Fidelity international money transfer: Fees, exchange rate and alternatives

This article will cover everything you need to know about Fidelity international transfers including: how much it costs, how long it takes, and how to make a Fidelity international bank transfer to or from your brokerage account.

Fidelity has a long history and is now one of the largest asset managers in the world. However, choosing to transfer money abroad directly from your Fidelity brokerage account might not get you the best available deal.

Alternative specialist providers like Wise, OFX and Western Union may be able to get your money where it needs to be faster and for a lower overall fee.

Compare International Money Transfer Providers
 

Fidelity international money transfer comparison

You can send money into and out of your Fidelity account in a range of foreign currencies. Before we dive into how that works, let’s look at a rundown of how Fidelity international money transfers stack up against some specialist services.

The full cost of sending money overseas can include several different fees:

  • Provider’s transfer fee – this is often the lowest of the costs you’ll pay
  • Exchange rate markup – this can often be the highest of the 3 fees overall
  • Third party charges  – paid to intermediaries and your recipient’s own bank – you may not know in advance what these fees will be

Here’s how the costs look if we are sending 1,000 USD to a friend in the UK:

 

ProviderTotal feeRecipient gets in the end
FidelityVariable fee based on payment details + exchange rate markup + third party chargesContact your Fidelity broker to confirm the available exchange rate and applicable fees
Wise6.50 USD734.54 GBP
OFX5 USD + exchange rate markup722.65 GBP
Western Union0.99 USD + exchange rate markup709.52 GBP
  • Data correct at time of research – 11 February 2022

International transfers with Fidelity are managed through a subsidiary – Fidelity FOREX Inc. Fidelity FOREX uses a competitive exchange rate – but that doesn’t mean it’ll be the same as the rate you find on Google.

Typically providers add a markup to the mid-market exchange rate which you’ll find with Google search. The cost of the markup can often far exceed the costs of the transfer fee. Typically markups are in the region of 3%. It doesn’t sound like much, but that’s an extra 150 USD fee on a transfer worth 5,000 USD.

Specialist providers can often offer lower overall fees, and a better exchange rate compared to banks. Because international money transfers are their core business, getting set up and using the platforms is usually straightforward, too.

Fidelity international transfer fees

Fidelity customers can transfer funds in foreign currencies in and out of their accounts via Fidelity’s subsidiary, Fidelity FOREX Inc[1]. As we mentioned above, when you send a transfer with Fidelity you’ll need to understand 3 different potential fees:

  • Fidelity FOREX transfer fee
  • Exchange rate markup
  • Third party charges

The transfer fee used is usually pretty straightforward, and will be available upfront when you arrange your international payment. However, the cost may well be variable depending on where you’re sending money and the value of the payment.

The exchange rate markup is a little trickier as it’s not always easy to see – we’ll cover this in more detail in a moment. This fee – which is wrapped into the exchange rate you’re offered – is often the steepest of all the costs involved insending money overseas.

Third party charges are likely to apply when you send a payment with Fidelity because it’ll be processed using the SWIFT network. This means that more than one bank may be involved in your transfer – with partner banks adding in their own fee as the payment is processed. The hardest thing about these third party charges is that you may not know exactly what they’ll be in advance. More on that later.

To find out the costs and exchange rate available for your transfer you’ll have to contact your Fidelity brokerage representative at 800-544-6666.

Fidelity exchange rate

We mentioned above that Fidelity uses an exchange rate markup when processing international transfers. Here’s the detail from the smallprint over on the Fidelity website:

“Currency exchanges are completed on behalf of Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC by Fidelity FOREX, Inc., a Fidelity affiliate and may include a mark-up. More favorable exchange rates may be available through third parties not affiliated with Fidelity.”[2]

Let’s unpack that. When banks and currency exchange services buy and sell currency themselves, they get the mid-market exchange rate. That’s also the rate you’ll see with a Google search or using a currency converter. However, few providers pass this rate on directly to their customers. Instead they add a markup – an extra fee – to the retail rate they use when sending an international payment. This markup can be in the region of 3% – which doesn’t sound like a lot, but does quickly mount up.

If a 3% markup is used, this is what you’ll pay in fees in the rate alone 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

Check if there’s a markup added to the Fidelity exchange rate you’re offered by comparing the Fidelity rate to the mid-market exchange rate using a simple Google search.

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’re sending 1,000 USD to the UK:

  • Fidelity: Variable transfer fee + exchange rate margin + third party fees
  • Wise: 6.50 USD
  • Western Union: 0.99 USD + exchange rate margin
  • OFX: 5 USD + exchange rate margin

Fidelity additional fees

International payments in and out of Fidelity accounts are processed using the SWIFT network. SWIFT is a method favored by banks and traditional organizations as it’s established and reliable. However, it can also be slow and expensive.

