How to Transfer Money From One Bank to Another

By Austin Kilham · March 09, 2022 · 7 minute read

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How to Transfer Money From One Bank to Another

There may be times when you want to transfer money from one bank to another. Maybe you’ve opened a high-yield savings account at a new bank and want to set up regular transfers from your existing checking account.

Or, perhaps you want to send money to someone else, such as a friend or family member, which also requires a bank-to-bank transfer.

If you’re transferring money to an account that you also own, using your bank’s online transfer service can be a simple solution. If you’re sending funds to someone else’s bank account, your options include writing a check, using a peer-to-peer payment service or app, or making a wire transfer.

How to Transfer Money Between Banks

Here’s a look at different ways to transfer money from one bank account to another, and which method is best for each situation.

1. Directly Making an Online Transfer From One Bank Account to Another

If you want to transfer money from bank A to bank B, you’ll want to log into bank A’s account, then choose the option to “add an account,” “link account,” or “add external account.” You can often find these options, or something similar, in your bank’s “customer service” or “transfers” menu.

Bank A will likely ask for the routing number (a nine-digit number) and account number (eight to 12 digits) for bank B. You can find these numbers on a check, typically along the bottom (the routing number comes first, followed by the account number, then the check number). If you don’t have checks, you can also locate the bank’s routing number on their website and find your bank account number on your monthly statement.

To prove that account B belongs to you, bank A may ask you to input the username and password you use for bank B. Another way bank A may verify the account is to make a small deposit (maybe a few cents) and ask you to confirm the amounts, a process that might take a day or two to complete.

Once the account is confirmed, you can choose an amount you want to transfer from bank A to bank B and the date you want it to occur. You can also choose to make it a one-time transfer or a recurring transfer (such as once a month). You can then select the option to submit your request.

These steps will work whether you are transferring funds to a brick-and-mortar bank or to an online-only financial institution.

Transferred funds typically arrive at their destination in two or three business days. The timing will depend on which banks you use and whether you are moving money internationally or domestically.

While transferring money between linked bank accounts at different institutions is often free, you might be limited in the amount you can transfer each time. It can be a good idea to check your financial institution’s rules for bank-to-bank transfer limits.

2. Writing a Check

Online bank-to-bank transfers are typically only an option if you are the owner of both accounts.

If you want to transfer money from your bank account to someone else’s bank account, you will likely need to find an alternative bank transfer solution.

You may be asking yourself if checks are useful. Perhaps you don’t have any checks on hand and are wondering if you should order a checkbook. That may be a good idea: Writing a check is still a good way to make a bank-to-bank funds transfer. When you write a check, you are authorizing your bank to transfer funds to the recipient.

You can also make a check out to yourself by entering your own name as the payee. This can be a good option if you are closing out a checking account and want to transfer the remaining funds into a new account. If you take advantage of mobile deposit, you can write a check from one account and deposit it into a different account without ever leaving home.

You may want to keep in mind, however, that writing a check is not an instant money transfer. It can take a few business days for a check to clear and be available in the new account.

Also, if there aren’t sufficient funds in the account to cover the check, it will “bounce,” and the payment won’t go through. You may also be charged a fee. To avoid this glitch, you’ll want to make sure you have sufficient money in your account before writing a check.

3. Peer-to-Peer Transfer

Whether you’re reimbursing your roommate for the monthly rent or splitting dinner with a friend, a peer-to-peer (P2P) money transfer service or app can be a good solution.

Services like Venmo and PayPal are easy to use, and once your bank account is linked in the app, you can quickly type in a dollar amount, select the recipient, and hit “Send.”

These services are typically free if you fund the payment from your bank account. There may be a fee, however, if you fund a transfer with a debit card or credit card. Many banks offer free or inexpensive P2P transfers through Zelle or a similar vendor.

Payment apps may limit the amount you can transfer in a day or within a week, and some do not allow international transactions. Before using a P2P service, It can be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the company’s fees, timing, and limitations.

