Wire transfers are a relatively easy and secure way to transfer money electronically from one bank account to another. Although they can be convenient (and are often required in processes like buying a house), they are expensive compared to alternative ways of sending money. In this article, we’ll analyze average wire transfer costs, both domestic and international.
At a Glance: How Much Do Wire Transfers Cost?
Wire transfer fees vary by financial institution. While you can almost always count on paying a wire transfer fee to send money, you might also pay a fee to receive a wire transfer. Fees differ for domestic and international wire transfers.
We’ve compiled wire transfer data from 11 of the biggest banks in the U.S. to calculate averages for each type of transaction. You can take a closer look at individual institutions’ fees further down in this article.
Average Wire Transfer Fees
- Incoming domestic wire transfers: $15.45
- Outgoing domestic wire transfers: $25.91
- Incoming international wire transfers: $14.70
- Outgoing international wire transfers: $41.50
Domestic Wire Transfers vs. International Wire Transfers
In general, domestic transfers tend to be cheaper than international transfers, especially when outgoing transfers are concerned.
Incoming Wire Transfers vs. Outgoing Wire Transfers
Incoming transfers refer to when someone is sending money from their account to yours. Some banks do not charge incoming wire transfer fees, though there may be intermediary banks or credit unions that are involved in the transfer process — and they might tack on fees for you.
Outgoing wire transfers refer to when you wire money to someone else. You should always anticipate paying more for this service.
Wire Transfer Fees Calculation
As you can see, these fees are not always black and white. Some financial institutions waive the fee of incoming transfers if it’s coming from within their own bank. Others charge you more on outgoing international wire transfers if you’re using USD (while others charge more for foreign currency).
While it’s certainly good to know which banks charge these fees — and how much they are — this should not be a factor in determining the right bank for you. Instead, find a bank that has the features that affect you more often: APY, ATM fees, monthly maintenance fees, overdraft fees, mobile banking, etc.
Then, in the rare event that you do need to transfer money, start by looking for alternatives to wire transfers to avoid fees.
Note: We looked at 11 of the most popular banks in the U.S., but you can complete a domestic or international wire transfer at banks and credit unions of all sizes, including KeyBank, Fifth Third Bank, Discover Bank, Ally Bank, Alliant Credit Union, HSBC and Navy Federal Credit Union.
What You Need to Complete a Wire Transfer
Do you need to wire funds? You’ll need a few things for a successful transfer.
For a domestic wire transfer, you will need:
- The routing number and account number of your own bank account.
- The routing number and account number of the recipient’s bank account.
- The recipient’s name and address
- The amount to be transferred
When wiring money internationally, you will also need to provide:
- Currency type
- Recipient’s entire bank name
- Recipient’s bank identification code, international routing code, international bank account number or SWIFT code
- Your U.S. phone number
How to Avoid Wire Transfer Fees
Modern technology has afforded us great alternatives to wire transfers — many of them cheaper or even free.
Wire Transfer Alternatives
Consider one of these two alternatives:
Nowadays, money transfer apps are an easy, safe way to send money digitally (and, in many cases, instantly) anywhere to anyone. PayPal was the genesis, but you can use mobile apps like Venmo, Cash App, Zelle, Apple Pay and Google Pay to send and receive money.
Each of these apps has their pros and cons, but you can typically transfer money for free if you connect a checking account (rather than a debit card or credit card) to the app.
Call it old school, but an easy way to transfer money to someone else is to write a traditional check. Of course, if you are not standing physically next to the recipient, they will have to wait until you can mail the check, and then they will have to take the check to their bank or ATM to deposit it (or mobile deposit it).
Free Wire Transfers
If you can’t avoid a wire transfer, you can find a bank that offers them for free. Almost all of Fidelity’s transfers are free (but watch those intermediary fees), USAA offers its members free incoming wire transfers, and banks like PNC and Citibank waive these fees for certain accounts (but these premium accounts usually have other monthly fees to consider).
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Wire Transfer Fees
Want to learn more about wire transfer fees? We’ve compiled answers to some of our readers’ most common questions.