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.
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:
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.
When looking for free money transfers, 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.
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:
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.
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 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 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 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.
Finding a way to wire money for free when transferring money to a foreign account is going to be a little trickier. When you want to make a free wire transfer, 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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
Yasmin Purnell is a Content Writer and Editor for MoneyTransfers.com. Having over 5 years’ experience writing across a range of industries including finance, insurance, and travel, Yasmin joined the team with a mission to make international money transfers and everything they encompass accessible to all.