I'm currently living overseas in Europe. I work as a consultant for a US based company which pays me US dollars deposited to my US bank account. It's getting to be pretty expensive when I withdraw money from the ATM (around $25 USD), or if I wire money from the US bank (Bank of America) to my account here ($45 USD).

Anyone have any suggestions on how to transfer money from my US account by paying less fees? Any bank that has better deals, any services I can use, like online services?

  • @keshlam Despite not having a strong understand of financials, I completely agree that electronic money should have little to no fees in conversions that are below a certain value. I could understand a percentage fee or a minimum, but fixed fees make small transfers unreasonable. It's understandable that large transfers likely involve some fraud checking and/or manual labor and that the fees help cover that, but if taking $10.00 out costs $25.00 extra, then it's a disappointment.
    – Xrylite
    Sep 24 '14 at 20:16
  • As I say, I typically withdrew around $300 with no significant fees. Other banks may behave otherwise.
    – keshlam
    Sep 25 '14 at 0:10
  • @Xrylite the antiquated financial system in the United States requires manual labor on the backend of any transfer
    – CQM
    Sep 25 '14 at 17:18
  • You could have a look at TransferWise.
    – assylias
    Sep 26 '14 at 13:06
  • @Xrylite actually, it's the entirely other way around - for cash, there is a difference on how much money is handled, but for electronic money the costs and complexity of a transaction are exactly the same if the 'amount' field contains $12345.67 or $0.12. You could argue that for a good system the amount should be $0.25 or $0.0025 instead of $25, but a fixed fee as such makes sense.
    – Peteris
    Dec 2 '14 at 3:13

I prefer to use a Foreign Exchange transfer service. You will get a good exchange rate (better than from Paypal or from your bank) and it is possible to set it up with no transfer fees on both ends. You can use an ACH transfer from your US bank account to the FX's bank account and then a SEPA transfer in Europe to get the funds into your bank account. Transfers can also go in the opposite direction (Europe to USA).

I've used XE's service (www.xe.com) and US Forex's service (www.usforex.com). Transferwise (www.transferwise.com) is another popular service.

US Forex's service calls you to confirm each transfer. They also charge a $5 fee on transfers under $1000.

XE's service is more convenient: they do not charge fees for small transfers and do not call you to confirm the tramsfer. However, they will not let you set up a free ACH transfer from US bank accounts if you set up your XE account outside the US.

In both cases, the transfer takes a few business days to complete.

EDIT: In my recent (Summer 2015) experience, US Forex has offered slightly better rates than XE. I've also checked out Transferwise, and for transfers from the US it seems to be a bit of a gimmick with a fee added late in the process. For reference, I just got quotes from the three sites for converting 5000 USD to EUR:

  • usforex.com: 5,000.00 USD = 4,498.00 EUR
    • Effective rate: 0.8996 EUR / USD
  • xe.com: 5,000.00 USD = 4,487.93 EUR
    • Effective rate: 0.897586 EUR / USD
  • transferwise.com: 5,000.00 USD + 47.50 USD fee = 4,518.66 EUR
    • Effective rate: 0.8952 EUR / USD

I use xoom.com to transfer money to India. I've been using them for over 2 years now, they are the fastest and the cheapest for me (the funds are usually available the same day). They seem to have added a lot of European countries to their list. Definitely worth a shot.


There is a number of cheaper online options that you could use. TranferWise was already mentioned here. Other options i know are Paysera or TransferGo. They state that international transfers are processed on the next day and they are substantially cheaper than those of banks. Currency exchange rate is usually not bad.


Atm machine and my Credit Union account. Low fees (often zero, if the machine is on any of the same networks) and decent exchange rate, and no need to carry cash or traveler's checks to be exchanged.

Alternatively, pay by credit card, though there is a foreign transaction fee on that.

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