6 Best Banks for International Money Transfers and Alternatives [2024]

If you need to send an international payment you may be considering using your normal bank as a secure and convenient option. Sending an international wire with your bank shouldn’t be too much of a headache – but it can be quite expensive, and because third party fees may creep in, your recipient might get less than you were intending in the end.

This guide walks through the pros and cons, features and fees of sending money overseas with 6 major US banks.

Banks aren’t your only option for moving money overseas – an online specialist service like Wise or OFX may be able to offer a better exchange rate, a lower overall cost, and a faster delivery. We’ll touch on a few alternatives to regular banks later, to help you compare and choose.

Go to WiseGo to OFX

Looking for the best US bank for an international wire transfer?

Let’s start with an overview of the fees that apply to international wires from 6 big banks:

  • 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 payments in a foreign currency may have no transfer fee or cost up to $35, depending on your account type*
  • Wells Fargo – Digital payments in a foreign currency may have no transfer fee*
  • PNC bank – $40 for online transfers, $45 for assisted transfers*
  • US Bank – $50 for all outgoing international 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.

As you can see, the upfront transfer fees from major US banks do vary widely. Exchange rate markups and third party costs can also apply even where transfer fees are waived, which push up the price further.

You may find alternative services such as Wise or OFX for international transfers with more transparent fees and – often – a better exchange rate. More on that later.

Go to WiseGo to OFX

Which bank is best for international transfers?

The best bank for your international transfer may not be a bank at all. Specialist services can often provide lower fees and a better exchange rate compared to your bank. We’ll look at a few specialist alternatives in just a moment, but first let’s see how our 6 big banks measure up against OFX and Wise on fees and exchange rates.

ProviderInternational wire feeExchange rate
WiseLow fee which varies by destination, transparent fee structureMid-market exchange rate
OFXNo feeExchange rate includes a small markup
Bank of AmericaDigital payments in a foreign currency have no transfer feeExchange rate includes a markup on the mid-market rate
Chase$5 per transfer for online payments, with fees waived for payments of $5,000 or moreExchange rate includes a markup on the mid-market rate
CitibankDigital payments in a foreign currency may have no transfer fee or cost up to $35, depending on your account typeExchange rate includes a markup on the mid-market rate
Wells FargoDigital payments in a foreign currency may have no transfer feeExchange rate includes a markup on the mid-market rate
PNC$40 for online transfers, $45 for assisted transfersExchange rate includes a markup on the mid-market rate
US Bank$50 for all outgoing international transfersExchange rate includes a markup on the mid-market rate

(Information taken on 17th of September 2023)
*The speed of transaction claims depends on individual circumstances and may not be available for all transactions

Go to WiseGo to OFX

Things to consider when choosing an international transfer provider

Not sure how to arrange your international wire? Here are some factors to consider when you’re deciding:

  • Costs – before you get started make sure you’ve thoroughly read the payment fee schedule. The transfer fee you pay can vary widely depending on how you structure the payment.
  • Speed – international wires commonly take 3 to 5 days to arrive in the destination account when sent with a traditional bank. Check the delivery times when you arrange your payment.
  • Exchange rates – compare the exchange rate your bank offers against the mid-market rate you’ll find on Google. It’s common for banks to add extra fees here, so doing a bit of homework and looking at a few alternatives can save you money.
  • Convenience – check out the options for sending your payment – while many banks let you set things up online or in an app, some still require you to head into a branch in person.

Navigating the intricacies of international money transfers can be daunting, but companies like Wise and OFX are international money specialists. With a track record of delivering swift transfers, competitive exchange rates, and the added convenience of user-friendly apps, they’ve emerged as frontrunners in the industry. We’ll delve deeper into what makes these providers stand out in the next section.

