Guide to bank fees for wire transfers

With fees ranging from £0 to £25, 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 £25 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 £25
The Co-operative BankUp to £6£13 to £35
First DirectUp to £4Up to £5
HSBCUp to £5£0 with a global money account
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 decision 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 2 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.

Example: Wiring £1,000 to India

This is a fictional (but realistic) illustration of the differences in cost between money transfer methods.

Bank transferCash pick-up 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 among the 3, resulting in the least amount of money delivered – 3,340 INR less than if you sent the money through the online money transfer service

Compare banks to independent money transfer services

Table: sorted by promoted deals first
Our table below lets you compare services you can use to send money abroad. Compare fees, exchange rates and discounts from different money transfer services, and when you have made your choice, click Go to site.
1 - 20 of 20
Name Product Filter values Finder score Pay by Receiving options Fastest transfer Fee (pay by bank transfer) Key benefits
OFFER
TorFX
4.5
★★★★★
Debit card, Bank transfer
Bank account
Within minutes
£0
Get a £50 Amazon voucher for each friend you refer who transfers £5,000 or more. T&Cs apply.
Key Currency
Not rated yet
Bank transfer
Bank account
24 hours
£0
OFFER
Wise (TransferWise)
4.0
★★★★★
Credit card, Debit card, Bank transfer
Bank account, Alipay (China only)
Within minutes
From 0.41%
Refer 3 friends to receive up to £50 referral bonus
Equals Money Account
Not rated yet
Bank transfer
Bank account
3 hours
£0
OFX
4.5
★★★★★
Credit card, Debit card, Bank transfer
Bank account
24 hours
£0
CurrencyTransfer
Not rated yet
Bank transfer
Bank account
24 hours
£0
OFFER
Currencies Direct
4.0
★★★★★
Debit card, Bank transfer
Bank account
24 hours
£0
Get a £50 Amazon voucher for each friend you refer who transfers £5,000 or more. T&Cs apply.
DISCOUNT
PassTo
4.0
★★★★★
Credit card, Debit card, Bank transfer
Cash pickup location, Bank account, Mobile wallet
Within minutes
From £1.40
No fees on your first transfer. Refer 3 friends to PassTo and earn £50 once they each make a transfer of at least £200. They'll earn £5 too. T&Cs apply.
OFFER
Atlantic Money
Not rated yet
Bank transfer
Bank account
Within minutes
£3
Pay no fees on your first Atlantic Money transaction with this link.
FairFX
Not rated yet
Credit card, Debit card, Bank transfer
Cash pickup location, Bank account
24 hours
£0
Remitly
4.0
★★★★★
Credit card, Debit card, Bank transfer
Cash pickup location, Bank account, Mobile wallet, Home delivery
Within minutes
From £0
OFFER
CurrencyFair
3.5
★★★★★
Bank transfer
Bank account
Within minutes
€3
New customers get unlimited fee-free transfers for their first 3 months. T&Cs apply.
OFFER
WorldRemit
3.5
★★★★★
Credit card, Debit card, Bank transfer, Apple Pay
Cash pickup location, Bank account, Mobile wallet, Home delivery, Prepaid phone credit
Within minutes
From £1.99
Use promo code 3FREE and pay no fees on your first 3 transfers. Conditions apply.
OFX
4.5
★★★★★
Credit card, Debit card, Bank transfer
Bank account
24 hours
£0
TorFX Business
4.5
★★★★★
Debit card, Bank transfer
Bank account
Within minutes
£0
Currencies Direct Business
4.0
★★★★★
Debit card, Bank transfer
Bank account
24 hours
£0
OFX Business
Not rated yet
Credit card, Debit card, Bank transfer
Bank account
24 hours
£0
CurrencyFair Business
Not rated yet
Bank transfer
Bank account
Within minutes
€3
Zero fees on your first 10 transfers. T&Cs apply.
WorldFirst Business
Not rated yet
Debit card, Bank transfer
Bank account, Mobile wallet
24 hours
£0
Lloyds Bank International Transfers
Not rated yet
Bank transfer
Bank account
24 hours
Varies
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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.

Frequently asked questions

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.

More guides on Finder

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
      joelmarceloNovember 10, 2018Finder

      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
      JoshuaSeptember 19, 2018Finder

      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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