Bank of America international wire transfer: Fees and Transfer Time


 

Sending money overseas shouldn’t be hard - but it can be relatively expensive. If you have an account with Bank of America (BofA), you’ll want to know the full details of how to make a payment - including the Bank of America wire transfer fee, before you arrange your transfer. 

This guide has you covered. It’s good to also know that your regular bank isn’t your only option when sending an international payment. You can also choose a specialist alternative like TransferWise. We’ll take a quick look at how the costs compare - and how the Bank of America exchange rate will also impact the price you pay for your transfer. Let’s get started.

Bank of America wire transfer fee

Bank of America recommends that you send your wire transfer online, by logging into your regular online banking page. The price you pay will vary depending on whether you’re sending money in USD or in a foreign currency. 

If you don’t know the currency of the account you’re sending money to, you’ll need to choose to send money in USD. The payment will then be converted into the correct currency for the recipient’s account while it’s being processed. If you already know the currency your recipient needs, you can choose to have BofA carry out currency conversion on your behalf and send the payment in the required currency automatically.

It’s important to know that you may end up paying several different fees for sending money with Bank of America. There may be an upfront transfer cost, a markup added to the exchange rate, and third party charges including fees deducted by intermediary banks and the recipient’s own bank, foreign taxes and other related costs. 

Intermediary banks get involved when international payments are processed using the SWIFT network. We’ll cover this in more detail a little later.

A quick cost example: sending $1,000 from the US to the UK

Let’s take a look at a quick example - sending a payment of USD1,000 to a friend in the UK. 

As well as the different options from BofA we have also highlighted TransferWise as an alternative. TransferWise uses the mid-market exchange rate with no markup, and avoids the SWIFT network. This means there are no intermediary bank fees to worry about, making the final costs much more transparent.

ProviderFeeExchange rateTotal cost
Bank of America - transfer sent in USDUSD45Exchange rate + markupUSD45 + exchange rate markup + potential third party charges
Bank of America - transfer sent in GBPNo upfront feeExchange rate + markupExchange rate markup + potential third party charges
TransferWiseUSD9.04Mid-market exchange rateUSD9.04

Bank of America exchange rate

You won’t find the Bank of America exchange rates for wire transfers online. Instead, you’ll need to initiate your payment to see the rate you’re quoted. 

Bank of America exchange rates can vary depending on the payment type, and may include a markup. Here’s what BofA say about this:

“We provide all-in pricing for exchange rates. The price provided may include profit, fees, costs, charges or other mark ups as determined by us in our sole discretion. The level of the fee or markup may differ for each customer and may differ for the same customer depending on the method or venue used for transaction execution.”

This means that BofA will buy foreign currency using the mid-market exchange rate. That’s the rate you’ll find online if you do a Google search. However, they’ll then add a percentage markup or margin to the rate before they pass it on to customers. Exactly how much of a markup will probably depend on whether you place your payment online or in a branch, where you’re sending money to and how much you send.

When you initiate an international wire with Bank of America, it’s worth checking the rate offered against the mid-market exchange rate which you’ll find online. This will show you the markup being used in your particular situation.

Otherwise, if you’d rather use a provider which uses the mid-market rate for all transactions and makes it easy to see the full costs by using transparent pricing, take a look at TransferWise. You can make a one-off payment, or grab a TransferWise multi-currency account for free online, for simple, cheap international transfers.

TransferWise uses the mid-market rate for all transactions

Bank of America: third party fees

It’s also worth noting that there may be additional fees when sending a payment through BofA. Because wire payments arranged by traditional banks are often processed using the SWIFT network, a series of intermediary banks can be involved in processing a single payment. Each bank can charge a fee for the service they provide - which is then deducted from the payment as it’s processed. This can mean your recipient gets less than you expect in the end.

How to make an international wire transfer with Bank of America?

BofA recommends that you make your international wire by logging into your regular online banking page. It’s also possible to initiate a transfer in a branch or financial centre, but you may find the rate you’re offered is different - pushing up the costs overall.

Step-by-step guide for online transfer

To send a payment with BofA online:

  • Log into your online banking in the usual way
  • Head to the Transfers navigation menu
  • Click on Send money to someone
  • Select the option Using their account number at another bank
  • Follow the onscreen instructions to initiate the transfer

You’ll need to provide information about your recipient and the transfer, to get started, including:

  • Name and contact details for your recipient
  • The bank name, address and country for your recipient
  • Recipient’s account number
  • The correct identifying information for your recipient’s account, based on destination country - this may be a SWIFT Code, CLABE number or IBAN number for example
  • Transfer purpose

Receive money from abroad with Bank of America

If you’re expecting to receive a payment into your BofA account, you’ll need to give some information to the sender. If you’re getting a wire payment in US dollars, your recipient needs the bank’s SWIFT code and the address. 

  • SWIFT code: BOFAUS3N 
  • Bank address: Bank of America, NA, 222 Broadway, New York, New York 10038

If you’re expecting a payment in a foreign currency, use the following:

  • SWIFT code: BOFAUS6S 
  • Bank address: Bank of America, NA, 555 California St, San Francisco, CA 94104

How long does a wire transfer take with Bank of America?

An international wire transfer will usually take around 1 - 2 business days when sent with Bank of America. You’ll need to have the payment initiated before 5pm ET to make sure it’s processed that day. Payments which are arranged after that time may not be processed until the following working day.

Bank of America contact - How to get in touch with the bank?

If you still have questions you can get hold of a representative of Bank of America in the following ways:

  • Get the contact details you need according to the specific question you have, by following the steps described online on the BofA website
  • Find a local BofA branch with the branch locator tool
  • Schedule an appointment online via the dedicated website page
  • Connect using social media

There are many different ways to send money abroad. Your usual bank might not offer the most convenient or cost effective option. To check which payment provider works best for you, check out a few including your normal bank and a modern alternative provider like TransferWise. You might find you can save both time and money.

TransferWise