Alternatives to international wire transfers with banks

Sending your international payment with a bank is secure and familiar. But it may also be expensive and slow. Specialist money transfer services are safe to use – they’re usually regulated in the same way your bank is – and can often offer a lower overall cost. Here are a few to consider:

  • OFX: Make payments in 50+ currencies online, in app and by phone. There’s no transfer fee and the rates offered can beat the banks
  • Wise: Send to 80+ countries, with the mid-market exchange rate and low, transparent fees. 50%+ of payments arrive instantly
  • TorFX: Send money online or over the phone, and get award winning customer service if you want to talk through your options
  • WorldRemit: Online and in app payments to a range of countries around the world, with a good range of pay out methods
  • Remitly: Send digitally on popular remittance routes, and pick a faster Express fee or a cheaper Economy service

Go to WiseGo to OFXGo to Remitly
 

At the end of the day there’s no single best way to send your international payment. It depends on the transfer value and currency, so comparing a few different options is your best bet. Online providers like these we’ve detailed above can often offer lower overall costs and give you an instant quote online so you can easily see which works best for you. Let’s look at these alternatives more in detail:

OFXWiseTorFXWorldRemitRemitly
Coverage170 countries

50+ currencies

160+ countries

50+ currencies

120+ countries

40+ currencies

130+ countries

70 currencies

170+ countries

100+ currencies

International transfer feesNo transfer feesLow and transparent transfer feesFee free for all transfers. Fee is built into the exchange rateFees vary by destination and payment typeFees vary by destination and delivery option selected.
Exchange ratesExchange rates include a small markupMid-market exchange rateExchange rates include a markupExchange rates include a markupExchange rates include a markup
International transfer speedMost payments arrive in 1 – 2 days50% of payments are instant*

90%+ of payments arrive in 24 hours

1-2 business days for most transfersCash collection and mobile money payments may be instant

Deposits to bank accounts may be instant or take a day or 2 to arrive

Immediate Express delivery, Economy payments take 3-5 business days

Go to WiseGo to OFXGo to Remitly
 

Learn more: Best international money transfer apps

Best bank for international wire transfers

We’ve looked at 6 of the most popular banks in the US, to see how they measure up on international wire transfers. We’ll look at the fees, rates, limits, pros and cons of each of the following banks in the US:

  • Bank of America
  • Chase
  • Citibank
  • Wells Fargo
  • PNC bank
  • US Bank

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.

Bank of America 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.

ProsCons
  • 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 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 Bank of America – 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.

BoA international transfer limits

  • Bank of America has a $1,000 limit for online payments made from consumer accounts.
  • Business account holders can send $5,000 online.

You may be able to have your digital payment limit raised if you complete additional security and verification processes – or you can make your payment in a branch instead.

Chase international transfers

You can send a Chase international wire 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 140+ countries if you have a Chase business account.

ProsCons
  • 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.

Related: Chase foreign transaction fees

Chase international transfer limits

Chase international transfer limits can vary depending on the account you hold and the way you’re setting up your payment. If your payment would exceed your personal limit when you’re arranging it online, you’ll be notified. You may be able to make a higher value transfer by visiting a branch in person.

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 wire 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 in a foreign currency by customers who hold the Citigold Account Package, but fees may apply to some other transfer types.

ProsCons
  • Low transfer fees compared to other banks, which may be waived for online payments
  • Send money online for convenience, or visit a branch if you’d prefer in person service
  • Fees vary according to the account you hold
  • Exchange rate markups apply

Citibank transfer fees

Citibank’s fees may vary based on the account you hold. Many of the Cit accounts and banking packages for high wealth individuals have fees waived. For regular Citi accounts:

  • International transfers (outgoing) – $35
  • International transfers (incoming) – $15

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.

Citibank international transfer limits

Citibank’s international transfer limits vary based on the account you hold and whether or not you’re sending to another Citi account. For standard Citi accounts there’s usually a $50,000 daily limit for transfers to non-Citibank accounts around the world.

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 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.

ProsCons
  • Safe and familiar service
  • Send payments online, by phone or in person at a branch
  • Exchange rate markups apply
  • Fees are relatively high

Wells Fargo transfer fees

Here are the standard Wells Fargo fees – you’ll need to double check the terms of your own account before you get started to make sure there are no surprises:

  • International wire transfer incoming: 16 USD
  • International wire transfer outgoing (made in branch) in foreign currency: $0
  • International wire transfer outgoing (made in branch) in US dollars: $45
  • International wire transfer outgoing (online or mobile): fee waived

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.

Related: Wells Fargo foreign transcation fees

Wells Fargo international transfer limit

The Wells Fargo international wire limit may vary depending on your account type and the exact service you need. There’s a $5,000 daily limit for the Express Send service.

PNC international transfers

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.

