How to Avoid Wire Transfer Fees
January 7, 2022
Wire transfer fees are something every business will incur as they seek to send money abroad. The SWIFT system is built on fees, and they’re passed on to the originator—and sometimes the recipient—when it comes to sending funds across borders. There’s a cost to initiate the transfer, currency exchange fees, and sometimes even a landed cost. All in all, the cost of sending money can often be encumbering to businesses.
There are, however, ways to avoid wire transfer fees. Some are simple and straightforward tactics that any business can try; others require you to think outside the box. Here’s a look at some of the most effective ways to keep your costs low as you send money internationally.
Ask the Bank to Waive the Fee
Sometimes, the simplest way to absolve yourself of wire transfer fees is to ask the bank to waive them. After all, the institution itself is who sets those fees! If you’re a customer in good standing or do significant business with the bank, waiving fees is a simple way for them to keep you happy and banking with them.
Some banks actually have public-facing fee waiving policies depending on the situation. For example, banks like Chase, TD Bank and Bank of America can all opt to waive wire transfer fees for domestic incoming wires if you have an account with them (in good standing).
But just because you ask, doesn’t mean the bank will comply. In fact, most banks won’t waive fees. Wire transfers cost the bank, and waiving fees means they foot the bill for the transaction. If you don’t have an account, don’t transfer money frequently or don’t have significant funds under management, expect to pay the full cost of a wire transfer.
Use Multi-Currency Accounts
If you do business frequently in another country, it might be in your best interest to open multi-currency accounts. For example, you might open an account at a domestic branch in USD, as well as a foreign account with the same bank in EUR. When you need to send funds abroad, you can circumvent the wire transfer entirely. Here’s how it works:
- Deposit funds in USD in the local account
- Initiate a transfer between the two accounts
- The money leaves in USD and lands in EUR
- Pay foreign vendors and contractors in EUR
Multi-currency accounts can avert the need for a wire transfer and the costs that come with it. But beware of account maintenance fees! There might be costs associated with maintaining a multi-currency account or executing transfers below certain amounts. Make sure you’re not costing yourself more money through this approach.
Make Cross-Border Payments
One of the best ways to avoid wire transfer fees is to avoid wire transfers and the SWIFT system altogether! Today, there are a bevy of digital payment options that make it easy to send money across borders without the need to go through traditional banking channels.
Digital wallets are independent of banks and can hold funds in multiple currencies, with transparent exchange rates. Because of this, they can circumvent many of the fees and costs associated with wire transfers, making it even easier to send money abroad, all over the world. Here’s how it works:
- Open and fund a digital wallet, and have your recipient do the same
- Using your recipient’s wallet ID, send funds directly to them
- Choose the currency and see the exchange rate (if applicable)
- Watch the funds transfer in real-time
When funds hit the recipient’s accounts, they can choose to keep them there, convert them or withdraw them to a bank. It’s fast, convenient and transparent—and, best of all, it’s far more affordable than paying wire transfer fees!
There’s No Reason to Pay Wire Transfer Fees
Once, wire transfers were the only way to send money abroad. As a result, wire transfer fees used to be unavoidable. Today, however, there are a few ways to get around them. It all depends on your situation.
If you do business with a bank frequently and send wire transfers sparingly, sometimes all it takes is a friendly inquiry to have those fees waived. It might not happen every time, but it’s worth the ask. If you send lots of money abroad, consider opening multi-currency accounts to make moving money simpler and more affordable. And, if you’re really looking to cut out the fees, consider digital payments—the modern way to move money around the world.
If you’re sick of wire transfer fees and the obfuscation involved with the SWIFT banking system, it’s time to explore digital payments. Contact Veem today to schedule a demo, to see how easy it is to move money across borders and around the world.