Charles Schwab International Wire Transfer: Fee, Rate and Transfer Time
The Charles Schwab Corporation offers a range of banking services for individual and business customers in the US, as well as a range of other countries around the world. But despite its size and global span, Charles Schwab may not be the best option for making an international transfer. Not all Schwab accounts are eligible for international wires – and some payments still have to be made in a branch, which can be a hassle.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about making international wire transfers with Charles Schwab, including fees and exchange rates. Plus, we’ll run through some easier to use alternatives such as Wise and OFX, which may be able to offer you a faster, cheaper and more convenient way to move your money globally. So, let’s get started.
Charles Schwab international money transfer comparison
When you set up any international money transfer you may run into up to 3 fees:
- Provider’s transfer fee
- 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 Charles Schwab 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.
|Provider||Total cost||Transfer time|
|Charles Schwab||$15 + intermediary fees + exchange rate margin||0 – 1 working days|
|Wise||7.56 USD||80% of payments arrive in 24 hours|
|OFX||$0 + exchange rate margin applies||1 – 2 business days|
|Western Union||$0 + exchange rate margin||0 – 5 business days|
*Fees and rates correct at time of research – 7th November 2022
The Charles Schwab international wire transfer exchange rates are likely to include a markup or margin added to the exchange rate. This is a percentage fee added to the rate you’d find on Google – commonly set at around 3%. Intermediary or recipient bank fees may also apply, which aren’t paid to Charles Schwab but which will be deducted from your payment as it’s being processed.
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.
- Eligibility: Not all Schwab accounts can make or receive international wires – check your account is eligible before you try
- Transfer fees: $15 to $25 USD (depending on transfer method) + any relevant intermediary fees + exchange rate margin
- Speed of transfer: 0 – 1 business days
- Transfer limits: Up to $100,000 can be sent online, per day – for higher value payments you’ll need to check your options in a Charles Schwab branch
- Payment options: Some transfers can be arranged online – however, you may need to book an exchange rate by speaking to a representative in person or by phone before you can make your payment
Looking for something cheaper and more convenient? Read on for all you need to know about some popular Charles Schwab alternatives like Wise and OFX. Send payments with low transfer fees and a fair exchange rate, with modern online and digital providers.
Charles Schwab Bank international wire transfer fees
Ultimately the types of payment you can make with your Schwab account – and the costs involved – may vary based on the type of account you hold. Not all accounts can make or receive international wires, so you’ll need to double check your account terms and conditions to make sure you’ve got all the detail you need. As a starting point, here are the standard fees when sending money overseas with Charles Schwab Bank from an eligible account:
|Wire transfer||Charles Schwab fee|
|International transfer – online||$15 USD|
|International transfer – assisted (phone or branch)||$25 USD|
Need a cheaper alternative?
Modern online alternative providers like Wise and OFX could provide better exchange rates and lower fees when you’re sending a payment overseas. You’ll also often find higher transfer limits compared to regular banks. Here are a few to consider:
Wise: Low cost international transfers which use the mid market rate, to 80+ countries. Over 50% of payments arrive instantly, and you can set up an account online or in the Wise app easily without leaving home.
OFX: Currency specialist offering personal and business payments to 50+ countries, plus currency risk management services, and a 24/7 phone support team to answer your questions.
Remitly: Transfer fees at Remitly vary depending on whether you send in USD or the local currency. There’s also an Economy Fee, and a higher Express Fee for when you need your transfer to arrive more quickly. All fees are based on the amount you send
WorldRemit: Send payments for a range of pay out options, including transfers to bank accounts and for cash collection. Payments can often be collected instantly if you pay with a card for cash collection, making this a good option for transfers that need to be with the recipient in double quick time.
Charles Schwab Bank exchange rates
The exchange rate you get with Charles Schwab may depend on the account type you hold. However, whichever account you hold, you’re likely to find that any currency exchange required to send an international transfer will mean paying a markup on the mid-market exchange rate.
This means you’ll get an exchange rate that’s likely to be inferior to the rate you find on Google or when you use a currency converter tool. However, exactly what markup is used will vary. If you have a trading account you may find the currency rate you get is better if you send a higher value payment. With the Schwab Global Account for example, you’ll pay a 1% markup for converting up to 100,000 USD – but this can drop as low as 0.2% if you’re converting a million dollars or more.
If you have a checking account with Schwab you may find you can’t actually make or receive international wires at all. If you can, the chances are that you’ll pay a markup when you send a payment overseas. While this rate isn’t disclosed, and is likely to vary a little between currencies, it’s common to find a 3% or so markup on most bank international wires. 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:
- Charles Schwab: 15 USD – Exchange rate margin + relevant intermediary bank fees apply
- Wise: 7.56 USD transfer fee
- Western Union: No transfer fee, exchange rate margin applies
- OFX: No transfer fee, exchange rate margin applies
Charles Schwab Bank additional fees
As well as the bank’s own transfer and currency conversion fees, there may be additional charges involved in making overseas payments. This is because there’s the possibility that other banks may be involved in the transfer, especially if the bank uses the SWIFT global payment network. Each bank involved can levy a fee for their service which is deducted as the transfer passes through the system.
