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Bank Wire Transfer Basics

How Bank Wire Transfers Work


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When you need to send money fast, a bank wire transfer is often your best choice. Bank wire transfers are immediate, safe, and reliable. Learn the basics on how they work and how to start using them.

Bank wire transfers are immediate transfers from one bank to another. They are often used for important transactions for the reasons below.

Bank Wire Transfer Safety

Each party in a bank wire transfer must be identified by the bank. It is hard to send or get money anonymously, so it’s harder to pull off a scam with a bank wire transfer. In addition, payments are more certain - banks only send money if the sender has available funds, and it is difficult for the sender to pull the money back.

Some transactions are more risky. For example, if you do a bank wire transfer to an office that pays out the proceeds in cash (such as a retail shop in a strip-mall), it is harder to verify who got the money.

Speed of Bank Wire Transfers

Bank wire transfers are fast. Because of the certainty mentioned above, transferred funds are considered ‘cleared’ immediately when received. Sometimes it takes a while for the receiving bank to show the proceeds in the recipient’s account, but the money moves quickly.


The bank wire transfer system is reliable. It has to be robust because it is used for so many important (and large) transactions. As a result, there are redundancies built in to reduce the impact of failures or disasters.

How to do a Bank Wire Transfer

To do a bank wire transfer, you have to submit instructions to your bank. You’ll need information about the recipient’s bank and their account number, and you may have to use a special form. For more details, see the page below:

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