gifted deposits: accepted if there are no attached conditions, you will need a completed gifted deposit form for any amount £10,000 or more.
Inheritance: should be classed as savings, will need a letter from the executor/solicitor of the estate and a bank statement showing the money going into your account
Equity from the sale of another property will be accepted
Funds from being made redundant: you will need to show documents that prove where the funds are from (e.g. an employer’s letter or payslip)

YOU CANNOT USE CERTAIN LOANS, CREDIT CARDS, CRYPTOCURRENCY, FUNDING FROM OVERSEAS COMPANIES/TRUST FUNDS
Number of applicantsThey will allow two applicants at maximum (joint mortgage)
Minimum and maximum ages of applicantsApplicants must be at least 18 years old. New mortgages must be repaid by the borrowers 75th birthday.
Will Nationwide approve mortgages for foreign nationals?YES, but you will need:

A 25% deposit from your own savings OR own at least 25% equity in the property (for a remortgage)
A minimum of 2.5 years left on your visa.

If from the Republic of Ireland (ROI), you will be treated as a UK resident.
Credit score/history requirementsYou must not have been bankrupt within the last 3 years (over 3 years ago will be considered)
You must have no history of a property repossession
If you have unsecured debts, you may need to repay these before a mortgage will be offered Nationwide will assess your credit score using reports from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion (as the score can differ)
Applicants who work or live abroadApplication will be considered if their family (e.g. spouse or partner/children) will remain in the UK and live in the property

Nationwide brokers will also want to value the property you wish to buy, to make sure the mortgage is for the right amount. In good news for buyers, they will include this service FREE of charge, unlike some other lenders.

You may wish to have your own independent property valuation performed as well, but an independent mortgage advisor can help you decide if this seems necessary.

What are the current mortgage rates Nationwide offer?

There are a few different Nationwide mortgage rates you can choose from. They are:

  • Fixed rate mortgages: the interest rate paid will not change for a set amount of time, usually set up as a 2, 3, 5 or 10 year fixed rate mortgage. After the fixed interest rate ends, you will be moved onto Nationwide’s Standard Mortgage Rate (referred to as a Standard Variable Rate or SVR with many lenders).
  • Tracker mortgages: the interest rate paid can vary, increasing or decreasing if the Bank of England changes their base interest rate

Note: As of December 2022, Nationwide’s Standard Mortgage Rate is 6.49%. If you have an existing mortgage (April or May 2009 or earlier), you will be moved onto the Base Mortgage Rate (BMR) instead if switching deals. The Base Mortgage Rate is currently 5%.

What is a Nationwide Helping Hand mortgage?

If you are looking to buy your first home or investment property, you may have come across what is known as a ‘Nationwide Helping Hand’ mortgage. This could be from an online search, a recommendation from an independent broker, or even a friend or family member who has one themselves.

Helping Hand mortgages can be a good option for first time buyers. They allow first time buyers to borrow a loan amount up to 5.5 times their annual income. This means you may be able to borrow up to 20% more with Nationwide than with other lenders.

Nationwide are even currently offering £500 cashback after your purchase is completed if you have a Helping Hand mortgage. Your buying options can then open up considerably, as you then have the option to buy a property that is more expensive or in a nicer area.

It is important to remember, you can only get this mortgage type if:

  • You are a first-time buyer (both applicants if a joint mortgages)
  • You have a joint income of £55,000 a year or more
  • You have a deposit of at least 5% of the property value
  • You cannot be self-employed or using another buying scheme e.g. shared ownership
  • You are borrowing up to £302,500 at most with this mortgage type (the exact amount you can borrow will depend on the amount of deposit you have saved).

You might have heard of a Nationwide Lifetime mortgage but it’s possible you don’t know exactly what this is. It is what is known as an equity release. This acts as a remortgage, allowing you to access some of the money (or equity) you have built up in your home.

Nationwide will pay you a lump sum you can use to clear debt, renovate your home, or even travel and enjoy your retirement in style. They even have a ‘no negative equity’ guarantee. If your property is sold and there are not enough funds to repay what is owed, this extra amount will not need to be paid.

Below we have highlighted some of the reasons you may wish to take out a lifetime mortgage and some drawbacks to keep in mind.

ProCon
NO MONTHLY REPAYMENTS, as a retirement product the mortgage is paid off from the sale of the home when you pass away or move into long term care (this applies to the last person if a joint mortgage)Your existing mortgage needs to already be with Nationwide, so you cannot switch to this deal if your mortgage is with another lender.
Fixed interest rates, no added fees, and £1,000 cash back after the mortgage deal is completedSpecific properties are not eligible for this mortgage including listed buildings or properties above, next to or opposite commercial businesses.
Can borrow up to £1,000,000 depending on the value of your homeYour original mortgage cannot have been taken out with a buyer scheme such as shared ownership or Right to Buy.
You can choose to downsize after 5 years and repay the mortgage with no early repayment charges (ERCs).Borrowers in the Isle of Man, Isles of Scilly, Channel Islands, non mainland Scotland and Northern Ireland will not qualify for this mortgage.