The SWIFT process involves a payment being passed through one or more partner banks,  which are often known as intermediary or correspondent banks. Each intermediary can add their own fee as the payment is processed, which is deducted from the amount being sent. This can result in unexpected costs and mean you get less than you anticipated in the end.

How long does a Fidelity international money transfer take

International money transfers with Fidelity should take about 2 working days – after the trade date – to arrive.

Here’s a roundup of how long it takes to get payments with Fidelity compared to the specialists we profiled earlier:

  • Fidelity: About 2 working days
  • Wise: 80% of payments arrive in 24 hours
  • Western Union: Up to 2 days
  • OFX: 1 – 2 business days

Pros and cons of transferring money abroad with Fidelity

Pros:

  • Over 20 currencies available
  • Send money directly to and from your Fidelity account
  • Get broker support to arrange your payment
  • Reasonable delivery time compared to market averages

Cons:

  • Exchange rate markups are likely to be used
  • You’ll need to call a broker to find out about the transfer fee and available rate
  • Third party charges may apply

How to make an international transfer with Fidelity

To arrange your Fidelity international transfer you’ll have to contact your Fidelity brokerage representative at 800-544-6666. A member of the team will talk you through your options and the available fee and exchange rate.

Before you can send your outgoing transfer from your Fidelity brokerage account you’ll need to complete a request from. It’s worth knowing in advance that this requires the signatures of all account holders – and the signatures must be guaranteed by a bank, broker-dealer, credit union, securities exchange or association, clearing agency, or savings association. A notary public cannot provide a signature guarantee.

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

When you complete your outward international transfer request form for Fidelity, you’ll be asked to provide the following information:

  • Name of account number and any co-owner
  • SSN of account owner
  • Fidelity brokerage account number
  • Signature and guarantee of both owner and any co-owner
  • Name of beneficiary, country and city of residence
  • Receiving bank name and address
  • Receiving bank SWIFT code
  • Account number or IBAN
  • Other information based on destination country – a sort code for the UK, CLABE number for Mexico, of BSB for Australia for example
  • Intermediary bank information including bank name and address, SWIFT code and any other local information required

Transfer limits and available countries

International transfer limits vary based on the payment details, including the destination country and your account type. Your brokerage representative will be able to advise you on the limits which apply in your specific circumstance.

You can send money out of a Fidelity brokerage account – or receive payments to your account – in the following currencies:

  • Australian dollar
  • Canadian dollar
  • Czech koruna
  • Danish krone
  • Euro
  • Hong Kong dollar
  • Hungarian forint
  • Israeli shekel
  • Japanese yen
  • Mexican peso
  • New Zealand dollar
  • Norwegian krone
  • Polish zloty
  • Singapore dollar
  • South African rand
  • Swedish krona
  • Swiss franc
  • Thailand baht
  • Turkish lira
  • United Kingdom pound

Receiving money from abroad with Fidelity

You can receive payments in your Fidelity brokerage account in foreign currencies, using Fidelity FOREX Inc. You’ll need to send the payment in an eligible foreign currency to Fidelity, to have it converted to USD and deposited into your account.

International payments with Fidelity are processed through brokerage representatives, so you’ll need to give your representative a call to check the account details that you need to receive your specific foreign currency payment. You’ll also be able to check the exchange rate that will be applied when your money is converted to USD and deposited. Don’t forget that this rate is likely to include a markup – which can push up the overall costs.

Fidelity SWIFT code

If you’re sending money in a foreign currency to Fidelity, to have it deposited into your brokerage account, you’ll need the correct Fidelity SWIFT code. SWIFT codes are like zipcodes when you mail a letter – they make sure your money gets to the right place as fast as possible. When you arrange your Fidelity international transfer be sure to ask the brokerage representative what SWIFT code to use.

Conclusion

If you need to send or receive foreign currencies to your Fidelity account, using the Fidelity FOREX service may seem like the obvious choice. However, often specialist services can offer a better exchange rate with lower overall fees and a faster delivery time. Compare a few options against the fees and rates you’re quoted by Fidelity, to see if you could save money using a different provider.

FAQs

1. How much does a Fidelity international transfer cost?

To find out the costs and exchange rate available for your transfer you’ll have to contact your Fidelity brokerage representative at 800-544-6666.

2. How long does a Fidelity international money transfer take?

It usually takes about 2 days for your money to arrive, after the trade date.

3. How to transfer money internationally with Fidelity?

To learn more about sending international payments to or from your Fidelity account, call 800-544-6666 to speak to a brokerage representative.

By Ileana Ionescu Updated March 28th, 2022