There are anywhere between 13 to 15 million wire transfers a month performed for various reasons such as sending money abroad, large real estate transactions and sending large sums of money to family members, amongst many other reasons.
Wire transfers are so common, in fact, that you’ve got plenty of options when it comes time to transfer cash from person to person or account to account. Unfortunately, wire transfers, both domestic and international, can be quite costly if you’re not aware of the fees.
Whether you’re sending or receiving money, here’s everything you should know about wire transfer fees.
What is a Wire Transfer
Essentially, a wire transfer is an electronic transfer of money. This means that (usually) no physical cash is involved. The wire transfer or “bank wire,” as some people call it, requires the sender to initiate the transaction, and it requires them to have sufficient funds in their account to complete the transaction.
A sender, whether it’s an individual or a business, will typically include the name of the recipient, their bank name, account number, and pickup details. Depending on the banks that both the sender and the recipient use, it’s possible to initiate a wire transfer via the bank itself. Or, it can be done through a third-party money transfer service such as Western Union.
Why do people send wire transfers? Domestically, people tend to send them because they’re a quick, easy way to send somebody money fast. Instead of going to the bank to withdraw a large sum of physical cash, you can simply wire them the money straight to their account. Internationally, it’s one of the easiest ways to pay for something abroad or to even receive payment from a company outside of the United States.
How Much Do Banks Charge for Wire Transfers
Banks charge wire transfer fees according to different categories:
- Incoming domestic wire transfer fees
- Incoming foreign wire transfers fees
- Outgoing domestic wire transfer fees
- Outgoing foreign wire transfer fees
So, a wire transfer fee will vary depending on whether you’re sending or receiving it and whether or not it’s going to a domestic or international recipient. Sometimes, you’ll also notice that you might get charged a fee if you’re sending money in a different currency.
Major US banks have the following outgoing wire transfer fees:
- Bank of America: $30 domestic; $35 international ($45 if sent in US dollars)
- Wells Fargo: $30 domestic; $35 international ($45 if sent in US dollars)
- Chase: $25 domestic; $5 international ($40 if sent in US dollars)
- Citibank: $25 domestic; $35 international
- US Bank: $30 domestic; $50 international
Major US Banks have the following incoming wire transfer fees:
- Bank of America: $15 domestic; $16 international
- Wells Fargo: $15 domestic; $16 international
- Chase: $15 domestic; $15 international
- Citibank: $15 domestic; $15 international
- US Bank: $20 domestic; $25 international
How to Waive Wire Transfer Fees
Banks can waive monthly maintenance fees if you meet certain requirements. However, some banks also waive domestic incoming wire fees depending on the account you have with them. Typically, these tend to be the more “exclusive” accounts that require a higher minimum deposit to open or other premium features that cost more in the long-run.
PNC Bank waives its domestic transfer fees if you have a Performance Select Checking account. And, Wells Fargo’s ExpressSend is a program designed to reduce the cost of wire transfers to Latin America and Asia. It’s best to check with your individual bank to confirm whether or not you’re eligible to waive transfer fees.
Are Wire Transfers Safe?
Wire transfers are often a safer form to receive money than by check or via a credit card, especially if you’re selling goods or services over the internet. This is because the person who initiates the transfer is required to have sufficient funds in their account to be able to complete the transfer. Therefore, you’re not risking the chance that they’re committing check fraud or that the transaction will bounce because of insufficient funds.
The only real risks involved with wire transfers are for senders. It’s important to never send money to anybody you don’t know. Wire transfers are final and once the recipient receives the money the transaction can’t be canceled. So, ensure that you’re not wiring money to anybody off the internet without first verifying that themselves and their account are legitimate.
Alternatives to Wire Transfers
There are lots of alternatives to wire transfers, and some of them might even be built into your regular banking app.
Money Transfer Services
If you don’t have a bank account or the person you’re sending money to doesn’t have a valid bank account, you can send money via money transfer services such as Western Union. These are best suited for long-distance money transfers to foreign countries.
Person-to-Person Money Transfer Apps
Instead of sending money from bank to bank, you can avoid costly fees by sending money via a P2P app such as PayPal, Venmo, or Zelle. Unlike other third-party transfer apps such as Venmo or PayPal, Zelle is a peer-to-peer system many banks have incorporated into their own branded apps. So, it’s likely that, if your bank approves a peer-to-peer payment system, it’s probably called Zelle.
You’ll need to connect your bank account to the app to confirm that you have sufficient funds. Then, you’ll enter the account details, email address, or phone number of the person you wish to send money to. The only downside to these apps is the fact that they don’t support all currencies and can sometimes take a while to disperse the funds into your account (unless you pay).
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Saving More for Wire Transfer Fees
If you send or receive a lot of money via wire transfers then it might be inevitable that you incur a lot of unwanted costs. At around $25 per transfer on average, this can add up fast, making it crucial that you plan for these costs to avoid losing too much money in the long-term.
Signing up for a Cheese Debit Card is a great way to bulk up your savings and earn a little extra cash to cover the costs of wire transfer fees in the future. The card allows you to earn cashback on all spending, not just with select retailers. No banking fees, high cashback rates, and even the chance to earn multiple Cheese Rewards? It’s as good as it sounds. Sign up to join our waiting list today.