You’re not out of luck through – here are some smart ways to cut or avoid international wire fees:
- Use a multi-currency account, from a specialist provider such as Wise or Revolut
- Choose a specialist international transfer service like Wise or OFX
- Compare your options with our comparison engine to see a range of providers, including their fees, rates and delivery times
How to make an international transfer with Charles Schwab Bank
If your account is eligible for online payments this is probably the most straightforward way to make a Charles Schwab international transfer. Here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Log in and look for the Accounts tab
- Tap Transfers and Payments and then select Send Wire
- Confirm which account you’d like to transfer funds from, then tap Select Wire Type to confirm you want to make an international wire
- Enter the amount to be wired and the date, as well as the recipient’s account information, routing number, name, address, and country
- Check everything over and click Continue
- You may need to read and agree to the terms and conditions of the payment, and complete a verification step before your payment can be processed
If you prefer a face to face service you can also send a Charles Schwab wire at a branch. Once you’re at the branch, a member of the service team will walk you through the payment procedure.
If you’d rather talk through your payment by phone, you can also call Charles Schwab on 1-877-742-9488 to ask for service support and get your transfer set up from home.
What information do you need to make an international transfer with Charles Schwab?
When you arrange your payment 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
How long does an international money transfer with Charles Schwab Bank take?
Exactly how long your payment will take depends on where you’re sending money to, the currencies and the account types involved. You may be able to have your payment processed on the same day you submit it if you initiate the transfer by 2.30pm ET, and all verification checks can be carried out by 4.00pm ET. In this case your transfer should only take a day or two to arrive.
Need a faster alternative?
Online specialist services can often be a faster way to send an international payment compared to a regular bank. That’s because they use innovative payment processing routes, which can cut out intermediaries and make the entire service faster.
Here’s a quick look at average transfer times for other providers, in case you’re in a hurry:
- Wise – 50% of payments are instant, 90% arrive in 24 hours
- OFX – 1-2 working days
- Remitly – 3-5 working days (within minutes with Express debit card transfer)
- WorldRemit – up to 2 working days
Pros and cons of transferring money abroad with Charles Schwab Bank
- You can transfer money using online banking
- Relatively low upfront transfer fee
- Assistance from the bank is available if you need it
- The currency exchange rate can contain a markup
- For certain transactions, you may need to complete and fax over a transfer form – which can be slower and less convenient than making a payment via online banking
Charles Schwab Bank international business transfers
Charles Schwab Bank offers a full range of accounts and wealth management services for businesses, organizations, investors and individuals. Business accounts include day to day small business products, investment options, loans and retirement planning services for business customers.
However, the Schwab Global Account is the only standard option for individual customers sending international transfers. We’ll look at this account in more detail next.
Does Charles Schwab Bank have multi-currency accounts?
The Schwab Global Account is designed for US investors looking to trade online in 12 international markets, in their local currencies. As we’ve already looked at, you can also use the account to make international wire transfers.
There are no fees to open this account, nor are there any ongoing maintenance charges. The account minimum is $0 USD. However, other account fees and brokerage commissions apply.
Learn more about multi-currency account in the US here.
Transfer limits and available countries
Up to $100,000 can be sent online, per day – for higher value payments you’ll need to check your options in a Charles Schwab branch
Here are the countries and currencies you can use your Charles Schwab Global account to trade with:
|Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands||EUR|
Receiving international wire transfer with Charles Schwab Bank
If you’re expecting a payment from overseas to your Charles Schwab bank you’ll need to give the sender a specific set of information depending on the country and currency they’re sending from. Payments to Schwab accounts are passed through partner banks which means the information you’re giving the sender will vary according to which partner processes the payment. Get the full details online.
In all cases, when your sender processed a transfer to Schwab they must include the following information:
- Sender Information: Amount and date of transaction, name, country, and address Beneficiary/Recipient Information: Name and account number
- Originating Financial Institution Information: The name and country of the originating Financial Institution or the Bank Identifier Code (BIC)
Failing to include this information in an incoming transfer may mean it is delayed or rejected.
Charles Schwab Bank SWIFT code
Whenever you send an international wire you’ll usually need a SWIFT code – this helps guide the payment to the right place. However because Schwab uses a series of third party banks to help process incoming payments, the SWIFT code you need may vary depending on where the payment is coming from. You can get the full details online according to the currency being sent.
Charles Schwab Bank contact information
Have a question or need help with an international wire transfer? Here’s how to get in touch with Charles Schwab:
- Call a Schwab Global Investing Specialist on 800-992-4685
- Call 877-519-1403 for general enquiries
- Chat online via live chat
- Visit a local branch
Conclusion: Is Charles Schwab Bank good for international transfers?
If you want to send money overseas, and are also interested in international stocks trading, the Charles Schwab Bank global account could be a good option. If not though, you could find that you don’t use many of the account features.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to international transfers, as everyone has different needs. But Charles Schwab isn’t likely to be the cheapest option for sending money overseas, especially when you take into account transfer and currency conversion fees, exchange rate mark-ups and intermediary bank fees.
Transfer processing speeds at Charles Schwab are quite quick, but you may have to fill in a form to set up your transfer in the first place – which can be quite time-consuming.
It’s always worth comparing a range of providers before sending money overseas with a bank, as there are likely to be cheaper and quicker options available. Plus, solutions like Wise or OFX that use the mid-market exchange rate are likely to get you a better deal.
Charles Schwab International Transfer FAQs
How much does a Charles Schwab international transfer cost?
Between $15 and $25 USD depending on whether you send online or make an assisted transfer. There may also be intermediary bank fees and currency conversion charges.
How long does a Charles Schwab international wire transfer take?
Transfers are processed the next working day, provided you meet the cut-off time for the country and currency.
How to transfer money internationally with Charles Schwab?
You can either use online banking, or complete a hard copy form to set up an international transfer. If you need help, you can visit a local Charles Schwab Bank or call up for assistance.