Receiving an incoming international wire transfer: The basics

9 minute read

Whether you’re living or working abroad or just traveling temporarily, you may need to transfer money overseas. And that can be a complicated process — every bank seems to have its own rules and processes for sending and receiving transfers.

This guide will help you better understand the process of receiving an international wire transfer to a US bank account. This article will even go over specifics of receiving an international wire transfer to accounts in some of the largest banks in the USA: Bank of America, Chase Bank, and Wells Fargo.

However, if you pay attention to the poor exchange rates and the fees, you may be better off using a specialty service like TransferWise to receive your money from abroad.

This article will cover:

  • Why exchange rates are worth paying attention to
  • The steps to receiving an international wire
  • Chase Bank incoming instructions (and fees)
  • Bank of America incoming instructions (and fees)
  • Wells Fargo incoming instructions (and fees)
  • More info on international wire transfers

Read on to learn what you need to know.

A convenient and cheap alternative for international wires, TransferWise could save you. A lot.

transferwise a better way

Before you get started, a word.

Banks and money transfer providers often give you a bad exchange rate to make extra profits.

TransferWise is different. Its smart new technology skips hefty international transfer fees by connecting local bank accounts all around the world. Which means you can save up to 8x by using TransferWise rather than your bank when you send your money abroad.

Check out how to make your first transfer with TransferWise. And give it a try.

Oh, and while you’re at it, check out TransferWise’s free borderless multi-currency account. Where you can manage and send dozens of currencies all from the same account.

Now, back to what you came here to read.

Bad exchange rates hurt. Watch out for them.

bad exchange rates hurt

Before we even begin, we should go over exchange rates since they’re a major part of every international wire transfer. When you move money from overseas into a US bank account, at some point, it will need to be converted from the original currency into US dollars.

And when banks convert currency, they rarely use the mid-market rate. The mid-market rate is called by many names. Spot rate. Wholesale rate. Interbank rate. Regardless of what you hear it referred to, it’s the real exchange rate you see when you Google two currencies. Banks are notorious for marking up their exchange rates by an average of 4-6%. That seemingly small percentage costs you. A lot. That’s where online international transfer specialists like TransferWise could end up saving you. TransferWise uses the real exchange rate for every transfer, and only charges a small, fair fee.

Regardless, though, before you commit to sending money internationally, you should always ask the bank or transfer company for the exchange rate they’re going to use. Then, take that rate and compare it with the mid-market rate using an online currency converter. That will help you find out how much your international wire transfer is really costing you.

Want more info on exchange rates? Check out these articles:

How to receive an international wire transfer

how to receive an international wire

There are a few things you’ll want to know how to do so you can be best prepared to receive an international wire transfer. Here are the step-by-step instructions.

1. Gather all the information you need

In order to make sure the international wire transfer goes to the right place (your bank account), you’ll need to provide the sender with some basic information. This will vary depending on what bank you use, so make sure to ask your bank for its incoming international wire instructions to make sure you’re providing all the necessary information. Receiving a wire locally from within the US will be different than receiving an incoming wire from outside of America. So make sure you know how the money will be delivered.

But generally, you should be prepared to provide:

  • Your full name and address
  • The name and address of your bank
  • Your account number and account type (checking or savings, etc.)
  • Your bank’s IBAN (International Bank Account Number)
  • Your bank’s BIC/SWIFT code
  • The amount of the transfer
  • The reason for the transfer
  • A reference to be included on the transfer, if you want it

2. Know what fees are involved

International wire transfers can come with a whole host of fees.

  • There may be a fee charged by the sender’s bank for sending the wire.
  • There may be a fee charged by your bank for receiving the wire.
  • If the transfer is sent via the SWIFT system, as most international wire transfers are, there may be 1-3 intermediary banks, and each of these can deduct a fee for their part in the transfer.
  • Then, of course, the hidden fee wrapped up in poor exchange rates which can often range from 4-6% of an additional cost. (See the section above on exchange rates.)

Talk with whoever is sending the money and agree on who is going to pay what fees. It’s common for the sender to pay international transfer fees charged by the sending bank, but intermediary fees and recipient bank fees will often be deducted from the amount of transfer unless otherwise specified by the sender. A service like TransferWise could help you to significantly reduce the total costs. With TransferWise you won’t find any hidden exchange rate markups, unexpected intermediary bank deductions, or some of the high bank fees you’re used to. See if they could save you today.

3. Know when the wire transfer will be delivered

The delivery time is another factor that depends on the bank that’s sending the international wire, but on average, an international transfer should arrive in your bank account in less than 5 business days from the day it was sent¹. You can check with the sender or your own bank for a more specific estimate.

