As the biggest credit union in the United States, Navy Federal Credit Union is a household name, with 10.6 million members across the country. From debit and credit cards to various loans and mortgages, this credit union has expanded its offerings over the years; but in this guide, we want to know how NFCU fare when it comes to international money transfers and also we will cover the Navy Federal exchange rates and fees.
Headquartered in Vienna, Virginia - not to be confused with the European city in Austria - the origin story of this American credit union goes back as far as 1933, when the operation was known as the Navy Department Employees' Credit Union of the District of Columbia (NDCU). This first carnation was exclusively available to members of the federal employees' labor union and their families. Over the last 90 years, under the supervision of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), Navy Federal has amended its membership to include all Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corp, Navy and Space Force personnel.
By widening its field of membership, the NFCU has grown exponentially, and as of July 2021 was worth an estimated $138.6 billion in assets. As well as the standard financial products and solutions, the company allows its members to send money securely; it is these services that we will be assessing in greater detail over the course of this review.
Yes, members can send money overseas; this type of transaction is referred to by Navy Federal as an international wire transfer. Find out more about NFCU wire transfers here.
Additionally, Navy Federal doesn't offer foreign currency exchanges. If you are looking for the Navy Federal foreign currency service, you may have to find another bank.
It is important to evaluate the total cost of any international transfer service before committing to making a cross-border payment. The main two things you need to be aware of when sending money internationally with Navy Federal Credit Union are:
Navy Federal exchange rates
Navy Federal international transfer fees
We will show you a breakdown of these below. However, you can always check the exchange rates and fees each bank is offering by visiting their website. In this case, the Navy Federal exchange rates may vary depending on the country you are sending money to.
In this section, we will evaluate the Navy Federal exchange rates.
According to the company website, the NFCU relies on its correspondent banking partners to provide the currency exchange rates for any international transfers. Before sending any money overseas, NFCU will display the full cost of conversion and what the recipient can expect to receive in their account, giving the sender the option to decline the quoted rate if they are unhappy with the exchange rate. This transparency rules out the potential for disappointment from either party - sender or receiver - at a later date.
However, as transparent as this process is, NFCU uses methods of traditional banking to calculate foreign exchange rates, meaning international currency transfers are likely to incur mark-ups of 3 - 5% above the actual mid-market rate. Readers can learn more about How to Find the Best Exchange Rate here.
Overseas payments typically incur fees of some sort, especially when a bank or credit union is involved. The fee structure of a transfer differs depending on the financial service provider - albeit bank or other - with a lot of the leading money transfer specialist companies charge very low transfer fees.
Generally speaking, transfer fees will either be implemented as a percentage of the total transfer amount or a fixed, flat-fee. In this case, Navy Federal Credit Union charges members a flat-fee of $25 per transfer. Check out our full guide to Wire Transfer Fees here to evaluate how reasonable this fee is.
It may be worth noting that domestic money transfers will also cost members a fee of $14 per transfer; this is particularly expensive considering almost all banks based in the US offer this service for free.
The $25 transfer fee is very expensive when compared to international money transfer companies that expertly move money from one country to another, charging far less for the same service. Banks and credit unions do typically charge higher fees for their foreign currency exchange services, so we recommend our customers browse our company reviews to learn about how competitors offer much lower - and in some cases, zero - transfer fees.
We will now run through how members can set up an account and send money overseas with Navy Federal.
The Navy Federal sign up process is a little different than the average bank and hopeful customers will need to provide the following information to join as a member:
Social Security Number
Government ID such as drivers license or passport
Proof of current home address in the US
Credit card or bank account and routing number to fund your account
Completion of the online eligibility questionnaire
If eligible, once these items have been gathered, the online sign up application will take a matter of minutes to complete. A confirmation email will be received and then members can sign into their new Navy Federal online account.
The NFCU has helpfully provided a list of the exact information customers need to provide when arranging an international money transfer:
For international transfers, members should instruct the sending financial institution to use a corresponding bank to facilitate the transfer to your account, as Navy Federal is not part of the SWIFT network. Also, customers should note it is only possible to receive U.S. currency.
Customer services can be accessed via the following channels:
Send a secure message via online or mobile banking
Post the international wire transfer forms and any other correspondence to NFCU Vienna offices
Visit a Navy Federal branch offering international wire transfer services
Send international wire transfer forms to 703-255-7739 or to 1-800-552-1841; Attn: Funds Disbursement Section
Navy Federal Credit Union offers a niche service and for servicemen and women working for the US forces, this credit union caters to their needs. NFCU has a great deal to offer in terms of personalised, low-rate domestic financial services: more can be found outlined in the membership terms and conditions here.
With this in mind, this credit union is not able to offer competitive prices, the best exchange rates and easy accessibility for anyone interested in making an international transfer. This is because NFCU international wire transfers are not instant or intuitive when compared to specialist service providers elsewhere in the global remittance world.
To get a better understanding of the options, check out our reviews of various other expert money transfer companies. The Money Transfers comparison engine is also designed to simplify the research process of finding your ideal transfer provider so we highly recommend using this free online tool today.