BBVA Compass international transfer: Fees, rates and transfer time

6 minute read

Without the right information, making an international bank transfer can seem like it’s prohibitively complicated. Every bank has its own processes, requirements and fees. Where do you even start? However, with a little research, bank transfers can be decoded and made much simpler.

Are you a BBVA Compass customer? Read on to learn everything you need to know to make international transfers or Secure Send international money transfers, at your bank.

A quick example before we get started.

A theoretical online bank transfer sending $1000 from the US to a pound sterling bank account in the UK.

ProviderFeeExchange RateTotal Cost
BBVA Compass (USA)$45 (wire fee)Exchange rate + markup$45 + exchange rate markup + likely fees from intermediary and recipient banks
TransferWise$8.70The real exchange rate - the same one you find on Google$8.70

(Source 1, Source 2 29 January 2018)

It seems clear that BBVA Compass’ fees are higher.

However, if the fees alone aren’t reason enough to consider an alternative, that isn’t taking into account any exchange rate markup — on average a spread of an additional 4-6%. In addition, there are normally 1-3 intermediary and recipient banks who also charge fees.

Those costs start adding up. Fast.

To make sure you really know what you’re getting, compare the exchange rate you’re being offered with an online currency converter to find out how much your international transfer is really costing you before you commit.

What are the fees for a BBVA Compass international wire transfer in the US?

BBVA Compass international transfer fees table

BBVA Compass international transfersRegular fees
Incoming international transferFree for Secure Send international money transferUp to $15 per transfer for wire transfer
Outgoing international transferUp to $5 per transfer for Secure Send international money transferUp to $45 per transfer for wire transfer
Additional fees may applySee Additional Fees section below

(Source 1, Source 2 29 January 2018)

BBVA Compass exchange rates

With any bank, when you send or receive money in a different currency than the one used in your home bank account, it will likely be converted by the recipient’s bank or an intermediary bank. Unless you instruct your bank to do otherwise and ask them to handle the conversion themselves. The bad news, in any case, is that the bank gets to convert the currency at an exchange rate of its own choosing, and it will often choose a rate that’s 4-6% poorer than the mid-market rate so it can make a profit on the conversion.

According to BBVA:

The foreign exchange rate used to convert customer funds to a Remittance currency other than U.S. Dollars is a retail exchange rate. We obtain the foreign currency for these transactions at a wholesale exchange rate that fluctuates frequently, but may approximate the wholesale exchange rate listed for such currency in newspaper and online information services. Any conversion difference between the retail exchange rate and the applicable wholesale exchange rate will be retained by BBVA Compass as revenue along with any service fees.

What that means for your transfer is that the recipient is likely to receive less money than was actually sent, because of the loss from the exchange rate.

BBVA publishes a daily list of exchange rates on its website, even though normally an intermediary or the recipient bank does the conversion. If BBVA is doing the conversion, you can compare its rates to the mid-market rates using an online currency converter to determine if there’s a markup.

(Source 29 January 2018)

Additional fees

Some international transfers can be subject to additional fees. Some of those you may encounter at BBVA Compass are:

BBVA Compass international transferAdditional fees
Sending/recipient bank and/or intermediary bank(s)When you send your money internationally, it’s nearly always sent via SWIFT. SWIFT transfers can include 1-3 intermediary banks that each take their own fee from the amount you’re sending. Check ahead with BBVA to see if they can help you estimate the fees you’ll be liable for.
International transfer confirmation$3 for fax/email confirmation$5 for mail/phone confirmation

(Source 29 January 2018)

A cheap and transparent alternative: TransferWise

If the fees for an international bank transfer are giving you pause, there are alternatives. One of those is TransferWise, which allows you to send money at the mid-market rate - the same rate you find on Google. TransferWise only charges a minimal and fair transfer fee, that depends on the destination currency. Since TransferWise moves money with local bank transfers, there are no international or intermediary bank fees to pay.

TransferWise also offers borderless multi-currency accounts, which let account holders send, receive and manage money in multiple different global currencies at once. You can also get a debit card, which makes using and accessing your money easier, wherever you are.

Try TransferWise today to see how easy international money transfers can actually be.

How do you make an international bank transfer (Secure Send transfer) with BBVA Compass?

BBVA Compass offers a number of ways to transfer money internationally:

  • Online
  • In person at a branch
  • Through ATMs

BBVA Compass doesn’t offer international money transfers by phone.


  • Log into your BBVA Compass internet banking account
  • Move your mouse over the “Payments and Transfers” tab, and click “International transfers”
  • Fill in the required information and follow the on-screen prompts

At a BBVA Compass branch

  • Gather the relevant information for the recipient bank (more on that below)
  • Speak to a teller/cashier, and he or she will walk you through the process

At a BBVA Compass ATM

  • To send an international money transfer from a BBVA Compass ATM, you must first go to a branch to enroll in Secure Send and add your transfer beneficiaries
  • Insert your ATM or cheque card and enter your PIN
  • Select “International Money Transfer” from the main menu
  • Enter your customer number and PIN. Both of these will be provided for you at the branch when you enroll in Secure Send
  • Select “Send International Money Transfer”
  • Follow the on-screen prompts

(Source 29 January 2018)

What do I need in order to make an international money transfer?

To make an international transfer with BBVA Compass, you’ll need:

  • The recipient’s complete name and address
  • The amount you need to send
  • The name of the recipient’s bank
  • The recipient bank’s SWIFT/BIC code
  • The recipient’s account number

What do I need or what should I give to the sender in order to receive an international bank transfer?

To receive an international money transfer to BBVA Compass, you’ll need to give the sender:

  • BBVA Compass’ BIC/SWIFT code
  • Your account number
  • Your full name, as written on your account
  • Your home address
  • The amount to be transferred. You may need to agree with the sender about who will pay the fees associated with the transfer, as this can have an effect on the final amount you receive.

To find this information, log into BBVA Compass online banking, or call 1-800-273-1057.

How long does an international bank transfer with BBVA Compass take?

How long does it take normally to arrive to the destination account?

BBVA offers Secure Send international transfers to 20 different countries. Transferring money using Secure Send guarantees the money will be available in the recipient’s bank account no more than 15 minutes after it was sent. Sending money to countries not available with Secure Send takes longer - up to 5 business days.

What are the different payment methods and how long do those take?

A transfer sent with Secure Send takes 15 minutes. All other international transfers sent via SWIFT depend on the processing times of the intermediary and recipient bank’s, as well as BBVA. So BBVA can’t make any guarantees, but might be able to give you an estimate if you contact them directly.

Is there any way to make a faster transfer for an extra fee?

BBVA Compass doesn’t currently offer a way to speed up a transfer for an extra fee.

Does the amount of time it takes vary by destination?

Unless you’re using Secure Send, transfer times aren’t guaranteed. The amount of time it takes for an international transfer to be received also depends on the recipient bank’s processes. Contact BBVA for a delivery estimate.

(Source 1, Source 2 29 January 2018)

Contact / Help - More questions around your transfer?

You can contact BBVA Compass’ customer support in a number of ways. Their contact phone numbers and email may vary based on your location, though, so check online for the best way to get in touch with them.

With the right knowledge, international money transfers can be quick, easy and cheap. As a BBVA customer, you have multiple options, and hopefully, you can now choose the one that’s best for you and your wallet.

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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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