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CostHelper > Personal Finance  > Taxes & Financial Planning > Wiring Money

Wiring Money Cost

How Much Does Wiring Money Cost?

low costLow: Send $200 Internationally $5-$19average costMedium: Send $500 Inside US $28-$40
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Money can be wired within the United States or overseas either through an individual's own bank or via money-transfer senders like MoneyGram International[1] or Western Union[2] .

Typical costs:

  • Sending $200-$300, a typical sum, within the United States costs about $8-$24 via Western Union[3] , depending on whether the money is sent within minutes, the next day or in three bank business days. Wiring $400 will cost $20-$28, and $500 will cost $28-$40.
  • In contrast, banks usually charge a flat fee to wire money domestically. U.S. account holders with Bank of America[4] are charged about $25 to send any amount of money within the United States (and around $35-$45 internationally). Generally, banks take up to two days to wire money domestically.
  • For international money transfers, in the third quarter of 2009 it cost an average of $8.24 to send $200 from the United States to Mexico; $5.25 to send $200 to India; $10.02 to send $200 to the Philippines; and $19 to send $200 to China, according to The World Bank[5] . In the same period, it cost an average of $10.55 to send $500 from the United States to Mexico; $5.25 to India; $11.18 to the Philippines; and $19 to China. This survey of remittance prices by The World Bank includes both banks and money transfer senders, and average prices vary considerably from quarter to quarter.
Related articles: Stamp, Passport

What should be included:
  • To wire through a bank, it is necessary to show up in person and authorize the money to be transferred. The bank then starts a series of processes ending with the money being deposited in the recipient's bank account. The money becomes available to the recipient in one or two days.
  • With major money-transfer senders MoneyGram and Western Union, the transaction can be done over the phone or online as well as in person. Western Union has outlets in many major grocery store chains, and MoneyGram is in retail establishments like Wal-Mart. Most people wire money in person, which involves filling out forms and tendering cash to an agent. The agent then uses a computer to notify the money-transfer sender's central office, which transfers the funds to a bank account or financial institution on the receiving end. The sender is often given a prepaid calling card with three minutes or so to notify the recipient that the money has been transferred. Funds arrive almost immediately.
Additional costs:
  • When sending internationally, an unscrupulous provider might seem to have a low fee, but could be tacking high service fees or a higher currency exchange rate on to the transaction. For protection against such tactics, someone who wishes to send money abroad can visit Remittance Prices Worldwide[6] , key in the name of the countries involved, and comparison shop the services and exchange rates. When sending domestically, it's a good idea to comparison shop service fees of different companies.
Shopping for wiring money:
  • One way to find a reputable agent in a given area is to visit Western Union's locator page[7] or MoneyGram's locator page[8] .
  • When sending money overseas, visit Remittance Prices Worldwide[9] and comparison shop fees and services.
  • Use a licensed bank or money transfer agent. To find out if a bank or agent is licensed, visit the department of banking for the state from which the money is being sent. To find this department, visit the Conference of State Banking Supervisors. Don't do business with an unlicensed provider.
  • It is never a good idea to wire money in response to an unknown quantity, such as posters on Craig's List or unsolicited e-mailers who propose deals involving wire transfers.
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