How To Transferring Money Internationally Between Banks

The countless methods for international money transfers do not make it any easier for first-time customers. The process can be costly and overwhelming.  While the traditional means for sending money overseas like money orders and bank drafts are cheaper,  the options tend to be slow, risky, or in some cases won’t work in other countries like the case of checks. For that reason, wire transfers provide for the easiest way for transferring money internationally between banks. With an international wire transfer, you can send thousands of dollars instantly and convert it to the foreign currency of your recipient country.

Growing competition over the last couple of years has dropped the cost of sending money internationally. However, not everyone prefers sending money internationally using banks. Therefore, in addition to banks, you can use other options including PayPal, Western Union, MoneyGram, and TransferWise to quickly, send large amounts of cash around the globe. A word before getting started: money transfer providers including banks mostly give bad exchange rates to avail extra profits.

Wire transfers, more so through banks do carry higher costs and need more effort than the traditional means. Therefore, it is vital to shop around. In this article, we are going to walk you through various international money sending options, to help you figure out how to conveniently,  get your cash from one corner of the world to the other.

Understand The Process For International Money Transferring Between Banks

Looking to make your first international money transfer between bank but don’t know where to begin? We are here to help. Whether you want to pay for goods and services around the world or any other purpose, this guide will give you a systematic approach to sending money internationally.

When using your bank for international wire transfers, a Society for Worldwide Inter-bank Financial Transactions or SWIFT code will be required.

SWIFT: Society for Worldwide Inter-bank Financial Transactions

While SWIFT codes are not as swift as the name, they are common with nearly all banks. Since not all banks have straight connections, the SWIFT codes are useful for international bank-to-bank transfers for participating members. The best thing is that you can save money when using the SWIFT network.

In some ways, this network works like traveling via plane. If you don’t have a direct connection to your destination, it means connecting a flight or two. Therefore, instead of moving the cash directly, from its origin to destination, the money will go through one to three banks.

The SWIFT organization will oversee the messaging network through which banks use to transfer money internationally. Each of the SWIFT network members gets a unique code, known as a SWIFT ID or bank identifier code (BIC).

Way To Transferring Money Internationally Between Banks

Transferring money internationally between banks can come in two forms. You can choose to do it online or in-person from a bank branch. Keep reading to understand each of the procedures in detail.

1. Without Visit A Bank Transfers Money Internationally

Some banks offer the convenience of online international money transfers, sparing you the agony of visiting a branch office. It is the best way to send money internationally between banks. However, since individual banks are different, you will want to give ask your bank for what their process allows.

If you have an already set up online banking account, logging into it and navigating to the wire transfer section is the best way to get started. You can also search for wire transfers on Google, and include your bank’s name in the search query. Alternatively, calling the bank’s customer care department should direct you to the right place.

Follow these steps for an online bank to bank transfer:

  1. Check out the wire transfer section on the bank’s website
  2. Double-check the transfer limit for an online transaction
  3. Key in the bank details of the recipient
  4. Enter the amount to transfer, including the currency you want at the recipient bank
  5. Pay the processing fee for the transfer
  6. Find out the duration for the transfer

In most cases, the currency of the recipient’s country reflects automatically, when you enter the details of the recipient. If it does not happen, you need to select the right currency and enter the amount of money to transfer.

Banks in foreign countries are denominated with their local currency as a rule of business. However, when transferring money to a foreign bank account, it is common for those banks to avail of multiple currencies for their clients’ accounts, particularly in US dollars. It is vital to double-check that you are transferring cash in the desired currency to avoid the entire transfer being rejected.

2. Visit A Bank For Transfer Money Internationally

If you prefer in-person to online transfers, or your bank needs you to visit a branch for the transaction, it is vital to know what to do when you get to the bank. Once your bank confirms that you can make an international wire transfer from their branch, be sure to follow these steps:

  1. Bring all the banking details including the US bank account from which you are making the transfer, the recipient’s International Bank Account Number, the recipient’s name, address, and account type with their local bank.
  2. Determine the amount of money you need to transfer and the destination currency
  3. Pay the international transfer transaction fees

Most bank transfers take between one to three business days based on various factors such as the destination bank’s time zone. Some of the banks also have different working days of the week, which can affect the duration of transferring money internationally between banks.

3. Writing Checks The Old School Way

Writing checks and depositing them into other people’s accounts, handing the checks to another individual, or using mail to deliver them to recipients in different cities is another cost-effective way for sending money. This is especially with a bank that provides free checking.

However, things can be trickier when attempting to send the checks internationally. Sending American dollar checks abroad will result in cashing delays. Therefore, it becomes difficult for banks to make timely verifications. As a result, some banks do not allow customers to deposit foreign checks.

If the receiving bank accepts foreign checks, it is important to note that the cash received will be paying a cashing fee. In addition, the recipient will be covering for the exchange rate to have the funds in the local currency. When sending by mail, this method is more secure because you can always cancel the check if it does not arrive at its destination.

Fees For Transferring Money Internationally Between Banks

Your bank is also going to charge an initial processing fee, which often runs from $40 to $50, depending on respective banks. However, some banks can charge as high as $80 for this transaction. Take note that receiving banks are likely to charge a fee, which can be anything between $10 and $20.

Here are the current transfer fees for large US banks:

Wells Fargo$40
U.S. Bank$50
TD Bank$40
SunTrust Bank$50
PNC Bank$45
Capital One$50
Bank of America$45

Besides these charges, keep in mind that you will be paying additional charges with one to three intermediary banks, and the recipient. These charges can quickly add to the costs of transferring money internationally between banks, so be ready.

How Long Do International Bank Transfers Take?

Typically, transfers happen quickly, with bank wires taking a few days. Most of the domestic wire transfers are completed in one day, especially when it involves transfers between the same banking institution. International bank transfers, on the other hand, take longer.

If you are sending cash to another country, it might take as much as five days for your recipient to get the funds. Checking with your bank is the best way to determine how long the international money transfer will take. In addition, most banks are availing expedited wire transfers.

Delays are bound to happen when transferring money internationally between banks. If the bank sending the cash makes a mistake, the wire transfer is likely to take longer than you expected. Holidays can also disrupt international money transfers. Furthermore, some slow to pay countries including Cuba and Afghanistan will delay the process.


After completing the transfer form, the site will often show an estimate of how long the transaction is going to take. Some websites will reflect the transaction’s duration before you even begin. That notwithstanding, your bank will still track the transfer status.

The recipient’s BIC or SWIFT code is essential when transferring money internationally between banks in person. Without it, your bank cannot identify the bank to which the money should go. With the recipient bank name and address, you can easily find the SWIFT code, using an online BIC finder. Businesses and individuals regularly interacting with those overseas get multi-currency accounts or specific accounts for US dollars. If speed is an issue, you may want to skip sending money through bank-to-bank transfers and use standalone transfer services such as PayPal and MoneyGram. However, bank to bank transfers is the most secure for international money transactions.