Wire transfers are one of the quickest and most reliable methods of transferring money electronically from one person to another. You can send wire transfers through your bank or a nonbank service, like Western Union or Wise. It’s even possible to send money in foreign currencies and wire large amounts in the tens of thousands.

Peer-to-peer transfers and other methods of sending money, like those done through apps, are free of charge and require less effort than wire transfers. But, wire transfers allow for larger amounts to be transferred, and you can select various ways to pay and receive, including cash.

In a bank wire, the sender specifies who will receive money, the recipient’s bank account number and how much the recipient should receive. The recipient’s name, the transfer amount, and the destination are required for nonbank wire transfers, depending on the service. A wire transfer service provider may also require you to create a client account. Once the transfer has been processed, all fees will have been paid upfront.

Types of Wire Transfers 

Domestic and international wire transfers are both available, but the delivery time and cost of each wire transfer type vary. Domestic wire transfers are often processed the same day they are received. International transfers tend to take longer. 

What Information is Required For A Wire Transfer?

The safest way to send wire transfers is through a bank. Banks typically ask for the following information when sending wire transfers:

  • Recipient full name
  • Sender full name
  • Recipient phone number
  • Sender phone number
  • Recipient address
  • Recipient bank name and information
  • Recipient checking account information

You can fill out this information via a form online or at your local bank branch. To make a domestic wire transfer within the United States, you’ll need your routing number and bank account number. On the bottom of checks, the ABA routing transit number (ABA RTN) is printed, identifying the financial institution from which the funds are transferred. This system, developed by the American Bankers Association (ABA), is used by the sender’s bank to debit a recipient’s account. The ABA RTN is used in electronic payment methods to identify the bank or financial institution sending the money. When processing funds transfers, the Federal Reserve Bank uses ABA RTNs.

Is it Possible to Track a Wire Transfer?

By checking the account balance being accessed, those sending money can determine whether a wire has been initiated. To know whether the funds have arrived, the recipient only has to check their account balance.

When a wire is interrupted during transmission, the receiving bank can decide its cause. You should also be aware that receiving from some countries takes longer than others. 

How Long Does a Wire Transfer Take?

International wire transfers can take between one and five days, while domestic wire transfers are usually processed within 24 hours. It may also take longer to wire funds due to federal regulations, holidays, and weekend cut-off times.

Since wire transfers are not subject to bank account holds, they can be completed more quickly but vary depending on processing time and cut-off times. If your transfer is timely or urgent, confirm the cut-off times with your bank, credit union, and wire transfer service. You may be able to enquire to your bank or transfer provider if there are any delays (as a sender or recipient) so that they can update you on the processing time.

What are the Costs Associated with Wire Transfers?

With typical outgoing fees of $25 per transfer within the United States, sending wire transfers can be a costly way to move money between bank accounts. But usually, they’re the best option if you need to send a large amount of money quickly or if you need to send money fast. In the United States, wire transfers cost approximately $25 per transaction. However, depending on the bank, they may cost as much as $35. A United States clearinghouse must clear international wire transfers, and there is typically a foreign country’s processing system involved, which can delay the process for several days. The cost of sending money across international wire transfers between countries is approximately $43. Over and above the transaction fee that some banks charge, they may impose hidden costs. 

How to Send a Wire Transfer

Bank-to-bank wire transfers

Most bank-to-bank wire transfers can be initiated in person or by using your online bank account. The recipient’s full name, address, and account details, including routing and transfer numbers, are generally required. The processing time for international bank transfers may be longer than domestic transfers because additional information may be required.

Wire transfer services

The wire transfer process varies depending on the wire transfer service you use. If you want to initiate the transfer, you’ll need to supply the recipient’s full contact information and bank account details. If you are filling out a wire transfer request form, you usually have to pay in person. Fees for wire transfers can vary depending on factors like the amount being transferred, the recipient’s location, etc.

Wire transfer services usually contact the recipient once a wire transfer has been completed. If wire transfers are done internationally, additional information may be required by the wire transfer service, or an international payment network may be required.

Are there any Alternatives to Wire Transfers

ACH transactions are a common alternative to wire transfers. An individual wire transfer requires more effort from banks than an automated clearing house (ACH) transaction, which requires only minimal involvement from financial institutions. ACH transactions have low fees, or sometimes even no fees, because they are so efficient. A wire transfer fee, however, guarantees that your money will arrive on time.

Wire transfers are an excellent and safe way to send money. They aren’t practical for regularly transferring money because the fees are high and can add up quickly, but for one-time transfers, particularly of large amounts such as a house downpayment, they’re an ideal option.