What is a Beneficiary Bank?

Yumiko Kijima

What is a beneficiary bank?

A beneficiary is the person you’re sending money to - also known as a recipient. A beneficiary can be a person, or a business entity.

A beneficiary bank is the bank which holds the account you’re sending money to. So if you’re sending money to your brother - your beneficiary - who banks with Citibank in the US, Citibank is the beneficiary bank.

International transfers to a beneficiary bank - traditional and modern alternatives, compared

Chances are that you’re learning about beneficiary banks because you’re planning on sending money to a friend or family member. In this case, you’ll also want to know ways to make a payment safely and efficiently.

Let’s start with an example: Sending 10,000 MYR to a $ account in the USA, via a traditional bank, compared against Wise as a modern alternative.

Provider Transfer fees Exchange rates Recipient gets
Maybank MYR10¹ Exchange rate Maybank decides (1MYR = USD0.231857)² USD2,316.25 Intermediary banks may deduct a fee while processing the payment
Wise³ MYR57.25 Real exchange rate (1MYR = USD0.234329) USD2,329.87 Send money

(4th June 2020, 04:49 GMT+2)

This example shows that it’s always important to look into not just transfer fees but also exchange rates offered. Maybank’s transfer fee may look cheaper than Wise, but with exchange rates considered, your recipient gets more when spending the same 10,000 MYR.

It’s also worth noting that there may be other, unexpected fees when sending money using your regular bank. These intermediary fees are levied by other banks involved in processing the payment - more on that later.

Wise always offers the real exchange rate without any markup. You can be sure you’re only paying for transfer fees, nothing else.


How international transfers are done with banks - why they’re slow and expensive

The traditional process for sending an international payment is often a surprise to bank customers. It’s not simply a case of your bank telling a beneficiary bank that there’s money on the way. Instead, the payment can pass through several other banks - known as intermediary banks or correspondent banks - on the way to the recipient.

This process - operated using the SWIFT network - is similar to your money taking a series of connecting flights to get to its ultimate destination. It’s well established and safe - but not necessarily the quickest way to make a payment. It can also become expensive, because intermediary banks may charge a fee for the part they play in sending your payment in the right direction. This may mean your recipient gets less than you’re expecting.

A cheap and smart alternative: Wise

Before you choose how to make your international payment, take a look at a few options to make sure you get the best available deal. One good place to start is Wise.

Wise uses a new approach that makes international transfers fast and cheap. Instead of passing your money on via a series of intermediary banks, Wise has bank accounts all over the world. So you pay into your local bank here in Malaysia - and the smart technology behind Wise then triggers a payment out of the local Wise bank account in your destination country. No money actually crosses borders - which means lower fees and faster delivery times.

To send money with Wise,

  1. Register for free
  2. Choose an amount to send
  3. Add recipient’s bank details
  4. Verify your identity
  5. Pay for your transfer by bank transfer or debit/credit card

And that is it! You can track your transfer in your account and your recipient will also be notified when a transfer reaches them.

Actually, sending money abroad is just one part of Wise, you can do more than that!💡
With Wise, you can...

  • Send money to 80+ countries, possibly cheaper than banks in Malaysia
  • Receive money for free in 10 currencies (ex. USD, SGD, GBP, EUR and more!)
  • Hold and convert 40+ currencies in 1 single account
  • Spend in 150+ countries with Wise card

Join 11 million people who use Wise and save 1 billion GBP (=5.6 billion MYR) a year compared to using a bank.

So there you have it. All your beneficiary bank questions answered. Remember to take a look at a few alternatives before you send your international payment, to make sure you get the best price available for your transfer. Check out Wise as a great, modern way, to get your money to your beneficiary bank quickly and safely - and for a low fee.

Sign up for free🚀


  1. Maybank | FAQ Foreign Telegraphic Transfer
  2. Maybank Malaysia | Maybank2u
  3. Wise

Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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