I have a case where a certain amount of money is paid to a payment system for the transaction (like if you send money overseas you pay like $20 per transaction to a SWIFT company).

My colleague translated this as "fee" and this seem to be ok. But somehow this looks like more a "commission" to me.

What is the difference in meaning between these terms?


As OED says commission is:

...typically a set percentage of the value involved

As for fee, it is described in the same source as:

1.1 Money paid as part of a special transaction, for example for a privilege or for admission to something.

and thus implies payment necessary to get entrance for transaction (i.e., you have to pay something to enter a bank transaction).

The easiest way of charging a fee during a bank transaction is taking percentage (commission). According to the 1st link above in OED 'commission' is commonly used to refer to percentage in money transactions.

But I guess if no percentage is involved, it's appropriate to use 'fee' as well. So the situation and technicalities should apply.

  • 1
    Agreed. A commission is a percentage-based charge. Technically a commission is a fee, but it's more common (at least in the English spoken where I live, in western Canada) to call specified, non-percentage charges a fee, although sometimes people call that a "flat fee" to ensure that people understand it's a set amount and not variable. – Jim MacKenzie Feb 6 '18 at 14:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.