If you’re going abroad, or need to send your money overseas, usually the first step is looking to your bank. But you’ll want to do a bit of planning to make sure you’re not hit with unnecessary fees or long wait-times. You’ll also want to have a look at the procedure too, as it can be different, depending on where you bank. The good news is, you might be able to save yourself some time and money if you use a service like TransferWise. But more on that later.
Read on for a guide to international money transfers with SunTrust banking.
A quick example before we get started.
Here’s a theoretical bank transfer sending $1,000 US to a pound sterling account in the UK.
|Provider||Fee||Exchange Rate||Total Cost|
|SunTrust (USA)||$50¹||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|
SunTrust appears to have much higher fees. And there’s more to the cost of an international transfer than just the upfront fees. Keep in mind that many banks mark up the exchange rate by 4-6%, plus there are normally 1-3 intermediary banks, and the recipient bank, who also charge fees.
This is getting expensive.
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.
Fees can vary depending on what country you’re sending to, your particular type of account, and the terms and conditions of your transfer, so it’s always a good idea to double check with SunTrust about what your wire transfer will cost.
The international wire transfer fees for SunTrust are¹:
|Incoming international transfer||$30 per transaction|
|Outgoing international transfer||$50 per transaction|
|Additional fees||See below|
When you transfer money to another country, it will need to be exchanged into the currency of the county that’s receiving it. This exchange is often done by an intermediary bank, but if SunTrust does the exchange, be wary that you may not get the mid-market exchange rate, or the rate you see when you Google it. SunTrust notes that¹:
“If transactions are in a currency other than U.S. dollars, the exchange rate for the transaction currency used by SunTrust for processing such foreign transactions is either (a) a rate selected by SunTrust from the range of rates available in wholesale currency markets for the applicable transaction processing date, which rate may vary from the rate SunTrust itself receives or (b) the government mandated rate in effect for the applicable transaction processing date, increased by up to three percent (3%).”
That means that SunTrust can mark up your exchange rate by up to 3% and keep those profits for itself, and this is charged on top of the fee that you already pay.
|SunTrust international transfer||Additional fees¹|
|Sending/recipient bank and/or intermediary bank(s)||SunTrust notes that “Intermediary financial institutions may deduct additional fees from incoming international wires, reducing the amount of proceeds credited to your account. Fees may vary.” If your money is transferred using SWIFT, there could several intermediary banks involved, and they can all deduct fees from your transfer.|
|Mail notification||$1 per transfer|
|Fax notification||$2 per transfer|
|Phone notification||$5 per transfer|
|Tracing of an international payment||$25 per transfer|
|International repetitive payment||$50|
Making your international transfer with TransferWise, instead of your bank, can save you confusion, markups, and hidden fees. TransferWise uses local banks to transfer to your recipient’s local account, so you don’t have to pay international transaction fees.
With the new TransferWise borderless multi-currency account, you’re able to quickly and easily open an account in 29 currencies - including US dollars. Use the borderless account to manage your money and pay bills around the world, using the real exchange rate. TransferWise charges a transparent fee on each transaction, which is a percentage of the transaction amount. If you’d like to compare rates between SunTrust and TransferWise, or make sure the country where you’re sending money accepts borderless payments, start now
Through SunTrust, you have a number of different ways to make an international wire transfer. They allow you the option of transferring²:
- In-person at a local branch
- By telephone
Transferring money online through SunTrust involves a preliminary in-person visit to your local branch. While there, you’ll want to request a wire PIN². From there, online transferring should be pretty straightforward — just follow the instructions in your online banking.
To transfer money abroad through SunTrust, you can also visit your local branch. Speak with a teller about what you’d like to do and they should be able to initiate your transfer as soon as they verify your account, releasing funds within minutes³.
To initiate an outgoing transfer by phone, you’ll also need a wire PIN². You can get one at your local branch. Once you have your pin, call 1-800-947-3786 and follow the instructions. You’ll need to have SunTrust’s SWIFT/BIC number handy. You’ll also need the account number, SWIFT/BIC code, and the name of the transfer beneficiary.
To make an international transfer, you’ll need the following information:³
- BIC/SWIFT of the recipient (check the BIC/SWIFT code online)
- IBAN or account number of the recipient (it will vary by country, so ask the recipient to double check with their bank to see which details they need to give you)
- Your debit account number
- Your social security number or other identifiable information
- The amount of the transfer
- Recipient’s full name and address
- Recipient’s account number
- Name and identifier code of the recipient’s bank
What do I need or what should I give to the sender in order to receive an international bank transfer?
If you’re trying to receive money as a SunTrust account holder, you won’t need an IBAN. You may need to agree ahead of time with the sender on who will pay the SWIFT transfer fees, as you can usually arrange this in different ways.
You’ll need to give the sender the following information²:
When you transfer money from a SunTrust account into an international account, it will generally take between 3-5 business days for the recipient to have access to the funds³.
SunTrust doesn’t explicitly state that some destinations will take longer to receive an international wire transfer, but, in general, some countries do tend to take longer than others to process incoming international transfers.
If you have any questions about making an overseas transfer with SunTrust, after reading this guide, you can reach out to them directly.⁴
Before you make a decision on the provider you will use to make your payment, you should make sure to understand the fees that you’ll be charged as well as which exchange rate will be used. With TransferWise you’ll be sure that your money will be exchanged with the real mid-market rate and you won’t be charged any other fees besides the ones you see upfront. If you’re not convinced yet, you can divide your next payment in half and send one part with TransferWise, and the other with your bank, so you can see with which provider helps your recipient receive the most on their end.
¹https://www.suntrust.com/Static/Documents/Personal_Banking/Deposit_Account_Disclosures/FSRETAILE.pdf, March 29th 2018
² https://www.suntrust.com/personal-banking/additional-services/wire-transfers, March 29th 2018
³ https://www.suntrust.com/facts-about-banking/making-transactions/additional-transaction-types, March 29th 2018
⁴ https://www.suntrust.com/help-center/personal-banking-faq, March 29th 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.
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