The Ultimate Guide To Wire Transfer Fees

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As anyone with a smartphone knows, it’s getting easier and easier to send money directly from your bank account to a friend or family member’s account. But, not everyone has a smartphone (or trusts the security of the money transfer apps) and most apps don’t allow you to send money internationally, so bank-to-bank wire transfers are still the most common way to send someone money.

Unfortunately, this is not a frictionless process. Many banks impose fees to execute these transactions, sometimes on both the sender and the recipient. Wire transfer fees can range from $0 to $30 or more. This is particularly true of international wire transfers.

Wiring funds can make you feel like your money is being passed around from business to business, like a bottle of wine at a party, with everyone taking a sip. Thankfully, a careful analysis of the banks and the wire transfer fees they charge can help you minimize the damage.

Here’s a breakdown of what it will cost you to send and receive money via wire transfer at 14 of the largest U.S. banks.

Wire Transfer Fees: What Banks Charge

BankOutgoing (within U.S.) Incoming (within U.S.)Outgoing InternationalIncoming International
Bank of America$30$20$45$16
Wells Fargo$30$15$45$16
US Bank$30$20$50$25
PNC Bank$30$15$45$15
Capital One$40$15$25$15
HSBC Bank$35$12$35$12
TD Bank$25$15$40$15
SunTrust Bank$25$15$50$30
BMO Harris Bank$25$0$45$0
Ally Bank$20$0N/A$0
Discover Bank$30$0$30$0

There are a couple of other things to keep in mind when it comes to bank-to-bank transfers: these prices reflect the lowest available price, which for all instances was using the online service. Sending wires over the phone or in person will be more expensive. On the other hand, if you set up a recurring wire, or if you agree to send the wire in a foreign currency instead of US dollars, you can sometimes chop off 5 to 10 dollars from the fee.

Non-Bank Wire Transfers

Non-bank money transfer services are another option for sending money to those at home and abroad. These companies make the most sense for people who want to make sure the funds they send are available quickly. If you’re willing to pay a higher price, the money you transfer can be available to the recipient on the same day, and often as quickly as 10 minutes.  Another perk is that you can send money via credit card with these services. Just keep in mind that you will usually incur a higher fee for using a card.

Finally, some of these companies have physical locations, which can be convenient if you want to talk to a representative in person. Also, there are times where sending the money from a physical location will ensure it arrives at its destination faster. Generally, if you send the money to be picked up from a physical location, rather than transferring it to a bank account, it will be available within minutes.

Here are four of the main players in the non-bank money transfer world and how they stack up. I’ve used hypothetical transfers of $500 both within the USA and from the USA to Germany for comparison.

Western Union Wire Transfer Fees: $5 to $40

Fees to wire $500 within the USA:

  • Using your bank account: $5
  • Using credit or debit card: $20

Fees to wire $500 to Germany:

  • Using your bank account: $25
  • Using a debit card: $35
  • Using a credit card: $40

MoneyGram Wire Transfer Fees

Fee to transfer $500 within the USA: $11.50

Fee to transfer $500 to Germany: $58

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RIA Wire Transfer Fees

Fees to wire $500 within the USA:

  • From your bank account: $25
  • Using a debit or credit card: $48

Fees to wire $500 to Germany:

  • From your bank account: $5
  • Using a debit card: $15
  • Using a credit card: $35

TransferWise Wire Transfer Fees

TransferWise keeps things simple by charging a flat 1% fee on all transfers up to $5,000 USD. Thus, our hypothetical transfer of $500 to Germany would cost $10. TransferWise does not allow transfers between U.S. bank accounts, however.

As you can see, the fees for these services will be less cut and dry than with bank-to-bank transfers. The best way to make sure you’re saving money on fees would be to poke around the company websites and see which one offers the lowest prices based on how you want to pay.

Summing Up

Wire transfers are an effective way to send money quickly but can be costly, with the typical outgoing wire transfer fees of $30 per transfer domestically. If you’re going to be sending and receiving a lot of wire transfers, do yourself a favor and analyze the services above to figure out which one makes the most sense. Finding a bank or other money transfer service with locations close to you, an easy-to-use online interface, and low transfer fees will save you both money and time.

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