The Bank Wire Process for Small Businesses

Small businesses shell out a lot of money.

Especially when trading internationally, small businesses have to find fast and cost-effective ways to pay suppliers and contractors.

For a lot of small businesses, wiring money through their bank is the most convenient way to go.

All major US banks offer wire transfer services and have for a long time.

But, especially for small businesses, wire transfers through banks often pose challenges and create barriers to sending money internationally.

To help small business leaders, we’re going to breakdown the process of a wire transfer.

Starting the Process

starting the process

Before sending any money, you’ll have to get all your information together.

You’ll need to figure out how much you’re sending, and where it’s going. That means getting the recipient’s information, and their bank’s. This includes their IBAN (International Bank Account Number) and SWIFT (Society For Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) code.

Once you’ve gathered everything and either entered it into the online form or given it to your banker, you’ll be asked (forced) to pay an initial wire fee. Depending on the bank, the fee is put toward verifying the receiving account, authenticating the transfer, or applying the e-transfer.

Generally, banks charge from $40 to $50 to send international wires. Some can go as high as $80 depending on the destination.

After the fee is paid, your money should be on its way.

Money in Motion

money in motion

You might think that once your money leaves your bank account, it travels directly your receiver’s. But, this isn’t the case in the SWIFT system.

SWIFT is used to increase the security and speed of international transfers. It’s a network of international banks and financial institutions that communicate using codes, which are then used to determine where an international transfer is going.

Let’s imagine your money is taking a plane to your intended recipient. The SWIFT network works like a series of connected flights. Instead of traveling directly, your transfer lands in several airports (banks) before arriving at its destination (your intended receiver).

When your transfer “touches” a different bank, an undisclosed fee is charged for handling your money. The number of banks your payment touches depends on how far its traveling and which bank you’re using. Often, it ranges from between two and six intermediary banks.

All this time, your bank is largely unaware of where your money is. There’s no way to know where your payment is in real-time. Your banks only know where it’s been, not where it is.

How long your transfer will take to arrive isn’t an exact science. Depending on the bank and the destination, arrival times can vary between a couple of days to a few weeks.



Your work isn’t done after your recipient receives the payment.

You won’t know if they’ve received your money unless they tell you. Plus, they probably won’t know where the money even came from.

Once the money as arrived, your receiver has to figure out who the payment belongs to, especially if they’re receiving multiple wires, which small businesses usually do.

It’s like trying to figure out where a plane departed from by looking at the flight number. Scanning through a list to look up which number corresponds to which country is tedious to say the least.

The invoice itself doesn’t contain much information, so your recipient is forced to manually match each payment to a corresponding order. If you’ve paid for goods and need to pay before you receive them, this can add extra days to the process.

How Bank Wires Affect Small Businesses

Affect of Bank wires

Small businesses send a lot of transfers and pay a lot of people. So, the initial payments that banks charge to send a wire add up and can take a big chunk out of an owner’s wallet.

Add to that the fees accrued from every bank your wire touches along the SWIFT network, and you’ll be lucky if your payment arrives at all.

Speaking of that, bank wire transparency is virtually nonexistent. Largely due to the outdated SWIFT system, your bank simply has no way to know definitively where your payment is at any given time.

Rule number one of keeping your money safe is knowing where it is.

Each bank that your transfer touches is a risk. Whether from inside or out, your money could be tampered with, lost, or receive even more unnecessary fees.

For international small businesses, this is disheartening. But, there’s another way.

With Veem, your global payments are taken care of.

Our innovative multi-rail system takes the pain out of international transfers.

We charge no wire fees, actively track your payment, and verify your intended receiver for you.

Plus, we offer favorable exchange rates, and are constantly updating our methods to better help small businesses go global.

What’s not to love?

Try Veem today and get your money moving.

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* This blog provides general information and discussion about global business payments and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.