6 Best US Bank to Transfer Money Internationally
If you want to send money overseas through a bank, you’ve got a few choices on the fastest and cheapest ways to get your cash where it needs to go. We don’t normally recommend using a U.S. bank for an international wire transfer and with good reason. Banks are among the most expensive ways to send money overseas, both in terms of their fees and the exchange rates they offer. In most cases, you’re better off comparing rates and fees and choosing a competitive, specialist currency provider.
But sometimes you need the convenience of using a bank to make an international transfer and if you look around, you can find U.S. banks that provide a good service at a reasonable fee. We’ve done the research, and we’re happy to share how much the big U.S. banks charge and what you can expect.
Looking for the best U.S. bank for an international wire transfer?
- Bank of America - digital payments in a foreign currency have no transfer fee*
- Chase - $5 per transfer for online payments, with fees waived for payments of $5,000 or more*
- Citibank - Digital transfers $25 per payment for Citigold and Citi Priority customers*
- Wells Fargo - From $30 per transfer*
- PNC bank - $40 for online transfers, $45 for assisted transfers*
- US Bank - $50 for all transfers*
*These outbound wire transfer fees do not take into account the exchange rates charged by the banks which almost always include additional costs and charges.
Sending your international payment with your regular bank is a safe and familiar option. However, it can also be relatively slow and expensive, with fees which aren’t always transparent. You may find you’re better off with alternative services such as Wise or OFX for international transfers which are cheaper and faster.
Why you might choose a U.S. bank
There are some good reasons to choose to send money through your bank, rather than a specialist provider. They include:
- You already trust your bank with your money: Although specialist providers do follow strong security rules to keep your money safe, many consumers like the safety that their bank provides.
- You don’t want to open up an account with a money transfer provider: It can take a whole to create an account and send money with a specialist provider. If you want to send money right now, your bank is always available.
- You don’t have the necessary identification documents at hand: Most specialist money providers will need you to upload some proof of identity documents. If you don’t have them, then your bank is an alternative.
Let’s look into the fees for making an international money transfer through a U.S. bank.
Fees you can expect when making an international money transfer with a U.S. bank
U.S. banks will charge you in several different ways for an international wire transfer:
- Bank sending fee: The bank will charge a fixed fee for each international money transfer that you make. This fee can vary depending on the type of account you have, how you’re making the transfer and some other factors.
- Exchange rate markup fee: A U.S. bank typically offers a worse exchange rate than the base exchange rate, often between two and four percent worse than you might get elsewhere. This is a hidden fee as the bank pockets the difference.
- Correspondent bank fee: The complexity of the international money transfer system, often means your money will need to pass through one or more intermediary, correspondent banks. Each of those banks will likely charge an additional fee on your money transfer.
- Receiving bank fee: Finally, the beneficiary’s bank will probably charge a fee for them to receive the money into their account.
All of these fees do add up and can mean the beneficiary ends up receiving quite a bit less than you sent them. When we’re comparing fees below, we’ve only included the bank sending fees, as most U.S. banks don’t share the exchange rates they use and the correspondent and receiving bank fees vary so much.
International Wire Transfer Fees for the Big U.S. Banks
Here’s how much the larger US banks - Citibank, Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and US Bank - charge to send an international wire transfer.
Digital payments in a foreign currency have no transfer fee.
$5 per transfer for online payments, with fees waived for payments of $5,000 or more.
Digital transfers $25 per payment for Citigold and Citi Priority customers.
From $30 per transfer.
$40 for online transfers, $45 for assisted transfers
$50 for all transfers
How to keep your transfer fees down when using a U.S. bank
Some tips on how you could keep your costs down:
- Always make an international transfer through the secure banking portal on your bank’s website. For most banks, it’s less expensive to make a transfer online than to do it over the phone or through visiting a branch.
- The wire transfer sending fee charged by your bank is a fixed fee, charged each time you make a transfer. So, if you’re sending $1,000 through Citibank, that $35 is 3.5 percent of the fee, whereas if you’re sending $10,000 it’s only 0.35 percent.
- If you can, use a specialist currency exchange provider. Compare money transfer services and get the best deal for your money transfer.
