Nutty

How to transfer your pension from Nest

Christopher Dowling
Editor-in-Chief
Updated
June 18, 2024

In a nutshell

It’s super easy to transfer your pension from Nest. Don’t get in touch with Nest themselves, all you need to do is find a great new pension provider (we’ve got our favourites below), and ask them to do a pension transfer, they’ll take care of the transfer process for you – you don’t need to do a thing.

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Found a great new job and looking to move your pension away from Nest? It’s easier than you might think, and can be a great idea for your retirement savings. You don’t need to speak to Nest themselves, or even log in to their website, or do much really. Sounds pretty good right?

We’ll run through how to transfer your pension in 3 easy steps below.

First, just to run through some housekeeping – you’re only able to transfer old pensions, so pensions from jobs you’ve left. You can’t transfer your existing work pension.

If you are still working somewhere with a Nest pension, but not happy with it, it’s a good idea to still keep paying into it from your salary – so you can get the free cash from your employer (they typically have to pay 3% in themselves if you pay in 5% of your salary). BUT, you can open a new pension alongside this, called a personal pension, where you can save more cash into a pension with a provider (company) you like. We’ll cover that in a bit more detail below.

Workplace pension

Anyway, before you can transfer your Nest pension, and if you haven’t already, you’ll need to find a great new pension provider to use going forward (such as one that’s easy to use and has a great record of growing pensions over time). Fortunately, this bit is easy too, as we’ve already done the hard work to find the best providers out there. Our top picks are just below.

Nuts About Money tip: if you are planning to transfer your Nest pension to your new pension with your new job, you can do that, and it can be a great idea to have all your pension money in one place. However, that means your money is now stuck with your new provider, and you may find you’re not happy with them in future (not many workplace pensions are great, things like customer service can be terrible).

Transferring your pension to a personal pension, which is one you set up yourself, rather than your employer, means you have full control over your cash. You can pick the best provider for you, but also have the freedom of transferring it to a new provider again, whenever you like. So you can always be with a provider of your choice, where your money is growing nicely, building up a great big pension pot.

Workplace pensions and personal pensions

Think of pensions like a mobile phone contract, or internet provider – it pays to shop around and get the best deal! And the benefits are much bigger (your retirement savings.)

With that in mind, here’s our top picks from personal pensions:

Top pension providers

Best way to transfer your Nest pension

Check out PensionBee – it's easy – they'll handle everything for you. Get £50 added to your pension for free too (with Nuts About Money).

Visit PensionBee¹Visit PensionBee¹

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Get £50 added to your pension

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Best pension
PensionBee rated 5 stars

PensionBee

PensionBee is our recommended provider – they’ve thought of everything.

Their 5 star rated app (and website) makes it easy to set up and use. You can open a brand new pension, or transfer your existing pensions across (they’ll handle all the paperwork).

Simply pick from an easy to understand range of pension plans, and that’s it, the experts manage everything from there.

It’s low cost, with one simple annual fee. The customer service is excellent, and you’ll get a dedicated account manager for any questions you might have.

Learn more

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And, when the time comes to retire, withdrawing from your pension is easy too.

You can also use them if you're self-employed or a company director.

Pros

  • Pensions made easy
  • Easy to understand pension plans
  • Find all your old pensions and move them over (consolidate)
  • Low fees
  • Great customer service
  • Great if you’re self-employed (or a company director)
  • Withdraw from your pension when you retire
  • Get £50 added to your pension

Cons

  • No financial advice, but can explain your options
  • Not much else!

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Expert advice
Moneyfarm rated 5 stars

Moneyfarm

Moneyfarm is a great option for saving and investing (both ISAs and pensions). It's easy to use and their experts can help you with any questions or guidance you need.

They have one of the top performing investment records, and great socially responsible investing options too. Plus, you can save cash and get a high interest rate.

The fees are low, and reduce as you save more. Plus, the customer service is outstanding.

Learn more

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Pros

  • Great for beginners and hands-off investors
  • Easy to use
  • ISA
  • Pension
  • Free personal investment advisor
  • Great track record for growing money
  • Socially responsible options
  • Invest cash for a high return

Cons

  • Have to invest at least £500
  • Not much else!

