How to wire money in 5 easy steps

Panna Kemenes

A wire transfer is a fast and easy way to send money from your bank account to another. This electronic process often comes at a cost, though.

Typically, each transfer you make will incur fees, so it’s best for situations in which you value speed over cost-effectiveness.

Wiring money can be intimidating if you don’t know where to start.

This post will go through how to wire money step-by-step and inform you of everything else you might need along the way.


How to wire money

If you have any doubts about wire transfers and how to wire money online or in-person, read on for a comprehensive guide of the process.

Step 1. Choose a wire transfer provider

The first step is to choose a provider, which can either be a bank or a nonbank.

Bank to bank wire transfer

Going through a bank is the most common method for wiring money. This process will involve both the sender and the receiver’s bank.

The transaction fees will depend on whether the money is sent domestically or internationally.

Wire transfers with financial providers

The alternative to a bank wire transfer is to go through a financial firm, such as Western Union® or PayPal®. The process is similar, although you may have to pay additional fees compared to a bank wire.

The length of time you’ll need to wait for the transfer to go through will depend on the location of the recipient’s account.

2. Check your provider's wire transfer fees

The most important part of the process is to check the costs before you make the transfer. If you don’t, you could get hit with hefty fees and hidden expenses.

If you’re using a bank, the fees will come straight out of your account when you make the transfer. When you use a nonbank service, it could come out of your credit card, debit card, or bank account.

Make sure you’re getting the best deal by checking if there’s a difference between in-person and online wire transfer fees.

💡 With Wise, you can check the fees before you make a transfer. The transparent pricing ensures you don’t get hit with hidden fees, saving you money for your transactions.

3. Gather the information you need to make a wire transfer

The information you’ll need to make a wire transfer may depend based on the bank you use, but usually, it’s as follows:

  • The recipient's account number

  • Recipient’s name and address

  • Name and address of recipient’s bank

  • Recipient's wire transfer routing number

  • SWIFT code for international transfers

4. Fill out the wire transfer form

When it’s time to fill out the form, be sure to check the information you enter at least twice.

Unfortunately, it can be a real pain to try and reverse a wire transfer, so make sure you put in the information meticulously.

5. Make sure to keep your wire transfer receipt

When you receive a receipt for the wire transfer, store it somewhere safe in case you need it in the future.

For example, you could create a folder in your email inbox with the title ‘wire receipt’ and some information about the transaction.

This way, you’ll have proof on your end that the transaction went through. While it shouldn’t be necessary, it’s always good to keep track of your outgoing payments with receipt confirmations.

If you're making an international transfer, make sure to request a MT-103 document if you need to track it

Can you wire money online?

Yes, in most cases you should be able to wire money online.

If you’re not sure, check with your bank or financial institution.

Generally, though, you will be able to wire money online, via your online banking platform. If not, you’ll have to go in-person to a branch of the bank.

Making wire transfers online is often cheaper and more convenient than doing it in-person at a bank branch.

Send money abroad the easy way with Wise

If you need to move money across borders, you should give Wise a go.

Wise transfers are fast, low cost and secure — and you always get to know in advance how much they'll charge you.

Besides that, with a Wise account you can:
  • Send money to over 80 countries

  • Get paid in 10 different currencies

  • Spend with the Wise card in over 170 countries

  • Get the mid-market exchange rate for all your cross-currency transactions

  • Manage all your transactions with the Wise app or in the website

Get started with Wise

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

How much does it cost to wire money?

The one downside to the otherwise convenient wire transfers is the fees.

Fees will vary between providers, and can change according to whether the sender is making a domestic or international wire transfer.

Typically, domestic wire transfers fall in the range of $25 - $30, while international transfers are more expensive at around $35 - $50.

You can find a full breakdown of different bank's wire fees in our guide

What is the easiest way to wire money?

The easiest way to wire money is to do so online. If your bank offers online transfers, the process should be straightforward, and you won’t have to wait in line at a branch in-person.

Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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