A wire transfer is a method of sending money to someone from another national or international bank through a service such as the Federal Reserve Wire Network.
Cables are one of the most expensive means of To transfer money, as banks usually charge an outgoing wire transfer fee. Some banks and accounts may even charge for incoming wire transfers.
Domestic outgoing wire transfer fees average around $26 and outgoing international wire transfer fees average $44.
What are the bank transfer fees?
A wire transfer is a convenient way to send money to another party without having to hand over cash or write a check. You essentially transfer the money electronically from your bank account to your recipient’s bank account.
The service is generally quick and convenient, although many banks charge you a fee to send money this way. Fees may vary from one financial institution to another, and a bank may charge a different amount for sending wire transfers than for receiving them.
What you need to know about bank transfers
Wire transfer fees exist in part because there is a cost to sending money between banks. But transfer fees are also a source of income for banks, like monthly maintenance fee charged to checking and savings accounts.
A domestic wire could arrive in a few hours or a few days. Sending a transfer on a weekend or weekday after the daily cut-off time may affect the speed of a transfer. Also, providing incorrect bank transfer information may cause delays.
International transfers usually take one to two business days if the transfer is sent by the bank’s deadline, according to Bank of America, but they can take longer.
Make a down payment on a house, fund a brokerage accountpaying tax bills, paying school fees, or sending money quickly to family or friends are all common situations in which to use a wire transfer to put funds in the hands of another person or entity.
Average transfer fees
Bank transfer fees generally range from $0 to $50.
Domestic outgoing bank transfer fees usually range from $0 to $35, while international outgoing bank transfer fees are usually between $35 and $50.
Average transfer fees per bank
Banks tend to charge similar fees for sending outgoing wire transfers, but they vary from bank to bank.
For example, Fidelity, a brokerage firm, does not charge wire transfer fees, while some banks, such as Citi, may waive fees for customers who have certain types of accounts. Other banks, such as Chase or PNC Bank, may have lower wire transfer fees for sending an online transfer.
Transfer fees by financial institution
|Bank||Incoming servant||National outgoing||International incoming||International outgoing|
|Bank of America||$15||$30||$16||$45|
|Capital one||Up to $15||Up to $30||Up to $15||$40-$50|
|Hunt||$0-$15||$25-$35||$0-$15||$0 to $50|
|Town||Up to $15||Up to $25||Up to $15||Up to $35|
*Includes the average highest fee in each category for each bank.
The ranges that exist in the table above may be due to factors such as whether a wire transfer is done online or with a teller.
How to avoid bank transfer fees
Here are some strategies to avoid transfer fees:
- Select a financial institution or account that waives wire transfer fees.
- Use a payment or money transfer app, such as Zelle Where Venmo to send money for free.
- Send a check (if time permits).
- Send money using online bill payment, optionally for free.
Check with your bank to find out which accounts you can transfer money from. Not all accounts, including some checking accounts, allow transfers. For example, the Chase First Checking account does not allow check writing or wire transfers in or out.
Look for fee discounts
Buy the lowest fare
Consumers who expect to send or receive wire transfers frequently should pay close attention to the fees charged by a bank and look for an account that charges low fees for these transactions.
Bank Transfer FAQs
Which bank offers the lowest fees?
Many of the financial institutions on Bankrate’s list are available to consumers nationwide, so it’s easy to shop around for the best deal. But many consumers might not be able to meet the requirements to get the lowest fees at a given bank. For example, while Citibank waives wire transfer fees for its Citigold Private Client customers, they must have a combined balance of $1 million or more in linked accounts.
Can I get lower fees for online transfers compared to in-person transfers?
It’s possible. Some banks offer a discount for wire transfers initiated on the bank’s website rather than with a teller or customer service representative. Check with your bank to see if sending a transfer yourself will save you money, but also keep in mind that having a banker help can be beneficial for complex transfers or when you transfer a lot of money.
Does the recipient pay any fees?
Some banks charge an incoming wire transfer fee, which may also be waived depending on the type of account the recipient has with their bank.
Third-Party Money Transfer Services
Bank transfers aren’t the only fast way to send or transfer money these days. Your bank may offer Zelle, or you may opt for popular apps and services such as PayPalVenmo Wise, Western Union or MoneyGram.
Some of these services do not charge for sending and receiving money, while others charge a fee. Compare these fees with bank transfer fees. Generally, bank transfers are more expensive than using a service like PayPal, Venmo, Wise, or Zelle. But wire transfers can send money faster than apps, transfer services, or websites.
The Western Union website, for example, allows you to see an estimated quote of the fees charged for a potential transfer. Seeing the fees should help you decide if this option is cheaper than sending a wire transfer.
Third-party services offer these advantages over bank transfers:
- Potentially low or no transaction fees.
- May be easier to use than going to a bank branch to make a bank transfer.
- Can transfer money faster than a bank transfer.
- Transfers with third-party services can often take place at any time, unlike many bank transfers which are restricted to certain times on certain days.
Third-party services have some disadvantages compared to bank transfers:
- Can be slower than sending money via bank transfer.
- May require consumers to sign up for another service instead of using existing banking services.
- May have transfer limits, whereas a transfer initiated with a banker will usually have no limits – as long as you have the funds available in your account.
Services such as PayPal and Zelle have been the subject of consumer complaints, according to the consumer complaints database of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
Free bank transfers
Some financial institutions or bank accounts do not charge for domestic wire transfers. Fidelity is offering free wire transfers and Charles Schwab is waiving its transfer fee on up to three online-initiated domestic wire transfers per quarter for customers with a household balance of $100,000 or more.
At the end of the line
Transferring money is often a quick and secure way to send funds – although it can be expensive, so anyone who uses this service frequently would do well to seek out a bank with the lowest bank transfer fees. It may also be beneficial to research other money transfer options, such as Zelle, Venmo, or PayPal, which can save you money and send it faster than a bank transfer.
— Discount rate Karen Bennett contributed to an update of this story.