Capital at risk.

Best way to transfer your Nest pension

Check out PensionBee – it's easy – they'll handle everything for you. Get £50 added to your pension for free too (with Nuts About Money).

Visit PensionBee¹Visit PensionBee¹

Capital at risk.

Should I transfer my Nest pension?

Believe it or not, there’s currently a massive £26.6 billion in lost pensions, in 2.8 million pension pots (according to the Association of British Insurers). That’s a lot. And it could end up being you in future if you lose track of where your pensions are. 

Over your lifetime, you’ll likely have lots of jobs, and therefore lots of different pensions – it’s easy to forget about them now, and thinking ahead a bit, you’ll be a lot older than you are now, and might not have the same memory, we can see how it happens.

Old pensions can get lost

That’s why combining old pensions is very popular (called pension consolidation). You can keep all your pension cash together in a single pension pot, so it’s easy to manage, and so you’ll never forget about it when the time comes to retire (or withdraw from it).

Pension consolidation

Everytime you change jobs, you can simply transfer your now old work pension, into your main pension pot, and keep doing that until you retire.

And sorry to put a downer on things, but when you sadly pass away, it’s much easier for your family to find and manage your pension, during an already stressful time.

With a pension you set up yourself, you get to have all your pension savings where you want them – with a great pension provider, growing nicely in the way you like (such as an ethical pension plan that doesn’t harm the environment), low fees, easy to use, great customer service – you get the idea.

Here’s where to run through all the best pension providers, but as a quick recap, our favourite is PensionBee¹, for all those reasons above, and we’ve managed to bag you a massive £50 added to your pension for free.

How to transfer your Nest pension

Let’s run through how to actually transfer your pension, don’t worry, there’s only 3 easy steps.

  1. Choose your new pension company
  2. Tell them your pension is with Nest
  3. They’ll handle the transfer for you

First, find a great new pension provider to transfer to if you haven’t already. Next, simply let them know your pension is with Nest, and if you have it, give them your policy number, which should speed up the process a bit – it can take around 30 days, but can be longer or shorter.

Your new pension provider will handle all the paperwork behind the scenes, and your money will simply turn up in your new pension pot.

Simple right?

How to transfer your pension from Nest

Nuts About Money tip: you can also keep paying into your pension to boost your total pension pot (tax free as well) – you don’t just have to save into a work pension. And to be honest, you'll probably want to do both to build up a big pension pot, as you’ll need a very hefty pension pot to afford a comfortable retirement these days. Here’s how much you might need in your pension pot.

Transferring to your new work pension

If you do want to transfer your Nest pension to your new work pension (technically called a workplace pension scheme), you’re free to do that too – as long as your new pension provider allows it of course.

As a reminder, if you do this you typically won’t be able to transfer your pension again until you get a new job. So make sure you’re confident the new provider is the best one for you.

However, you should definitely open a pension with your new job anyway, which should happen automatically as part of auto-enrolment. When the pension is open, and you pay in 5% from your salary, your new employer will pay in 3% from their own pocket (by law) – so make the most of it.

Going self-employed?

If you’re packing in employment, and going self-employed, good luck! If you can, keep saving regularly for your future within a pension – it really will add up and provide you with a bigger income in retirement (which will be very much needed).

We’ve got a whole guide to self-employed pensions, but as a summary, being self-employed, personal pensions are your only option to save for retirement (but a great one). Once you’ve set up a personal pension with a great new provider, you can transfer your Nest pension to them, and keep saving into it directly as and when you like.

With a personal pension, you’ll get a massive 25% bonus from the government on everything you save, and if do you pay 40% or 45% tax, you can claim some of the tax paid at those rates too, on your Self Assessment tax return, which either you, or your accountant, will do at the end of the tax year. Need help with your tax return? TaxScouts¹ can help you, their service is rated 5 stars. 

Personal pension

Note: this is the same for employed people who save into a personal pension too.

The reason for this is because saving into a pension is meant to be tax-free, but being self-employed, you won’t have an employer to take the money directly from your pay and put it into your pension tax-free. So it’s to refund you the tax you will pay on your income. Technically this is called tax relief.

