Shopping on the Internet, the total cost, as a rule, represents the subject itself, an acquiring fee and (optionally) a delivery, not including intercharge. SWIFT payments are, however, more complicated.

According to Overseas Delivery Charges from Barclays website, «there's a £4-20 fee per [outbound] international payment». Without taking into account worldwide banks' individual (P2P-) and SEPA minimal transfer rates, it is usually 0,5% + over 10 c.u.

Internet acquiring services, technically designed for e-commerce merchants, but available for individuals (in my country), on the other hand, have a smaller fixed rates — about 2-3% per payment, with same processing term of 1-2 days.

From Stripe pricings:

Access a complete payments platform with simple, pay-as-you-go pricing 2,9% + 30¢ per successful card charge.

Conventionally, considering the complexity of connecting an acquiring service (depending on a country of residence and a bank), it is cheaper to accrue payments up to 404 c.u. (x + 2.9% + 0.3 < x + 0.5% + 10).

What causes the SWIFT transfer fee, which is not involved when buying goods and services via the Internet acquiring? Is this a part of «why we can't have nice things» global-scale conspiracy series or I clearly miss something?

  • 3
    SWIFT is a manual process from the fifties, and ensures international delivery of large sums risk-free for the receiver (no retractions). Nobody uses that to 'shop' on the internet. Look at credit cards.
    – Aganju
    Commented Jun 29, 2021 at 2:27

1 Answer 1


SWIFT Transfers CAN be available same day, depending on time of day and where the money is coming from. I just had a $40k transfer that was posted to my account 10 minutes after it was sent. As noted, SWIFT is intended for large transfers of money inter-bank, whereas Stripe is built principally for ecommerce use.

Stripe is a platform for credit card/ACH (direct bank debit) services that can be used by anyone who doesn't want (or can't qualify) to open a merchant account with a credit card processor such as CardPointe/First Data. Stripe is a "payment aggregator", and they use fee arbitrage to make their money. In other words, they charge you a flat rate for transactions while what they pay depends on the type of card and what program is qualifies for, and they keep the difference. It isn't much, maybe as little as a tenth of a percent in some less common cases, but if you do enough transactions then it adds up.
Other services, such as PayPal, are similar to Stripe but are meant for use by more "casual" users, such as people selling items on eBay or wanting to send money back and forth to each other.

  • Easiest answer to that is because that's what banks value the service at. Keep in mind too that the banks make the money available right away but may not see settlement from the sending bank for up to a week, so it's really a risk premium for basically fronting you a large sum of money. Still, the fees aren't terrible. I paid Wells Fargo a $15 fee on $40k.
    – RiverNet
    Commented Jul 4, 2021 at 11:46

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