Citibank International Wire: Fee, Rates and Transfer Time

Citibank was named World’s Best Digital Bank 2021 by Global Finance magazine, so you would think they might be the best option for transferring money abroad.

Transferring money overseas with Citibank might seem like a complex process.

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about Citibank international wire transfers: how much it costs, how long it takes, and how to make one.

However, there are many Citibank international money transfer alternatives you should consider before making a final decision. Specialized international money transfer providers, such as Wise, OFX, and Western Union, often prove to be cheaper, faster, and easier to use. 

Citibank international money transfer comparison

 

First, let’s take a look at how much it costs to send $1,000 from the United States to Canada with Citibank and how those costs compare to specialist providers.

When you compare international wire transfer services, you need to think in terms of total cost. Total cost has three separate components:

  • Transfer fee (usually stated up front, can be low or even “free”)
  • Exchange rate markup
  • Correspondent bank fees (other banks may handle your money on the way to its destination; this may incur additional fees)
ProviderTotal costTransfer time
Citibank wire transfer (Citigold customer; other account types may incur different fees)$25 + foreign currency transfer fee + exchange rate markupApproximately 1 - 5 business days
Citibank Global Transfer*foreign currency transfer fee + exchange rate markupSame day
Wise$9.18Instantaneously - 2 business days
WU$1.99 + exchange rate markup1 - 8 business days
OFX$0 + exchange rate markup1 - 2 business days

 

*Citibank Global Transfer only works for transfers to other Citibank customers in select countries. See section below titled Transfer limits and available countries.

At first glance, it may seem easy to compare costs. While fees range from zero to $25, they don’t reflect the true total costs of an international wire transfer. Often you won’t know what that is until you’re just about ready to send your transfer, but it’s not uncommon for banks to tack on an additional percentage to the mid-market rate.

Citibank does offer a competitive option with its Global Transfer service. But the zero fees and same day transfers come with a caveat: this service is only for sending money to other Citibank customers in select countries.

If you need to send to a non-Citibank account, then a specialist provider for international wire transfers may prove to be a better option. For example, Wise offers transparent pricing and is the only service from the table to use the mid-market exchange. This is the rate you can find for yourself on Google or XE.com. They also provide an estimate as to how long your transfer will take on their website. You might even be able to send money instantly depending on your form of payment and where you’re sending money to. 

Citibank international transfer fees

Citbank’s international transfer fees depend on the type of account you have. Check out the table below to see how much your fee would be. 

 

Type of Citbank accountInternational wire transfer fee
Citigold Private ClientWaived
Citigold$25
Citi Priority$25
Citi Private Bank - Citibank account packageWaived
Citi Private Bank - Citigold account packageWaived
Citi Private Client International AccountWaived
Citigold International Account$10
Citi International Personal Account$30
Citi Global Executive Account$30
Citi Global Executive Preferred AccountWaived
All other accounts$35

 

Even though some types of accounts charge no fees for an international wire transfer, they are not “free” transfers. Keep in mind that if you make the transfer in currency other than USD, the exchange rate includes their fee for converting currency. Therefore the total cost of your transfer will be more than what’s shown in the chart. 

Citibank exchange rate

 

When calculating the total cost of an international wire transfer, the exchange rate can be an even more important factor to consider than the fee a bank charges.

According to the fine print on Citibank’s website:

If the transfer is made in foreign currency, the exchange rate includes a fee for the currency conversion.

 

This means they add on a margin to the mid-market exchange (the rate you might find yourself on Google or XE.com). Even a small markup can make a big difference, but unfortunately, you won’t know the exchange Citibank uses until you’re ready to transfer. 

Here’s a quick summary of price comparison for transferring $1,000 to Canada:

  • Citibank’s Citigold account (fees vary by account type): $25 + exchange rate margin
  • Citibank’s Global Transfer (only for select countries): $0 + exchange rate margin
  • Wise: $9.18 
  • WU: $1.99 + exchange rate margin
  • OFX: $0 + exchange rate margin

Citibank additional fees

 

In the fine print of the transfer terms and conditions, Citibank states that “Fees may be charged by external financial institutions and are beyond Citibank’s control.” While they may be transparent about fees from their side, you won’t know the final cost of your transfer until you’re ready to hit send. 

Between fees from the correspondent banks and the markup on the exchange rate, the total cost of your transfer might come as a surprise.

How long does a Citibank international money transfer take?

 

International wire transfers can be sent the same day with Citibank, so long as they’re processed before 6 p.m. ET. However, it may take longer for the money to reach your recipient abroad. Citibank uses the SWIFT network for international money transfers outside of Citibank's network of international banks. This can typically take 1 - 5 business days,  and it depends on the recipient’s country and currency. If you need more details, contact Citibank before initiating a transfer.

If you use Citbank’s Global Transfer service, funds can arrive much faster, usually on the same day. This is because the money is transferred directly to another Citibank account abroad, rather than having to pass through correspondent banks as with SWIFT transfers. 

