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Are There Limits on International Wire Transfers?

Updated on July 28, 2022 03:12 pm
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An international wire transfer is the best option if you ever want to send or receive big sums of money over an international border fast. Due to their high transfer limits, they are frequently used to make large payments like paying business invoices or sending money to family members who live abroad.

You most likely would have looked up wire transfer limits imposed by your bank, money transfer service providers, or any other central agencies like the IRS (Internal Revenue Service).

In this article, we cover what is a wire transfer, the wire transfer limits placed by major U.S. banks and money transfer companies that offer high transmit limits on international money transfers, and other topics. 

What Is a Wire Transfer?

Wire transfer is an electronic transfer of funds from one bank account to another bank account. There is no physical exchange of funds. The sender provides all the instructions for the transfer, which include the recipient’s name, bank, account number, and routing number to carry out the process of wire transfers.

It can be done in person or online, which is often the most convenient. 

Wire transfers are commonly used for both domestic and international transfers. 

In an international wire transfer, there is an electronic transfer of funds from one country’s bank account to another country’s bank account.

How To Do A Wire Transfer?

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial (SWIFT) handles the majority of international wire transactions using a SWIFT or BIC (Bank Identifier Code).

Banks send and receive messages using the SWIFT messaging system to coordinate international money transfers. The SWIFT network consists of around 11,000 member banks across 200 countries and territories.

Read more on how SWIFT Code works

For international wire transfers, the following information is generally needed:

  • Recipient’s name and address 
  • Recipient’s bank name and address
  • SWIFT or BIC code 

Wire transfers are not limited to banks. Non-bank money transfer provider also provides international wire transfers to individuals. Such as Wise, Revolut, XE money transfers, etc. 

Wire Transfer Fee

Although conventional banks are frequently used to send money abroad, it is not recommended. Money transfer specialists offer superior service with better exchange rates, quicker transfer times, reduced fees, and greater convenience.

To generate a profit, the banks add a margin of 3-5% on top of the real exchange rate (rates on Google). Fees can also range depending on exchange rates. 

It can range from $10 to $50. Some banks can charge a fee for receiving international money transfers. Typically, both the sending and the receiving banks may charge a fee for wire transfers.

Additionally, if a third-party bank acts as an intermediary in a bank wire transfer between the sender's bank and the recipient's bank, the third-party bank will charge a fee. The cost can increase if there are more intermediary banks involved in a single transaction.

Is There A Wire Transfer Limit?

The IRS does not impose any transfer limits on international transfers but there are reporting requirements for transfers of $10,000 or more and for individual payments made over a short period of time that add up to exceed $10,000.

The banks or money transfer businesses, not the person making the transfer requests, are required to meet the reporting requirement.

However, banks and money transfer companies will have their wire transfer limits and requirements that you must abide by.

U.S. Banks Wire Transfer Limits

Many major banks in the US impose a per-day or per-transaction wire transfer limit.

The maximum amount you can send ultimately relies on the type of bank account you have and the specifics of your payment, such as the currency and the country you are sending your money to. 

For example, the Bank of America wire transfer limit for online transfers is $1000 per transaction for personal account holders and $5,000 per transaction for business account holders. The international wire transfer limit for in-branch transfers will be higher depending on your account type. 

Chase Bank's wire transfer limit is set at $100,000 for individuals but offers higher limits for businesses on request. It can vary depending on the account type. Generally, Chase Private Client and Chase Sapphire account holders have the highest limits. 

Wells Fargo wire transfer limit through Wells Fargo ExpressSend Service will vary depending on the destination country, the payout method, and the specific bank or transfer provider selected. The maximum transfer limit is $5,000. The online transfer limit is set by account type, but you can raise it on request by contacting them and providing further details if required. 

The Charles Schwab international wire transfer limit is $100,000 per day. 

How Long Does Wire Transfer Take?

Wire transfers typically happen on the same day. The money transfer happens immediately since it is being done manually and is being watched over by bank employees.

Domestic wire transfers are handled the same day and are finished in a short period of time.

International wire transfers are fast ways to send money which typically take 1 to 5 business days (depending on the recipient's location and other factors).

Since they must be processed to maintain legality and adhere to compliance regulations, they are not instantaneous. The verification process and security checks are time-consuming.  

ACH Vs Wire Transfers

Both ACH transfers and wire transfers are used to transfer money between bank accounts. However, there are significant distinctions between the two methods of money transfer.

ACH transfers take place through the Automated Clearing House Network. The Automated Clearing House Network is a system for sending money electronically between bank accounts all throughout the United States.

ACH transfers are often utilized for domestic transfers. However, international ACH transfers are starting to gain popularity. Remember that not all US banks provide international ACH transfers.

The amount you can send using the ACH network in a day, a single transaction, or a month is limited Depending on the bank, it may differ, but often it's $25,000. Some banks may have a relatively low restriction of $2,000 or may allow up to $10,000 each month. For many people and businesses who need to transfer bigger amounts of money abroad, this can be a problem.

This is where wire transfers are advantageous, as the transfer limit is way higher than ACH transfers for international money transfers.

Domestic ACH transfers can be quick. An international ACH transfer can take several business days to complete. Typically longer than most wire transfers. Whereas domestic wire transfers are executed virtually quickly.

The ability to automate bill payments and other routine monthly expenses is a great way to use ACH transfers to save time and money. They are usually free or very low cost. Hence, they are much cheaper than wire transfers.

With wire transfers, you have to be careful because once it is initiated, it is difficult to reverse the process.  You might not get your money back if you sent it to the wrong person or make a mistake in the recipient’s details.

Money Transfer Providers Wire Transfer Limits

The good news is that banks are not the only option for sending money overseas. Most often, money transfer specialists can transfer your money faster, with lower transaction fees and a better exchange rate than regular banks.

You can do wire transfers online or in their money transfer apps conveniently from anywhere and at any time.

Learn more about the best money transfer apps

Similar to banks, money transfer providers have their transfer limits.

Here are the wire transfer limits of some popular international money transfer service providers.

Money Transfer ProvidersWire Transfer Limits 
Wise

$1 million per local transaction. You can make multiple transfers throughout the same day.


 

$1.6 million per SWIFT transfer.


 

Limits can vary depending on the currencies you send to and from and the payment method.

XE Money Transfer 

You can transfer up to $500,000 or currency equivalent for online transfers only.


 

No transfer fees $500 and above.

Revolut 

No limits to the transfer amount for most currencies. 


 

There is a limit of 1 million Japanese Yen (JPY) equivalent per transfer to Japan. 

Remitly

You can send up to $60,000 after providing additional information.


 

The limit will vary based on the payout method or destination country.

Western UnionThe transfer limit for unverified accounts is $3,000 and for verified accounts is $50,000.
InstaremMaximum transfer limit up to $1 million
PaysendSend up to $10,000 per month upon providing additional information                                   

 

Takeaway

International wire transfers are the easiest option for sending large sums of money. Fortunately, there are a plethora of options for your every transfer needs. So, the best transfer type will vary depending on your needs. Compare your options before you send. 

While choosing your bank for international wire transfers for a larger amount may seem convenient and easy, but several money transfer specialists provide the same benefits with much lower fees and better exchange rates and are best suited for individuals looking for the service. 

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