Bank of the West International Transfers | Fees & Exchange Rates Compared 2023 (2023)

Bank of the West is a financial services company in the United States, and a subsidiary of the BNP Paribas group. If you are based in America and curious about the best banks for international money transfers, this guide will help clear things up. We will inform our readers about everything they need to know about the bank in order to make a swift and secure cross-border transaction.

About Bank of the West

Bank of the West refers to themselves as “your local bank with global connections.” This North American bank has a long history that spans back to 1874, having originally operated as the Farmers National Gold Bank of San Jose, California. However, since 1979, BNP has been at the helm, and this has allowed the company to grow exponentially. Although not one of the United States top banks - in April 2021 it was ranked 34th in terms of biggest asset size - Bank of the West provides services to 1.8 million customers across the country.

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, the bank’s international services are limited when compared to global money transfer counterparts like Wise, Azimo and WorldRemit. While the bank does offer a number of products and solutions for “international clients” these are designed primarily to suit the needs of individuals who are moving to the United States from overseas, rather than customers who need to transfer money abroad from the United States.

Can I Use Bank of the West for International Bank Transfers?

Yes, customers can send an international wire transfer to overseas recipients with Bank of the West. However, using Bank of the West for overseas payments is not the easiest available option; as customers will find out when learning more about the overall cost, convenience and speed of these transfers.

Bank of the West Exchange Rates and Fees

In this section we will evaluate the various costs involved in an international transfer with Bank of the West, assessing how competitive the rate of exchange is and what kind of fees are incurred for this service.

Exchange Rate

Disappointingly, there isn’t a huge amount of information available about Bank of the West international wire transfers: the exchange rate, for example, is not specified online. This is a potential red flag as many banks offer marked-up versions of the mid-market rate of a foreign currency in a bid to make a small profit - often 4 - 6% - but this means your money will be worth less in the grand scheme of things.

Bank of the West exchange rates are not transparent. Customers have to visit the bank to get the prevailing exchange rate.

Banks typically don’t offer mid-market rates for international wire transfers. Customers can expect markups on exchange rates to range between 2% to 7%, which adds to the transfer cost.

We would advise contacting Bank of the West directly, to enquire about the specific exchange rate you will be receiving, before arranging an international transfer.

Transfer Fees

According to Bank of the West’s fee structure, each outgoing international wire transfer will cost the customer $50 in transfer fees; while incoming wire transfers, domestic or international, cost $15 in fees. This is extremely expensive when compared to competitor money transfer companies who offer fee-free or low-fee services to their customers.

Additional Costs

On top of the basic fees for sending and receiving transfers, Bank of the West lists various fees that will be charged for repairing, returning or adjusting an international transfer. As well as these additional costs, an international bank transfer of this kind may also result in further fees charged by intermediary or receiving banks that handle the money at different times during the transfer process. These costs should be considered before you decide whether to use your bank to make an international transfer.

How Do Bank of the West Transfer Fees Compare to Using a Money Transfer Provider?

Transfer fees for international payments are typically calculated as a fixed flat fee or a percentage of the transfer amount. As outlined in the previous section, many money transfer specialists offer zero or low fees for international payment services, which means Bank of the West pales in comparison. See below for a clearer comparison of the transfer fees for various service providers:

Send Money ToXEWiseWorldRemitBank of the West
United Kingdom$0$5.18$2.99N/A

Bank of the West Pros and Cons

To gain a better understanding of how Bank of the West handles international payments, we will present a list of the leading pros and cons of their products and services.

