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Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo is considered to be the fourth largest bank in the US, ranking seventh on the Forbes Global 2000 list of largest public companies in the world in 2016. As such, foreign currency exchange and international transfers are just one of many services offered by the company.

The bank offers exchanges on over 70 currencies in more than 100 countries. In this review, we’ll be taking an in-depth look into Wells Fargo as a bank, as well as what you may need to consider if you are considering sending money internationally with them.

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About Wells Fargo Bank

Wells Fargo has been operating since 1852 and is the fourth largest bank in the US. Headquartered in San Francisco, California, the company offers a range of products from asset management and brokerage services to traditional banking, foreign currency exchange, finance and insurance services.

As of June 2018, Wells Fargo operated in more than 35 countries and had over 70 million customers globally. The bank has more than 8,050 branches in the US and 13,000 ATMs.

Wells Fargo exchange rates and fees

Like all banks, the two charges you need to be aware of when sending money internationally are the exchange rate margin and international transfer fees. We’ll breakdown the charges you can expect from Wells Fargo in this section.

Exchange rate

Wells Fargo does not provide a clear indication of the markup they add onto the exchange rate for international transfers, although you should be able to see the exchange rate you are offered if you are an existing customer about to send money abroad. 

The bank states that the exchange rate offered “typically includes Wells Fargo’s sell or buy rate for that particular foreign currency, and/or a charge in order to compensate Wells Fargo for any number of considerations, such as risks taken, costs incurred and services rendered (i.e., “mark-up”), including the amount of revenue Wells Fargo expects to earn as a profit”.

Transfer fees

The transfer fees you can expect for an international wire transfer are as follows:

  • Incoming international transfer: $16 per transfer
  • Outgoing international wire transfer: fee disclosed at the time of your transaction

Additional costs

If you are sending a domestic wire transfer, you will be charged $15 per incoming transfer and $30 per outgoing domestic transfer. Repetitive outgoing domestic transfers are reduced to $25.

It’s worth noting that these fees are considerably higher than you would get if you were sending money abroad with a specialist money transfer provider, so you may want to consider getting alternative quotes before going ahead with your transfer.

Wells Fargo pros and cons

Pros
Trusted name: Wells Fargo is an internationally recognized name and a trusted banking provider, which for many people is peace of mind that your money will be handled securely. 
Secure means of sending money: Wire transfers are considered a safe and secure way of sending money around the globe.
Range of services: Wells Fargo offers a number of services beyond simply international transfers, so might be a convenient option if you are looking to house all of your financial needs under one roof.
Cons
Expensive fees: The international transfer fees and exchange rate margin charged by Wells Fargo is higher than you would get if sending money with a money transfer operator.
Customers only: You must have a bank account with Wells Fargo in order to send and receive wire transfers with them.

Answers to key questions about Wells Fargo

Below we’ve addressed some frequently asked questions regarding Wells Fargo, opening a bank account with them, and sending money internationally.

Can I open a Wells Fargo bank account in any country?

Yes, you can open a Wells Fargo bank account online, so you don’t necessarily need to be in the US to get your account set up (although you could also visit a local branch if you would prefer). 

Does Wells Fargo have an app?

Yes, Well Fargo has an app available to both Apple and Android devices. The app is designed to enable you to manage your money 24/7, allowing you to transfer money and pay bills, make deposits with your phone, and lock/unlock credit or debit cards.

Are there transfer limits?

Wells Fargo confirms that the amount you can send to recipients is restricted for your security, with account limits shown below the ‘Wire amount’ field when you send a wire transfer.

If you would like to request higher limits, however, you can visit your local branch to discuss your case with staff in-person.

How long do transfers take with Wells Fargo?

If you submit your international wire transfer by 2 PM  Pacific Time, your transfer will typically be sent on the same business day. If you submit your transfer beyond this cut-off time, your transfer will be processed the next business day (something to be aware of if sending around a Bank Holiday or a weekend).

What customer support options are available?

You can contact Wells Fargo customer service on 1-800-956-4442, visit a local branch in-person, or use their help centre online for more information and advice about your account.

How to open an account and transfer money with Wells Fargo Bank

This section will detail exactly how to open an account with Wells Fargo and send money domestically and internationally. 

Opening an account

You can open a new Wells Fargo account at a local branch (the bank has over 8,000 branches so you should be able to find one nearby!), but you can also apply for your new account online for added convenience.

To do this, you’ll need to provide:

  • Your contact information
  • Your Social Security Number
  • A copy of a valid photo ID (passport or driving license)
  • The minimum opening deposit amount

Transferring money

You can transfer your money online, on the Wells Fargo banking app, or at a local branch in-person.

If you’re sending money online, you’ll simply need to navigate to the ‘Wire money’ section of your account, enter your recipient’s details, the sum you are sending, and what currency you are looking to exchange between.

Wells Fargo should give you a clear breakdown of your maximum sending limit and the exchange rate you will get – make sure you keep in mind the fees you’ll be charged for a wire transfer too.

Summary

Wells Fargo one of the largest banks in the US, with a huge presence and millions of customers relying on their services every single day around the world. It is, therefore, safe to assume that you will be using a reliable and secure service to manage your money and make international transfers with this company.

However, compared to most specialist money transfer operators, you will pay more in fees and exchange rate margins when sending money internationally. If this is your main priority, you may want to consider comparing money transfer operators to find a better deal for your transfer needs.