The telegraphic transfer is a means of wiring funds from one location to another. Originally, this process made use of the telegraph as a means of transferring money between a point of origin and a point of termination. Today, the process of transferring money between two parties no longer involves the telegraph, but the use of the term remains common in several countries.
Sometimes referred to as a Telex Transfer or simply TT, the telegraphic transfer has long been a means of communication between banking institutions. In days gone by, the telegraphic transfer could be used to send money from an account in one bank to an account at a bank located anywhere else in the world. Generally, there were charges associated with the performance of a transfer, with both the sender and the recipient paying a small fee for the transaction.
Well into the 20th century, persons could also make use of a telegraphic transfer to move entire balances of funds from one bank to another. For example, a person living in New York City may take a job located in Los Angeles. Rather than withdrawing funds from existing bank accounts and physically transporting the funds across the country, the individual would establish new accounts in Los Angeles and then authorize the two banks involved to transfer all the funds into the new accounts. At that point, the accounts at the New York bank would be closed.
The proliferation of national and international banking concerns has made the use of the telegraphic transfer obsolete in some cases. However, the general concept of quickly and securely transferring funds from bank to another remains a common practice. Many businesses pay vendors by wiring money directly from an operations account to the vendor account. As in the past, many banks around the world still use a secure cable network to make these transfers. Thus, the essential principle of the telegraphic transfer remains functional today, just with different technologies employed to perform the task.