What is a Bank Wire?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 02 September 2019
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Also known as a wire transfer, a bank wire is a means of electronically transferring funds from one financial institution to another. The wire normally involves a set amount of funds to transfer, and is initiated at the request of a bank customer. Usually, the receiving bank issues some sort of confirmation that the transfer was successful, although this is not always the case. For the most part, money transfers of this type are completed the same business day, although the posting of the receipts by the receiving bank may be delayed to the following business day.

The bank wire is one of the more efficient ways to transfer funds quickly and securely. All that is required is the banking account information of the recipient, such as the routing code and the bank account number. With this information in hand, it is possible to initiate the wire, and have the funds delivered in a matter of minutes. The speed associated with a bank wire makes it extremely helpful in emergency situations, such as paying for goods or services that must be paid in full before shipment, or to supply loved ones with funds they need immediately.


A bank wire can be successfully completed, even if the issuing bank and the receiving bank are not in the same country. This attribute makes a funds transfer of this type very attractive to businesses that operate on an international scale. A client in the United States who does business with a company based in the United Kingdom can easily submit payment for goods or services via a bank wire, with no delays. As long as the two parties involved make allowances for the different time zones involved, the transfer should be occur without any type lag time. However, if a customer in the US initiates a bank wire in the afternoon, there is a good chance the wire would not post to the UK company’s bank account until the following morning.

Often, the funds transferred with the use of a bank wire are available for withdrawal shortly after they are received by the recipient’s bank. However, there are some banking institutions around the world that only post deposits until a certain time of day. For example, there are banks in the United States that will not post a credit a deposit to a customer account the same day if it arrives after 2:00 p.m. local time. For this reason, it is a good idea to know the policies and procedures of the recipient bank, as this will help prevent any delays in shipping goods or allowing access to the wired funds.


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