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Guide to bank fees for wire transfers

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Consider the fees you could pay to make sure you’re not spending more than you need to on a bank wire transfer.

A wire transfer through your bank is an effective way to get money to and from friends, family members and merchants around the world. These transfers typically involve electronically transferring money from one bank to another. Though secure, the service does come at a cost — high fees.

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What kind of fees could I expect?

The fees your bank charges depend on whether you’re sending or receiving the money, as well as whether the recipient or sender is overseas. Some banks charge more depending on how you initiate the wire transfer — for example, online or in person.

Here are fees you can expect for wire transfers at your typical US bank:

  • Incoming domestic fee. For receiving money from another US bank account.
  • Outgoing domestic fee. For sending money to another US bank account.
  • Incoming international fee. For receiving money from an overseas bank account.
  • Outgoing international fee. For sending money to an overseas bank account.
  • Initiation fee. For conducting a wire transfer via a method other than online, for example in a branch location or over the phone.
  • Tracer fee. For requesting tracing services for a previous wire transfer.

How can I beat the banks and reduce what I pay in fees?

Fees by major US bank

We’ve gathered the wire transfer fees charged by 10 major US banks. Before switching to a new bank for its lower wire transfer fees, consider its overall suite of financial products. You may also be subject to foreign transaction, minimum balance and other fees.

BankIncoming domesticOutgoing domesticIncoming internationalOutgoing international
Ally (online bank)$0$20$0Not offered
Bank of America$15 (waived for Interest Checking accounts, Advantage accounts, and Preferred Rewards customers)$30$16 (waived for Preferred Rewards customers — Platinum and Platinum Honors tiers only)$35 if sent in foreign currency;$45 if sent in US dollars
BB&T$15$30$18$65
Capital One 360 (online bank)$0$30$0Not offered
Chase$15 (waived for Premier Platinum accounts)$25 online;$35 in person$15 (waived for Premier Platinum accounts)$40 online;$50 in person
Citibank$15 for Citibank accounts (waived for Citigold, Citi Priority, Citi Global Executive, Citi Global Executive Preferred, Citigold Private and Citi Private accounts)$25 for Citibank accounts;$17.50 for Citi Priority accounts;$18.75 for accounts with International Personal Banking;$12.50 for Citigold International accounts;$18.75 for Citi Global Executive accounts(waived for Citi Global Executive Preferred, Citigold Private and Citi Private accounts)$15 for Citibank accounts (waived for Citigold, Citi Priority, Citi Global Executive, Citi Global Executive Preferred, Citigold Private and Citi Private accounts)$35 for Citibank accounts; $25 for Citigold accounts; $30 for Citi Priority accounts; $30 for accounts with International Personal Banking; $20 for Citigold International accounts; $30 for Citigold Executive accounts(waived for Citi Global Executive Preferred, Citigold Private and Citi Private accounts)
PNC Bank$15 (waived for Performance Select Checking accounts)$30 (waived for Performance Select Checking accounts)$15$45
TD Bank$15$25$15$40
US Bank$20$30$25$50
Wells Fargo$15$30$16$45

How can I compare these bank fees?

To make your decisions a bit easier, we’ve gathered wire transfer fees for several US banks below.

When assessing these fees, how much you’ll pay depends on where you’re sending money to and other elements like:

  • Incoming vs. outgoing. Incoming wire transfers tend to be cheaper than outgoing wire transfers. This is because the sender usually bears the brunt of the costs associated with the wire transfer.
  • Domestic vs. international. Because domestic wire transfers involve less processing, they tend to be cheaper than international wire transfers. International wire transfers typically involve multiple banking systems and operators between the two countries.
  • Recurring vs. one-time fees. Some banks offer savings of a few dollars per transfer when you set up recurring wire transfers.
  • Initiation fees. Your bank could charge a fee for requesting the wire transfer in a branch or over the phone, instead of online.
  • Tracer fees. If your recipient hasn’t received your transfer as scheduled, you may need to trace it. This could incur more fees.
  • Exchange rates. An exchange rate shows how much one currency is worth in another currency. Nearly all banks skew the published exchange rate for a profit, and they aren’t always forthcoming about the margin they add. You may need to call your bank or initiate a transfer online to see the rate you’ll get.

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Case study: Wiring $1,000 to Australia

You will pay more for an international wire transfer through your bank than you will using an international money transfer service, but you may find that the security and familiarity it offers is worth it. With a bank, you simply log into your existing online bank account to initiate the process, without handing your personal information over to a third party.

Take Jessica, for example, who wants to send $1,000 to her aunt in Australia. While she’s more comfortable with the idea of using her local Bank of America, where she holds an account, she decides to compare its rates and fees against a popular online money transfer service.

Here’s a breakdown of what Jessica could pay to transfer $1,000 to Australia.

Bank of AmericaOnline money transfer service
Transfer fee$35 (outgoing international fee)$5
Exchange rate1 USD = 1.28 AUD1 USD = 1.32 AUD
Transfer methodOnline depositOnline deposit
Transfer speed1–2 days1–2 days
Total AUD received1,280 AUD1,320 AUD

The biggest drawback here is the cost. Jessica’s bank not only charges an outrageously high transfer fee, but also offers a weaker exchange rate. By going with a money transfer service like OFX or World First, Jessica could save $30 in fees and send 40 more Australian dollars to her aunt.
How much will my recipient get? Calculate receive amounts


Bottom line

Banks offer a secure and familiar way to complete wire transfers with friends, family members and merchants. However, you can expect to pay high transfer fees on top of weaker exchange rates than you would get by using an online money transfer service.

Ultimately, you’ll need to compare your options to find the service that’s best for you.
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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    BerniJune 4, 2018

    how do I tell if a real account exists or who could help with that informati on?

    • finder Customer Care
      JoshuaJune 5, 2018Staff

      Hi Bernie,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well for you. :)

      You can manually check an account’s existence manually. One of the ways you can do this is to directly get in touch with the bank. You can do this by calling their telephone representative and asking them to validate an account for you. You may also try auto account verification and follow the instruction if this is also available. You’ll need the account name and the account number.

      There are also account verification services available but most of them come with fees.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

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