How Do I Wire Money?

Renee Booker

The quickest way to get money to someone a town away, or a continent away, is to wire money. There are two basic ways a person may effectuate a wire transfer. The first is to wire money directly from the sender's bank account to the recipient's bank account. The second option is to use a wire transfer business. Both options can transfer small or large sums of money in minutes; however, using the traditional bank to bank method is significantly more secure and generally more cost effective.

Wire transfer services are offered by most banks.
Wire transfer services are offered by most banks.

In order to wire money from one bank to another, the sender must usually have a bank account from which to wire the money. Most banks are well-versed in wiring money and should be able to walk the sender through the process with ease. The sender will need information, however, from the recipient, including the name on the recipient's bank account, name of the bank, and account number.

If the money being transferred is being wired internationally, there are a number of additional considerations. In most cases, a transfer of money over a specific dollar amount, which varies by country, will trigger a reporting requirement. The sender will need to complete the appropriate paperwork explaining for what the money is being used, as well as the identity of the sender and receiver. In addition, the sender will need to confirm that both banks are capable of facilitating an international money transfer.

Once all the paperwork has been filled out, the sender simply pays the fee required to wire money from his or her bank and the bank will initiate the transfer. In most cases, a bank-to-bank money transfer will be completed in less then 30 minutes. The recipient will usually not be required to do anything on his or her end as the money is being transferred directly into his or her own bank account.

For a sender or receiver who does not have a bank account, there are a number of well-known wire transfer businesses that offer to wire money as well. Although the transfer itself may be as quick as a bank, there is frequently more paperwork required and the fee may be significantly higher. In most cases, the sender must fill out a form and produce identification in order to wire money from a money transfer business. Once the fee is paid and the paperwork complete, the money will generally be available at a corresponding money transfer business where the recipient is located within 30 minutes. The recipient must also produce acceptable identification in order to pick up the wired money.

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Discussion Comments


@Pippinwhite -- It depends on the company, but I'd be very careful and make sure it's not a fly-by-night operation. My sister had to wire her car payment a couple of times, and I think the fee was about $5 or so. It wasn't a huge amount, but the loan company wanted their money right then.

Any time money is involved, someone is going to make it off the misery of someone else. That's just the nature of filthy lucre. There's a reason for the saying "the love of money is the root of all evil." It really is. You name the problem, and money is usually at the bottom of it.


Wiring money, unless you're doing it bank to bank, is a racket. These people know they have some folks over a barrel and they are going to get that big, fat fee to wire the cash.

Most banks don't charge more than about $20, but you'll pay $100 to do a wire transfer from a grocery store, say. The companies know people will pay that kind of money to get funds to someone, so they have no scruples in charging those fees. They know they're going to get a generous kickback. What gets me is, when the person has paid the money, it's all digital from there. The wire company doesn't have to do anything except contact the store where the money is to be picked up and let them know there's a transfer coming. Like I said: it's a racket.

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