Consider the fees you could pay to make sure you’re not spending more than you need to on a bank wire transfer.
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.
|Bank||Incoming domestic||Outgoing domestic||Incoming international||Outgoing international|
|Ally (online bank)||$0||$20||$0||Not 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|
|Capital One 360 (online bank)||$0||$30||$0||Not 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|
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.
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 America||Online money transfer service|
|Transfer fee||$35 (outgoing international fee)||$5|
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 1.28 AUD||1 USD = 1.32 AUD|
|Transfer method||Online deposit||Online deposit|
|Transfer speed||1–2 days||1–2 days|
|Total AUD received||1,280 AUD||1,320 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
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.
Compare banks to these independent money transfer services
Save money on your personal or business international money transfer today. Fill in the form and you’ll be contacted by a foreign exchange expert to have an obligation-free discussion about your options.
With over 17 years of foreign exchange expertise and over $100 billion transferred, OFX can help with all your currency exchange needs, including:
- Buying property abroad
- Regular overseas payments
- Risk management
- If the provider quotes a different rate to the one above please let us know
Frequently asked questions
What information do I need to send a wire transfer?
To send a wire transfer, you’ll need your recipient’s full personal and banking information, including their bank’s name and SWIFT code (if international) and their routing and account number.
What is a SWIFT code?
Short for the cumbersome Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, a SWIFT code is an international bank code used for incoming transfers. Overseas banks each have a unique SWIFT code that identifies which bank to send money to.
Should I wire money in US dollars or foreign currency?
For international money transfers, it’s better to send money in your recipient’s currency. This takes the burden of converting the currency off of your recipient.
How long does a wire transfer take?
The processing time for a wire transfer varies from bank to bank and depends on several factors, such as whether the wire transfer is domestic or international. Some wire transfers can be processed within the same day if requested before the bank’s cutoff time. Others can take up to five business days.
Do banks offer special programs to reduce the cost of wire transfers?
Yes. One such program is Wells Fargo’s ExpressSend. Through ExpressSend, you can send money to 13 countries throughout Latin America and Asia at competitive exchange rates for lower transfer fees than that of the bank’s regular wire transfer service.