Guide to bank fees for wire transfers
Make sure you don't overspend when you transfer money abroad.
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 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.
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- Transfer up to US$500,000 online.
- See exchange rates in real-time.
Compare banks to these independent money transfer services
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 banksWe’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|
|Global Reach||€11,304 EUR (save €549)||$12,903 USD (save $557)||$16,662 AUD (save $398)|
|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.
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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