How a Bank Wire Transfer Works

A bank wire transfer is the preferred mode of transferring money from one bank to another when you want to send it quickly and safely. A bank wire transfer is the easiest and most reliable way. It is fast because banks transfer the money electronically. A bank wire transfer happens only when both the sender and the receiver are able to be identified by the bank. Scams are thus unlikely with bank wire transfers.

What Is a Bank Wire Transfer?

Bank wire transfers are a way for bank customers to exchange funds. Funds can be sent from one bank account to another even if they are not in the same city or state. The actual transfer is handled by the bank electronically. Neither sender nor recipient handles any cash. Usually, the recipient is not informed of the sender's name unless the sender fills in a "memo" field specifically.

How a Bank Wire Transfer Works:

The following details need to be given:

  • name of the person to whom you are transferring the money,
  • recipient's account number,
  • recipient’s bank’s American Banking Association (ABA) routing number,
  • address and phone number of the recipient’s bank, and
  • contact person at the recipient’s bank who will provide relevant information.

Take these steps:

  • Confirm with your bank that you have enough cash to cover the amount to be transferred.
  • Inform the bank when you want the funds to be transferred.
  • Provide necessary instructions to the bank. Many banks accept initiations of transfers via net banking, but some banks demand that you contact them personally or give written instructions.
  • Ask for confirmation that the transaction has taken place. The recipient’s bank may also confirm the receipt of funds.
  • Check how long it takes for cash to be wire-transferred.

How Safe Is a Bank Wire Transfer?

You cannot send money anonymously via bank wire transfer. Both receiver and sender must be identifiable to the bank. Direct handling of the cash is done only by the banks. Because of these factors, a bank wire transfer is the safest way to transfer money.

How Fast Is a Bank Wire Transfer?

Since the availability of funds is certain, the transfers are cleared pretty fast. It may take some time for funds to show up in the recipient’s account, but the cash is transferred quickly electronically from bank to bank.

How Reliable Is a Bank Wire Transfer?

Unless the sender has enough funds available to enable the transfer, the transfer is not accomplished. After asking for a transfer, the sender cannot pull back the money instructed to be sent, and hence, the receiver gets the money without fail. The bank handles the cash.


  • Get the full details of the recipient’s bank/account information.
  • Give all instructions in writing to avoid error or confusion.
  • It is best to check bank hours to make a fast transfer–within the day.
  • Confirm that you have available funds for the transfer.
  • Learn about the banks' charges for a wire transfer.
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