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How to avoid wire transfer fees: A Comprehensive Guide

How to avoid wire transfer fees: A Comprehensive Guide

How to avoid bank wire transfer fees? Discover Cost-Saving Alternatives to Reduce Expenses with our guide.

Taxes aren’t the only thing that eats away at your profits. Sending high-value international payments is prohibitively expensive.

When you send money through SWIFT, for example, each intermediary financial institution takes a cut.

Sure, a lot of money’s at stake — security is required. That’s why the fees are there.

But is there a way to avoid wire transfer fees?

We’re going to tell you everything you need to know about wire transfer fees, and what you can do to cut them down — and even avoid them.

Liberate global trade and international payments.

Bank wire transfers aren’t the only method to send money globally. With an EMI-certified payments provider like Silverbird, you never have to worry about transfer limits, high transaction fees or delayed payments.

Get onboard with Silverbird, the smart alternative to traditional banking.

What are wire transfer fees?

A wire transfer is an electronic funds transfer between bank accounts. It provides an easy and fast way to send money overseas from your bank account, but they usually come prepackage with high fees.

How much does a wire transfer cost?

It depends. On average, these are the wire transfer fees that banks charge for incoming and outgoing domestic and international transfers.


Outgoing wire transfer: $ 25
Incoming wire transfer: $ 15


Outgoing wire transfer: $ 45
Incoming wire transfer: $ 15

International transfers may come with additional fees. These may include intermediary bank fees, foreign currency exchange fees if applicable, and other miscellaneous fees.

Wire transfer fees for top UK banks

The table below shows the fees charged by some banks in the UK for international wire transfers. Remember that the fees stated here may not be inclusive of additional fees.

Some banks may waive or reduce your fees depending on the type of account you hold with them. For example, a premium account might mean you need not pay any fee for transfers.

Bank Incoming international Outgoing international
Barclays Up to £6 Up to £25
First Direct Up to £4 Up to £5
HSBC Up to £5 No HSBC fees
Lloyds Up to £7 Up to £9.50
RBS Up to £7.50 Up to £15
Santander No Santander transfer fee Up to £25

How to avoid wire transfer fees

It’s difficult to avoid wire transfer fees, especially if your transaction amount is small. But it’s not impossible. Here are some ways you can avoid paying these fees.

  1. Choose a bank with lower transfer fees or no fees for certain accounts

As you can see, not all banks charge for all wire transfers. Choosing a bank that reduces or waives fees may help save you some costs when it comes to international payments.

  1. Ask if your payee could pay for the transfer fees

Sometimes, your payee might be willing to cover the costs of the transfer fee. You could select the option for them to pay this fee in your instruction to your bank.

  1. Charge higher for your product or service

Another method is to factor in the wire transfer fees into your product or service price. Doing so can help you save some expenses.

Types of Wire Transfers

There are two key types of wire transfers: domestic and international. Domestic wire transfers are transfers between two bank accounts in the same country. International wire transfers are cross-border transfers.

International wire transfers can include high foreign exchange fees. Explore transparent FX rates and fee structures tailored to your business when you make international payments at Silverbird.

What factors impact the cost of international bank transfer fees?

There are so many factors that determine the final cost of a wire transfer — there’s no fixed cost.

Delivery speed

Overseas payments normally take between three to five days. If you need to perform an urgent transaction, you can pay for the same-day option at an extra charge.

Currencies and countries involved

International transfers pass through intermediary banks before the funds end up in your payee’s receiving bank. Every one of these banks collects a fee, and they’ll add up.

Payment provider

Most banks use the SWIFT network to transfer your funds. There might be additional costs if other payment providers were used.

Incoming Vs Outgoing Transfer Fees

Incoming wire transfers are usually cheaper than outgoing wire transfers. This is because the person who sends the funds usually bears most of the wire transfer costs. However, the payee can bear the cost upon agreement.

What Information is Needed for a Wire Transfer?

You usually need the recipient’s full name, bank account number or International Bank Account Number (IBAN), sort code, and SWIFT/BIC code for international transfers, as well as the total amount of money you’re sending.

Traditional banks are strict with the information they require when you make a wire transfer. You might face delays in transactions, or even get another fee because of the repeated transfer if you fail to fill in the correct information.

This article tells you all you need to know about what details you need in a bank transfer.

Who Pays the Fee for a Wire Transfer?

Both parties — the sender and the recipient both pay wire transfer fees, though the sender bears the brunt of the cost. Both parties can agree beforehand as to who pays the fees.

Other ways to cut wire transfer costs

If you decide to go with your bank’s wire transfer fees, here are some ways to reduce your transfer costs.

  1. Initiate the wire transfer online by yourself

This is the cheapest way to initiate a wire transfer. Going to your bank’s branches or requesting customer service over the phone can add additional costs to your transfer fee.

  1. Send your funds in foreign currency

Depending on your bank, you might see a lower fee if you convert your local currency into a foreign currency before transferring your funds. This is in comparison to simply sending the funds in local currency.

  1. Explore recurring wire transfers

Some banks might allow you to send recurring wire transfers if you know you have regular payments to make to a certain recipient.

No more hidden wire transfer fees

Wire transfers come with high transaction fees and hidden charges. This gets worse the higher the transaction.

Silverbird gives you a transparent fee structure tailor-made to your business’s needs and supply chain.

Hold, transfer and exchange 30+ currencies online simply from a single account. Get a dedicated account manager — no matter the size of your business. Send high-value payments with no limits at the click of a button. Get onboarded in days without having to visit an office — it’s 100% online.

Learn more about our online business account and speak to our dedicated team of international trade experts.


How can I avoid a wire transfer fee?

Choose a bank with zero or reduced transfer fees, use multi-currency accounts that allow you to hold and send foreign currency, or ask your recipient to bear the transfer cost.

What’s the difference between a wire transfer and a bank transfer?

A wire transfer is an electronic transfer of money via a secure network for most domestic and international transfers. Wire transfers are more commonly used for overseas transfers, whilst bank transfers are used predominantly for local transfers.

Wire transfers are associated with the SWIFT network. A bank transfer uses local payment routes such as ACH or SEPA. If you’re looking to perform domestic transfers, bank transfers will be more suitable due to the lower fees and faster transaction speed.

Can wire transfers be free?

Yes. Some banks waive or reduce the wire transfer fee if you hold a certain type of account with them.

Do all wire transfers have fees?

Not all wire transfers have fees. It depends on your bank, the account you use, and your agreement with the recipient.

How do I avoid incoming wire transfer fees?

Incoming fees are usually lower than outgoing fees, as the sender usually pays the transfer fee. Avoid incoming wire transfer fees by asking if your sender is willing to bear the full cost.

Borderless payments for global business

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Borderless payments for global business

Get the multi-currency account built for quick and easy international payments, with no limits.

Get started

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