Banks make a domestic wire transfer to send funds to financial institutions residing in the same country or financial zone. When sending funds to financial institutions in a foreign country or financial zone, banks have to make an international wire transfer.

The differences between these two wire transfers affect the number of fees banks charge, and the duration it takes to complete the transfer.

Read on to discover what these differences are, and how they can affect your wire transfers.

  1. US Domestic Wire Transfers
  2. US International Wire Transfer
  3. EU Domestic Wire Transfer
  4. EU International Wire Transfer
  5. Transfer Your Funds

Domestic International Transfers

US Domestic Wire Transfers

Banks in the US use either the Fedwire or the Clearing House Interbank Payments System (CHIPS), to make domestic wire transfers. Transactions that use the Fedwire system have to follow the Federal Reserve Regulation J, charging approximately between $25 and $35 varying by the institution. 


US banks that use the Fedwire to make transfers, rely on the American Bankers Association (ABA) routing transit number to identify the receiving bank.  The ABA routing transit number has nine digits of code that identifies a US bank.

Fedwire transfers are fast, and the receiving bank credits their customer’s account almost immediately. A customer can access the funds as soon as the bank gets a notification of the funds getting credited to its Federal Reserve account.

The following are instructions demanded the receiving bank of the transaction; the routing number of receiving bank, account number, name and dollar amount to be transferred. 


CHIPS Operating Rules, govern wire transfers that use the CHIPS system. The system is operated by the New York Clearing House Association. However, with CHIPS, funds are cleared at the end of the business day.

At the close of the day’s business, the CHIP system adjusts each bank’s net balance at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York.

US International Wire Transfer

When making international wire transfers, US banks use either Fedwire or CHIPS system to carry out the wire transfer. However, they rely on the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) codes, to send the wire instructions.

SWIFT is not a funds transfer system, rather, it is a non-profit global association of over 9,000 banks.  All SWIFT communication follows SWIFT Operating Rules.

Both domestic and international wire transfers from the US can be costly. That is because there are no regulations limiting the fees that US banks can charge for a wire transfer. International transfers could cost up to $43 per transaction while $8 to $10 charges are deducted from recipients’ accounts.

EU Domestic Wire Transfer

EU domestic wire transfers are executed using SWIFT or Bank Identification Code (BIC), an international code used by banks for transactions of which each bank has its own unique code and the International Bank Association Number (IBAN) to identify the receiving bank,

Irrespective of the method used to make a wire transfer, all EU member Banks have to adhere to the Single Euro Processing Area (SEPA) regulations.


The SEPA regulations state that all wire transfer charges within the EU member states, must not exceed the national fee to complete the same wire transfer. Therefore, most EU Banks do not charge a fee for acting as an EU intermediary or correspondent bank. However, banks can charge exchange fees for converting currencies.

The Single Euro Processing Area ( SEPA) is a European Union payment-integration initiative consisting of thirty-six countries — the 19 Eurozone states namely Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain and eight non-Eurozone states — Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Sweden; the four member states of the European Free Trade Association and the four microstates including the United Kingdom.

It employs three individual schemes to function which are the SEPA Credit Transfer, SEPA Instant Credit Transfer, SEPA Direct Debit.

EU International Wire Transfer

International wire transfers originating from or destined to the EU member banks use SWIFT/BIC and IBAN to effect a wire transfer. However, EU international wire transfers do not follow SEPA rules, when the sending or receiving bank is not a SEPA member.

That makes the cost of sending and receiving wire transfers to the EU, comparable to those of countries outside the US. However, it is still cheaper to make an international wire transfer from the EU, than from the US.

Transfer Your Funds

Generally, most international transfers are done using SWIFT (Society of Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) which employs a secure messaging system activated for information transfer between banks, such as international wire transfer instructions. It has a network of over 10,000 banks and financial institutions spread across 200 and countries.

SWIFT ensures the making of the international wire transfer process an easy and simple one which basically entails SWIFT sending instructions to make a deduction from your bank account and an addition to the recipient’s bank account. The relevant information required to make transfers often differ from bank to bank but mostly include name and address of recipient’s bank, recipient’s account number/ IBAN, BIC or SWIFT code of recipient’s bank, amount to transfer and currency to be received in, the reason for making the transfer and fee payment requirements between sender and recipient — a sender can either decide to cover all fees or share fee payment with the recipient.

Note also that despite the stated transfer duration of both domestic and international transfers, some factors can affect how long it takes for a recipient to receive the transfer. Factors including detail errors, time zones, currencies, bank holidays, and weekends. It is fairly important to ensure demanding and stating correct details before transfers are made. Double-check SWIFT and BIC codes, account numbers, and recipient information.

We hope that you found this guide to be informative, and engaging. If you need a safer and fast way to send money, then check out our recommendations for the best deals.