How to Transfer Money From One Bank to Another

By Austin Kilham · March 17, 2024 · 11 minute read

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How to Transfer Money From One Bank to Another

If you want to transfer money from one bank to another, you have a variety of options, including online transfers, third-party services, wire transfers, and more. Which one is right for you will depend on such variables as how quickly you want to make the transfer, whether you are willing to pay a fee, and how large an amount you are moving. Your personal preference and what you find most convenient matters as well. Here, you’ll learn more about the different ways to transfer funds from one bank to another.

Key Points

•   Bank transfers move money from one bank account to another.

•   These can be done by online transfers, checks, peer-to-peer services, wire transfers, third-party companies, or bank-to-bank money transfer services.

•   There may be limits on how many bank transfers you can do in a specific time period and the dollar amount.

•   The time it takes to complete a bank transfer may vary with the method.

What Is a Bank Transfer?

Simply put, a bank transfer is a way of moving money into a bank account. If you want to pay for a purchase, for a service you are using, or simply repay a friend for brunch over the weekend, a bank transfer can make that happen.

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What Factors Should I Consider Before Transferring Money?

Typically, when making a bank transfer, you will want to consider these factors:

•   Timing: How quickly do you need to move the funds? This can have implications on the method you choose.

•   Cost: Some methods for bank transfers may be free; others may involve a fee.

•   Limits: Depending on the amount of money you are seeking to transfer, some methods may be more suitable than others.

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 have been governed by the Federal Reserve’s Regulation D. Some banks are still enforcing the legacy limit of six withdrawals per month and will charge a withdrawal fee for each transaction over the limit. Or they might convert your savings account to a checking account. This guideline was largely suspended during the pandemic, but that’s not necessarily a universal decision.

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. See if your financial institution has limits on the quantity you can make in a given time period.

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How to Transfer Money Between Banks

Here’s a look at different ways to transfer money to someone else or to another account that you own. You’ll also learn which method is best for each situation.

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

If you have accounts at two different banks and want to transfer money from your account at Bank A to your account at Bank B, follow these steps:

•   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 find the bank’s routing number on their website and your account number on your monthly statement.

•   To prove that the account at Bank 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 on which 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, there might be transfer limits in the amount you can move each time or within a certain time period. It can be a good idea to check your financial institution’s rules for bank-to-bank transfer limits.

2. Writing a Check

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 wise; here are some ways you can use checks to move money around:

•   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. That little rectangle of paper’s job is to transfer money from one bank to another, and it will get it done.

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 amount, your check 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 can offer some advantages:

•   They 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.

Worth noting, however, is the fact that some 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. Here are some specifics:

•   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 Wise (formerly TransferWise) or Western Union.

•   Wire transfers are convenient because you can make them over the phone and online as well as in person.

•   Wire transfers can be extremely fast. If you are making a wire transfer to another bank in the US, 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. For outgoing domestic transactions, the wire transfer fee could be as high as $25 or more; international transfers are often around $45.

Since wire transfers are not reversible, you’ll want to make sure you are sending money to the correct recipient and not being lured into a money scam. 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. Here’s how these work:

•   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. You can fund your transaction using cash or perhaps a credit card.

•   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.

Recommended: How to Send Money With A Credit Card

6. Online Bank-to-Bank Money Transfer Service

Some banks will allow you to use an online money-transfer service that allows you to send money between bank accounts using an email address or a US-based mobile phone number. A few details to consider:

•   Recipients are notified of the transfer via email, though the funds are actually sent through traditional bank transfer channels. Zelle is a popular choice for banks to partner with to provide this service.

•   You can usually make email money transfers directly from your bank’s app.

•   These transfers are typically free (although some banks may charge a fee) and can be instantaneous, though the speed is determined by the banks involved.

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

Here’s a quick look at your options when you want to know how you can transfer money from one bank account to another. Included are such factors as cost and timing.

Online Transfer

Check

Peer-to-peer Transfer

Wire Transfer

Third-party Transfer

Bank-to-Bank Money Transfer Service

Cost Typically fee-free. Check with your bank Banks may charge for boxes of checks Free domestically Up to $30 for domestic transfers, and up to $50 for international transfers Fees vary. May range from $5 to $50 Usually free (though some banks may add a fee)
Timing Up to three days Usually take 1-2 days to clear May take a few minutes or a few days depending on the service Typically 24 hours for domestic transfers, up to 5 days for international Speed varies by fee, from immediate to multi-day transfers Varies by bank, but often immediate

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, whether or not you own both accounts, how quickly you want the funds moved, and how much (if any) in fees you are willing to pay.

Options typically include online and bank-to-bank transfer services, wire transfers, third-party services, checks, and P2P apps like Venmo. 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?

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FAQ

What is the easiest way to transfer money from one bank to another?

Online transfers, bank-to-bank money transfer services, and P2P apps can all make moving money very convenient; no checking writing is required, nor do you need to fill out as many forms as you might have to for wire transfers or when using a third-party service.

What is the safest way to transfer money from one bank to another?

While all methods of moving money have security features, wire transfers are generally thought to be one of the safest ways to send money from one bank to another.

How do I transfer money from one bank to another bank manually?

If you are using a banking or P2P app, you typically will need to type in the details of the account you are sending money to, the amount, the date you want the transfer to occur, and then verify that the specifics are correct.

Is it free to transfer money from one bank to another?

Whether or not it’s free to transfer money from one bank to another depends on the method you select. An online, bank-to-bank money transfer service, or P2P transfer and writing a check (excluding the postage to mail it) can be free; check details with your particular provider.


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