Transfer your pensions

Combine your old pensions into our award-winning* Retirement Account from our partners Scottish Widows.

*Source: Defaqto Annual Product Ratings – April 2023

Scottish widows logo

How to transfer in 3 easy steps

See if it’s right for you

See if it’s right for you

We’ll run through what you need to check when deciding if you should transfer.

Know your options

Know your options

Before applying, decide how you want to invest and access your pension.

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

Apply in minutes

Apply in minutes

It’s simple to apply online. You’ll need to have your existing Pension details to start your application.

What happens after you apply?

What happens after you apply?

We’ll take it from here

It's over to us to process your application - this usually takes a few weeks. It can take longer for some types of pensions, or if Scottish Widows need to contact you for more information.

Keeping you in the loop - stay updated on the progress of your application through SMS text message. Sound good? You'll just need to select this option when you apply online.

Transfer complete

We'll let you know when your transfers have been made into your new Retirement Account. You’ll also receive your policy documents and a welcome pack.

Keep tabs on your pension

You can use the Halifax Mobile Banking app to view your pension. See at-a-glance how much your combined pension is worth – anytime, anywhere.

Ready to get started?

Here’s each step in more detail, so you can be sure what’s involved when transferring your pensions.

1. See if it’s right for you

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

  • transferring a total of more than £10,000 across one or more pensions
  • under the age of 74
  • a UK resident and UK taxpayer.

Whilst we accept most pension transfers, it might not be right for everyone. It’s important to check a few things first, which we’ve explained below. You’ll want to make sure you’re not losing important guarantees or features, and you should also compare the charges and funds. You can find these details in your policy documents, or speak to the providers of the pensions you are looking to transfer if you’re not sure.

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 you want to transfer.
  • You’re taking an income, or you’ve taken a tax-free lump sum, from the existing pension.
  • The pension is with a final salary (defined benefits) scheme.
  • You want to transfer a pension that’s with an overseas provider.
  • You don’t want to lose guarantees or features within your existing pension.
  • You only want to transfer part of your pension (called a partial transfer).
  • The 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 (for example, the pension sharing order applied to a pension already in payment or income drawdown).


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


  • Some pensions have valuable guarantees that you would lose if you transferred. With that in mind, we can’t accept pensions with:

    • A Guaranteed Annuity Rate: in most cases, this means you’d get a higher income for life at retirement than you’d receive at today’s annuity rates.
    • Guaranteed Conversion Option: this allows you to convert your pension into a fund which gives you access to a wider, more flexible range of benefit options. At today’s rates, it’s unlikely that this fund will be worth as much as your original pension.
    • Section 9(2B) rights: these would provide you with an income that’s based on your earnings at the time the 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 details, contact your scheme administrator.
  • It’s important to review the benefits and features you have with your current pensions, and how valuable they are to you. Bear in mind that you’d give these benefits up when you transfer. If you’re unsure of anything, 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 – this gives you the right to access your pension benefits before the Normal Minimum Pension Age (NPMA) of 55 (this will rise to 57 in 2028).
    • Life insurance, Critical illness or Waiver of premium cover – these are benefits you would give up when you transfer as they aren’t a feature of 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.
  • Make sure to compare your current fees and charges with those for the Retirement Account. You can find the information you need by checking your policy documents or through your online portal if available. You can also speak to your existing provider.

    Although we don’t charge for transferring your pension to us, your existing provider might charge you for transferring out. 

    If you’re not sure, you can ask a financial advisor, who may charge for any advice.

  • If you already have one, you might want to consider combining into an existing Scottish Widows pension instead. This could be a workplace pension, for example.


2. Know your options

Our Retirement Account offers ready-made investment solutions that are easy to understand and does all the hard work for you. It also gives you a choice of how to access your pension benefits. Before you apply, consider all your available options so that during your application, you can tell us:

  • When you’d like to retire.
  • Which risk appetite suits you best.
  • How you’d like to access your money when you retire.

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.

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

Don’t worry, you can update these later if you change your mind, or your circumstances change.

Find out more about the options to invest and access your pensions

3. Apply in minutes

If you’ve decided a pension transfer is the right option for you, take a look at our online application form. It only takes a few minutes, but you’ll need to make sure you have your existing pension details ready. You can normally find most of this information on your annual benefit statement, or via an online portal if available. 

Struggling to find the information? You can get in touch with previous employers for help, or see if the government pension tracing service can help you.

You’ll need the following for each pension you want to transfer:

  • Your National Insurance number
  • Name of the existing pension provider
  • The policy number
  • The scheme name (if it’s an old workplace pension)
  • Recent transfer value (must be a minimum of £10,000 across the pensions to be transferred)
  • How you want to invest and access your pension.

Don’t forget that Pensions are a long-term investment. The retirement benefits you receive from your pension plan will depend on a number of factors including the value of your plan when you decide to take your benefits which isn’t guaranteed and can go down as well as up. The value of your plan could fall below the amount(s) paid in.

Apply now, I’ve got my details to hand

Frequently asked questions


  • 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.

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

  • While we’re unable to provide any financial advice, you can call Scottish Widows on 0345 601 2585 Monday-Friday 9am-5pm to talk about your retirement options. Please note that calls may be monitored and recorded. Call costs may vary depending on your service provider.

  • Before applying for a pension transfer, you may need some additional guidance or advice.

    What is guidance?

    If you contact us in any way, like visiting us online or speaking to Scottish Widows directly, it counts as guidance to help you come to an informed decision. It doesn’t mean advice, however, which means we won’t recommend what you do next.

    What is financial advice?

    Financial advice is what you would receive from a qualified adviser. A Financial Adviser will discuss with you what your finances are currently like, what your future plans are, and then recommend the best products to suit you. Financial advice usually comes at a charge.

  • There are many things to consider when deciding what’s right for you, including:

    • Your age and health
    • If you intend to stop working completely or simply reduce your working hours
    • Whether or not you have any financial dependents
    • If you’d rather have a fixed income or a flexible one
    • What your outgoings are likely to be during retirement
    • If you plan to use other savings or assets outside your pension
    • How much you expect to receive in State Pension (this should be paid to you in your mid-to-late 60s, if eligible).
  • The Retirement Account charges are clear and transparent, to help you understand what costs you can expect. You can view a breakdown of the Retirement Account charges here, and see an example of how it works.

  • For an idea of how your pension could perform over time, view an example illustration here (PDF, 1.5MB). You can check the different transfer and contribution values to see how your retirement income might be affected. Once your Retirement Account is set up, we’ll send you a personalised illustration as part of your welcome pack.

  • It’s always worth finding any pensions you might have forgotten about – it all counts towards your retirement.

    Try getting in touch with the provider to see if they can help. If you can’t remember the name of the provider and it was a workplace pension, your past employer might be able to give you more information. Alternatively, you can try The Pension Tracing Service.