Fifth Third Bank international wire transfer: Fees, rates and transfer time

17.04.18
8 minute read
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Fifth Third Bank allows you to make international wire transfers into numerous foreign currencies. If you have either a checking or savings account with Fifth Third Bank, you can make an international wire transfer. But if you’ve never sent money internationally, or it’s been awhile, you may need a bit of extra help.

This guide will walk you through not only the fees and transfer times but also the steps of making a transfer at Fifth Third Bank. The good news is also that you may be able to save even more if you use a service like TransferWise. Which you can still do using Fifth Third. But more on that later.

A quick example before we get started.

Here’s a theoretical bank transfer sending $1,000 from the US to a pound sterling account in the UK.

If you’re making your transfer through Fifth Third directly, you’ll have to go in person. With TransferWise, you can do it all online.

Provider Fee Exchange Rate Total Cost
Fifth Third Bank (USA) $50¹ (in foreign currency, for US dollars it’s $85) Exchange rate + markup $50 + 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

Sure, at first glance Fifth Third still appears to have much higher fees. But there’s more to the cost of an international transfer than just the fees. There are normally 1-3 intermediary and recipient banks who also charge fees. Plus, most banks mark up the exchange rate by an average of 4-6%. In fact, Fifth Third notes themselves that they also have a markup when they convert your money.¹

That gets expensive. Fast.

There is something you can do to make sure you’re getting the best deal, though. Compare the exchange rate offered for your transfer to the mid-market rate using an online currency converter so you know if the rate is marked up and by how much.

What are the fees for an international money transfer with Fifth Third Bank in the US?

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

Fifth Third Bank International Transfer Fee¹
Incoming international wire transfer $15
Outgoing international wire (in foreign currency) $50 + additional fees
Outgoing wire transfer (in US dollars) $85 + additional fees
Additional fees See below
Fifth Third Bank international transfer Additional fees²
Sending/recipient bank and/or intermediary bank(s) Fifth Third expressly notes that on international transfers “Exchange rate, other bank fees, and taxes may apply.”² In practical terms, in regards to bank fees, that means that up to 5 banks involved in the SWIFT process may take flat fees when they are used to process your transfer. Fees can range from $10-50 per bank.
Exchange rate markups Explained in the next section
Stop transfer² $33
Returned transfer² $15


Fifth Third Bank exchange rates

When you send money overseas, agencies use the exchange rate to figure out how much of the recipient currency will be transferred to the beneficiary’s country. While that may seem simple enough, the currency conversion process can sometimes be the highest cost of the entire transaction. It’s not unusual for banks to take an additional 4-6% of the amount you’re sending. That’s a lot.

If you need your recipient to receive a currency other than US dollars, then normally a correspondent or recipient bank makes the exchange. The exception is when you request for Fifth Third to convert your money first.

Regardless of who makes the currency conversion — Fifth Third or another bank — you should know that most banks and money service providers note in the small print that they don’t offer you the same exchange rate you find on Google. This rate can be called by a number of names — interbank rate, spot rate, wholesale rate, mid-market exchange rate. Regardless of what it’s called, though, the unfortunate news is that it’s highly unlikely that you’ll get an exchange rate as good as the one you see on Google or XE if you send your money abroad through your bank.

There is an exception, however.

If you decide to use a service like TransferWise you can sleep well knowing you’ll actually be getting the real exchange rate the same rate you’d find on Google. TransferWise believes that everyone, from high street banks to regular everyday people all deserve the same, fair, real exchange rates. So, if you decide to use your Fifth Third bank account to send money abroad through TransferWise, know that you won’t be losing money on bad exchange rates.

Keep reading to find out more.

A cheap and transparent alternative: TransferWise

When you make an international money transfer, it’s good to know what costs you’re coming up against. As a quick summary, when you make an international transfer through your bank you’re looking at 4 main costs:

  • The upfront fee charged by the original bank (Fifth Third)
  • Poor exchange rates (normally levied by an intermediary bank)
  • Correspondent bank fees (charged by up to 3 banks)
  • Recipient bank fees

That’s probably more than you were originally aware of. And the worst part is that often these fees, especially the exchange rate markups, aren’t spelt out upfront.

This is where TransferWise can help. With TransferWise, you can expect the following fees:

  • A low upfront fee (especially when you pay by Bank Debit)

That’s it.

Your money will be converted at the real exchange rate the same one you’ll find on Google or XE. No correspondent bank fees. And, because your money is then sent to your recipient locally, there are no recipient bank fees.

