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Free Wire Transfers

One of the most frustrating things about wiring money to someone else is the money that ends up lost in transfer fees to your bank. It’s understandable that you want the person receiving that money to get as much of it as possible – ideally for no fees at all. In this article, we’ll look at some of the best ways to wire money for free or as little as possible.

 

Updated: 27/10/2021
Read time: 6 minutes
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What is a wire transfer?

A wire transfer is a means of moving money from one account to another electronically. This method of sending money is popular for one-off payments, sending money urgently (wire transfers are often much faster than direct deposits, for example), and sending money internationally. Make sure to check our guide on how to wire money internationally to make sure you know everything you need before making a transfer.

While there are many advantages to wire transfers, they do have their downsides. These include:

  • Expensive fees: Wiring money via your bank will incur fees both domestically (even when using BACS payments domestically in the UK or SEPA in EU) and internationally. Sending a wire transfer internationally via a money transfer provider will typically be associated with lower fees, but you will still be charged in some way in order to send your money.
  • You’ll need your recipient’s bank information: In order to successfully initiate a wire transfer, you’ll need to have your recipient’s bank information. This includes their name, bank account number, sort code, and possibly their IBAN/SWIFT codes if sending money internationally. For example, if you’re making an international transfer to Canada, you will need the correct Canadian SWIFT code for the recipients bank located in Canada.
Other transfer methods to consider

A wire transfer is just one way of sending your money. You could also initiate a direct deposit (for domestic transfers), or send money internationally with cash or credit/debit cards to be delivered directly to your recipient.

Is it possible to wire money for free?

In most cases, you will need to pay a fee for the convenience and speed a wire money transfer affords you. However, there are definitely some circumstances where you can wire money for free (potentially both domestic and international options). We’ll detail those below.

Free domestic wire transfers

If you are making a domestic wire transfer (sending money within your own country), you are much less likely to have larger fees attached to your transfer. Circumstances where you might be able to wire money for free include:

Sending to an account within the same bank

Some banks will not charge a fee if you are making a wire transfer to another account with the same bank. This can vary depending on your location and your bank, however, so make sure you’ve looked into the wire transfer fees for your bank first.

Using a third party money transfer provider for free

An alternative way to avoid fees when transferring money to another account is to use a transfer provider that facilitates domestic transfers. These include:

PayPal

PayPal is a popular service for sending money electronically to friends and family, although it can also be used to pay for goods and services online. When sending money in the same currency to family and friends, there is no fee provided you are sending via a PayPal balance (using your recipient’s email address) or a linked bank account. Sending money via debit or credit card will incur a small fee.

Zelle

Zelle is only available in the US, but provides a safe and convenient way to send and receive money using an email address or US phone number. You should note that Zelle is free to use, but you should check with your bank in case they charge any fees for using this service.

Venmo

Venmo is one of the popular virtual bank accounts that makes sending and receiving money more accessible by phone. It is also only available if you have a US bank account and are sending within the US. It’s ideal for sending money to friends and family and is mostly used for splitting expenses for nights out, meals etc. Venmo works by pulling funds from your linked account or Venmo balance and sends them directly to your recipient. 

Free international wire transfers

Finding a way to wire money for free when transferring money to a foreign account is going to be a little trickier. There will almost always be a fee for sending your money abroad, and this is because of the additional processes involved in this type of international money transfer

Fees you will need to pay can include:

  • Transfer fees
  • A markup on the exchange rate
  • A mix of the two

With that said, using a money transfer provider is our top recommendation for finding the cheapest way to send your money internationally. Our comparison tool helps you find the best service for your specific transfer needs, so that should be your first port of call. Our top providers known for a reliable service and low fees include:

Choose the Right Provider to Transfer Foreign Currency

Combined, our money transfer providers over 150 countries and over 90 currencies. This range of options allows for better choice of transfer service and potentially specialist options such as ACH transfers.

 

Is there a way to wire money internationally for free?

In almost every case, you will need to pay to send your money internationally. This is because sending money across the globe and converting it into a different currency involves several processes, and banks and transfer providers alike need to cover the costs of their service.

The one circumstance where you may be able to wire money for free internationally is if you are transferring money to a linked bank (as in, an overseas arm of the same bank). If both you and the person you are sending money to abroad have bank accounts with the same banking group, this could be an option worth considering.

However, you can wire money abroad for very little, check our guide on making a cheap wire transfer to learn more.

Bottom line: can you wire money for free?

Overall, when wiring money domestically, there are ways of getting your money to friends and family without having to pay additional bank fees. Often, using a third party such as the companies listed in this article are a good way of keeping your transfers low-cost and safe.

When sending money internationally, it’s hard to avoid paying any fees at all. However, you can certainly take the time to find the best provider for you. That means lower fees, more competitive exchange rates, and a rapid transfer time. Use our comparison tool to find the best money transfer operator for your specific transfer needs.

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Yasmin Purnell

Yasmin is the content writer for MoneyTransfers.com. With an English degree from the University of Nottingham and over 5 years’ experience freelancing in the personal finance niche, Yasmin joined the team with a mission to make international money transfers accessible and easy to understand for all. When she’s not writing, you’ll find Yasmin on her yoga mat or planning her next escape to the mountains.

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