Another option for over 55s is a Nationwide retirement mortgage. These are available as both interest only or repayment mortgages, giving you the flexibility to choose the repayment type that works best for you.

These work more like traditional mortgages but with the added benefit that you can borrow up until a higher age. You need to:

  • Be aged between 55-94, receiving a pension (state, workplace or private)
  • Not be using this mortgage for a second home or holiday property.

Below we have some pros and cons of this mortgage type:

ProCon
You can borrow up to £500,000 for both the capital and repayment and interest only options. Available with both fixed interest rates or tracker ratesYou can’t have this mortgage if remortgaging from a buyer scheme e.g. shared ownership or right to buy
NO additional fees for valuations or adviceYou won’t qualify for this mortgage if you live on the Isle of Man, Isle of Scilly or Channel Islands.
Option to make overpayments up to 10% of the mortgage amount every year 

An ‘overpayment’ refers to paying more than your agreed repayment amount, either each month or in one lump sum payment. Some lenders will not allow this, because this means they will lose out on the interest they would charge if your mortgage was paid off earlier than planned.

If you have come into some unexpected extra funds (from an inheritance for example), you might choose to go on holiday or buy a new car. It can however be a smart move to use this money to repay some (or even all) of your mortgage, so you have less left to repay long term.

An ‘overpayment’ refers to paying more than your agreed repayment amount, either each month or in one lump sum payment. Some lenders will not allow this, because this means they will lose out on the interest they would charge if your mortgage was paid off earlier than planned.

Nationwide will allow overpayments, but only on certain mortgages and up to a set limit. You may be able to overpay on your mortgage:

  • If your mortgage was taken out between 1st February 2001 and 28th May 2013, you are allowed to overpay up to £500 per month.
  • If your mortgage was taken out after 29th May 2013, you can overpay up to 10% of the property value each year.
  • If you have a tracker rate mortgage taken out after 2nd May 2014, or a Standard Mortgage Rate (SMR) or Base Mortgage Rate (BMR) mortgage – these actually have no overpayment limit!

You can overpay via:

  • Regular monthly payments
  • A lump sum payment

When you are looking forward to moving into your new home, it is understandable to be eager to move in and be a bit frustrated by long wait times. The amount of time it takes for Nationwide to approve a mortgage can vary from application to application.

To put in an offer on a house or start a mortgage application:

  • You will need a decision in principle (a Nationwide mortgage in principle)
  • Once you have a decision in principle it will be valid for 90 days

Note: It is straightforward to get a decision in principle via the Nationwide website and can take as little as 20 minutes. It is important to remember this is not an actual mortgage offer, but you will need to get a decision in principle first.

On average, it will take around 21 working days for Nationwide to process a full mortgage application and approve or deny your mortgage. It can be quicker than this for more straightforward applications but be prepared to wait a few weeks to hear back about your application’s status.

Once you have received an offer of a mortgage:

  • Remortgage or new purchase offers are valid for 180 days.
  • If switching your mortgage rate, this offer will be valid for 45 days.
  • Offers for additional borrowing on your mortgage will be valid for 90 days.
  • If buying a new build, you can apply for an extra 45 days, but you will have to meet criteria specified by Nationwide and your circumstances must not have changed since your application.

Benefits of Nationwide mortgage deals

Some reasons you may choose to take out your new mortgage or remortgage with Nationwide include:

  • Offers 95% mortgages for first time buyers
  • Can borrow up to 6.5 times your annual salary for remortgages, if you do not need to borrow more than the original mortgage amount
  • Offers a variety of different mortgage types to suit individual circumstances
  • Property valuations are included FREE with Nationwide mortgages
  • Ability to overpay on your mortgage to reduce how much you owe more quickly

It can be confusing to know where to start with a process like a mortgage application. This is particularly true if you are buying for the first time or it has been many years since your last property purchase.

There are several ways you can apply for a mortgage with Nationwide:

By speaking to an advisor, you can sometimes access specialised rates and potentially save significantly on your mortgage deal.

Nationwide mortgage reviews

If you are searching for independent reviews, Trust Pilot is generally the first place to look. As of December 2022, Nationwide is only rated 1.7 out of 5.0 stars with over 3,500 reviews, but this does cover all products and services not just mortgages.

If you want to view these reviews yourself or add your own, you can do so on their Trust Pilot page.

Nationwide does however have specific feedback and awards for its mortgage services including:

  • Ranked #1 on Which? Out of 15 mortgage lenders
  • Winners of MoneyFacts Remortgage Buyer’s Choice Award in 2021
  • Highly commended for MoneyFacts Branch Network of the Year 2021

Note: Nationwide banking customers often receive benefits too which can be useful if you have a current or savings account with them as well as your mortgage. This includes offers like their ‘Fairer Share’ payment scheme which rewarded customers with cash payments in 2023.

Resources

Nationwide – Mortgages help

Financial Conduct Authority – Mortgage lending statistics December 2022

Bank of England – Mortgage lenders and Administrators statistics 2022

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