6 ways to transfer money to someone else's bank account

Gabriela Peratello
4 minute read

Whether it’s to pay back a friend or family member, split utilities with a roommate, or maybe even make a payment overseas, sometimes you need to transfer money into someone else’s bank account.

If you’re not sure where to start, or what transfer method will be right for you, read on to find out what you need to know.

You'll learn all about sending money within the US and also how to save when sending money overseas with Wise. But we’ll get to that later.


What’s the best way to transfer money to another person?

If you’re paying someone, you might not be sure of what’s the best way to get the money into their account, here’s our top 6 picks:

1. Pay them in cash

Ok, this is not exactly a money transfer. But one of the most common ways to add money to someone else’s account is to do it in cash. You can withdraw cash from your own bank account either at a bank branch or by using an ATM.

Then you can deliver the cash to the owner of the recipient bank account in person, allowing them to deposit it themselves, or you can go to a branch of their bank and ask to deposit money into their bank account.

However, some banks and other financial institutions don’t allow depositing cash into another person’s account because of the high likelihood of fraud with cash payments. So this might not be the best way of doing this.

2. Make a wire transfer

If you’ve ever heard someone in a movie say they’ll “wire” money to someone, this option might sound daunting. But it’s actually easier than you’d think. Wire transfers are just a method banks use to move money between each other electronically.

For most banks, you’ll have to go make a wire in person. If your bank is in another part of town, or you have a jam-packed schedule, this can be an issue.

Wires are a bit pricey, too: depending on your bank, the price may range anywhere from 15 USD - 35 USD or more. If you’re looking to make an international wire transfer, costs go up even more.

On top of the upfront fee from your bank (which may range from 35 USD- 60 USD), you’ll be hit with poor exchange rates and flat bank fees from possibly up to 3 correspondent banks.

International transfers also take a bit more time. Anywhere from 1-5 business days, depending on your recipient’s country.

💡 Cost and even speed-wise, you’re almost always better off using Wise over your bank for an international wire (SWIFT) transfer.

3. Send money online

If withdrawing cash or making a costly wire isn’t high on your priority list, you might want to lean into money transfer apps/websites.

You and your recipient can be registered with the service and easily move the money between your accounts.

The upside of making online payments to send money to someone else’s account is that these transactions are usually faster than banks. And they get notified on their apps once the money is ready to use.

Here are some top picks for peer to peer payments:

But, let’s face it, your granny’s probably never going to sign up for it.

Which means if you’re sending money to someone who isn’t so tech-savvy, you may need some other options that don’t require them to buy a smartphone and download some apps.

4. Make a Wise payment

When sending money straight from your bank account to another, inside or outside the US, Wise can be a great option.

If your contacts are already on Wise, you can quickly transfer the money with their phone number or email address.

If not, all you have to do is register their account details and make the payment.

When sending money abroad, you get the mid-market exchange rate for all your transactions.

Opening a Wise account is free. No monthly charges. You’ll find just small, fair fees¹ when you switch between currencies or send money within the US or abroad.

Once you’re all set up, you can begin holding a balance in dozens of currencies — sending your money all over the world. Or just inside the US.

You can also get the Wise card, which you can use to pay for goods and services all over the world.

Get started with Wise 🚀

5. Write them a check

If you’re leaning towards old school, a common way to transfer money is simply by writing a check, which you can deliver in person or send in the mail.

Simply fill out a check, paid to the order of the other person, or “cash.” Either you or your intended recipient will then need to deposit the check into their bank account.

While checks are getting less and less common these days, there are many banks still accepting them.

6. Create a money order

If you’re going to mail the money, a money order is a more secure alternative to cash or a check, since it can be traced and canceled if it gets lost or stolen.

The fees for money orders depend on the provider, expect to pay around 2 USD for domestic money orders and up to 12 USD for an international one.

As you pay in advance for a money order, it means there’s no need to keep sufficient funds in your account while you wait for it to be cashed.

💡 You can buy a money order at places like the Post Office, a Western Union location or Walmart.

Ok, but how to transfer money to someone else's bank account?

Now that we’ve been through the main common ways of moving money between bank accounts, here’s a quick step by step on how to do it:

Step 1. Agree the amount that needs to be paid to your recipient

Step 2. Confirm whether they prefer to get the payment to their bank account or make a deposit in cash/check

Step 3. Choose the option that best suits your needs

Step 4. Set up the bank transfer; or withdraw the money; or write down the check

Step 5. Confirm with the recipient if they received the payment

It's as simple as that! Don’t forget that some payment methods might require additional steps, but the most important is knowing how much you need to send and what your recipient’s preferred way of getting the money into their account.

And don’t forget, when paying someone internationally, Wise has your back

1. Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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