Bank of America international transfers
You can make convenient international transfers with Bank of America online or using the BoA app. If you’re sending a payment in a foreign currency you won’t pay a transfer fee for digital payments - however, there are fees which are added to the exchange rate used. If you’d prefer to send a payment overseas in USD there’s a 45 USD transfer fee to pay.
BoA international wires can also be arranged in person at a Bank of America Financial Center - you’ll need to make an advance appointment to do this, and fees apply.
You can send money to 200+ countries in 140+ currencies with Bank of America. Payments usually arrive in 1 or 2 banking days as long as they’re processed in working hours.
- No transfer fee for digital international transfers sent in a foreign currency
- Send online or in person depending on your preference
- Exchange rate markups apply
- Third party charges may apply which are deducted from the send amount
BoA transfer fees
- International wire transfer incoming: Fees vary according to account type
- International FX wire transfer outgoing (online): No transfer fee
- International USD wire transfer outgoing (online): 45 USD
- International wire transfer arranged in branch: Fees vary according to account type
BoA additional fees
- Third party fees: If your international payment is processed through the SWIFT network you may pay intermediary fees which are deducted from the send amount. If you want to avoid these possible fees, make sure you compare the services of international money transfer providers.
BoA exchange rate
The Bank of America exchange rate is described as an ‘all in’ rate. That means it may include profits, fees, costs and charges added by BoA.
You’ll notice that the rate you’re offered isn’t the same as the one you can find online with a Google search, or using a currency converter tool. What you find online is the mid-market exchange rate - the rate banks get when they buy currency themselves. However, most banks - like BoA - don’t pass this rate on to customers. Instead they add in their own fees and costs to calculate a retail exchange rate, which means you pay an extra fee here.
Chase international transfers
You can send a Chase international transfer in USD or a foreign currency, online, using the Chase app, or in person by visiting a branch. If you’re sending your international payment in a foreign currency online or via the Chase app you’ll only pay a 5 USD fee for transfers under 5,0000 USD in value, with transfer fees waived entirely for higher value payments. You’ll still pay costs in the form of an exchange rate markup added by Chase, though.
Send money to 90+ countries as a personal customer - and more if you have a Chase business account.
- Low or no transfer fee for online and mobile payments in a foreign currency
- Send transfers in branch, online or using the mobile app for convenience
- High fees for international wires in USD or arranged in branch
- Exchange rate markups and third party fees may apply
Chase transfer fees
- International wire transfer incoming: 15 USD
- International wire transfer outgoing, arranged in branch: 50 USD
- International wire transfer outgoing in USD: 40 USD
Chase online and mobile international FX wire transfer fees:
- Under 5,000 USD in value: 5 USD
- Over 5,000 USD in value: Fee waived
Chase exchange rate
The Chase exchange rate includes a markup on the mid-market exchange rate. That’s an extra fee, described by Chase as a spread and commissions for themselves and their partners.
The exact rate you’re offered depends on the account you hold, the specific payment being made, the currencies and payment amounts involved. Chase states that you should expect the rate you’re given to be less favorable than the rate you’ll find online with a simple Google search.
Citibank international transfers
The easiest way to make a Citibank international transfer is through the online and mobile banking service. You’ll simply need to log into your account and follow the prompts to enter your recipient’s details and process the transfer.
Citibank international transfers can be made as a one off payment or on a recurring basis. The fees you pay will depend on the account you have with Citi - all transfer costs are waived for online payments made from Citigold Private Client accounts, with fees of up to 35 USD/transfer for other account types.
- Low transfer fees compared to other banks, waived for online payments if you’re a Citigold Private Client
- Send money online for convenience, or visit a branch if you’d prefer in person service
- Fees vary according to the account you hold - up to 35 USD/transfer for online and mobile transfers
- Exchange rate markups apply
Citibank transfer fees
- International wire transfer incoming: Free
- International wire transfer outgoing - arranged in branch - 45 USD
Online and mobile banking outgoing international wire transfer fees:
- Citigold Private Client: Fees waived
- Citigold: 25 USD
- Citi Priority: 25 USD
- Citigold International Account: 10 USD
- Citi International Personal Account: 30 USD
- Citi Global Executive Account: 30 USD
- Other account types: 35 USD
Citibank exchange rate
The Citibank exchange rate includes a markup on the mid-market exchange rate. That’s a fee for currency conversion, but it’s hard to spot because it’s rolled up into the rate you’re offered for your payment. Compare the Citi rate against the mid-market exchange rate you’ll find on Google. The difference is the Citibank exchange rate fee.