  • Customers have the option to use Zelle to send domestic transfers

  • Safe and secure bank-level security and insurance

  • Bank of the West transfer fees are not transparent. The bank doesn’t provide a schedule for its international transfer fees or correspondent banks fees

  • Bank of the West exchange rates are not provided online. Customers have to walk to the branch to get this service

  • Bank of the West international transfers depend on the SWIFT network, which may take up to 5 days

  • High fixed fees for sending receiving money, as well as numerous other potential fees

  • Unclear conversion rates for foreign exchange

  • Customers must make international wire transfers in person or over the phone

Bank of the West Swift Codes

Bankers Bank Of The WestUsaDenver Co
Bank Of The WestUsaMonterey Park Ca
Bank Of The WestUsaSan Francisco Ca

How to Open an Account and Transfer Money With Bank of the West

Opening an Account

Prospective customers can apply online to open a Bank of the West checking account, however visiting your closest bank branch will be quicker and allow you to ask any additional queries you may have regarding international transfers.

Transferring Money

To make an international wire transfer with Bank of the West customers should visit their local branch; business customers may have access to this service via their Online Banking. For individuals with a personal checking account, it is not possible to set up an international wire transfer over the phone or online.

When visiting Bank of the West to set up a cross-border transfer, be sure to collect all the relevant information you will need to execute a successful payment. This includes your account details, the recipient’s account details, their address and contact information.

Once you have all this information, find your local Bank of the West branch, request an international wire transfer and complete the relevant forms with the help of an advisor.

What Customer Support Options Are Available?

The following customer service options are available to Bank of the West customers:

  • Review the FAQs section of the website

  • Book an in-person appointment with an advisor at your local branch

  • Access information via Online Banking or mobile app

  • Call customer service on 800-488-2265 or TTY 800-659-5495

Bank of the West advises customers to consult all existing customer support options before reaching out via phone, due to extended wait times: phone lines are open Monday to Friday 4am-10pm PST, and Saturday, Sunday, and most holidays 5am-10pm PST.


Bank of the West has been around for a very long time and undoubtedly knows how to look after their customers across North America. However, if your customer needs extend beyond the borders of the United States, Bank of the West is not as well equipped to handle these kinds of financial requirements. Customers who arrange an international wire transfer service with Bank of the West will have to fork out for fees of $50 per transfer - in addition to a presumed mark-up for the foreign currency - and their recipient may also have to wait up to 5 working days to receive the funds. Add to this the fact customers can only set up international wire transfers in-person by visiting their local bank branch, and it is obvious this bank is not the best option.

Instead, for sending or receiving money abroad, we would recommend customers take advantage of the numerous money transfer companies available online; have a read of our reviews to learn more about each.

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How much does Bank of the West charge for foreign transfers? ›

Sending money in a Bankwest store$35
Receiving funds into your Bankwest account from overseas$0
Initial query to investigate late International Transfers$25
Each subsequent query or follow up message$15
1 more row

Does Bank of the West do international wire transfers? ›

Bank of the West international wire transfers are available – but there is a fee to pay, and personal account holders can't send money internationally online. This article will explain how to send or receive an international wire transfer with Bank of the West.

What is the cheapest option to transfer money internationally? ›

What is the cheapest way to send money internationally? The cheapest way to send money internationally is to transfer funds directly from your bank account to a recipient's bank account. Most transfer services charge additional fees for debit card or credit card payments and cash pickups.

What is the exchange rate for international wire transfer? ›

International Wire Transfers: Exchange Rates

However, for most banks generally, exchange rate margins tend to range from as low as 1.50% of the transfer value to as high as 15.00% or more at the extremes.

How do I avoid international wire transfer fees? ›

How to Avoid Wire Transfer Fees
  1. Ask the Bank to Waive the Fee.
  2. Use Multi-Currency Accounts.
  3. Make Cross-Border Payments.
  4. There's No Reason to Pay Wire Transfer Fees.

How much does Bank of the West charge for currency exchange? ›

Bank of the West Exchange Rate

Bank fee: $50; Hidden exchange rate margin: Mark-ups typically range from 4%-7%.