4. Wire Transfer

If you need to send a considerable amount of money to someone quickly and/or the recipient is located overseas, it’s useful to know how to wire money using a wire transfer.

A wire transfer is one of the fastest and most secure ways to transfer money electronically from one person to another. It can be done through a bank or a nonbank wire transfer company, such as TransferWise or Western Union. You can make a wire transfer either in person, over the phone, or online.

If you are making a wire transfer to another bank in the U.S., the funds may be available within one business day or even a few hours. Sending money to a bank in another country may take more time to process.

There is usually a fee involved in making a wire transfer. Also, since wire transfers are not reversible, you’ll want to make sure you are sending money to the correct recipient and not a scam artist.

To make a wire transfer, you’ll likely need to have the recipient’s bank name, routing number, and account number.

5. Third-party Companies

Another option to send money domestically and overseas is to use a third-party wiring service like MoneyGram or Western Union. These companies do not require you to have a bank account to take advantage of services such as money transfers, money orders, and bill pay. Pricing varies widely depending on factors such as where money is sent from, where it is delivered, whether it’s paid in cash or wired to a bank account, and how fast the money is delivered. International transfers tend to be more expensive than domestic transfers.

6. Email Money Transfers

Some banks will allow you to make email money transfers, an online service that allows you to send money between bank accounts using an email address. Recipients are notified of the transfer via email, though the funds are actually sent through traditional bank transfer channels. Popmoney and Zelle are two companies banks commonly partner with to provide these services. You can usually make email money transfers directly from your bank’s app.

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How to Transfer Money from One Bank to Another at a Glance

Here’s a quick look at your options for transferring money from one bank account to another as well as factors including cost and timing.

Online Transfer

Check

Peer-to-peer Transfer

Wire Transfer

Third-party Transfer

Email Money Transfers

Cost Most electronic fund transfers require no fees. Check with your individual bank. Banks may charge for boxes of checks. Free domestically $25 to $30 for domestic transfers, and $45 to $50 for international transfers. Fees vary depending on a wide variety of factors. May range from $5 to $50. Free
Timing Up to three days. Checks usually take one to two days to clear. Depending on which service you use, transfers may take a few minutes or a few days to complete. Domestic transfers usually take 24 hours, while international transfers can take up to five days. Speed varies depending on fee, from immediate to multi-day transfers. Varies by bank, but often immediate delivery.

There May be Limits on How Many Transfers You Can Make

You can typically make as many transfers into a savings account as you would like, but there may be some limitations when it comes to taking money out of a savings account.

Online withdrawals from savings accounts are governed by the Federal Reserve’s Regulation D . The federal government has temporarily suspended its Regulation D limits on the number of withdrawals allowed from a savings account each month due to the 2020 pandemic. However, some banks are still enforcing the limit of six withdrawals per month and will charge an excessive withdrawal fee for each transaction over the limit.

It can be a good idea to check your financial institution’s rules before you try to transfer money from a savings account into a different account. Transfers count as one of the kinds of withdrawals that may be limited.

The Takeaway

There are multiple ways to transfer money from one bank to another. The best option will depend on where you are sending the money, and whether or not you own both accounts.

If you own both bank accounts, one of the simplest options is to log on to your account and set up an online transfer to an external account. This will also enable you to regularly transfer money to that account.

If you often send small amounts to other people, you may want to use an app like Venmo; for large amounts of money, especially if the recipient is overseas, you may want to go with a wire transfer. Speed not a concern? Writing a check is a simple, old-school option.

Isn’t it nice to know that there are so many bank-to-bank transfer options to help you get funds where you want them to go, at the speed and price you want to pay?

Banking Made Simple with SoFi®

SoFi Checking and Savings is a high yield bank account that makes managing your money easy, and that includes transferring funds. You can use the app to quickly transfer money to another person’s account. If the recipient is also a SoFi Checking and Savings account holder, they’ll get access to that money immediately. Plus, eligible Checking and Savings can earn 1.25% APY!

Find out how easy it is to send and receive funds with SoFi.


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