Two more data points on international wire transfer costs

The other day I compared the cost of sending an international bank wire using Afex or using Western Union Globalpay (WUGP).  On a ten thousand dollar wire to Switzerland, I saved seven hundred dollars for the client by using Afex instead of WUGP (blog article).  Today I did a couple more bank wires, one to Canada and another to Japan.  This blog article compares the costs.

Here are the results.  I will discuss the results.

Destination amount Afex WUGP percent more
Japan ¥33900 $321.79 $339.09 5.4%
Canada CAD700 $532.19 $572.06 7.5%

As you will see I was sending 33900 Japanese yen.  After currency conversion and wire fees, the hit to our bank account with Afex was $321.79.   With WUGP it would have been 5.4% more.

For the Canadian wire, with WUGP it would have been 7.5% more to use WUGP.

I do wish that some reader who is located outside of the US, who has an account with Afex, would get in touch with me so that we could test out the feature where we can send money back and forth without paying any fees at all.  (As one colleague, a biotech patent person in Virginia points out, my suggestion sounds suspiciously like one of those bank scams.)

5 thoughts on “Two more data points on international wire transfer costs

  1. I think the table entries are mixed up because the cost amounts seem reversed.

    I was curious about this and I normally use AMEX FX International Payments for outgoing wires. So, I plugged in the Yen amount of 33900 Yen for the wire and the program reported a total cost of $312.21 US. The cost for the Canada transfer for 700 Canadian is  537.30 US

    • Thank you yes I corrected it. I did get the entries into the wrong rows of the spreadsheet but thanks to you now it is correct. Interesting that your numbers were in each case non-identical to mine.

  2. At your suggestion, I just signed up for AFEX – primarily for making it easier and cheaper for non-US clients and foreign associates to pay me. I’ve used Ruesch/Travelex/WUGP for years, and I do not face the fees that you describe. However, my set-up does require “forward trading” (requiring a GMEI renewal each year). But it makes life so much easier, and each transaction in countries with stable currency costs only $2.50 regardless of the amount of the transaction. For other countries having less stable currency, I pay same-day in US$, and it costs a flat $15 regardless of the amount of payment. Regarding the forward trade, here is why I like it: I enter the F/A invoice into the WUGB system and get a quote at that day’s exchange rate, including the $2.50 transaction fee. It is locked in for up to six months – time for me to bill the client the exact amount and collect payment. Then on the given day (that I select), that amount is deducted as an ACH from my bank account. No need for currency fluctuation adjustments, etc. I can go into my account and move the payment date forward or back, within the 6 month limits, allowing me to pay the F/A invoice the same day I receive payment from the client (or one day later, depending on the time of day). Did you know that WUGB has a special department just for handling law firms? They will input all of the F/A bank info into the system for you, and they are super helpful. My contact there is
    Brett Morris
    Sr. Client Relationship Manager – Law Firms
    (866) 470-6504 x6403 | 202.408.7303 (Dir) | Fax 202.513.5201
    brett.morris@westernunion.com | lawfirms@westernunion.com
    They also set me up with a system for receiving payments for a flat fee ($4) as well, but it is a giant PIA for clients, and none of mine will use it. But, clearly I’m using WUGP differently than are you.

    • Yes indeed our connection with WUGP is through Mr. Morris. And yes I had sort of forgotten the part about how with WUGP we can lock in an exact exchange rate and then we know just how much money the client should give us to pay the foreign invoice.

      What I had always understood is that this lock-in with WUGP is simply that they sell you the Swiss francs or Polish zlotys right now. And so you know exactly what you had to pay to get them. And you can bill the client. And when the client pays, you can send those francs or zlotys to foreign counsel and presumably it pays their invoice in full because it matches the number of francs or zlotys listed in their invoice.

      This exact same thing can be done in Afex. I can simply buy the zlotys right now and put them into my “holding balance”.

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