If you’re making money moves, transferring money from one bank to another can be tricky. With new mobile banking technology and a seemingly endless number of payment apps, it can be hard to figure out which service is best for the transfer you need.
Here are some things to know in order to help make your account transfer end up in the right place at the right time.
Transferring Money to Yourself, from Yourself
Whether you do all of your banking at one branch, or have multiple accounts across multiple banks, knowing how to transfer money between your accounts is a good first step.
For instance, if you’re transferring money from one bank account, such as checking, to another that’s in your name, like savings, most banks offer a few simple steps you can accomplish online. Does your bank have an online transfer option?
If so, this transfer process can be as simple as selecting which accounts you want to move money to and from, and then making sure the change is reflected in your account. Or you can likely transfer money between accounts in person at a branch location’s ATM machine or by filling out a form.
If you want to transfer your own money to yourself using two different bank branches, you’ll need to confirm that you own the other account.
You will also need the account number and routing number, which can be found on the bottom of a check or by contacting your bank directly. It’s likely that the bank(s) in question will have a transfer section with language like “link accounts” or “add external account.”
Transferring Money to Someone Else
To transfer money from your bank account to another person, there are plenty of options.
If the person has the same bank as you, look for a transfer option such as “member to member” or “member pay” which will indicate you want to share funds between two different people using accounts at the same bank.
Most banks also offer some version of online bill pay. This function is meant for monthly bills, either one-time or scheduled recurring payments. You can pay a company, like a credit card or utility bill, or even another bank.
And if you pay bills to another individual, such as contributing to your portion of a family phone plan, splitting utilities, or even sharing rent, you can set up a transfer using bill pay.
How you do so will depend on your bank, but you’ll need some basic information from the other person, like either their account number and routing number for a direct deposit, or mailing address for check payment.
Some banks will let you enter a phone number or email if you don’t know the person’s banking information, and have the recipient enter their account info themselves.
You can also set up recurring transfers for your own accounts. For instance, on your payday when a direct deposit hits your checking account, you could have an automatic transfer set up to move some of that money directly into savings.
This could help you save more money over time—after all, out of sight is out of mind. Plus, you don’t have to remember to initiate the transfer into savings yourself.
How to Transfer Money the Old Fashioned Way
Every bank uses the Automated Clearing House (ACH) system to transfer money. For example, when your company sends your paycheck using direct deposit, they are using the ACH to get the money from their company into your bank account. The ACH was created in the 1970s, as an alternative to checks and wire transfers.
It’s an electronic system that transfers money in large batches overnight, which is why you’ll often see banks say that some transfers take two to three business days . In 2018, ACH made almost 23 billion electronic payments , making it one of the largest, safest, and most reliable ways to transfer money.
But sometimes you just want to rely on a classic, whether it’s vanilla ice cream or a paper check. With a checking account at a bank comes access to paper checks, and often they’ll give you your first batch without a fee, although they often do charge for later batches. For some people, a check is the easiest and most direct way to transfer money into another account.
You simply write a check and either deposit it yourself at the other bank, or the check receiver does so in order to move the money into their account. Plus, with mobile check deposit, you don’t necessarily need to visit a bank branch.
Another quick way to get money to someone else with a different bank is a bank wire transfer. This is another form of electronic transfer, and the money you move will leave your account fairly quickly, so you can’t stop a payment like with a check. You’ll need to ask the recipient for their bank’s wire instructions, which should include routing number and account number.
But unlike ACH transfers, wires usually cost a fee. If you want the security of a wire transfer without paying a fee, consider a cashier’s check. This is where the bank will write a check, rather than you writing one personally, so the funds are guaranteed.
Finding the Right Bank for Your Transfer Needs
When looking into how to transfer money from one bank to another, some banks have limitations when it comes to moving funds. Most accounts don’t impose a limit on the number of transfers per month.
However, under the Federal Reserve Board Regulation D , savings accounts specifically have a limit of six transfers in one month.
This can impact your ability to move your own money from savings into checking—worth considering if you’re worried about overdrafting or paying a large bill.
But it’s also why it’s recommended to make transfers from checking accounts. You’ll want to make sure you have enough money in your checking account to cover your planned transfers.
There are also monetary limits placed on ACH transfers, depending on your bank . This can range from a limit of anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 per day, or $3,000 to $25,000 per month.
The transfer limits are typically enforced when you are transferring money from your account at one bank to another account at a different bank, but can also be imposed on peer-to-peer transfers.
If you are closing an old bank account in order to open a new one at a different bank, you can ask your bank to transfer your old balance over, or receive a check or cash for the amount left in your original account.
You might also be looking for a new account where you have benefits re: transferring money, whether that’s lower fees, joint accounts, or compatibility with other payment services.
SoFi Money® is not a bank, but a cash management account that allows you to transfer and receive funds on any device, to anyone you want, and works with Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.
Plus, you can get real-time transfers from other SoFi Money members. It has its own peer-to-peer payment ability for SoFi Money accounts, similar in that you just need a phone number or email address to initiate a transfer. Additionally, SoFi Money does offer mobile deposit and bill pay.
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SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank.