Transferring money from Fidelity NetBenefits to a European bank account without any fees

I owned some Red Hat stock when the company was acquired by IBM. This presented me with a new challenge of how to get the money from Fidelity NetBenefits to my bank account. Since these two accounts are in different countries (United States vs. Czech Republic) and different currencies (USD vs. CZK), I had to be very careful not to lose money on international bank transfer fees or exchange rates.

I had never transferred money from the US before. But I just started to work as a freelancer and most of my income would come from this country so I decided to use this opportunity to run a small experiment in order to discover the best way to get USD to my bank account.

In the following paragraphs I’m going to describe four different ways how you can transfer money from Fidelity NetBenefits (or other US service) to a bank account in some other country. If you don’t want to read about all the options, feel free to jump to the last one which is the ultimate solution I’m definitely going to use in the future.

Just to be clear, I didn’t try the first two options since my friends had already done so and it seemed like a waste of money. That’s why I decided to split the money in half and use only the last two options which were also the most promising ones.

Direct transfer

The first option that would probably come to your mind is to transfer money directly to your bank account. Although this is the fastest way how to get your money, it’s also the one where you lose the most.

First of all, your bank will charge you a fixed fee for receiving an international bank transfer. The exact amount largely depends on your bank but if you have a good one it can be close to nothing. For example, the bank where I have my primary account charges around €1 for such transactions but the other one I use charges up to €20.

However, you will definitely lose much more on an exchange rate, especially if you transfer a large amount of money. It’s because banks use their own exchange rates to convert currencies and they’re far from the interbank exchange rate. For example, I would lose $186 just on an exchange rate if I decided to send all the money directly to my bank account.


The second option is to use a service like Revolut. I mostly use it for physical card payments abroad, internet payments by a virtual card or to split bills with my friends. But it’s also a great way how to convert currencies since it uses the interbank exchange rate during a workweek (Monday to Friday GMT) and charges just 0.5% over a weekend.

You can have multiple accounts in different currencies in a Revolut mobile app. You’re able to easily transfer money between these accounts and you can also make a bank transfer to/from a given account. Those transfers are in most cases domestic ones so they are free.

However, Revolut hasn’t come to the US yet so all bank transfers from/to your USD account are sent/received by a UK bank. If you try to send money from Fidelity NetBenefits to your Revolut USD account, you’ll probably be charged a fixed fee for an international bank transfer as with the first option.

But then you can exchange the money within the Revolut app using the interbank exchange rate (during a workweek!) and send it to your bank account as a domestic bank transfer. All this should be free if Revolut has a bank account in your country and your bank doesn’t charge you for incoming domestic transfers.


The third option is to use TransferWise, a service that offers a Borderless account for transferring money between different countries. TransferWise has an actual bank account in more countries than Revolut (including US) so you can make a domestic bank transfer for free.

TransferWise also uses the interbank exchange rate and it only charges a small fee for converting currencies. It is very transparent about the fee and you can always see the exact amount before you execute a transaction. In my case, the fee was around 0.5% so it might not be the best option if you need to exchange large amounts of money.

If you try to add your TransferWise USD bank account number as a withdrawal option to Fidelity NetBenefits, it will say that your ACH routing number is invalid. Don’t worry and use the wire transfer number. In most cases, they can be used interchangeably. I did it this way and the money arrived without any problems.

TransferWise + Revolut

The last and the best option is to use a combination of TransferWise and Revolut. The former one provides free domestic bank transfers in many countries while the latter one enables you to convert currencies for free using the interbank exchange rate (during a workweek). So how can you combine these two services to avoid any fees?

TransferWise gives you a free virtual debit card once you verify your account by depositing a small amount of money to it. On the other hand, Revolut enables you to top up your account by a debit card for free. Do you see where I’m going here?

You can send money from a service like Fidelity NetBenefits to your TransferWise USD account for free since it is a domestic bank transfer. Then you can top up your Revolut USD account by a TransferWise debit card for free as it is a payment in the same currency. Revolut will tell you it’s not (because the card is actually in GBP) but don’t be afraid to proceed with the payment. There are truly no fees. Finally, you just need to convert currency within the Revolut app and send the money to your bank account.

The only problem is that Revolut sets card top-up limits by a special algorithm to avoid money laundering. It will allow you to only top up your account by a relatively small amount when you add a new card. They won’t tell you where exactly your 24-hour limit is and you’ll need to find it by trying smaller and smaller amounts. In my case it was $300. But I made a mistake and topped up my account every 24 hours. One day, I forgot about it and when I then tried again after 32 hours, the limit was suddenly more than $875 (I had no more money in my TransferWise account by then). So try to play with it and don’t just emulate a money-laundering machine by making one transaction every 24 hours.

