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Go to NEST pensions homepage

Manage contributions

Where do I upload my completed CSV file to submit contributions?

To upload a completed CSV file, click ‘Manage contributions’ from your NEST home page.


Towards the bottom of the page you’ll see a list of your unpaid contribution schedules ready for you to complete.

Select the arrow under the heading Edit/Pay beside the contribution schedule you wish to work on.


Select ‘Upload file’.


Click ‘Choose File’ to search for the file on your computer. When you’ve found your file click ‘Upload file’.

Once you’ve clicked ‘Upload file’, we’ll check to make sure your file and member records are valid. How long this takes depends on the number of member records included in the file and the time of day we receive it.

NEST checks the file in three ways:

  • file validation
  • member recognition
  • member data validation.

File validation

File validation automatically happens once you’ve clicked ‘upload file’. In file validation, we check the file has the correct format and structure. For example, a CSV file will need to contain the correct header, details and records.

We also check whether all mandatory fields in the header and trailer have been filled in, whether the employer reference number can be recognised, the payment source is correct and the dates used match the schedule you’re trying to upload the file to.

If any of these details are missing or incorrect this will result in the whole file being rejected. If this happens you’ll get a message onscreen to warn you.

You’ll need to correct any errors in the file and resubmit it.

For example, if you’ve uploaded a file with an incorrect NEST ID and payment source name, you’d see this message:


Please note this error message can appear with any number of member records in the file.

In this case, you’d need to make sure the information in these fields matches the information in your account. Please see How do I complete a contribution CSV file using the NEST template? for more information on how to enter the information in the header section.

If you’re using a third party payroll provider, you may find there are errors with the earnings period start and end dates. To correct this you can either contact your provider and ask them to create a new file for you with the dates shown in ‘Manage contributions’ or if you’d rather change the dates in your account to match your payroll provider. You’ll need to create a new group and move the members to the new group. You can find out how to process a group change online or through file upload.

Member recognition

Once the file validation checks have been successfully completed NEST runs member recognition checks. This is where we check that the member records are identifiable and that all members have been included in the correct contribution schedule.

Errors at this point are caused by things like:

  • the member is included on the wrong schedule
  • the National Insurance number for the member doesn’t match our records
  • the member has opted out already
  • you’ve previously told us the member has left your employment.

If the file contains fewer than 50 records, member recognition is performed automatically after file validation, within the initial 60 seconds. If your file has 50 or more records, you’ll need to click ‘Process the file’ to start the member recognition checks.

You’ll receive a message onscreen to let you know the number of valid member records and the number of errors.

If some records are validated successfully but others aren’t, you can choose to fix these errors before the file is processed. Alternatively, you can choose to process the file right away and correct the errors later.

You’ll be able to use the ‘File upload history’ area to download an Error log describing the errors and an Error file to identify who the errors are for.

Member data validation

We perform data validation on every member record that passes the member recognition stage. During this process data is marked either Member validated or Action needed - invalid.

Action needed - Invalid records are caused by things like:

  • the contributions differ from the expected levels - based on the member’s agreed contribution levels and the amount of earnings included in this schedule
  • contributions are zero but no reason is given.

To start member data validation click ‘Process the file’.

You’ll be asked again if you want to process the file. Click ‘Yes, process this payment now’.


We’ll then process and validate the file. The time this takes will depend on the number of members included in the file.

If you have any errors you may be able to correct these in the schedule using your online account.

Alternatively you can re-upload a file. You can use information in the ‘File upload history’ area to help you upload a new file to correct any errors.

Get help with using NEST

Our web chat agents will answer your questions and guide you through setting up and managing NEST.

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