Wire transfers are expensive but sometimes necessary. While we have other ways to transfer funds from one bank to another, a wire transfer is best if you need them immediately.
Fortunately, there are free wire transfer options. Here’s what you must know.
13 Banks That Offer Free Wire Transfers
The good news is that many banks offer free wire transfer services. This can save you significant money when you need to transfer funds.
Some banks only offer free wire transfers to certain customers, such as those that open specific accounts, while others are free for all customers.
- Wells Fargo
- Bank of America
- Mercury Business
- CIT Bank
- Eastern Bank
- Citizens Bank
1. Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo’s Premier Checking provides free outgoing wire transfers for both domestic and international transfers. They also offer free incoming international wires.
2. Bank of America
Bank of America Preferred Diamond members pay no fees for incoming domestic wire transfers.
Fidelity doesn’t charge wire fees when transferring money from your cash management account. However, they state that the receiving or sending bank may charge a fee, so check on both sides.
HSBC customers don’t pay incoming wire fees if they have an HSBC Premier account. If all account holders are Premier, there is also no fee for outgoing wires.
5. Mercury Business
Mercury Business bank accounts include free wire transfers for domestic and international transfers. However, there may be a $15 fee if you want to cover your recipient’s fees.
6. CIT Bank
CIT customers with an eChecking, savings, or money market account get free incoming wire transfers. In addition, if your account has a balance of over $25,000, you’ll also get free outgoing wires.
Citibank waives its wire fees for certain relationship banking products, including Citigold Private Client, Citi Alliance, and regular Citigold accounts. They also offer free wire transfers in most of their Private Bank accounts.
8. Eastern Bank
Eastern Bank offers free incoming and outgoing wire transfers for all customers for domestic and international transfers.
9. Citizens Bank
Citizens Bank offers free incoming and outgoing wire transfers on its Citizens Wealth Checking account.
Chase customers with the Sapphire Checking account pay no wire fees for incoming or outgoing wire transfers
PNC Bank has a few accounts that offer free wires, namely the Performance Checking account. However, this only applies to domestic wires; they still charge for both incoming and outgoing international wires.
Schwab allows its customers with balances of at least $100,000 three free domestic wires per quarter. In some cases, you may also receive foreign wires free of charge.
Synchrony customers part of the Perks Reward program with Diamond status can send three free wire transfers per statement cycle. Otherwise, it costs $25 to send a wire transfer but nothing to receive one.
How to Choose the Right Provider to Wire Money
Typically you should choose your current bank to wire money, but if you’re in the market for a new bank or establishment to wire funds for free, consider the following:
- Do they send both domestic and international wires?
- What is the timeframe for the wire transfer?
- Are there limits to how much you can transfer or receive?
A few options to transfer money include:
- Banks – This is the most common way to wire funds. If you have a bank account at one of the banks listed above, you may wire funds for free.
- Money transfer company – You can use companies like Western Union to wire funds, but they typically cost much more.
- Mobile payment services – You may also find mobile payment services to wire funds, but only domestically, not internationally.
What Are Wire Transfers?
Wire transfers are the electronic transfer of money from one account to another, usually at different banks. It’s typically reserved for emergency or immediate transfers, such as in real estate transactions and sending money internationally.
The problem with wire transfers is that they cost money. It costs banks money to move money, and this expense is oftentimes passed onto the customer.
So you won’t pay for an incoming wire, but on average, you’ll pay $25 for an outgoing wire unless you locate banks that offer free wire transfers.
What Do You Need to Send a Wire Transfer?
You don’t need much to send a wire transfer. You can usually complete them in person at the bank, on the phone, or even online.
You’ll need the recipient bank’s name, address, and routing number to send a wire. You’ll also need the recipient’s account number and the bank’s SWIFT code (for international transfers).
Receiving a Bank Wire Transfer
To receive a bank wire transfer, you must provide the payor with the following details:
- Your full name as it appears on your account
- The name and address of your bank
- The full account and routing number for your bank account
It’s usually free to receive a bank wire transfer domestically, but some banks charge fees, so always read the fine print.
Domestic vs. International Wire Transfer
A domestic transfer refers to the transfer of funds from one domestic bank to another, while international transfers move funds from banks around the world.
There are obvious concerns with transferring money internationally, including security concerns, currency conversion, and money delays.
The recipient doesn’t always receive the total amount wired with foreign wire transfers. The cost on the receiver’s end could be as much as $65 depending on the bank.
The amount banks charge depends on how you initiated the transfer (in-person or online), the currency it was sent in, and any correspondent fees.
Beware of Wire Transfer Scams
Wire transfer scams are common among hackers. They act under the pretense of claiming you’ll win money or by trying to buy goods from you. It’s best not to accept wire transfers from anyone you don’t know.
When scammers promise that you won a prize but must pay the processing fees, you won’t receive anything. They’ll take your money and run.
With the buyer scam, hackers will send you a check for an amount larger than the purchase price. Then, when you tell them, they’ll ask you to wire the difference. The only problem is the check they wrote is usually bad, so it bounces. However, you won’t know until after you’ve wired the funds.
Unfortunately, you typically can’t get wired funds back, so you lose money on both deals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Wire transfers are a great way to get money across the country or world fast, but there are things you should know before doing so.
How do you complete a wire transfer online?
Doing a wire transfer online is the same as doing it in person. The only difference is you enter the information rather than the banker doing it for you. You’ll need the same information, including the bank’s name, address, and routing number. You’ll also need the recipient’s account number and full address. Not all banks offer wire transfers online, so always check first.
Who pays the fee for a wire transfer?
The person sending the wire usually pays the fee for a wire transfer. However, the receiving bank sometimes charges fees, too, especially for international wires. These funds sometimes come from the amount sent, leaving the recipient with less than the total amount.
Why do wire transfers cost so much?
Wire transfers cost money because banks have to pay a fee to transfer the funds. Plus, they make the funds immediately available, which isn’t the case for other deposits, such as checks. Rather than processing deposits in batches and saving money, banks process wires individually, incurring higher costs.
Banks take a risk in wiring funds because there’s no way to get the money back, even if the bank made a processing error.
How much do banks charge for wire transfers?
On average, wire transfers cost $65, but many banks offer free transfers with certain accounts or a specific account balance.
Do banks report wire transfers to the IRS?
Banks report wire transfers over $10,000. The recipients of bank transfers over $10,000 must complete IRS Form 8300.
Is it better to wire or transfer money?
Transferring funds is safer, but it can take a few days to clear. It depends on the bank and its policies. However, transfers are safer because there’s less risk of bouncing funds. It’s also cheaper to transfer versus wire funds. It’s best to reserve wiring funds for emergencies or real estate transactions that require wired funds.
The Bottom Line
Wire transfers have their time and place. If you think you’ll need to wire funds, find a bank that offers free wire transfers and see if you qualify for the account. It can be worth the requirements if you wire funds often since they cost an average of $65 each.