What are Wire Transfers & Should I Use One? [The Basics]

Wire transfers are a quick, secure method of transferring money between two parties. The bank wire transfer process is simple, even if you’ve never transferred money this way before. Read on to find out wire transfer basics and whether this is the right payment method for your situation.

What is a wire transfer?

A wire transfer is an electronic transfer of funds between two parties. This quick method of exchanging money is often used between banks or businesses like Western Union.

A wire transfer is a direct transfer of funds which speeds up the process. This differs from other bank ACH transfers which send their transfers in batches at the end of each business day.

Why use a wire transfer?

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Wire transfers are best used when you need a fast, secure way to send money. Domestic transfers within the U.S. can be processed within the same day, and sending money internationally only takes 3-4 days. The funds don’t need to be held and can be used immediately by the recipient. You’ll pay a fee for a wire transfer because it’s a faster service than other transfer methods.

It’s important to note that while a wire transfer is an incredibly secure way to transfer money, scams still occur. Hackers rely on human error and emotion to get you to send the money to them. You can’t undo a wire transfer, so if you do send money to the wrong person or a hacker, you can’t get your money back.

Always make sure you double check the recipient information through multiple sources before sending a transfer. Hackers may have altered an email, but you can double check that information over the phone. And don’t send money to people you don’t know!

What is the bank wire transfer process?

Wire transfers can be done directly through a bank or credit union, or you can use an outside business like WesternUnion or MoneyGram. Make sure you have the following information with you when initiating a transfer.

  • The recipient’s full name, their bank name and account number, and their address
  • For a domestic transfer, bring the bank’s American Banker’s Association (ABA) number, also known as a routing number
  • For international transfers bring the bank’s Identifier Code.
  • If using a non-bank provider, you may not need a bank account number, but you’ll still need all other identifying information


If in doubt, simply ask the what information you need from the party completing the transfer. You can fill out forms and process the transfer in-person, over the phone, or even online.

Wire transfer fees at AmeriChoice

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While you’ll find service fees are generally cheaper at a credit union than national banks or non-bank providers, our wire transfer fees can help you establish a baseline for what to expect at different lenders.

Outgoing per transfer (Domestic) – $25.00

Outgoing per transfer (International) – $50.00

Outgoing resend fee – $5.00

Incoming per transfer – $10.00

Have any questions we didn’t answers about the bank wire transfer process? Leave them in the comments!

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