Bank of America international wire transfer: Fee, rates and transfer time

Planning to transfer money abroad with Bank of America? This guide covers all you need to know including the fees for a Bank of America international wire transfer, how long it takes, and how to get started.

Despite serving some 66 million customers across the US, Bank of America might not be your best choice when it comes to sending an international wire transfer. Specialist services like Wise, OFX and Western Union are convenient to use and could help you make your transfer cheaper and faster.

Bank of America international money transfer comparison

For most Bank of America account holders, there’s no upfront transfer fee for international payments sent in a foreign currency. However, before you start setting up your Bank of America international wire, you’ll need to double check your account terms and conditions, as some account types do come with an international wire transfer fee. 

Even if your account allows for cross-border payments with no transfer fee, other charges will apply:

  • Exchange rate markup or margin 
  • Third party fees paid to correspondent banks

We’ll look at these costs one by one in a moment. 

Let’s start with a comparison of the costs and delivery times involved when sending an international transfer with Bank of America compared to some specialist providers.

Here we’ll use the fees that would apply for a payment to a friend in Canada, assuming we want the end amount received to be 1,000 CAD:

ProviderTotal costTransfer time
Bank of America$0 (for most accounts) + intermediary fees + exchange rate margin1 -2 working days
Wise5.38 USD80% of payments arrive in 24 hours
Western Union1.99 USD transfer fee + exchange rate margin0 - 8 business days
OFX$0 + exchange rate margin applies1 - 2 business days

*Fees and rates correct at time of research  - 14 December 2022

When you arrange your transfer, you’ll get a price quote which includes the Bank of America international transfer exchange rate and also specifies any third party fees which will apply. 

Bank of America international wire transfer exchange rates include a markup or margin added to the exchange rate. This is a percentage fee added to the rate you’d find on Google or in a currency converter tool. Although Bank of America doesn’t publish the margins it uses, bank exchange rate markups are commonly around 3%, which pushes up the total costs of your payment. Intermediary or recipient bank fees may also apply, which aren’t paid to Bank of America but which will be deducted from your payment as it’s being processed. You’ll be made aware of these costs before you arrange your transfer.

Depending on the payment, you might be able to get a lower overall fee and a faster delivery with a specialist. International money transfer services are secure and simple to use, and you can usually transact 24/7 online and through mobile apps.

Bank of America international transfer fees

 

Here are the fees for sending and receiving international wire transfers with Bank of America:

International transfer typeBank of America international transfer fee
International wire sent in foreign currency0 - 35 USD depending on the account type
International wire sent in USD45 USD
Receive an international wire 16 USD

 

Bank of America exchange rate

 

Like most banks, Bank of America makes a profit from currency exchange when customers send international wires. Here’s how this is explained in the Bank of America terms and conditions:

“The exchange rate you are offered may be different from, and likely inferior to, the rate paid by us to acquire the underlying currency.”

Bank of America buys currency on global markets using the mid-market exchange rate. However, this rate isn’t available for customers directly. Instead, a margin or markup is added to the rate used for customer transactions. This is usually an extra percentage fee, covering the Bank of America’s costs and profit margin:

“The price provided may include profit as determined by us in our sole discretion. The level of the fee or markup may differ for each customer and may differ for the same customer depending on the method or venue used for transaction execution.”

The margin used by Bank of America isn’t publicly available but banks commonly use a markup of around 3%. That may not sound like much but can quickly become the biggest of all the fees you’ll pay when sending an international transfer. Here’s how a 3% markup would add up for a few different transfer values:

  • Sending 1,000 USD - the exchange rate markup adds 30 USD to the total
  • Sending 5,000 USD - the exchange rate markup adds 150 USD to the total
  • Sending 50,000 USD - the exchange rate markup adds 1,500 USD to the total

Here’s a reminder of the total costs - including exchange rate markups - from the providers we looked at earlier. This is what you’ll pay with each if you set up your payment online and want your recipient to end up with 1,000 CAD in their account in the end:

  • Bank of America: No transfer fee - Exchange rate margin + relevant intermediary bank fees apply
  • Wise: 5,38 USD transfer fee
  • Western Union: 1.99 transfer fee, exchange rate margin applies
  • OFX: No transfer fee, exchange rate margin applies

Bank of America additional fees

 

When you send an international remittance with Bank of America, you may also need to pay fees to other banks involved in processing the payment. These fees tend to arise whenever banks process wire transfers through the SWIFT network. 

SWIFT payments involve several partner banks moving money between themselves until it arrives at the right recipient’s account. Each bank involved can levy a fee for their service which is deducted as the transfer passes through the system.

