By  Updated on Mon Jul 28, 2014

Wire Transfer Fees Compared at Top 10 Banks (Spring 2014)

 
Wire Transfer Fees Compared at Top 10 Banks (Spring 2014)

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Wire transfer is one of the quickest ways to send and receive money within the U.S. and all over the world. Many people turn to money transmitters like Western Union and MoneyGram to wire transfer money but depending on the type of transaction, banks may be able to provide the same service at a better deal. 

Wire transfer fees at money transmitters may vary depending on several factors including the total amount transferred, method of payment, and delivery time. On the other hand, banks offer a flat fee for wire transfers services. Therefore, bank wire transfers can be especially advantageous and money saving for transfer of large sum of money. For small transfers, money transmitters may be the cheaper option.

Here’s a chart of the wire transfer fees charged by the 10 biggest U.S. banks:

Banks Domestic - Incoming Domestic - Outgoing Foreign - Incoming Foreign - Outgoing
Bank of America $15 $25 $16 $45
Wells Fargo $15 $30 $16 $45
Chase $15 $30 $15 $45
Citibank $10 $25 $10 $40
U.S. Bank $20 $30 $25 $50
PNC Bank $15 $25 $15 $45
Capital One $15 $25 $15 $50
TD Bank $15 $25 $15 $40
BB&T $15 $24 $18 $65
SunTrust Bank $15 $25 $30 $50
AVERAGE $15.00 $26.40 $17.50 $47.50

Fees Compared

Incoming wire transfers tend to be cheaper than outgoing ones, and the fee for domestic wire transfers are significantly lower than that of international transfers. On average, wire transfer fees have increased slightly at the top 10 U.S. banks since the last year.

Currently at the 10 largest banks, the average fee for incoming domestic wire was increased from $14.70 to $15, while outgoing domestic wire transfers stayed at $26.40 — unchanged from last year.

A couple of banks increased the amount they are charging for outgoing foreign wire transfers — bringing last year’s average of $45.50 up to $47.50. The average costs of incoming foreign wire transfers stayed constant at $17.50 per transfer.

Foreign Wire Transfers

Determining the cheaper way to wire transfer money domestically between banks and money transmitters is pretty straightforward. However, it is a bit more complicated when it comes to foreign wire transfers — despite implementing rules to make the process more transparent. Unlike banks, money transmitters may charge different fees for different countries. For this reason, one should first compare all the different options for sending money abroad.

It’s also important to note that banks and money transmitters will convert to foreign currency at a lower exchange rate, resulting in loss of money for the recipient in the process.

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  • Marie Koch Williams

    The transfer fees are relatively low, but the banks often make great money on the exchange rate they give you–Bank of America for example gives you a 10% lower FX rate than market. So, while a $5,000 wire costs $35, if you calculate the loss on the conversion into local currency, you are actually paying $500 (FX loss vs. market rate) + $35 transfer fee. Check the FX rates NOT just the transaction fees.

    • Theresa Kim

      You’re definitely right. Transfer fees, although more apparent, should not be the only charge that one takes into consideration when deciding the cheapest method to wire money. To determine the best value, one must consider both the transfer fee and the exchange rate — as the hidden charges of the exchange rates can drastically impact the total currency delivered at the end of the transaction — especially with larger transactions. Thanks for your input!

      • Henrikkfaktiskt

        So where is the comparison of the exchange rates?

        • Theresa Kim

          Great question! Despite the misconception that the exchange rate offered must be constant at all financial institutions – this is not the case. Furthermore, it can be rather difficult to determine, as it fluctuates constantly.

          As a result, many financial institutions made a bulk of their money from unassuming customers in the past. To prevent this unfair practice and to make the process more transparent, federal consumer protection regulations took effect in February 2013 to ensure more clarity in how the exchange rate is handled and presented to customers in the U.S. Although the exact rate applied in the transaction will be unknown until you have to perform a wire transfer, all the information will be presented to you before you complete the transaction.

          Hope this helps! Thank you for the comment!

          • Henrikkfaktiskt

            After some more google, tt seems Transferwise has managed to circumvent the big banks’ schemes. I’ll probably use them in the future…

          • Theresa Kim

            Awesome! Let me know how it goes. You can find me on Twitter @TheresaMBT. Hope to hear back from you soon.

          • Theresa Kim

            Also, this article has been updated for Summer 2014. http://www.mybanktracker.com/news/wire-transfer-fee-comparison-top-10-us-banks