Chase Bank help on international wires. And fees.

chase bank transfer

Here’s what you need to know if you’re receiving an international wire transfer at Chase Bank.

Chase Bank incoming wire instructions

Chase Bank doesn’t have incoming international wire instructions posted online, so you’ll need to contact your branch to get the instructions so you know what information to provide to the person who’s sending the wire.

But be prepared to gather at least this information:²

  • The bank’s full name: JPMorgan Chase Bank NA
  • Your Chase branch SWIFT code and/or your branch’s wire or ACH 9-digit Chase routing number
  • Your Chase branch full address
  • Your Chase account number (including leading zeros if included)
  • Your full name as it appears on your account
  • Your own address

Chase bank transfer fees

How much you pay for an incoming international wire transfer at Chase Bank depends on what kind of account you have.

Personal Chase accountsFee³
Incoming international wire$15 per transfer†
Outgoing international wire$40-$50 per transfer†
†Additional feesSWIFT transfers often require the use of 1-3 correspondent banks, each of whom generally deduct their own feesthe exchange rate used to convert the money usually includes a markup

Chase Bank international wire transfer times

Chase Bank doesn’t guarantee any transfer times, and how long an international wire transfer takes can be dependent on both the sending bank and the country from which the money originates. But, on average, an international wire transfer should be completed in less than five days¹. Talk to the sender or a representative of Chase Bank if you need a more specific estimate about when your transferred funds will be available.

Bank of America incoming international wire instructions. And fees.

BOA wire transfer

Receiving your international wire transfer at Bank of America? This info should help.

Bank of America incoming international wire transfer instructions

To receive an international wire transfer at Bank of America⁴, you’ll need to provide this information:

  • Bank name
  • Your bank branch address
  • Your address
  • Your full name as it appears on your bank account
  • Your account number
  • Bank of America’s SWIFT code⁵ and/or your branch’s wire⁶ or ACH⁶ 9-digit routing number

Bank of America international wire transfer fees

Bank of America doesn’t list fees for international wire transfers online, and warns its customers,

We may change the fees for wire transfers and drafts at any time. Visit a financial center or call us at the number on your statement for current fees.⁷

Bank of America also notes that intermediary bank fees are possible with any transfer:

For an international wire transfer, other financial institutions involved in the wire transfer may also charge fees and deduct their fees from the amount of the wire transfer.⁷

Bank of America international transfer times

Bank of America notes that most wire transfers arrive at their destination in 1-2 business days.⁴ However, they do note:

There are a number of factors which could delay the credit to the beneficiary. These include, but are not limited to: local bank holidays, delays by an intermediary bank or other local conditions. Note, too, that some countries have been designated as slow-to-pay layer countries. Transfers made to or from a slow-to-pay country may experience delays in crediting the beneficiary's account.⁴

Wells Fargo guide to receiving international transfers. And fees.

wells fargo international wire

Here’s what you need to know to receive an international wire transfer at Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo incoming international wire instructions

To receive an international wire transfer at Wells Fargo, you may need additional routing instructions,⁸ so you’ll want to double check with your bank first. But to start out, you’ll likely need to give this information to the sender:

  • Bank name
  • Your Wells Fargo branch address
  • Your full name just like it appears on your account
  • Your complete Wells Fargo account number (including leading zeroes)
  • Wells Fargo’s SWIFT/BIC code and/or your branch’s wire or ACH 9-digit routing number
  • Your address as it appears on your Wells Fargo account
  • Purpose of payment may also be requested⁹

Wells Fargo international wire transfer fees

Wells Fargo Consumer AccountsFees¹º
Incoming international wire$16 per transfer†
Outgoing international wireWells Fargo will only disclose the fee at the time of the transaction†
†Additional feesOften, 1-3 correspondent banks each deduct their own fees.Often, whichever bank converts money from one currency to another adds a spread/markup to the exchange rate which is a further cost to you. If incoming or outgoing transfers include incorrect information, there may be additional fees levied.

Wells Fargo international wire transfer times

Wells Fargo doesn’t guarantee any transfer times on its website, but does note that incoming wire received after 5:30 P.M. Central Time⁹ won’t be processed until the next business day. International wires, on average, typically arrive to their destination within 5 business days¹, though some factors can slow that down.

Feeling better about receiving an international wire transfer? It may take a little legwork, but this guide should give you a good idea of what you need to know and do to successfully receive money from abroad.

Looking for more info on US international wire transfers? Check out these articles:

more info on US

  1. (March 8, 2018)
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| This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date. |

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