Some PNC accounts are only eligible for international transfers initiated in a branch – the service isn’t available online or through the mobile app for example. Check your own account type for details.

ProsCons
  • Where international money transfers are available they come with low transfer fees
  • Send payments to a broad range of countries
  • 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.

PNC International transfer limits

How much you can send with PNC will depend on your account type. You’ll be able to find out your account limits by looking at the account terms and conditions, which are usually available online.

US Bank international transfers

Depending on your account type you may 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.

ProsCons
  • 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
  • Not all customers can send money through digital banking
  • 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

The exchange rate used by US Bank is likely to include a markup added to the mid-market exchange rate.

US Bank international transfer limits

US Bank’s international transfer limits can vary based on the payment type. If you’re in a branch, the member of the service team will be able to tell you the limit for your specific transfer, and if you’re arranging the payment online, the limits will be shown on screen if you hit them.

Related: International money transfer limits

Types of fees for international wire transfer with banks

US 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 the currency you send.

Exchange rate markup fee: A US 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: Third party charges which can be called agent fees, intermediary fees, SWIFT fees or correspondent bank fees. You may not be able to see the exact cost of these charges in advance of confirming your 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 US banks don’t share the exchange rates they use and the correspondent and receiving bank fees vary so much.

International wire transfer fees for US banks

Here’s an overview of the typical costs for sending an international wire with 6 large US banks. The exact price you pay may vary based on how you set up your transfer – in branch payments are often more expensive than online transfers for example, and payments made in USD overseas can also attract further fees.

ProviderInternational wire fee
Bank of AmericaDigital 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
CitibankDigital payments in a foreign currency may have no transfer fee or cost up to $35, depending on your account type
Wells FargoDigital payments in a foreign currency may have no transfer fee
PNC$40 for online transfers, $45 for assisted transfers
US Bank$50 for all transfers

Compare international money transfer providers

How to avoid international transfer fees with banks

With charges added into the exchange rates and hard to spot intermediary bank fees, international wire transfers with traditional banks can be costly.

Here are some tips on how you could keep your costs down:

  • Sending money through your bank’s online or mobile banking service is almost always cheaper than visiting a branch
  • If you need to send someone a lot of money, using one larger payment can be cheaper than sending several small transfers, thanks to the fixed transfer fees that apply
  • If you can, use a specialist international payment provider. You’ll be able to make your payment online or in an app for convenience, and can often find lower costs and a better exchange rate compared to a regular bank
  • Compare some different transfer services to make sure you get the best value for your particular payment

How to Avoid International Transfer Fees

Are you looking to make a business payment? This guide is for you: Best international money transfer apps for business

Conclusion: What is the best bank for international wire transfer?

Using banks for international wire transfers can be convenient and secure but is also often expensive thanks to complicated fees and poor exchange rates. It’s also not often the fastest option, with bank wires commonly taking several days to arrive, depending on the destination.

Specialist services like Wise and OFX are a good option for a faster payment which can be cheaper too. Compare a few options to see which works best for you.

Go to WiseGo to OFX

FAQs on best bank to make and international transfer with

What is the best way to transfer money internationally?

There’s no single best way to send money internationally – but specialist digital providers like Wise, OFX or WorldRemit can often offer a lower overall cost compared to your normal bank.

What is the cheapest way to wire money internationally?

Sending a payment with a specialist online service may work out cheaper than using your banks. Compare a few options – you can often get an instant, no obligation quote, so it’s easy to see which works best for you.

Which bank does not charge wire transfer fees?

Some banks like Chase will sometimes waive international wire fees – but it’s worth remembering that there are likely to be extra costs added into the exchange rates applied in this case.

Which US banks accept international wire transfers?

Get paid from around the world into your US bank account – most major banks will let you receive an international wire to your account, although fees may apply. You can also check out online specialist providers like OFX, Remitly and Wise which often offer better rates and lower overall costs on international wire transfers.

Claire Millard
Fintech Content Writer
Claire Millard is a content and copywriter with a specialty in international finance. Her work has featured in The Times and The Telegraph, as well as industry magazines and leading personal finance blogs.
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Seyma Mektepli
Editor-in-chief
Seyma is an experienced content writer and editor-in-chief at Exiap, delivering informative articles on personal finance, and money transfers.
Read more
Last updated
December 12th, 2023