Which bank is best for international wire transfers? ›

Which bank is best for international wire transfers?
ProviderFee for $1000 to GermanyExchange rate
Bank of America²$45exchange rate + likely markup
BECU³$35exchange rate + likely markup
Capital One⁴$50exchange rate + likely markup
Chase Bank⁵$50 with assistance from Chase, or $40 onlineexchange rate + likely markup
15 more rows
Jun 2, 2023

Which banks do not charge international wire transfers? ›

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.
  • Fidelity.
  • HSBC.
  • Mercury Business.
  • CIT Bank.
  • Citibank.
  • Eastern Bank.
May 3, 2023

What is the difference between international ACH and international wire transfer? ›

The main difference between an international ACH and an international wire transfer is that ACH is done through a network of financial institutions, whereas a wire transfer typically happens between two (or three) banks.

How do I get the best exchange rate when transferring money? ›

Here are a few things to think about when comparing money transfer exchange rates:
  1. Know the mid-market rate for your currency. Money transfer providers skew exchange rates in their favour. ...
  2. Compare providers. Use our table to compare online providers. ...
  3. Skip the bank. ...
  4. Use transfer tools to save money. ...
  5. Send larger amounts.

What is the best day to transfer money internationally? ›

The best day of the week to transfer money internationally

Mondays often experience the lowest number of trading in foreign exchange market. Therefore, you may expect the least fluctuation in price. Friday has a definite effect which is called the summary effect.

What is the simplest way to transfer money internationally? ›

Best Ways to Send Money Internationally
  1. Internationally Money Order. The money order is the oldest preferred form of money transfer. ...
  2. Online Money Transfer. ...
  3. Online Wire Transfer. ...
  4. Bank Drafts or Cashier's Cheques. ...
  5. Step 1: Check Customer ID. ...
  6. Step 2: Exchange Rate. ...
  7. Step 3: Transfer Payment. ...
  8. Step 4: Money Is Converted And Sent.
May 30, 2023

Is it better to wire money in dollars or euros? ›

When your payment arrives, the receiving bank will also apply a fee to convert your dollars into local currency. Sending payments in the foreign currency directly can help avoid associated fees, reduce payment costs and deliver more money to your beneficiary.

Why are international wire transfers so expensive? ›

Global Network: When large amounts of foreign currencies are traded, banks charge other banks a midmarket, or interbank, exchange rate. If the foreign bank has to convert the money on the receiving end, they will usually charge a higher markup.

What is cheaper than wire transfer? ›

Bank Drafts, Money Orders, and Cashier's Checks

These money orders will often be less expensive than those purchased through a financial institution, running anywhere between $3 and $9. Money orders purchased through a bank often cost about $10. Money orders are typically used for smaller amounts than bank drafts.

Does IRS monitor international wire transfers? ›

The IRS does monitor international wire transfers, and that there's an overseas money transfer limit of $10,000¹ before your transfer will be reported to the IRS.

Do I have to report international wire transfers to IRS? ›

Understanding the basics of international money transfer laws is important if you're receiving or sending large amounts of money abroad. If transactions involve more than $10,000, you are responsible for reporting the transfers to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

What are the disadvantages of international wire transfer? ›

The Cons of Wire Transfers
  • High costs. Not surprisingly, there's a price to pay for the convenience of wire transfers. Fees vary depending on factors such as provider or method used (online, over the phone, or in person). ...
  • Irrevocability. Once a wire transfer is sent, the issuer can't get the money back.
Jan 19, 2023

How long does a Bank of the West transfer take? ›

Depending on the recipient's bank, the money will be deposited within minutes or in 1–3 business days.

What banks don't charge for currency exchange? ›

Which bank has the lowest foreign transaction fee?
BankForeign Transaction Fees
Capital OneNo foreign transaction fees
Chase0% - 3%
HSBCNo foreign transaction fees on credit cards (0% - 3% on debit cards)
PNC0% - 3%
5 more rows

What is the daily limit for Bank of the West? ›

World Debit™ Mastercard®

Higher daily transaction limits4—up to $4,060 in ATM cash withdrawals and up to $15,000 in point-of-sale and other debit card transactions. Price protection5 that ensures you pay the lowest prices—if you see your purchase advertised for less within 60 days, we'll refund the difference.

