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transfer money

Sometimes you’ll need to transfer money from one bank account to another. Perhaps you’re paying some for the monthly rent or maybe you want to move your money from an old account into a high-interest savings account. Regardless, you have a few ways to move the funds. You may not even have to leave the comfort of your home to do it. Like most things today, there are more digital options than ever. Here’s a look at ways to transfer money from one bank account to another and which method is best for your situation.

Information You Need in Order to Transfer Money

Depending on how you transfer money, there are some basic pieces of information you should have on hand. For starters, you need to know how much you want to transfer, and you need to make sure that your account has enough money to cover the transfer. If you try to use money that you don’t have, the transaction may not go through. Even if it does, you may have to pay a fee, such as an overdraft fee.

You should also know the account numbers and routing numbers for both your bank and the bank where you are sending the money. If you don’t know those numbers, there are a few places you can look. One is to get your account number and routing number from a check. The routing number is the nine-digit, left-most number along the bottom. Your account number is the center number along the bottom your check. You should also be able to find these numbers through your online banking account.

You should also know the name and address of your bank and the bank you’re sending to.

Simple Way to Transfer Money: Cash

A lot of banking today is digital, but you can still transfer money as cold hard cash. Withdrawing and depositing cash doesn’t always make sense, like when you’re moving large sums of money, but it could be a simple and free option in some circumstances. Cash could also be a good option if you need to move the money immediately.

To avoid fees, your best bet is to withdraw money in-person. If you use an ATM, your banks and/or the bank that owns the ATM may charge you a transaction fee. Most ATMs, and your personal account for that matter, also have daily withdrawal limits of $600 or less.

Old-Fashioned Way to Transfer Money: Checks

transfer money

A check is another simple way to transfer money. The best checking accounts also provide you with free checks. To move money via check, you simply need to write a check and then deposit it at the other bank. The rise of mobile check deposit also means that you probably don’t have to visit a bank to deposit a check.

Checks work whether you’re depositing into an account you own or whether you’re sending money to someone else. The one thing to note is that checks are not a good option if you need to move money as quickly as possible. It may take a few days or even a week after you deposit a check for the funds to transfer.

We know that checks aren’t as popular as they used to be, so here’s a quick refresher on how to write a check.

Move Money Between Your Own Accounts: Bank-to-Bank Transfers

If you need to transfer money between two accounts that you own, a bank-to-bank transfer could be your best bet. This is a digital payment that typically works as an ACH payment. (If you have used direct deposit or paid your credit card bill online, you have used ACH, or automatic clearing house, payments.)

Many banks allow free bank-to-bank transfers if you’re sending to another account that you own. You will just need to link the two accounts. You can usually do this through your bank’s online banking platform. Some banks, especially those without a big online presence, will require you to call or visit a branch.

To link two accounts, you will need the account numbers, routing numbers and proof that you are the owner of both accounts. Once you create the link, you can then send money easily between the two banks.

It is important to note that bank-to-bank transfers can take a few days to process.

Transferring Money to Someone Else’s Bank Account: Wire Transfers

If you’re transferring money to someone else’s account and you want to do it quickly, a wire transfer is probably the best option. Depending on when you send it, the funds will arrive at the other bank on the same day or within one business day. As mentioned above you will need the account and routing numbers for your bank and the bank where you’re sending the money.

Wire transfers are also an easy way to send money internationally. To make an international wire transfer, you will need the same information plus a SWIFT code, National ID or IBAN number of the receiving bank. If you are sending the wire transfer online, you should be able to find this number by searching with the receiving bank’s name and address.

The drawback to a wire transfer is that you will have to pay a fee. The fee typically ranges from about $10 up to $40, though at most places it will be on the higher end of that range.

Sending Money to Someone Else: Apps

Today, there are a number of apps with the sole purpose of helping you to transfer money. Also called P2P payment services, these apps have become a very popular way to send small amounts of money quickly. Two of the biggest services are PayPal and Venmo. Many banks have also started offering P2P services, like Zelle and Popmoney.

If your bank offers one of these services, you may not need to create an account. It’s included with your bank account. For the most part, though, you will need to create an account and link it to your bank account. The person receiving your payment will also need to have an account in most cases.

Apps may give you the option to send payments by linking a credit card instead of a bank account. However, this usually comes with a fee.

Bottom Line

transfer money

There are multiple ways to transfer money from one bank to another. The best option for you will depend on where you send the money, whether or not you own both accounts. If you need to move money to another account that you own, you may want to link the accounts through online banking. This way you can regularly transfer money. Withdrawing and depositing cash may also work in some circumstances. Just watch out for ATM fees. If you’re moving money to someone else’s account, consider a wire transfer. It will come with a fee, but it’s quick and also works internationally. If you’re regularly sending small amounts to other people, you may want to go with an app like PayPal, Venmo, Zelle or Popmoney. Finally, make sure you send money to the right account. Check and double check the account numbers. If you send money to the wrong account, it could difficult or even impossible to get it back.

Tips for Maximizing Your Savings

  • One of the best ways to save money is to spend less. This isn’t always easy but you can help yourself by making a budget. At the very least, a budget will show you where your money is going. That knowledge will help you align your spending with your goals.
  • A simple way to boost your savings is to have a savings account with a high-interest rate. Most large banks charge very low interest rates that earn you almost nothing. If you have a high interest over 1.75%, like at Ally or Synchrony, your money is working for you.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/simonkr, ©iStock.com/AndreyPopov, ©iStock.com/Tatomm

Derek Silva, CEPF® Derek Silva is determined to make personal finance accessible to everyone. He writes on a variety of personal finance topics for SmartAsset, serving as a retirement and credit card expert. Derek is a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing and a Certified Educator in Personal Finance® (CEPF®). He has a degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and has spent time as an English language teacher in the Portuguese autonomous region of the Azores. The message Derek hopes people take away from his writing is, “Don’t forget that money is just a tool to help you reach your goals and live the lifestyle you want.”
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