A wire transfer is a simple and reliable way to send money. It can easily be done online – through an online bank account or a money transfer service.
Whether you are sending a birthday gift to a friend in a different state, or letting someone across the ocean know you care, an online wire transfer is a straightforward way to send money to your loved ones.
Find out how you can do a wire transfer online with this simple guide and send money to those who need it most.
In this article
- What does an online wire transfer involve?
- How can I do a wire transfer online?
- What will I need to send a wire transfer online?
- Can I send a wire transfer online for free?
- How long will my online wire transfer take?
- FAQs and guides
Simply put, a wire transfer is a way to electronically send funds from one person to another. This means you can send money to friends and family, even if you are in different countries, from the comfort of your own home. Modern-day wire transfers can be done online if you choose, and do not require checks or physical cash payments.
When an online wire transfer is made, the bank or firm sending your money contacts the receiver’s bank to deposit funds into their account. Once this is done, funds from your own account will be transferred to the receiver’s bank to settle the payment.
You can send money via an online wire transfer using three main methods:
- Send money from your online bank account to another person’s account.
- Register for an online profile with a third-party money transfer service.
- Make use of a mobile payment service.
There are three main options for sending money through an online wire transfer, so it’s important to choose the method that best suits your needs.
Online bank wire transfers
This involves sending money from one bank account to another, and can be done both domestically and internationally. This is offered by most banks but may not be an option for smaller banks or savings accounts.
To make a wire transfer through an online bank account, you’ll need to give in some information about the receiver, such as:
- Their bank account details
- Their full name
- Their full address.
Find out more about how to send money from your bank.
Money transfer companies
You can also send an online wire transfer with a third-party money transfer company. These work by sending money from your online profile to the receiver, using funds from your personal credit or debit card or bank account. You can often transfer money online through a money transfer company into your receiver’s bank account, mobile wallet, or for cash pickup.
Money transfer companies allow you to send money online within the US and internationally. Money can be tracked for peace of mind, so you and the receiver can see exactly when the funds have arrived.
Mobile payment services
Sending money using a mobile payment service allows you to make wire transfers from your phone. Usually, your friend or family member receiving the funds also needs to have a profile on the platform you are sending the money on.
Mobile payment services work by transferring money directly from your bank account and can be sent in different currencies depending on which service you are using. Mobile payments like these can have lower daily limits on the amount that you can send compared to online bank wire transfers.
Learn more about making a wire transfer with our helpful guide.
Whether you are making an online wire transfer through a bank, money transfer company or mobile payment service, it’s important you have the correct information on hand to send money reliably.
Online bank wire transfer:
- The full name, address and phone number of your receiver
- Information about the receiver’s bank, including the institution’s name and address
- Your receiver’s bank account and routing number to help identify the correct account. For international wires, you will need their International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and the Bank Identifier Code (BIC). For wire transfers within the US, you will need the receiver’s ABA routing number and bank account
Money transfer company:
- Your profile login details
- Your receiver’s full name as it appears on their government-issued ID
- The country and full address of the receiver
- The method of payment you are sending funds from, such as your credit or debit card details.
Mobile payment services:
- A profile with the service
- The profile information of the receiver
- Your payment details to send the funds with, for example your bank account information.
Find out more about what information is needed for a wire transfer.
Online wire transfers often carry a cost, which can vary across different financial institutions. For this reason, it’s important to explore all methods available to find the best deal.
Wire transfer fees will vary depending on your payment method and the country you are transferring to. You can face transfer fees on both international and domestic wire transfers, although international fees tend to be higher because they can involve more parties, such as foreign processing systems.
It’s useful to research exchange rates before you start a wire transfer. You may be able to convert your money into the correct currency before you transfer, which can make transfer fees lower.
Learn more in our guide to wire transfer fees.
Online wire transfers could be completed within minutes, and are generally a fast way to send money to where it’s needed most.
Delays to your wire transfer can occur in a few different circumstances. A common cause for this is when the wire transfer information has been entered incorrectly, such as a misspelt name, address or account details. Another reason could be if a particularly large amount of money has been sent.
Money sent outside of the US may take several business days to transfer, with factors such as time zones, currency conversions and holidays potentially affecting the speed of an online wire.
Read more about how long wire transfers take.