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Wire Transfers: A Guide to What Banks Charge

Banking, Money Transfer
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Wire Transfers: A Guide to What Banks Charge

Bank wire transfers are an effective way to send money from your bank account to another — but they can be expensive.

Many banks charge fees both for sending outgoing wires and for receiving incoming ones, so the cost might get split between you and the person at the other end. You can send wire transfers within the U.S. and to other countries; the international type usually costs more.

» MORE: Best ways to wire money internationally


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Average fees

Among the institutions we surveyed, the average fees were $8 for incoming domestic wires, $10 for incoming international wires, $25 for outgoing domestic wires and $42 for outgoing international wires.

Wire transfer fees by financial institution

Financial institutionIncoming domestic wireOutgoing domestic wireIncoming inter-
national wire
Outgoing inter-
national wire
Alliant Credit Union$0$25$0$50
Ally Bank$0$20$0Not available
Bank of America$15; fee waived for Interest Checking and Preferred Rewards program $30$16; fee waived for Platinum and Platinum Honors tiers of Preferred Rewards program$35 in foreign currency;
$45 in U.S. dollars
Bank5 Connect$0Not available$0Not available
BB&T$15$24 in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Texas; $25 elsewhere$18$65
BBVA CompassUp to $15Up to $25$15$45
BMO Harris Bank$0$25$0$45
Capital One 360$0Up to $40Not availableNot available
Chase Bank$15; fee waived for Chase Premier Platinum accounts$25$15; fee waived for Chase Premier Platinum accounts$40
Citibank$15; fee waived for Citigold, Citi Private Bank, Citi Global Executive or Citi Global Executive Preferred accounts$25; fee waived for Citi Private Bank, Citi Global Executive Preferred or Citigold Private Client accounts

Fee is $17.50 for Citigold accounts at a certain threshold, and for Citigold International accounts; $18.75 for those with International Personal Banking and Citi Global Executive accounts
$15; fee waived for Citigold, Citi Private Bank, Citi Global Executive or Citi Global Executive Preferred accounts $35; fee waived for customers with Citi Private Bank, Citi Global Executive Preferred or Citigold Private Client accounts

Fee is $25 for Citigold accounts at a certain threshold, and for Citigold International accounts; $30 for International Personal Banking and Citi Global Executive accounts
Connexus Credit Union$20$20$20$20
Consumers Credit Union$15$25$15$60
Discover Bank$0$30$0$30
First Internet Bank of Indiana$0$20$0$50
Nationwide Bank$0$25$5; waived for current or retired Nationwide employees and their family members$35
Navy Federal Credit Union$0$14$0$25
Pentagon Federal Credit Union$0$20$0$30
PNC Bank$15; waived for Performance Select Checking accounts$30; waived for Performance Select Checking accounts$15$45
Simple Bank$0Not available$0Not available
SunTrust Bank$15$25$30$50
TD Bank$15$25$15$40
Union Bank$15$20$15$35 in foreign currency;
$45 in U.S. dollars
U.S. Bank$20$30$25$50
Wells Fargo Bank*$15$30$16$45
*Wells Fargo also offers a remittance transfer service called ExpressSend, which mainly works with Latin American and Asian countries. The transfer costs less but has lower limits than regular wire transfers do. You pay a transaction fee based on the amount you send. For example, you can make a money transfer to India of $500 for a $5 fee, provided the receiving bank is eligible for this service.

Disclaimer: These are the standard fees for one-time wire transfers based on each financial institution’s disclosures and policies. If there are multiple ways to perform a wire transfer, the price of the cheapest way, which is usually through online banking, is shown.

Domestic vs. international fees

Because domestic wire transfers can be completed through one payment system, such as the Federal Reserve, they tend to be cheaper and faster. International bank wires usually cost more and take longer because they involve more parties, including a U.S. bank, a foreign bank and wire processing systems in both countries.

» MORE: Best ways to send money within the U.S.

Second cost for international wires

Banks charge consumers a higher foreign exchange rate than what they charge other banks. This adds to your costs when sending money abroad. Your bank might offer to lower the fee if you send funds in your destination’s currency rather than U.S. dollars, but the exchange rate won’t be a bargain.

Alternatively, sending U.S. dollars may require a conversion by the foreign bank, which also can involve a marked-up rate. Nonbank money transfer providers such as TransferWise and Western Union tend to have better rates for sending money abroad.

Other differences in fees

  • Pricing can differ by how you wire. Some banks have different outgoing wire fees depending on how you initiate the transfer. Doing it yourself online tends to be the cheapest way. Requesting the transfer at a branch or on the phone can add $10 or more to your fee. Union Bank, for instance, charges $45 for domestic outgoing wires initiated over the phone with a customer service representative, but only $20 if you transfer online.
  • Recurring wires can be slightly cheaper. Some financial institutions, including Wells Fargo and SunTrust Bank, let you perform a recurring outgoing wire transfer for a few dollars less than a one-time outgoing transfer. If you need to make time-sensitive or large money transfers, this may be convenient, but otherwise consider using an ACH transfer.

Knowing how much bank wire transfers cost can help you avoid paying too much in fees for this service. Banks aren’t the only places to go for sending money, either. Consider nonbank providers that charge fewer fees and, for international transfers, offer better exchange rates.

Spencer Tierney is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: spencer@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @SpencerNerd.

This post has been updated. It was originally published on Oct. 14, 2015.


Methodology

We looked at the 15 largest banks by assets and eliminated those without a significant retail banking presence. We also included financial institutions in the country’s five largest metro areas and several of the largest online-only banks that offer a full suite of checking and savings products. We rounded out the list with some of the country’s biggest credit unions with broad-based memberships.

Image via iStock.