When you transfer money, ownership of funds or assets is reassigned to a new owner. Transfers can happen between accounts at different banks, between different financial institutions or between an individual and another person. Transfers can also be used to shift debt from one credit card or loan to another at a lower interest rate to save money on payments.
There are many ways to transfer money, including online or in-person at a bank or remittance service. Choosing the right method depends on where you’re sending money and what your requirements are for speed, cost and features. When comparing services, look for upfront fees and exchange rates to get the best deal. You should also check whether a fee applies when transferring to an existing payee or adding a new one.
Bank-to-bank transfers are usually free and can be done via an Automated Clearing House (ACH) process. ACH transfers can take a few business days to complete, but are a good option if you need speed and convenience.
Other types of transfers include P2P transfers, where money is moved between individuals through payment apps such as Venmo, Zelle and PayPal. These are easy to use, typically free and can be sent in minutes. P2P tools often work with a recipient’s email address or mobile phone number; however, some may require their account and routing numbers.
A wire transfer is an alternative to a P2P or in-person transfer, and is commonly used to move large amounts of money to another person. This is a good choice when you need to send money quickly and directly, such as to purchase a home or car, or to cover bills and debts. Wire transfers can be costly, and the amount of time it takes to receive a wire transfer varies by method.
If you need to transfer money internationally, compare options based on where you’re sending and what your requirements are for speed and cost. Some providers specialize in international transfers, such as Xoom and MoneyGram. These companies offer fast, cheap transfers to about 160 countries. They can deliver your funds for cash pickup or direct deposit to a recipient’s bank account, as well as provide home delivery in some countries. They also typically have local agents to help with deliveries and can make the process much faster than traditional banks.
Other remittance services have brick-and-mortar offices and can help with domestic or international transfers. These are often less expensive than banks but can be slower, depending on how far away the recipient lives and how fast you need your transfer to arrive. To use these services, you’ll need your recipient’s full name and address, their account or routing number and some form of photo ID. Some of these services have a limit on the maximum amount you can send in a single transaction. They also might charge you an extra fee if your recipient needs to pick up the funds in cash.