Should I send international wires in local currency (FX) or USD?

A wire transfer is a fast and reliable method of transferring or receiving funds. It allows individuals in different locations to securely send money to other people or organizations worldwide through a network of banks or transfer agencies. One of the most traditional forms of wiring money involves using the SWIFT network (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication).

However, using the SWIFT network runs your money through several different banks on the way to your destination, often resulting in delays and fees (especially currency conversion fees). For instance, if you send an international wire from Brex to your supplier in Beijing, the wire might pass through Barclays London and Bank of Hong Kong before it’s deposited in your recipient’s account at Bank of China Beijing.

To help avoid this, you can send an international wire in US dollars (USD) or in the local currency of the wire’s destination (sometimes called “foreign currency wires” or “FX wires”). Choosing to send payment in local currency as opposed to in USD gives you the following advantages:

  • Exchange rate certainty. Brex displays your exchange rate before sending, so you don’t have to guess what rate you might get from an intermediary bank.

  • Streamlined delivery. With fewer intermediary banks involved in local currency wire transactions, wires typically take less time to process and arrive sooner than wires sent in USD.

  • Fewer fees. Because fewer intermediary banks are involved, it reduces opportunities for added processing fees to be deducted from your wire. As a result, you can have higher confidence that your beneficiary will receive the amount you sent (although their bank may still charge them fees to receive the wire).

International wires can be sent from your Brex business account to any country listed in our article Where can I send an international wire?. We cannot support transactions in any of the Unsupported regions listed at the bottom of that article.

To send a local currency wire, please follow these steps.

If you're arranging a domestic wire, you can find instructions in How do I send or receive a domestic wire?.

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