And if you find yourself juggling a life-based in several countries, you may want to check out the TransferWise borderless multi-currency account. That way you can have one centralized account to hold and send out dozens of currencies. And can receive local transfers in several regions including the EU, the US, the UK and Australia.

To see if TransferWise works for you, check out the exchange rate calculator on the TransferWise homepage. You’ll find everything laid out.

Give it a try.

How do you make an international bank transfer with Fifth Third Bank?

There are a few ways you can use Fifth Third to send your money abroad. One is conventional. One is not so conventional.

Option 1: Send money through Fifth Third in person

If you’re an everyday consumer, Fifth Third may require you to complete your international wire in person.³ Not the most the most convenient option for many of us. That also means if you’re currently outside of the US, you may be stuck.

If you have a business account with Fifth Third, you may have more options.

Regardless, for an average Joe, to make an international wire transfer with Fifth Third complete the following steps.

  1. Gather the information you’ll need for your recipient (more on that later)
  2. Find your nearest branch https://locations.53.com/search.html
  3. Arrive in person at a Fifth Third branch and request an international wire transfer

Option 2: Send money online through TransferWise (by connecting your Fifth Third bank account)

  1. Visit TransferWise.com
  2. Choose the originating currency and amount in the top box and then choose the corresponding recipient currency in the bottom box
  3. Select Show fee breakdown to see how much it will cost you
  4. Click on the green Get started button
  5. Fill out your personal information†
  6. Enter your recipient’s local banking info††
  7. Make sure you’re happy with the cost and exchange rate
  8. Choose the best options to pay for your transfer†††

† Often when you make your first transfer, you could be asked to verify your identity with an ID, a proof of address, your transfer reason, or even your SSN. It’s a similar process to opening a bank account in person.

†† As a heads up, when sending money through TransferWise you normally don’t need international banking details for your recipient. You’ll need local bank details the same information they would give to someone inside their country for a domestic transfer. Which means you’re more likely to need the domestic equivalent of their SWIFT/BIC code.

††† If you’re going for cheap and online, the best option for you will likely be Bank Debit (ACH) which is a bit like an electronic check, clearing the money directly from your Fifth Third bank account. If you’re looking for speed, the fastest option will be paying by debit/credit card if limits permit.

To find out more, visit how TransferWise works.

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

If you’re sending money directly through Fifth Third Bank, then you’ll need to fill out a wire transfer request form, which can be picked up at any Fifth Third Bank branch.

The form will require you to fill in the following information:

  • The name and address of the receiving bank
  • BIC/SWIFT of the recipient
  • The amount of the transfer
  • Recipient’s full name and address
  • Recipient’s account number

If you’re sending money by connecting your Fifth Third account through TransferWise, you’ll need:

  • Recipient’s full name (as it appears on their local bank account)
  • Recipient’s address
  • Recipient’s bank name and address
  • Recipients local bank details (normally consisting of either an IBAN or an account number coupled with a sort code/routing number equivalent)

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 Fifth Third Bank, you need to have the following information ready:

  • Your wire transfer routing number
  • Your name and full account number (including any zeros at the beginning)
  • The sender’s local Fifth Third Bank USA branch
  • Fifth Third Bank’s SWIFT code
  • The bank name, Fifth Third Bank, along with local branch address

If the sender uses TransferWise to send you money internationally, you’ll just need your local banking details. All which you can find on your checkbook your full name, your 9-digit ACH routing number, and your account number.

How long does an international bank transfer with Fifth Third bank take?

When making an international wire transfer through Fifth Third, ask your local branch when they expect the transfer to arrive in the recipient’s account. For a normal SWIFT transfer, the transaction may take anywhere from 1 to 5 days to get to your beneficiary’s bank account. A lot depends on the recipient’s country and the number of correspondent banks that may be needed.

Have more questions about your transfer? Contact Fifth Third Bank

Armed with all of the info you need to make an international wire transfer with your home bank, you can sleep easy knowing you have all of the information you need to ensure you’re making the best decision for your needs.

  1. https://www.53.com/content/dam/fifth-third/docs/legal/checking_pew_disclosures.pdf (April 11 2018)
  2. https://www.53.com/content/fifth-third/en/customer-service.html (April 11 2018)
  3. https://www.53.com/content/fifth-third/en/commercial-banking/international/global-treasury-solutions.html (April 11 2018)
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.

TransferWise is the smart, new way to send money abroad.

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