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Wire Money

What it Means and How to Wire Money


Woman at atm, cash machine
Allison Michael Orenstein/ The image Bank/ Getty Images
From time to time you have to wire money to somebody. What does it mean to wire money? A wire transfer happens when you send money to somebody electronically. Let’s review the basics of how you wire money and what your options are.

Bank Wire Transfers

When somebody requests that you wire money, they're most likely talking about a bank wire transfer. This is the safest and quickest way to transfer money to another bank. However, it can be a pain to wire money, and you usually have to pay a fee.

How to Wire Money

If you need to wire money, you’ll have to submit a request to your bank. Be prepared by having all the information you need ahead of time, and expect to spend some time on the request. You might be able to wire money online, or you might have to fill out a form.

Alternatives to Bank Wire Transfers

If you’re not required to wire money, you may be able to make your payment at a lower cost.

Find out if you can send a check. If your payee requires ‘cleared’ funds and they’re reluctant to take a personal check, ask if they’ll accept a cashier’s check.

You may have to pay a small fee for a cashier's check (and overnight delivery) but it may end up being cheaper.

If you’re forced to wire money because you forgot to - or delayed - making a payment, you can simplify your life if you set up electronic payments through an online bill pay service.

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