Bank of America is legally required to inform customers of the extra fees they’ll pay. This means you’ll see upfront what these third party fees will cost you. However, it also means that if Bank of America can’t determine the exact fees other banks may charge, they won’t be able to process your transfer at all.

How long does a Bank of America international money transfer take

 

When you send a Bank of America international money transfer, the funds will be deducted from your account immediately and generally arrive in your recipient’s account in 1 or 2 business days. If you’re arranging a payment after the Bank of America cut off time, on a holiday or weekend it will start to be processed on the next working day. The cut off time for international wires is 5pm ET.

The exact delivery time depends on the destination country and the receiving bank’s own processes. There are a handful of destinations Bank of America deems slow to process countries, where payment is likely to be longer - you can access this list on the Bank of America website.

Here’s a recap of the delivery times you may expect from the providers we profiled earlier:

  • Bank of America: 1 - 2 business days
  • Wise: 80% of payments arrive in 24 hours
  • Western Union: 0 - 8 days
  • OFX:  1 - 2 business days

Pros and cons of transferring money abroad with Bank of America

 

Pros:

  • Secure and familiar service
  • Set up payments conveniently online
  • Broad range of countries and currencies covered
  • Many accounts allow international wires with no transfer fee
  • All third party fees will be shown upfront before sending

 

Cons:

  • Exchange rate markups push up the total overall costs
  • Some account types have transfer fees for all international wires
  • Delivery times aren’t market beating
  • Third party costs also apply

 

Although Bank of America international wire transfers are familiar and safe, they’re not necessarily the cheapest or fastest option out there. Specialist providers have their own payment networks which can cut down both costs and delivery times, allowing customers to arrange international transfers for less.

How to make an international transfer with Bank of America

 

You can usually send international wire payments through your bank in person and by phone - but using the online banking service is the most convenient choice for most customers. Here’s how to send a Bank of America international wire online:

  1. Sign in to Online Banking and navigate to the Transfers tab
  2. Click the Send money to someone option
  3. Select Using their account number at another bank
  4. Follow the prompts to enter the transfer amount and the correct recipient bank details
  5. You’ll see a quote for the overall costs, and the exchange rate available
  6. Check and follow the security steps to complete your payment

What information do you need to make an international transfer with Bank of America?

When you arrange your payment with Bank of America, you’ll need to provide the following information:

  • Recipient bank name, address and country
  • Recipient bank’s routing code and recipient’s account number
  • SWIFT Code, National ID or IBAN number of the bank where the receiving account is located
  • Purpose for transfer

Transfer limits and available countries

 

Bank of America transfer limits may apply which can vary based on your account type and the type of transfer you want to make. In some cases you may need to complete additional security steps to process your transfer.

The standard consumer limit for Bank of America wires is 1,000 USD per transaction.

You can send payments in 140+ currencies, to over 200 countries through Bank of America.

Receiving money from abroad with Bank of America

 

If you need to receive an international payment into your Bank of America account you’ll have to give the sender a few key details. These usually include:

  • Your full name as shown on your account
  • Your bank account number 
  • Your wire transfer routing number 
  • The correct Bank of America SWIFT/BIC CODE

There’s normally a 16 USD fee to receive a Bank of America international transfer, and third party fees may be deducted by correspondent banks as it is processed.

Bank of America SWIFT code

 

SWIFT/BIC codes are used to guide international payments to the right recipient accounts. They’re a bit like a zip code for a mailing address.

The Bank of America SWIFT code you need depends on the specifics of the payment:

  • If you’re receiving a USD payment the SWIFT code is: BOFAUS3N
  • If you’re receiving a foreign currency payment the SWIFT code is: BOFAUS6S
  • If you’re receiving a payment and you don’t know the currency it’ll arrive in, the SWIFT code is: BOFAUS3N

Conclusion

 

Sending an international wire with your regular bank may seem like the obvious choice but it’s often not the cheapest or fastest way to get your money where you need it to be. Using a specialist provider can be far quicker - and often come with better exchange rates and a lower overall fee.

FAQs

How do I transfer money from Navy Federal into someone else's account?

Set up your transfer by sending a secure message and awaiting a call back from Navy Federal, by phone, in a branch, by mail or using a fax.

How much does an international transfer cost with Navy Federal?

You’ll pay a 25 USD transfer fee to send an international wire with Navy Federal. There’s also an exchange rate margin, which is a fee added into the rate used to convert your payment.

How long does an international transfer take with Navy Federal?

A Navy Federal international transfer will take 5 - 7 business days to arrive in your recipient’s account.

Can I transfer money to a card with Chase?

Chase only offers the option to set up international wires to bank accounts.

Sending money abroad? Compare exchange rates and fees

By Ileana Ionescu Updated December 22nd, 2021