How to wire money in 5 easy steps

Panna Kemenes
03.20.21
3 minute read

A wire transfer is a quick 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 what information you’ll need along the way.

    If you’re considering sending an international wire transfer, then take a look at Wise first. You can save money when sending international transfers with Wise.
    Over 10 million people and businesses are already getting a better deal, so why should you pay more?

Send money with Wise 🚀

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.

1. Choose the provider

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

  • Bank

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.

  • Nonbank

The alternative to a bank wire transfer is to go through a financial firm like Western Union. 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 the 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. Get the required information

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

  • A recipient account number
  • Recipient’s name and address
  • Name and address of recipient’s bank
  • Wire transfer routing number of the recipient
  • SWIFT code for international transfers

You can use this handy tool to find the routing number, and this tool will help you find the SWIFT code.

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. Keep the 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.

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 nonbank 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.

How much does it cost to wire money?

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

The fees vary between providers, and they will 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.

In the table below are some top providers. The fees covered here are for outgoing wires sent online, but there can also be fees for receiving a wire.

It’s worth checking with your provider before sending a wire, to make sure you know the exact fees.

If you choose to do the wire transfer in-person, you will have to pay around $10 more than if you do so online.

ProviderDomestic wire feeInternational wire fee
Chase Bank¹$25 per transfer$40 per transfer if sent in USD, $5 per transfer if sent in a foreign currency.
Bank of America²$30 per transfer$45 per transfer if sent in USD, $35 per transfer if sent in a foreign currency.
Capital One³$30 per transfer$50 per transfer if sent in USD, $40 per transfer if sent in a foreign currency.
Wells Fargo⁴$30 per transfer$45 per transfer if sent in USD, $35 per transfer if sent in a foreign currency.

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.

Send international money transfers with Wise

If you’re looking to avoid large transfer fees but still need the convenience of a wire transfer, why not give Wise a go?

With Wise, international transfers are a breeze: just enter the amount you wish to send and the recipient’s details.

Send a low-cost transfer abroad

While most banks and nonbanks can spring surprise fees on you when you make transfers to other countries, Wise’s fees are low and transparent.

You can read the guide on sending international wire transfers for even more information.

Sources:

  1. Chase Bank Page 4
  2. Bank of America Page 2
  3. Capital One
  4. Wells Fargo Page 46

All sources checked 19 March 2021


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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