Charles Schwab international wire transfer: Fees, rates and transfer time

TransferWise content team
08.03.18
6 minute read

Sending money across international borders is easier than ever, with many of the world’s banks connected via SWIFT and BIC codes. But what should be a simple process often isn’t, especially when you find yourself confronted with all the varying requirements, processes and fees required to transfer money internationally from different banks. You may also find that you’ll be able to save some money when you use a service like TransferWise, instead of your bank. But more on that, later.

Regardless, the best thing you can do is educate yourself, so read on to learn all you need to know about making an international transfer with Charles Schwab.


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.

Provider Fee Exchange Rate Total Cost
Charles Schwab (USA) $25 Exchange rate + markup $25 + exchange rate markup + likely fees from intermediary and recipient banks
TransferWise $8.70 The real exchange rate - the same one you find on Google $8.70

It seems clear that Charles Schwab’s fees are higher. However, that’s not even the whole picture.

If the fees alone aren’t reason enough to consider an alternative, than add to that the exchange rate markup — on average a spread of an additional 4-6%, and the 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 before you commit, 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.

(Source 1 Source 2 29 January 2018)


What are the fees for an international wire transfer with Charles Schwab in the US?

Charles Schwab international transfer fees table

Charles Schwab international transfers Regular fees
Incoming international transfer No fee
Outgoing international transfer $25 per transfer
Additional fees from intermediary and/or recipient bank When you transfer money internationally, it is nearly always via SWIFT. That means that there will likely be 1-3 intermediary banks involved in the transfer, and they may all charge fees that you’re responsible for paying. For more information, contact Charles Schwab.

(Source 29 January 2018)

Charles Schwab exchange rates

When sending or receiving money in a currency different from what your home bank uses, the transfer might get converted into the destination bank’s currency, either by the destination bank or by an intermediary bank. The bank that does the conversion can do so at an exchange rate of its choosing, which will often be 4-6 percent poorer than the mid-market rate, or the rate you see on Google. This allows the bank to keep a portion of the transfer amount as a profit, meaning the recipient gets less than what was sent.

When you ask your bank to do the conversion, you have a bit more of an idea which exchange rate will be used. Although in most cases you won’t know the exact exchange rate until after the payment has been processed when you see this information on your bank statement. Having the conversion done by your own bank often doesn’t mean that there is no exchange rate mark up, though. Charles Schwab says the following about the exchange rates that they use:

“Schwab charges a markup on foreign currency exchange transactions. Current exchange rates and selected currency pairs will affect the markup charged.”

(Source 29 January 2018)

A cheap and transparent alternative: TransferWise

One alternative to international bank transfers is TransferWise, a service that allows you to transfer money at the mid-market rate, paying only a minimal, fair fee that’s spelled out upfront. TransferWise doesn’t actually move money across borders — it operates with a series of local bank transfers — so there are no international or intermediary bank fees to pay.

TransferWise also offers borderless multi-currency accounts, which allow account holders to send, receive and manage money in a number of different global currencies all at once, rather than transfer money between different accounts. Borderless account holders will also have access to consumer debit cards by 2018.

With the borderless account, you can even get your own virtual account details for EUR, GBP, AUD and USD, which means that you can get paid in those currencies with a local transfer.

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

How do you make an international bank transfer with Charles Schwab?

Charles Schwab offers a few ways to transfer money internationally:

  • Online

  • By phone

  • At a Charles Schwab branch
  • By mail or fax

Online

Log in to your Charles Schwab account to send international transfers in US dollars. If you need to send money in a different currency, use one of the options below.

By phone

  • Gather the relevant information for the recipient bank (more on that below)
  • Call 1-877-686-1937 (inside the US) or +1-415-667-8400 (outside the US) and a customer service representative will take down your information and initiate the transfer.

At a Charles Schwab branch

At a Charles Schwab branch, a teller will help you complete your transaction. Make sure you have all the information you need and let the teller/cashier know what kind of transfer you want to make.

By mail or fax

You can use Charles Schwab’s Request Foreign Wire Transfer Form to transfer money in any currency, but if you’re requesting a transfer in a currency other than US dollars, the form must be filled out. It can be mailed to:

Standard U.S. Mail:
Attn: International Account Solutions
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
P.O. Box 982601
El Paso, TX 79998-2601
USA

Or

International Mail/Overnight Delivery:
Attn: International Account Solutions
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
1945 Northwestern Drive
El Paso, TX 79912-1108
USA

Or faxed to +1-415-956-3212.

Make sure to check with your bank if these details are still up to date before you use them.

(Source 29 January 2018)

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

To make an international transfer with Charles Schwab, you’ll need:

  • BIC/SWIFT code of the recipient. If you don’t know it, an online tool can help.
  • The destination bank name
  • The recipient’s account number
  • The recipient’s full address
  • The destination bank’s full address

For non-US dollar international transfers, you’ll need:

  • The recipient’s IBAN number (for transfers to Europe)
  • The recipient’s sort code (for transfers to the UK)
  • The recipient’s CLABE number (for transfers to Mexico)
  • The destination bank’s local routing number (for transfers to Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the UK)

(Source 29 January 2018)

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 Charles Schwab, you’ll need to give the sender:

  • Charles Schwab’s BIC/Swift code
  • Your branch address
  • Your routing number
  • Your account number
  • Your full name as it appears on your account
  • You may need to agree with the sender about who will pay the fees associated with the transfer

How long does an international bank transfer with Charles Schwab take?

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

Charles Schwab asks its customers to allow at least two business days for international transfers. However, transfers can take up to five business days under some circumstances.

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

Payment for an international transfer occurs automatically and is deducted from the account of the sender.

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

Charles Schwab doesn’t currently offer a faster transfer for an extra fee.

Does the amount of time it takes vary by destination?

Transfer times aren’t guaranteed, and some countries and recipient banks may take longer to process international transfers.

(Source 29 January 2018)

Contact / Help - More questions around your transfer?

Still need help? Charles Schwab’s customer service center will have more information about making international transfers through the bank. Check online for the best way to contact them, because numbers will vary based on your location.

With all the right information, making an international transfer is a lot less daunting, right? Hopefully, you can now choose the transfer method that’s right for you and your money.

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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