How to Wire Money

Follow these steps to send a wire transfer.

Wire transfers are a convenient way for people to send money to other individuals or companies. These electronic transfers typically make it to the recipient within two days, even if the money is sent internationally. Wire transfers are particularly useful when you need to make a large down payment, pay a bill or send cash to a friend.

What Is a Wire Transfer?

When you’re looking for the fastest way to send money, a wire transfer is likely the way to go. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau defines a wire transfer as “any electronic transfer of money from one person or company to another.” The process is simple, and, depending on the type of transfer you decide to go with, takes just a few minutes to complete.

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How to Wire Transfer Money

When you’re ready to transfer money online or in person, make sure you have the following items ready:

  • Government-issued ID
  • The amount you want to send
  • Your bank account information and any login information needed to access their account
  • Recipient’s full name
  • Recipient bank’s name, address and phone number
  • Recipient bank’s transit number or their bank routing number
  • Recipient’s bank account number
  • Additional information depending on the financial institution

When visiting a location-based facility, you’ll need the recipient’s full name, address, and telephone number, along with any delivery instructions. This information must be written onto the required form. Bank-to-bank and electronic transfers require additional information, such as an email address or mobile phone number that matches up with the account.

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Types of Wire Transfers

You can send wire transfers via online services or by going to a service provider in person. The following are the most popular methods of sending wire transfers.

  • Bank-to-bank transfers: As long as you have your account information and the recipient’s bank account number and wire transfer routing number, you can quickly log in to your bank’s online system and move money as needed.
  • Electronic payment processors: One of the most popular electronic payment processors that allow you to wire money is PayPal. Additional wire transfer service providers include Venmo, Google Wallet, WePay, and 2Checkout. Once you set up your account and link it to a credit card or bank account, you can begin sending money.
  • Location-based facilities: Individuals who have cash they need to send can take advantage of location-based wire transfer facilities. The Western Union is a widely known wire transfer provider, and many local Walmart stores also offer wire transfers. To send a wire, visit one of these locations in person, fill out the required form, and hand the teller the cash you need to forward.

Alternatives to Wiring Money

If you don’t want to wire money because it’s not convenient for you or you want a different method of safely moving money from your account, you can consider one of the following alternatives. These methods of handling money offer varying levels of ease and security.

  • Cashier’s check: A cashier’s check eliminates the risk associated with processing a personal check. The bank guarantees the funds, and the fees to utilize this service are generally small. You can either deliver the check in person or mail it to the intended recipient.
  • Money order: Another secure form of payment is a money order. You can get one by visiting your local post office and bringing the amount you want to send plus the designated fee. Money orders never expire and can even be replaced if lost or stolen. Once you obtain the money order, you must deliver or mail it to the beneficiary.
  • Mobile apps and services: Mobile apps are easy to install and take seconds to minutes to use. Apps like Venmo enable you to send money electronically, split the cost of dinner with a friend or share a cab fare. Square is a similar app for sending money for business-related purchases that come with a complimentary credit card reader.

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About the Author

Alicia Bodine is a New Jersey-based writer specializing in finance, travel, gardening and education. With more than 13 years of experience, her work has appeared in, Livestrong, eHow, USA TODAY, GlobalPost, and wiseGEEK.