And don’t forget that there is both a 24-hour and a 30-day online payment limit on your TransferWise virtual debit card. But you can easily change the default one to the maximum amount in a mobile app.

27 thoughts on “Transferring money from Fidelity NetBenefits to a European bank account without any fees

  1. Thansks for the post – i have a similar scenario but have hit an issue where Netbenefits expects the target account name for the transfer to be the same as the Fidelity account holder name (i.e, my name), but the USD account that Transferwise has set up has an account name of Transferwise Inc – Netbenefits will not allow me to change it. Did you run into this issue, and if so, how did you work around it?

    1. Hi Darren. When I look at my TransferWise USD account, it shows my name under the account holder label. However, I think it was not there before and I was dealing with the same problem as you do. I cannot find the right documents now but I’ve read that when using ACH transfer the name on your account doesn’t necessary need to match the one in a transaction. This is just a requirement for a Wire transfer which is more costly anyway. The other thing is, do not try to create something like an incoming transaction on TrasferWise. There’s no reason for doing that. Just send your money from Fidelity NetBenefits to the US bank account number you see in your TransferWise account.

  2. Hello,
    since revolut is now available in the US, does this fact change the situation ? I.e. is it possible now to transfer money from fidelity netbenefits directly to my revolut USD account (i’m based in Poland… yep – we are neighbours ;)) ?


    1. I also expected that once they entered the US market, the situation would change. Unfortunately, that is not what happened. I asked them about this and it seems like Americans have their Revolut USD accounts with US bank account numbers while Europeans still see UK bank account number there. And if I understood it correctly, this is not going to change because of some regulatory reasons.

  3. Hi Liv,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this blog post.

    Could you clarify for me:
    1. When I added the TransferWise Account to Fidelity and used the Wire Transfer Number, the bank’s name came up as: ‘COMMUNITY FEDERAL SAVINGS BANK’. Was that the case for you too?

    2. I have made a small test withdrawal of $5 from NetBenefits to my US TransferWise account. How long did it take to show up in your TransferWise Account?

    1. Hi Liam, I’m glad this article helped you. Here are my responses to your questions:

      1. It’s been a while since I made that transfer but I think it was something like that. There are some online tools where you enter a US bank account number and they will tell you in which US bank that account is. I tried one of them and the name matched what I saw in Fidelity.
      2. I don’t really remember. I think it took a week or so.
  4. Hi,
    Very good article. It is was great to reais It as i am facinho thia exact same situation.
    After you withdrew money from NetBenifts, How long It took for arrive at your transferwise account?

    Best regards

    1. Hi Fabio! As I said in one my previous comments, it was a long time ago so I can’t really remember how long it took.

  5. Hi,
    I came across same dilemma and was using the same approach Transferwise + Revolut. Unfortunately this route will now starting December be charged on Transferwise site (incoming wire fee $7.5). At the same time NetBenefits won’t be able to do anything else than a wire (I checked with them numerous times they are not able to do ACH for non-US person).

    Now having said that, I am trying to discover another options.
    1) Revolut – did you try to receive US from USD to their account? It would be now on their IBAN in Latvia so that is international transfer but I couldn’t find any fee on their website for receiving international transfer. Fidelity stated that there is no fee on their site sending US abroad.

    2) Raiffesenbank – they offer multi-currency account and in the premium version the first incoming payment from abroad is for free.

    1. Hi Stan! I didn’t really try to transfer money directly to Revolut as I was afraid there were high fees on the Fidelity side. But if you’re sure it doesn’t charge anything for international wire transfer in USD then I believe Revolut won’t charge you anything either. Maybe you can try this option and let us know about the result.

    2. Hi Stan,

      Did you try to get the money directly to your Revolut account in USD? A few days ago, a Revolut agent told me that in theory, you should only get a fee for the usage of an intermediate bank (about 25 USD). Actually, he told me that I may not get charged, but he couldn’t assure me that.

  6. Hi Thomas,
    Thank you for this article. It kind of reassures me that using Transferwise worked for you and that my current issue will be resolved soon hopefully. I also transferred USD from Fidelity to an US account I opened on Transferwise. I did this because I wanted to avoid the conversion fee charged by Fidelity for converting to Euro.

