Citibank USA international wire transfer: Fees, rates & transfer times

21.02.18
7 minute read
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Maybe you’re sending money overseas to a family member. Or maybe you’re travelling abroad yourself and that unplanned elephant-riding excursion means you’ll need more cash than you anticipated. The point is, you might need to have someone back home wire you cash or figure out how to send it abroad yourself.

Citibank is a multinational bank chain and division of the financial services conglomerate Citigroup. Citibank operates in 19 countries and has over 700 branches in the United States. Citizens Bank allows you to make international wire transfers in over 75 different currencies. If you have either a checking or savings account with Citibank USA, you can make an international wire transfer. Although you may quickly find that an alternative like TransferWise may be a better option. But more on that, later.

This article walks you through not only the fees and transfer time but also the steps of making a transfer at CitiBank USA.


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
Citibank (USA) $35 Exchange rate + commission $35 + exchange rate commission + 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 US Citibank’s 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 commission — on average a spread of an additional 4-6% when banks add it. Citibank themselves notes they do have a commission on the exchange rates. But, 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 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 19 February 2018)


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

The table below lists the fee structure for international wire transfers for different types of Citibank accounts.

Citibank USA account type Regular international transfer fees
Citi Private Bank Incoming: waivedOutgoing: waivedadditional fees may apply to both
Citigold Private Client Account Incoming: waivedOutgoing: waivedadditional fees may apply to both
Citi Global Executive Preferred Account Incoming: waivedOutgoing: waivedadditional fees may apply to both
Citigold International Account Incoming: waivedOutgoing: $20additional fees may apply to both
Citigold Incoming: waivedOutgoing: $25additional fees may apply to both
Citi Priority Incoming: waivedOutgoing: $25additional fees may apply to both
Citi International Personal Account Incoming: waivedOutgoing: $30additional fees may apply to both
Citi Global Executive Account Incoming: waivedOutgoing: $30additional fees may apply to both
All other accounts Incoming: $15Outgoing: $35, onlineOutgoing: $45, in a branchadditional fees may apply to both
Additional fees may apply See Additional Fees section below

Note: These fees are subject to change and may vary based on the country you are sending money to and other criteria. Terms and conditions apply.

(Source 1 Source 2 20 February 2018)

Citibank USA Exchange Rates

When you’re transferring money to a different country, an exchange rate is used to determine how much the recipient will be paid out in the local currency. It compares the worth of one currency to another.

This may not seem like something you need to think too much about, but this is an area where you can lose out on a big chunk of change. Financial institutions tilt transfers in their favor by setting their own exchange rates, instead of using the standard mid-market rate that you see on Google or XE. On average, banks add in an additional 4-6% margin on an exchange rate to make a bit more money.Citibank may be the one converting your money from US dollars to another currency, or it could be that an intermediary bank does the converting. Regardless of who does it, most likely you will lose money here which you may never realized before.

For example, even though Citibank says that eligible Citibank Global Transfers have no transfer fees, but then if you read, they note that they still make money in the exchange rate:

> Send a Citibank Global Transfer from your Citibank account to other eligible Citibank accounts in the world with no transfer fee. If the Citibank Global Transfer is made in a foreign currency, the exchange rate includes a commission for the currency conversion.

And it’s not just Citibank Global transfers, it’s regular transfers as well where Citibank notes the same small print that they do take a commission for exchanging from one currency to another:

If the transfer is made in foreign currency, the exchange rate includes a fee for the currency conversion.

So it’s always wise to check the exchange rate you’re offered against the rate you find on Google to make sure you’re getting a fair deal. That will help you see how much you’re really being charged.

(Source 1 Source 2 19 February 2018)

Additional Fees from Citibank

Most international bank transfers rely on the SWIFT protocol. If Citibank transfers your money via SWIFT, it may conduct the transfer entirely through Citibank channels. But it’s possible that they rely on 1-3 additional banks. These intermediary banks charge their own fees, which are then added to the standard fee for a given transfer. These fees are not levied by the bank itself, but by additional banks needed to conduct the transfer.

US Citibank international wire transfer Additional fees
Sending/recipient bank and/or intermediary bank(s) A vast majority of international transfers are sent via SWIFT. That may mean that up to 3 intermediary banks, as well as a recipient bank, may take their own flat fee ranging from $20-$50.
Exchange rate commission As noted in the previous section, Citibank notes: If the transfer is made in foreign currency, the exchange rate includes a fee for the currency conversion. On average, banks add an exchange rate commission of 4-6%

(Source 19 February 2018)

A cheap and transparent alternative: TransferWise

When you transfer money from country to country, it’s important to be aware of the fees and exchange rates charged by different financial institutions. Most banks and transfer services charge low up-front fees, but take advantage of you by using a higher exchange rate than the average and skimming the difference.

To transfer money and have the largest amount left over when you collect it, give TransferWise a try. That way, your money will be converted at the real exchange rate - the same one you’ll find on Google or XE - and that should put more money back in your pocket.

If you’ll be making semi-frequent transfers from one country to another, the TransferWise borderless multi-currency account is probably best suited to your needs. A borderless account allows you to have a virtual account in the EU, the UK, the US, and Australia, but reside in a different country. There are no monthly fees, and it means you can hold, send, manage, or receive money through your account in dozens of currencies.

To see TransferWise’s revolutionary exchange rate method in action, check out the exchange rate calculator on the TransferWise homepage. Everything is laid out for you: the fee, the exchange rate, the final amount the beneficiary receives in the converted currency, and the amount you can save using TransferWise.

How do you make an international bank transfer (international wire) with Citibank USA?

You can make an international wire transfer the following ways:

  • Online
  • Over the phone
  • At the nearest branch

Online transfer

  1. Go to https://online.citi.com
  2. At the bottom of the page, click Benefits and Services.
  3. Next click Move Your Money > Transfers > Wire Transfers.

In person transfer

  1. To find a local branch, go to https://online.citi.com
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page.
  3. Enter your home address in the field under ATM/Branch Locations to find the one nearest to you.

Transfer by phone

  1. Call 1-800-374-9700.
  2. Ask a Citibank representative to walk you through the steps.

(Source 1 Source 2 19 February 2018)

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

Before you can make an international wire transfer, every financial institution will require you to have some information on hand. For Citibank USA, you need to collect the following information.

  • The name of your recipient (the person you’re sending money to)
  • The name, location, and country of the recipient’s bank
  • The recipient’s account number
  • The recipient’s BIC/SWIFT code as well as the CHIPS UID# (for some countries)

(Source 19 February 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 wire transfer through Citibank USA, you need to have the following information on hand.

  • The name of the person who sent the transfer
  • Your name as it appears on your Citibank account
  • Your account number
  • Your local Citibank branch address
  • Your BIC/SWIFT code and/or your routing number

(Source 19 February 2018)

How long does an international bank transfer with Citibank USA take?

In most cases, Citibank USA sends international wire transfers on the same day they were submitted, as long as they were processed before 5:15 pm ET. But, depending on the country, it may take a bit more time to get there.

(Source 19 February 2018)

Have more questions about your transfer? Contact Citibank

Go to citi online to have a live chat with a Citibank representative, or call them toll-free at 1-800-374-9700.

Once you have the tools to make an international wire transfer with your home bank, you can travel the world without having to think about surprise expenses or welcome detours. Travel boldly.

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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