What is an Incoming Wire Transfer?

Diane Goettel

Incoming wire transfer is a term that is used to describe funds that are being electronically transferred into a bank account from another bank account. It is used specifically to describe the transfer from the perspective of the owner or institution receiving the funds. An outgoing wire transfer, on the other hand, refers to the same transaction from the perspective of the person or business sending the funds. It is very common for wire transfers to be used to send money across long distances, such as from Europe to Asia. Though incoming wire transfers can be a good way to receive money from a far-away place in a hurry, they are often subject to fees that can be a substantial percentage of the money being transferred.

Some credit unions offer reasonable rates for wire transfers of small amounts of money.
Some credit unions offer reasonable rates for wire transfers of small amounts of money.

In many cases, there are fees associated with this kind of electronic financial transaction. Depending on the policies of the banks or credit unions involved in a wire transfer, there may be fees assessed on both ends of the transfer. A person sending money from a Hong Kong bank account to a New York bank account might have to pay a fee to send the wire transfer. Also, the person receiving the incoming wire transfer may have to pay a fee for receiving the transfer.

Records of an international wire transfer.
Records of an international wire transfer.

Get started

Want to automatically save money while you shop online?

Join 3 million Wikibuy users who have found 
$70 million in savings over the last year.

Wikibuy compensates us when you install Wikibuy using the links we provided.

Because of the fees involved, it is usually not financially sensible to send frequent, multiple wire transfers to the same account or to use a wire transfer service for small amounts. If a person receiving an incoming wire transfer of $50 US Dollars (USD) is assessed $10 USD as a fee, then 20 percent of the funds would go directly to the fee. If the wire transfer was for $1,000 USD, however, the fee would only consume 1 percent of the transferred funds, which is much more reasonable. There are some credit unions that offer more reasonable rates for wire transfers of small amounts of money such as amounts that are $100 USD or even a bit less.

Receiving an incoming wire transfer is often a way to receive funds quickly. In many cases, a wire transfer is much faster than mailing a check or delivering funds in person. Before setting up a wire transfer, however, it is important to understand the rules, regulations, and fees that will be assessed by the banks or credit unions involved with the transfer of funds. In some cases, wire transfers that take place across borders take longer than domestic wire transfers.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments


@lonelygod - I would get your uncle to contact your bank and make sure everything is going smoothly. It is possible for a wire transfer to get held up at some point after the initial transfer bank. You would be surprised at how many banks your money can travel through to get from point A to point B.

My aunt usually sends me a banking wire transfer instead of presents for birthdays and holidays and the whole process is usually fast. The longest I wait is usually 2-3 business days. I suppose it could be different from country to country though.

We only ever had trouble with one wire transfer and it ended up stuck at an intermediary bank for some reason. We ended up having the money refunded to my aunt because it couldn't get through.


Can anyone tell me how long it takes to get a wire transfer confirmation from your bank?

My uncle sent me an online money wire a few days ago and I still haven't received an incoming wire transfer notice and it is stressing me out a bit. I was under the impression that swift wire transfers were the norm. I haven't had to transfer money overseas before so I am not sure how long this is supposed to take.

My uncle has assured me he followed all of the instructions on the wire transfer software he uses from his bank, so his part is done. Is there any way I can check on the wire transfer to see what is taking so long?


If you ever work abroad you will probably end up doing an international bank transfer so you can send your earnings home. I have had to do many money transfers from abroad to home, and it is actually a really easy process. You just go to your bank abroad with all of of the details of your home bank and they will do everything for you. After an initial visit to the bank you can usually do online money wires to save time in the future.

I think I always anticipated my incoming wire transfers, as nothing is better than seeing a good chunk of money show up in your savings account. The only thing that bothers me is that banks usually charge a few to receive your wire transfer that can be rather expensive.

Post your comments
Forgot password?