Is SWIFT better than wire transfer? ›

SWIFT transfers use a global network of secure banks for electronic payments, while local transfers use a national network to send money to a recipient's local account. SWIFT transfers are more secure and suitable for larger transactions but have higher fees and longer processing times.

What is the maximum money transfer without tax? ›

While the general rule is that wire transfers over $10,000 must be reported to the IRS, there are some exceptions to this requirement. These include: Transactions that are conducted by financial institutions on behalf of the US government. Transactions that are conducted between financial institutions.

What is the difference between bank transfer and international bank transfer? ›

Bank and wire transfers can be sent nationally, but only wire transfers can be made internationally. You can set up a bank transfer to send internationally, but it will require tapping into the SWIFT network that wire transfers rely on for the transaction to be completed.

How much is Wells Fargo international wire transfer fee? ›

International Wire Transfer Fees at Wells Fargo

The Wells Fargo foreign wire transaction fee is: Incoming foreign wire transfers are $16 per transaction. Outgoing foreign wire transfers are $30-45 per transaction.

Can a bank waive a wire transfer fee? ›

Not all banks or financial institutions charge fees for types of wire transfers. Some reduce wire transfer fees or offer fee waivers to eligible accounts. Special conditions may include using online banking, sending international wire transfers in-branch, or sending money already converted to foreign currency.

Why use ACH instead of wire transfer? ›

An ACH transfer goes through an interbank system for verification before it's completed. A wire transfer goes directly and electronically from one bank account to another without an intermediary system. ACH transfers typically have lower fees than wire transfers have.

What is international ACH vs SWIFT? ›

SWIFT (the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) is a network for sending and receiving international wire transfers. Global ACH (also called International ACH Transfer) is a method for moving money from US-domiciled accounts across borders using local rails.

Is SWIFT only for international wire transfer? ›

Your SWIFT code is usually required if someone is sending you an international money transfer as it's used to identify an individual bank to verify international payments.

Who has the strongest exchange rate? ›

List of Highest Currencies in the World 2023
CurrencyValue ofINR Value In Rs (As on June 2023)
Kuwaiti Dinar1 KWD268.97
Bahraini Dinar1 BHD219.40
Omani Rial1 OMR214.84
Jordanian Dinar1 JOD116.59
6 more rows

Which bank gives best exchange rate? ›

Which bank gives best forex exchange rate in india?
  • ICICI Bank: ICICI Bank is one of the leading banks in India that offers forex services to its customers. ...
  • HDFC Bank: HDFC Bank is another popular bank in India that offers forex services to its customers. ...
  • Axis Bank: ...
  • State Bank of India: ...
  • Kotak Mahindra Bank:
Mar 25, 2023

How do I avoid paying exchange rates? ›

Many international travelers encounter foreign transaction fees while making purchases or withdrawing cash from an ATM in a foreign country. The easiest way to avoid a foreign transaction fee is to use a debit or credit card that waives foreign transaction fees while traveling abroad.

What day of the week is best to exchange foreign currency? ›

All in all, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the best days for Forex trading due to higher volatility. During the middle of the week, the currency market sees the most trading action. As for the rest of the week, Mondays are static, and Fridays can be unpredictable.

What is the longest an international bank transfer can take? ›

How long do international payments take? International bank transfers usually take one or two days but can take as long as five depending on the currency. For example, US dollars and euros are normally quicker than weaker currencies.

What are the fastest international bank transfers? ›

Which providers are the fastest to send money abroad?
ProviderTransfer speedsVisit provider
XE1 - 4 days, transfers are often completed in minutesVisit XE
InstaremUp to 5 days, transfers are often completed in minutesVisit Instarem
WorldRemit2-3 days, but many transfers are instantVisit WorldRemit
TorFX1-3 daysVisit TorFX
1 more row

What is the best way to transfer large sums of money abroad? ›

Both Western Union and PayPal are popular choices for sending large sums of money overseas.