Here’s a brief comparison of how long it takes different providers to send money abroad:

Pros and cons of transferring money abroad with Citibank

 

Pros:

  • Global Transfer option: If your country is on the list and your recipient is also a Citibank account holder, this is a pretty good option.
  • Some fee-free transfers: Certain types of accounts have their transfer fees waived.
  • Online: International wire transfers can be done online through Citi Online.

 

Cons:

  • Complex pricing: The fee depends on the type of account you have.
  • Not transparent: You can’t see the exchange rate markup ahead of time.
  • Must be an account holder: To take advantage of the Global Transfer, you have to open an account.

How to make an international transfer with Citibank

 

The easiest way to initiate an international wire transfer is through their online banking platform, Citi Online. You’ll find the option to sign on to your account under the Transfers section. To log into your Citibank account you'll need to type in your Citibank user ID and password

Some branches of Citibank also offer wire transfer services. There are over 700 branches in the United States. Visit the Citibank’s branch locator on their website to see if there’s a branch located near you.

What information do you need to make an international transfer with Citibank?

Once you’re logged in to Citi Online, you’ll need to have your recipient’s information ready to go. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • SWIFT/BIC code, SORT code, or other routing information for the recipient’s bank
  • Name and account number of the recipient
  • The currency of their account
  • IBAN (for transfers to Europe)
  • CLABE (for transfers to Mexico)

After you’ve added the recipient’s information, the system may prompt you for additional information, such as the reason for transfer, depending on the country you’re sending money to.

Transfer limits and available countries

The limit for international wire transfers depends on the type of account you have and how you make them. There are no limits for outgoing transfers if you initiate them at a Citibank branch. Check out the table below to see what the limit is for your account if you choose to make an online transfer.

 

Type of accountOutgoing transfer limits
Citigold Private ClientNo limit for transfers made in USD
CitigoldNo limit for transfers made in USD
Citi PriorityNo limit for transfers made in USD
Citi Private Bank - Citibank account package$50,000 per business day
Citi Private Bank - Citigold account package$200,000 per business day
Citigold Private Client International AccountNo limit for transfers made in USD
Citigold International AccountNo limit for transfers made in USD
Citi International Personal Account$250,000 per business day
Citi Global Executive Account$250,000 per business day
Citi Global Executive Preferred AccountNo limit for transfers made in USD
All other accounts$50,000 per business day

 

Citibank Global Transfers is a service that allows you to transfer funds from your Citibank account to another Citibank account overseas. There are no fees for outgoing or incoming international wire transfers. However, Citibank does add a margin to the exchange rate if you transfer funds in currency other than USD.

 

Citibank Global Transfers works with the following destination countries:

  • Australia
  • Bahrain
  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • India NRI
  • Indonesia
  • Korea
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • Vietnam

If you need to send money to a country not on this list, then contact Citibank directly to verify whether they support international wire transfers to your destination.

Receiving money from abroad with Citibank

 

Citibank doesn’t charge you a fee for receiving money from abroad if you have one of the accounts listed in the table in the previous section. All other account holders must pay $15 to receive a wire transfer. 

You’ll need to provide the following information to the sender:

  • Your name and account number
  • SWIFT/BIC Code: CITIUS33
  • Citibank branch address: Citibank, 100 Citibank Drive, San Antonio, TX 78245

Citibank SWIFT code

 

The Citibank SWIFT code is CITIUS33.

The SWIFT network is a global financial messaging network that allows banks and other financial institutions to send money around the world. The SWIFT code acts like an address for your particular bank. It lets the sender’s bank know the final destination of the funds they’d like to transfer. 

SWIFT transfers are secure, but they can be slow as money often goes through intermediary banks before arriving at the final destination. The speed of the transfer depends on how fast these banks in the middle process your funds. Some of them also add on additional fees for handling or converting currency.

Conclusion

 

Citibank serves clients in 40 countries, but they may not be the cheapest, fastest, or most convenient option for sending money abroad. While they do waive transfer fees for Global Transfer customers or certain account types, it’s not a truly “fee-free” transfer; they still add a margin to the exchange rate. 

If you’re looking for more transparency, you might want to have a look at alternative providers, such as Wise or OFX. Their total cost to transfer money could end up being much lower than transferring with Citibank.

FAQs

How much does a Citibank international transfer cost?

Citibank’s international wire transfer fees depend on the type of account you have. Some account holders may pay as much as $35 to transfer money, while others may have the fee waived entirely. Citibank also adds a margin to the exchange rate if you transfer in currency other than USD.

How long does a Citibank international money transfer take?

With Citibank’s Global Transfer service, money transfers can go through on the same day. Other standard international wire transfers can take 1 - 5 business days.

How to transfer money internationally with Citibank?

You can send money abroad through their online banking platform, Citi Online, or you can visit a local branch to initiate a wire transfer.

Sending money abroad? Compare exchange rates and fees

By Ileana Ionescu Updated December 22nd, 2021