Guide to bank fees for wire transfers

With fees ranging from £0 to £40, learn what wire transfer fees major banks actually charge – and how to beat them.

Your local bank branch offers an easy way to send money overseas straight out of your account, but often there are high fees attached to this convenience. We’ve researched the wire transfer fees of some of the top banks in the UK to show how they compare against one another and against independent money transfer services.

What wire transfer fees should 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.

Generally, it’s much cheaper to send money domestically because fewer financial systems are involved. International transfers involve banks and wire processing services for each country – and with more banks come more fees.

Based on our research from 10 UK banks, these are the current wire transfer fees you can expect:

  • Incoming international fee: Up to £7.50 for receiving money from an overseas bank account.
  • Outgoing international fee: Up to £40 for sending money to an overseas bank account.
  • Initiation fee: Up to £20, depending on how you make your transfer, for example, in a branch or over the phone.
  • Tracer fee: Up to £10 for requesting tracing services for a previous wire transfer.

Wire transfer fees for top UK banks

We’ve gathered the wire transfer fees charged by 10 major UK banks. You may also be subject to foreign transaction, minimum balance and other fees – and some banks waive or reduce fees depending on what kind of account you have.

BankIncoming internationalOutgoing international
BarclaysUp to £6Up to £40
The Co-operative BankUp to £6Up to £25
First DirectUp to £4Up to £9
HSBCUp to £6Up to £8
LloydsUp to £7Up to £9.50
Metro Bank£0£15-£25
NatWestUp to £7.50Up to £15
RBSUp to £7.50Up to £15
Santander£0Up to £25
TSBUp to £7Up to £20

How can I compare these bank wire transfer fees?

To make your decisions a bit easier, we’ve gathered wire transfer fees for several UK 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 will 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 best exchange rate offered.

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

Many providers give a break on fees if you send more money each time you use its service. Some smaller banks even give you a break on transfers to and from student accounts. This helps parents or guardians avoid being double charged if they’re funding both accounts.

Case study: Wiring £1,000 to India

Bank transferCash pickup transferMoney transfer service
Fee£20 + bank fees£1.90£0
Exchange rate1 GBP = 90.17 INR1 GBP = 91.65 INR1 GBP = 93.51 INR
Transfer speed2-5 daysMinutes1-2 days
Amount received90,175 INR91,654 INR93,515 INR
Verdict
  • Slowest and most expensive
  • Fastest
  • Best value

The bank ends up being both the slowest and most expensive option, resulting in the least amount of money delivered among the three – 3,340 INR less than if you sent the money through the online money transfer service.


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Compare banks to independent money transfer services

Table: sorted by promoted deals first
Our table below lets you compare the services you can use to send money abroad. Choose if you want to send under or over £10,000, and you’ll be shown a list of services that can help you.
Name Product Filter Values Fastest Transfer Speed Fees (Pay by Bank Transfer) Learn More
Wise (TransferWise) for large transfers
Within an hour
From £3.75

View details
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies.
TorFX
24 hours
£0

View details
TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
Central FX
24 hours
£0

View details
CentralFX's dedicated team will guide you or your business from first call to final payment.
Currencies Direct
Within an hour
£0

View details
CurrenciesDirect makes transferring money abroad simple with bank-beating exchange rates.
CurrencyTransfer
24 hours
£0

View details
CurrencyTransfer lets you shop around for the best exchange rate on its online marketplace.
XE Money Transfers
24 hours
£2
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ £25 Amazon voucher when you refer a friend

View details
XE has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
Wise (TransferWise)
Within an hour
From £3.75

View details
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies.
Azimo
Within minutes
From £0.99
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ First two transfers free for new customers.

View details
Azimo sends money directly to a bank account or over 280,000 cash pick-up points. It also has fast transfers to 50+ countries.
CurrencyFair
24 hours
€3
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ Zero fees on your first 10 transfers

View details
CurrencyFair has bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
Remitly
Within minutes
From £1.49
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ Free transfers and better exchange rates for new customers

View details
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
WorldRemit
Within an hour
From £1.99
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.

View details
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
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Compare up to 4 providers

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.

There are more ways than just your bank to send money domestically and internationally, so be sure to compare your options before paying high fees.

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6 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    BernardNovember 9, 2018

    I want to sponsor a teenager in Ethiopia and want to send him £40 each month. I’ve already checked and he’s genuine and he has a bank account. What would be the cheapest way to do this?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      joelmarceloNovember 10, 2018Staff

      Hi Bernard,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      There are multiple ways in sending money to Ethiopia. We have a comparison of money transfer services specific to Ethiopia if you click here. You can also read our guide from there so you can weigh your options.

      Please send me a message if you need anything else. :)

      Cheers,
      Joel

    Default Gravatar
    tgeorgeSeptember 17, 2018

    Hi – does anyone know where I can find a comparison of bank fees for receiving an international incoming payment in GBP (for UK-based banks)? There is lots of information online on the cost of sending transfers but not much on the cost of receiving them. Apparently, there are some banks that do not charge anything to receive an incoming international GBP payment but I don’t know which ones they are!

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaSeptember 19, 2018Staff

      Hi tgeorge,

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

      We currently don’t have a list of bank fees that are charged to the recipient when doing a money transfer. This is due to, like what you mentioned, a lot of transfer fees are charged to the sender.

      For you to confirm, you can directly get in touch with your bank or money transfer company to know more about their 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

    Default Gravatar
    MichaelMarch 24, 2018

    Typically how much do overseas banks (US/ Europe/Asia) charge their domestic customers for making small bank transfers of for example £20, and will a receiving UK bank charge the UK account holder as well and if so how much?

      Default Gravatar
      LiezlMarch 26, 2018

      Hi Michael,

      Incoming and outgoing bank transfer fees vary depending on the type of account the sender and receiver hold, the amount transferred, destination as well as whether the transfer is done in the branch, over the phone or online. Some beneficiary banks charge the receiver some fees unless the sender shoulder all the fees, which you have to indicate during the transfer.

      For small amounts though, it might be cheaper to do the transfer through a money transfer service since most banks charge a fixed wire transfer fee irregardless of the amount. If you can tell us the bank you’re dealing with, we can try to check the rates for you. Better still, contact your bank directly to know the fees they charge specifically for this amount.

      Best regards,
      Liezl

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