Guide to bank fees for wire transfers

Make sure you don't overspend when you transfer money abroad.

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

Read this guide to find out how to minimise costs and find the service suited to your needs.

XE International Money Transfers

XE Money Transfer

XE specialises in a wide range of foreign currency solutions and offers an affordable solution when you need to send money overseas.

  • Send money to 60+ countries.
  • Competitive exchange rates that are often better than banks.
  • Transfer up to US$500,000 online.
  • See exchange rates in real-time.

    Compare banks to these independent money transfer services

    Table: sorted by a combination of service offering and the amount your recipient will receive

    Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
    GBP 2,000 1 day GBP 0.00 1.161 EUR
    11,609
    TorFX guarantee to beat any competitor's exchange rate for a transaction (conditions apply)
    (Conditions apply)
    Go to site Show details
    GBP 1,000 1 - 2 days GBP 0.00 1.161 EUR
    11,609
    Better exchange rates for Finder customers.
    Send 60+ currencies at competitive rates and no fees. If you find a better eligible quote, WorldFirst will beat it.
    Go to site Show details
    GBP 3,000 1 day GBP 20.00 1.161 EUR
    11,586
    Make an informed decision with a personal touch, whether it's a business or personal transfer, with rate alerts, charts and live rates to help you make your choice. Go to site Show details
    GBP 2,500 1 day GBP 0.00 1.161 EUR
    11,609
    With 17 years of foreign exchange expertise, OFX know the money transfers business very well, offering facilities for one-off and recurring transfers. Go to site Show details
    GBP 2,500 1 day GBP 0.00 1.161 EUR
    11,609
    Make transferring money abroad as simple and safe as possible with bank-beating exchange rates - online, via the app or over the phone. Go to site Show details
    USD 1 1 - 2 days GBP 0.00 1.161 EUR
    11,609
    Whatever amount you transfer, XE will not charge you a fee for using their service. Go to site Show details
    GBP 50 Same day GBP 2.99 1.154 EUR
    11,536
    Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee.
    Send money online anytime, anywhere, with a simple to use platform and transparent fees and exchange rates shown upfront.
    Go to site Show details

    Compare up to 4 providers

    Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

    Guide to fees and charges

    What is a wire transfer?

    A wire transfer is an immediate, secure way of transferring money to a recipient. It is an electronic transfer of money from one bank to another, using a secure network.

    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 UK bank:

    • Incoming domestic fee. For receiving money from another UK bank account.
    • Outgoing domestic fee. For sending money to another UK 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. This is when you do a wire transfer NOT online, for example in a branch or over the phone.
    • Tracer fee. For requesting tracing services for a previous wire transfer.

    Beat the banks

    We’ve tested the amounts a bank will give you against an average money transfer company, and the results could net you big savings. A £10,000 transfer to Australia with a money transfer company would save $378 AUD compared to a bank.

    Why is this? Some banks charge up to £25 extra, which may be shown to you as a sum of small charges made of percentages and absolute fees. On top of this, there’s a hidden charge – the margin on the exchange rate. Money transfer companies tend to have much lower rates than banks and are generally a better option for sending money abroad. Don’t believe us? See our table below.

    Amount received for £10,000
    EUR USD AUD
    Global Reach Global Reach €11,304 EUR (save €549) $12,903 USD (save $557) $16,662 AUD (save $398)
    HSBC HSBC €10,755 EUR $12,346 USD $16,264 AUD

    How can I compare these bank fees?

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

    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.

    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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    6 Responses

    1. 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

    2. 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

    3. 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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