Wells Fargo international transfers
You can send an international transfer with Wells Fargo online, by phone, or in person at a branch. Sending payments online using the digital banking service is usually the quickest, cheapest and most convenient option. You’ll simply need to log into your account and follow the prompts to enter all the required details to set up your transfer.
Wells Fargo international transfer fees start from 30 USD, but vary by account type. Some accounts may have a fixed number of free transactions such as incoming international wires. However, the specific terms and conditions vary between accounts significantly, so you’ll need to double check the rules for your own account before getting started.
- Safe and familiar service
- Send payments online, by phone or in person at a branch
- Exchange rate markups apply
- Fees are relatively high and not fully disclosed until you start to arrange the transfer
Wells Fargo transfer fees
- International wire transfer incoming: 16 USD
- International wire transfer outgoing: From 30 USD. Applicable fee disclosed at the time of transaction
Wells Fargo exchange rate
The Wells Fargo exchange rate includes a markup which is an extra fee rolled up in the exchange rate you’re offered.
The rate you find when you run a Google search or use a currency converter tool is the mid-market exchange rate. However, this isn’t the same as the rate you’ll be given when you send an international transfer with Wells Fargo. Instead, Wells Fargo - like most banks - will add a markup to the mid-market rate to calculate their retail rate. That means a less favorable rate for you, and a little more profit for the bank.
PNC international transfers
If you have a PNC Virtual Wallet account - the PNC checking and saving account - or one of the other PNC savings accounts, you’re likely to be able to arrange your international payment online or via the PNC app. Setting up your payment yourself if convenient and means you’ll pay a lower fee compared to visiting a branch and having an agent assist you.
Depending on where you’re sending a payment to, and the send amount, you may be able to make a low cost international money transfer. If this option isn’t available for your transaction, standard international transfer fees will apply. You’ll be presented with your options when you log into your account and begin to set up the transfer online.
- Where international money transfers are available they come with low transfer fees
- Send payments online, via the mobile app, by phone or in a branch
- High fees for standard international payments
- Exchange rate markups apply
- Extra fees may also creep in - transaction limit charges and third party costs for example
PNC transfer fees
- International money transfer (where available): 5 USD
- International transfer outgoing - self service: 40 USD
- International transfer outgoing - agent assisted: 45 USD
- International transfer incoming: 15 USD
PNC exchange rate
The PNC exchange rate is not available via the PNC desktop site. To get the live rate for your transaction you’ll need to log into your account, call the bank or pop into a PNC branch.
The PNC exchange rate is likely to include a markup on the mid-market exchange rate you’d find on Google or with a currency converter tool.
US Bank international transfers
If you’ve been a US Bank customer for 6 months or more, and hold an eligible account, you’ll be able to send your international payment through the US Bank online banking service. If not, you’ll need to visit a US Bank branch to arrange your payment in person.
US Bank international wire transfers have a 50 USD fee whether you send online or in a branch. To send your payment online you’ll need to log into your digital banking service and follow the onscreen prompts to enter your recipient’s information and process the payment. You’ll be shown the applicable fees and rates before you confirm the transaction.
- Safe and familiar option
- Make your payment in a branch for in person service
- Flat transfer fee regardless of how you set up your payment
- You can only send money through digital banking once you’ve been a customer for 6 months
- High transfer fees + possible third party charges
- Exchange rate markups apply
US Bank transfer fees
- International wire transfer incoming: 25 USD
- International wire transfer outgoing: 50 USD
US Bank exchange rate
Here’s what US Bank says about the exchange rate applied for international payments and currency conversion:
“U.S. Bank will convert your funds at a retail exchange rate established by U.S. Bank on the business day when such exchange is processed based on factors such as market conditions and risk, economic and business factors. The exchange rate will include our profit, fees, costs and charges.”
This means that the exchange rate used by US Bank is likely to include a markup added to the mid-market exchange rate.
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