    My withdrawal preference on Fildelity was accepted w/o a problem and the money was sent (since it is not visible on Fidelity anymore). Then I checked Transferwise to see whether the money was received and I couldn’t log in anymore. They deactivated my account, w/o further information other than referring me to their Terms of Use and the money being stuck with them now apparently. I‘m actually worried whether I used Transferwise in a way that is prohibited but besides you I also heard of a friend who did the same without a problem. Guess I just want to let everyone know that this apparently can also happen.

  7. Here’s the latest on TransferWise and Revolut. 3 possible routes
    1) NB -> TW -> EUR
    TW charges $7,50 for receiving a transfer from Net Benefits. If you then exchange the dollars to EUR this will cost you 0,42%. Transferring it to your local bank account is free.
    2) NB -> EUR
    Net Benefits charges $10 for the transfer, and my bank then charges EUR 9 for receiving it.
    3) NB -> TW -> Revolut -> EUR
    TW charges $7,50 for receiving the transfer, and charges $4,25 for the transfer to Revolut. Revolut charges 0,5% for the exchange to EUR (above EUR 1000 per month). Transfer to local bank account is free.
    So, suppose you transfer $10K from NB to your local account, the costs are:
    1) $7,5+$42=$49.5
    2) $10+EUR9
    3) $7,5+$4,25+$45=$56.75

    So, currently better to skip TW and Revolut.

    1. Hi Joop,

      you’re right, the situation has changed a little bit. It looks like Wise (TransferWise) started charging $7.5 fee for incoming wire transfers. And Revolut lowered the limit for free currency exchange to just €1000 eur (from €4000) in their Standard plan.

      However, there are two things you have probably missed and I have mentioned both of them in the article:

      1) Your bank as every other bank is very likely to use very unfavorable exchange rate that is far away from the interbank exchange rate. When transferring $10k, you will lose just on this difference much more than on any other fee. In my bank, the difference would be over $200. This alone makes the direct transfer the least feasible option just as I said in the article.

      2) You can move your money from Wise to Revolut for free if you use a debit card issued by Wise. This is also mentioned in the article. But Wise started to charge a small fee for issuing this card.

      So my suggestion would be: If you transfer money this way on a regular basis, get a Wise debit card and buy Revolut Premium plan (no currency exchange limits). If you are only making a one-time transfer, use just Wise.

      1. Excellent points, Thomas. I had overlooked the exchange rate of my bank. In the $10K example this will cost me EUR 65 with the Dutch ABN Amro bank. Indeed, this becomes the least favorite choise.

        The TW Debit Card is setup in GBP. If I use it on the Revolut account, will there be no charges for converting GBP to EUR?

        Many thanks for sharing these points!

        1. That’s another thing mentioned in the article. But maybe I didn’t explain it well. If you want to move your money from Wise to Revolut in USD without any fees, you first need to have a USD account in Revolut. If you don’t have it, you can add it with a few clicks inside the app. Once you have it, then top up this account with your Wise card. Revolut will complain that this card is issued in GBP but you can safely ignore this warning. Just make sure you are really topping up the USD account and that you are really using your Wise card (and not some other card you might have saved there).

      2. Hi livthomas, thank you for this excellent blogpost. Amazing what useful and specific things one can find on the internet! Can I just confirm, based on what has been said above, that a Fidelity NetBenefits transfer into the Wise USD account would count as a wire (and thus charged the $7.50) and NOT an ACH transaction?

        1. Yes, it is exactly as you say. The thing is, when I was writing this article, Wise (TransferWise back then) didn’t charge any fees for incoming wire transfers. But there’s this $7.5 fee now as some readers pointed out in the previous comments.

  8. Could you do a new update? I see a lot has changed since you first did this post, but there is still a lot of confusion on the best way of doing this.

    1. Sorry, I no longer transfer money from Fidelity NetBenefits so I’m not sure what’s the best approach now. I regularly do something similar which is described in another blog post but some details are different so it might not be that helpful. If you or somebody else figure out the current best way of handling withdrawals from Fidelity and you write an article about it, I will edit this blog post and add a link to it here.

  9. Hello Thomas,
    Thank you for such a valuable blog post. My friend has the exact same situation as you described in your post. I’ll let him know about the Wise + Revolut approach and ask him to leave a comment here.

    We appreciate your help.

  10. I followed your Fidelity->Transferwise->Revolut->Euro steps, it worked perfectly and saved me a lot of money.
    All it cost me was $4.50 for the initial wire transfer and €9 for Revolut Premium.
    Thanks for posting this.

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