How can I make a large international transfer? ›

You can send large sums of money from one bank account to another with a wire transfer. These types of transfers are initiated through a bank officer at the delivering bank who fills out the necessary forms. Wire transfers, for the most part, must be done in person.

Can Wells Fargo transfer money internationally? ›

With Wells Fargo ExpressSend you can send money to 13 countries, with more than 50 Remittance Network Members, and over 49,000 payout locations.

Is it better to get Euros in US bank or in Europe? ›

The short answer is: Always pay in the local currency (Euros), which allows your bank to set the exchange rate, and it will always be a better option. If you choose to pay in dollars, you get the worst exchange rate from the merchant.

How to avoid Western Union fees? ›

You can avoid these fees by using a debit card. * Western Union also makes money from currency exchange. When choosing a money transmitter, carefully compare both transfer fees and exchange rates. Fees, foreign exchange rates, and taxes may vary by brand, channel, and location based on a number of factors.

What is the cheapest way to transfer money from US to euro? ›

Bank transfers are usually the cheapest option when it comes to funding your international money transfer with Wise. Bank transfers can be slower than debit or credit cards, but they usually give you the best value for your money.

How much does Western Union charge to send $100? ›

Fees for money transfers within the US

The cost to send money within the US via Western Union depends on the amount you are sending, your payment method and how your recipient would like to receive their cash. To send $100 from your bank account to theirs still carries a significant fee of $14.00.

How much does SWIFT charge per transfer? ›

As a ballpark, you can expect the big banks to charge 2%-5% in exchange rate costs on a SWIFT transfer. The exchange rate will vary based on the amount you send.

Does Bank of America charge for international wire transfers? ›

Also, Bank of America doesn't charge a fee for international wire transfers sent in a foreign currency, and the exchange rate for that type of transfer is locked in upfront. Bank of America notes that you may be able to get a better exchange rate through an online transfer rather than an in-person transfer.

Which US bank is best for international wire transfers? ›

Which bank is best for international wire transfers?
ProviderFee for $1000 to GermanyExchange rate
Bank of America²$45exchange rate + likely markup
BECU³$35exchange rate + likely markup
Capital One⁴$50exchange rate + likely markup
Chase Bank⁵$50 with assistance from Chase, or $40 onlineexchange rate + likely markup
15 more rows
Jun 2, 2023

How much do banks charge for international wire transfers? ›

Wire transfer fees generally range from $0 to about $50. The median wire transfer fee for the institutions we surveyed is $15 for incoming domestic wire transfers, $25 for outgoing domestic wire transfers, $15 for incoming international wire transfers and $45 for outgoing international wire transfers.

Do banks charge foreign transaction fees? ›

Foreign transaction fees can add up fast when using your debit card abroad. The fees are often 1% to 3% of the amount of a purchase, and many banks also apply the fee to ATM withdrawals.

How much does SWIFT transfer cost? ›

As a ballpark, you can expect the big banks to charge 2%-5% in exchange rate costs on a SWIFT transfer. The exchange rate will vary based on the amount you send. The more you send, the better the rate.

Which banks have no foreign transaction fees? ›

Which bank has the lowest foreign transaction fee?
BankForeign Transaction Fees
American Express0% - 3%
Bank of America0% - 3%
Capital OneNo foreign transaction fees
Chase0% - 3%
5 more rows

Which bank account does not charge foreign transaction fee? ›

Chase Sapphire Checking customers do not incur any fees, including foreign transaction fees, for withdrawing cash from an ATM abroad. Chase attempts to identify and refund any charges from ATM issuers, but can also be contacted to request a refund if they didn't identify these fees initially.

What is the transaction fee for international transactions? ›

How Much Credit Cards Charge on International Transactions? For MasterCard and Visa, the international transaction credit card fee is 1%, while for other payment networks, the charge levied is usually between 2% – 3% of the transaction amount.

Is there a limit for SWIFT transfer? ›

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.

Is SWIFT enough for international transfer? ›

Your SWIFT code is usually required if someone is sending you an international money transfer as it's used to identify an individual bank to verify international payments.


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