What is a Foreign Wire Transfer?

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  • Written By: Diane Goettel
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 22 January 2020
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A foreign wire transfer is a transfer of funds from a bank account in one country to a bank account in another country. Depending on the policies of the banks involved in the transfer, the person sending the foreign wire transfer may have to pay a fee or the person receiving the funds may have to pay a fee. It is important, before setting up any kind of wire transfer, including a foreign wire transfer, to understand all of the rules and regulations surrounding the transaction in addition to learning what kinds of fees might be associated with the transaction.

Some countries have specific rules about how foreign wire transfers must be organized and submitted. The best way to understand these rules is to visit one's local bank and speak with a clerk or representative. This information is also available online, but it may be best to consult a professional, especially if the foreign wire transfer is for large sums of money. In order to make sure that the transfer is successful, it is important to get a confirmation from the bank that is sending the funds as well as a confirmation from the bank that is receiving the funds. These confirmations should be kept in a safe place in case they must be referenced in the future.


While domestic wire transfers can be rather quick, a foreign wire transfer can take as long as a few weeks to be completed. Before initiating a foreign wire transfer, it is important to confirm the estimated amount of time that it will take to complete the transfer. This is especially important if the funds are urgently needed by the receiving party or if they are being transmitted as part of a payment that must be received within a certain time frame.

It is possible to use a foreign wire transfer service that allows one to track the transfer. This can be especially important for people who need to know exactly when the funds will reach their destination account. Not all banks offer this service, but there are some agencies that specialize in wire transfers that do offer the service. There are a few companies that advertise foreign wire transfers that are incredibly quick, even "instant." These services, however, can be incredibly pricey, so it is important to understand all of the fees and costs up front before using such a service for a foreign wire transfer.



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I want to know which type of information is needed for a foreign wire money transfer.

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