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Wire Transfer Fees

The wire transfer fees charged by banks can vary from as little as $0 all the way up to $40 when you’re sending or receiving money from one bank account to another. Taking your time to find the most affordable method of wiring money internationally could make a huge difference to the amount you end up paying, or the sum your recipient receives.

Updated: 27/10/2021
Read time: 7 minutes
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In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the wire transfer fees for popular US and UK banks, what kind of fees you can expect, and how to reduce those fees for cheaper international wire money transfers.

Make sure you’ve checked out our guide on the cheapest ways to send money abroad which explains how money transfer providers outperform wire and bank transfers in terms of costs and fees.

What fees are most commonly associated with wire transfers?

If you are sending money domestically between two bank accounts, you will not normally need to worry about incurring a fee from your bank.

However, sending and receiving money internationally will be associated with fees, and this is because of the added steps and processes required to safely send your money abroad and convert it into your selected currency. Wire transfer fees can include:

  • Outgoing transfer fees: the fee you are charged for sending money abroad
  • Incoming transfer fees: the fee you are charged for receiving an international payment
  • Exchange rate markups: also known as the ‘hidden fee’, this is the percentage your bank adds on top of the current mid-market exchange rate in order to send your money abroad. Most banks add a margin between 4 – 5% onto the exchange rate.

US bank international wire transfer fees

BankOutgoingIncoming
Bank of America$35$16
Chase Bank$25$15
CitiBankUp to $40$15
Wells FargoN/A$16

US domestic wire transfer fees

BankOutgoingIncoming
Bank of America$30$15
Chase Bank$25$15
CitiBankUp to $25$15
Wells Fargo$30$15

UK bank international wire transfer fees

BankSending moneyReceiving money
BarclaysUp to £25Up to £6
HSBCUp to £4Up to £8
LloydsUp to £9.50 Up to £7
Metro BankUp to £25£0
NatWestUp to £40Up to £7.50
The Cooperative BankUp to £25Up to £6
RBSUp to £15Up to £7
SantanderUp to £25£0
TSBUp to £20Up to £7

Things to consider with wire transfer fees:

When thinking about the various wire transfer fees associated with each individual bank, below are a few key factors that may influence your decision:

Incoming vs outgoing transfer fees

As you can see above, most banks have different fees depending on if you are receiving an international money transfer, or sending money abroad. Most banks will charge less if you are receiving an international payment than if you are sending one, but it’s also worth considering any fees your recipient may have to pay when organising your wire transfer.

How you are initiating your transfer

Most banks charge higher fees when you are sending an international transfer by telephone or in a branch compared to initiating the transfer online, so this is definitely something to look into with your bank to make sure you’re not being charged higher fees than necessary.

Regular vs one-off transfers

If you have the option to either send one large sum, or break it down into several smaller transactions across the year, it’s a good idea to find out what transaction will be associated with higher fees.

Some banks, for example, charge low or no wire transfer fees for small transactions, while for others, sending one large sum will end up cheaper overall. It’s also important to consider the exchange rate markup your bank charges when considering this. 

Additional costs

In addition to transfer fees, most banks will add a markup on to the exchange rate when sending your money internationally (sometimes known as the hidden fee). This markup can make a huge difference to the total amount your recipient receives after you transfer, so is worth paying attention to when looking at the best wire transfer fee for you.

The best way to avoid a high markup on the exchange rate is to use a non-bank institution such as the transfer providers listed in the next section. This companies tend to offer far more competitive exchange rates and lower fees than traditional banks.

How can I reduce transfer fees when sending money abroad?

Traditional banks tend to have much higher wire transfer fees when sending money internationally, compared with online money transfer providers such as WorldRemit, Azimo, and Wise. However, we’ve put together a guide to the best way to wire money incase you absolutely need to use your bank.

These transfer operators have a digital-led focus that allows you to send money internationally for more competitive exchange rates, lower fees, and in a shorter space of time, so are well worth considering if you are looking to send money abroad.

Other ways of cutting the cost of your wire transfer:

  • How you initiate your transfer: Often, initiating your wire transfer online will have lower fees than if you were to organise your transfer via the telephone or in-person in a branch of your bank. This can make a big difference to the fees that you pay to send your money via wire transfer so is worth looking into.
  • Consider alternatives if you are sending money domestically: If you are making a domestic wire transfer (sending money to another account within the same country and in the same currency) it may be more affordable to look into an alternative means of transfer, such as a direct deposit. This is a slightly slower means of sending money, but often has no fees associated with the transfer. Read direct deposit vs wire transfer for more on this.

Wire transfer fees: Bank vs money transfer provider

Let’s compare sending £1,000 to Australia (Australian Dollars) with a popular UK bank, HSBC, and a money transfer provider, WorldRemit, to give you an idea of the wire transfer fees included with each.

HSBC

Transfer fee: £4

Additional fees: HSBC also adds a margin on the interbank exchange rate when sending your money abroad. This markup is not explicitly explained by HSBC, likely because it changes depending on where you are sending money to and how much, but it is generally agreed that most banks add a markup between 4 – 6% on the mid-market rate.

WorldRemit

Transfer fee: £1.99

Additional fees: WorldRemit also adds a markup onto the mid-market exchange rate, but this tends to be around 1 – 1.5%, so much lower than a traditional bank.

As we can see from this case study, an online money transfer provider will almost always have fewer fees than sending money abroad with a traditional bank, not to mention a much smaller markup on the exchange rate.

Although wire transfers via your bank may be a convenient way of sending money internationally, it is rarely the most cost-effective method.

Bottom line: save money on wire transfer fees

Banks provide a secure and convenient way to send money both within the UK and internationally to friends, family, and businesses. However, you’ll almost always find a cheaper (and faster) way to transfer money with a money transfer operator. If safety is your concern, make sure to check our guide: are bank transfers safe?

It’s worth keeping in mind that there are multiple ways for you to keep your money to it’s destination these days, and all of those methods will have different fees, exchange rates, and transfer times. For this reason, taking the time to compare your options is always a good idea to make sure you find the right service for your needs.

FAQs

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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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