Personal tax relief

By the way, you could also pay into a pension from your limited company if you have one. Learn more with our guide to pensions for limited company directors.

If you are self-employed, here’s our top picks for the best pensions for self-employed people.

More about personal pensions

Let’s run through personal pensions a little bit more, as these are the pensions that most people tend to use to transfer their old pensions to.

It’s often called a private pension, and it is, it’s a type of private pension, which simply means a pension in your name (private to you), rather than the government pension, called the State Pension (what you’ll get at State Pension age, currently 66).

A workplace pension (a pension from work) is also a type of private pension.

Private pensions

Saving into a personal pension is tax-free (just like a workplace pension). And instead of paying into it before you pay tax, like a workplace pension, instead, you’ll get a 25% bonus from the government, added automatically to your pension pot, on all of your contributions.

And if you pay 40% or 45% tax, you can claim some of that back too (on a Self Assessment tax return).

Your money grows tax-free as well – so it can grow much quicker over time, and there’s no paperwork to worry about each year.

Anyway, you can save into private pensions (in total) as much as you like, up to £60,000 per year, or your total income, whichever is lower.

Pension annual allowance

You can then start withdrawing from them when you reach 55 years old (57 from 2028), and when you do, 25% will be completely tax-free, which you can take a tax-free lump sum (if you want to). Although it’s a good idea to keep it growing until you do actually retire!

Pension tax-free limp sum

The remaining 75% will count towards Income Tax, which is the same as your salary now, but you’ll get the Personal Allowance of £12,570 before any tax is paid.

Is transferring a pension from Nest safe?

Yes, it’s perfectly safe to transfer a pension from Nest to a new provider – the providers will handle everything themselves, and the money will simply turn up in your pension account.

All pension providers need to be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in order to operate. They’re the people who make sure financial services companies are looking after their customers and their money.

All pension providers are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

To check if a pension company is authorised, use the FCA register.

You’ll also be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which can provide up to £85,000 in compensation, should the provider go out of business, and not return some of your money.

Protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)

However, your money is typically held with large banks and financial companies, all in your name, and can only be returned to you. Pensions are very safe, and popular because of it.

Let’s recap

That’s it for transferring your pension from Nest. Easier than you thought?

As a quick reminder, you can’t transfer your Nest pension if you are currently still working in your job that has the Nest pension. You can only transfer it after you leave.

It’s up to you whether you want to transfer your pension to your new pension with your new job (if you have one), or transfer it to a personal pension.

Transferring to a personal pension is super popular, and our recommended option for most people. That’s because you can keep your pension savings all in one place, with a great provider that you’ve decided on (rather than your employer).

And, there’s no chance of you ever forgetting where your pensions are when the time comes to retire (which happens more than you think!).

Your new pension provider will handle everything for you, all you need to do is let them know your pension is with Nest.

How to transfer your pension

If you didn’t catch who our favourite providers were, we recommend checking out PensionBee¹, it’s easy to use, has low fees and a great record of growing pensions over time (you’ll also get £50 added to your pension for free with Nuts About Money).

There’s also Moneyfarm¹ where you’re able to save in a pension alongside things like a tax-free ISA too. For all the top options here’s the best private pensions.

There we go – happy transferring! And keep saving into your pension – your future self will really thank you.

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Best way to transfer your Nest pension

Check out PensionBee – it's easy – they'll handle everything for you. Get £50 added to your pension for free too (with Nuts About Money).

Visit PensionBee¹Visit PensionBee¹

Capital at risk.

No items found.

Best way to transfer your Nest pension

Check out PensionBee – it's easy – they'll handle everything for you. Get £50 added to your pension for free too (with Nuts About Money).

Visit PensionBee¹Visit PensionBee¹

Capital at risk.

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This article was written, reviewed and fact checked by the expert team at Nuts About Money. You’re in safe hands. Learn more.

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Best way to transfer your Nest pension

Check out PensionBee – it's easy – they'll handle everything for you. Get £50 added to your pension for free too (with Nuts About Money).

Visit PensionBee¹Visit PensionBee¹

Capital at risk.

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