What is a Cable Transfer?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 September 2019
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The cable transfer is a form of wire transfer that involves the transmission of funds from a financial institution located in one country to a bank or financial institution located in another country. This type of electronic transfer makes it possible for individuals and corporations to engage in buying and selling outside national boundaries, without a great deal of impediments to receiving and making payments for goods and services rendered.

Many people tend to use the terms of cable transfer and wire transfer interchangeably. Historically, there is a slight difference. While it is true that cable transfers and wire transfers are both methods for electronically moving funds from one location to another, one has to do with domestic transactions, while the other is focused on international transfers. The term of wire transfer is more properly used to describe an electronic funds transfer in which the point of origin and the point of termination are located in the same country.

In the United States, a wire transfer is conducted using the electronic system put in place by the Federal Reserve System. By contrast, a cable transfer involves electronic funds transfers that originate with an entity located in one country, but terminate with a financial institution in a different country. In times past, the cable transaction was characterized by the use of submerged wires that supplied the medium for the international funds transfers.


Internet technology has made the process of conducting a cable transfer much easier for the average consumer. In fact, many banks provide the ability for a customer to initiate a cable transfer by simply providing the needed information on a template. When completed, the template is processed by the bank and the cable transfer is completed. The customer receives a message via his or her online access to the bank accounts that the transfer request is completed, along with a confirmation number.


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