Bank of the West international wire transfer: Fees and time

Fernando Figueiredo

Headquartered in California and operating in 19 US states, Bank of the West¹ ² is a large US bank offering personal and business accounts. Bank of the West international wire transfers are available – but there is a fee to pay, and personal account holders can’t send money internationally online.

This article will explain how to send or receive an international wire transfer with Bank of the West. It’ll also introduce Wise as one alternative method to send money abroad with low fees.

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Bank of the West wire transfer fee

For the majority of the states it operates in, including California, the Bank of the West wire transfer fee is $50 for outgoing international wire transfers and $15 for incoming. To send a direct wire repetitive transfer in USD initiated by phone, the fee is $20.³

All of those are flat fees; they don’t factor in the exchange rate – as we’ll explain in a moment.

A quick cost example

Here’s a rundown of what those fees mean in practice. Say you were sending £1000 from the US to the UK. Here are the possible fees, with Wise given as an alternative:

Provider Bank of the West Wise
Fee $50 (or $20 for repetitive transfer) $8.26
Exchange rate Mid-market rate + likely markup Mid-market rate
Swift fees Yes No
Total cost $50 + markup(or $20 + markup) + swift fee $8.26

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  • You’ll have that total cost of $8.26 with Wise in case you pay with ACH debit. Should you prefer to wire the money to Wise, the cost would be $10 instead.
  • As to a wire transfer with Bank of the West, that’s not necessarily the full picture. When sending international transfers with banks, It’s possible that further fees may be deducted by other banks – the bank you’re sending to and/or intermediary banks that handle the money along the way.⁴ If that happens, your beneficiary will receive even less money than you might have expected.

Bank of the West exchange rate

The Bank of the West exchange rate isn’t specified online for international wire transfers. That’s potentially significant, because it’s standard practice for banks not to use the mid-market exchange rate, but rather a marked-up version so that your money is worth relatively less in a foreign currency.

Any markup on the mid-market rate effectively becomes another fee to pay, and that’s why it’s included in the table above. Unless you’re getting the mid-market rate, you’re losing out. You might be able to know what’s Bank of the West exchange rate in case you get in touch with them.

That’s why Wise is worth considering: it always uses the mid-market rate for international transfers and is transparent about the percentage fee it charges - there’s a small upfront fee to pay, and nothing else.

How to make an international wire transfer with Bank of the West?

To make an international wire transfer with Bank of the West you should go to a branch in person. For personal checking accounts, online or telephone international wire transfers are not possible.

Step-by-step guide for international wire transfer

  1. Gather all the information you need: not just your own account details but your beneficiary’s account number, account address, and bank details (including Swift number).
  2. Go to a local Bank of the West branch.
  3. Fill out some forms with the help of an advisor.
  4. Authorize your transfer and pay.

Receive money from abroad with Bank of the West

To receive money into a Bank of the West account from overseas, you’ll need to provide your details to the sender. Check what they need – it’ll usually be your account number and address as well as the Bank of the West routing number.

As already mentioned, there’s usually a $15 fee to receive an international wire transfer.

How long does a wire transfer take with Bank of the West?

Regarding the wire transfer time, Bank of the West could take up to 72 hours to process the transfer, as well as the receiving bank might take some time to clear the money into the account. The whole process made with banks usually takes approximately 3-5 working days, from the moment you send the money to when it arrives to the destination.

Bank of the West contact - how to get in touch with the bank?

  • Bank of the West helpdesk
  • Bank of the West phone number: 0800-488-2265
  • Bank of the West branch visit

Overall, a Bank of the West international wire transfer will be able to get your money to where it needs to go, but you may well have to pay that $50 fee and probably some exchange rate markup as well. Further, you’ll need to go into a branch to make that happen.

Wise: an online alternative to banks

If you’d rather make a lower-cost transfer without even having to get up off the couch, take a look at Wise’s international transfer services, which can wire your money around the world with a few taps of your phone. Good luck!

Why is it a good alternative?

  • Mid market exchange rate: when you send money online with Wise, conversion won't have a markup on the exchange rate. That means that you'll get the mid-market rate with no fees on top of it. That means fair, cheap money transfers, every time.
  • No Swift fees: banks usually use the Swift network, which incurs in extra costs for the customer. With Wise technology, you won't have this nor other extra fees.
  • Transparent: There's only a transparent small up-front fee to pay, and you know excatly how much you'll pay and how much will arrive at the destination.

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Sources - last checked on 29 January 2021:

1.Bank of the West: About us
2.Bank of the West: branch locator
3.Bank of the West pricing -pdf (personal banking) via Bank of the West page for personal banking
4.Bank of the West: Wire request form

*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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