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  • Epico Finance

How To Get Cheap SWIFT Transfers?

Updated: May 4

If you are wondering how to get cheap SWIFT transfers for your company or yourself, then please keep reading as we are going to provide useful tips.


Banks charge a lot for SWIFT payments, and sometimes there is a percentage added on top of the value of the payment next to a flat fee.

Recently, a new client reached out who had a $30 flat fee and 0.05% on the value of the payment with a maximum fee cap of $500 for SWIFT transfers. This Croatian bank was ripping off a regular, low-risk business with such pricing, and we helped the client get rid of the percentage fee and even reduce the flat fee.

So let’s discuss how SWIFT payments are priced and how to get them cheaper.

Why Are SWIFT Transfers So Expensive?

Probably you have noticed that SWIFT transfers are expensive with banks and the majority of payment institutions. This is because banks can charge high prices because there is little competition, particularly in a wide range of currencies.

It is true that some payment institutions are able to perform cross-border transfers via SWIFT or with local payouts at a lower cost than a local bank. However, if someone needs to make hundreds of payments a month that are on average small, the SWIFT transfer costs add up.

Even for someone who transacts via SWFIT transfers infrequently, it is painful to see how much the bank is taking from them.

Besides the lack of competition and monopolistic abilities that make SWIFT transfers expensive, there is another reason: an underdeveloped correspondent banking network.

Sometimes local banks do not have proper correspondents to make one or another currency payment via SWIFT, and correspondent fees add up in the process of transferring funds. This might also be a reason for prolonged transfer times. Well-developed banks or payment companies are able to settle a transaction within 48 hours.

How Banks And Payment Providers Are Pricing SWIFT Transfers?

Banks and payment providers price SWIFT transfers differently. Most banks just have a fixed price that is non-negotiable.

Payment providers or digital banks have a fixed price, but it is possible to negotiate with the sales representative or relationship manager that is taking care of your account.

Traditionally, you might be able to get a 10–15 percent price reduction just by complaining or threatening to change providers. However, it is not sustainable and might not even work.

It is important to understand how payment providers make money. When it comes to payment costs, they evaluate the currencies to be used, the amount of payments made per month or year, and the value of those payments.

Payment providers and digital banks make money from transactions; they can charge for incoming payments, outgoing payments, and currency exchange.

Looking at a broader picture, currency exchange is the type of transaction that makes most of the revenue for such companies as it is volume-based and has a healthy margin.

If you are planning to make same-currency payments, do not expect to get a low price on such transfers as there is no way to make money from your account, therefore the transfer costs will be high in order to justify doing business with you.

On the other hand, if you are using multiple currencies and exchange them with the same provider, you give much more business to them and therefore they are motivated to keep you happy. The payments provider is then able to keep SWIFT transfer costs to a bare minimum.

Moreover, if you are making loads of SWIFT transfers, the provider might also assess the business case and be motivated to keep you on their books while giving you these transfers at a lower cost.

A well-developed and prominent payment service provider or digital bank has its own cost that is in the low single digits for SWIFT transfers, and they can go really low. All they need is a business case. We help our clients get access to prominent payment providers and digital banks, as well as cheap SWIFT transfers. Reach out to us and save money on international banking.

Steps To Negotiate Your Cheap SWIFT Transfer Rates

If you are going to pursue negotiating cheap SWIFT transfers by yourself, without external help like Epico Finance, we have some tips for you that might help.

First and foremost, think about the business case for the payments provider or the digital bank. How many transactions will you be making? Are you going to exchange any currency?

If you are going to do one or two transfers a quarter and exchange no currency, the earnings potential for the provider is so low that it might only cover the costs of onboarding in a year or so.

Of course, you might be pushy and get a 10% discount, but other costs might jump up without your knowledge—for example, an account maintenance fee.

Secondly, check your personal connections network and try to get an introduction from somebody. If someone introduces you to a digital bank, their reputation might play a role in getting favourable conditions there.

Thirdly, it is important to understand your business risk category (low, medium, or high risk). Businesses that are low- or medium-risk are much easier to onboard, maintain, and monitor. Moreover, digital banks want to add low-risk businesses to have a healthy percentage of low-risk clients compared to high-risk clients. Adding more low-risk business is frequently critical for the banking provider, and they will be eager to have you on their books.


All in all, it is definitely possible to get SWIFT transfers cheaper; it is just important to know how.

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