In finance, to transfer money means to move funds or ownership rights from one account to another. Most often, this refers to moving funds from a checking or savings account to another at the same bank. But it can also include shifting investments, like company stock or bonds, from one investment account to another. Those transfers are sometimes called external transfers, in contrast to internal ones that shift money between accounts held by the same person at the same bank.
There are a number of ways to transfer money, including using peer-to-peer payment apps and mobile wallets. These are often fast and inexpensive, but they can lack transparency about fees. If you’re transferring money overseas, you should compare transfer costs and speed before choosing a method. You can also use a wire transfer service to move money between different financial institutions. These typically offer the best rates for consumers, but they can take a little longer than other options.
Most consumer banks allow you to move funds between your own accounts at the same bank for free. You’ll need the other person’s name, account number and routing number if you want to send an external transfer from your bank to theirs. You can find this information on their bank’s website or by calling the bank. Some companies, such as Venmo, also provide these details on their websites and mobile apps.
Other methods for transferring money include paying with a debit or credit card, buying a money order and sending cash through the mail. Money orders are available at post offices and some retailers, such as Walmart, which runs more than 3,000 stores in the United States. They’re a popular option for sending cash to friends and family who don’t have bank accounts. Money orders can be cashed at most retail locations, but there are fees involved.
Many services, such as PayPal and Zelle, let you transfer money between your own accounts. They may charge a small fee for the transaction, but they can be much faster than sending a wire or writing a check. These services can also give you a record of your transactions, which can be helpful if something goes wrong.
A wire transfer is a more traditional way to send money from the United States to other countries. This usually involves an electronic transfer from your bank to the recipient’s, and it can typically be completed in a few days. It can be expensive, however, and can include markups in addition to any foreign exchange rate.
Other companies, such as Western Union and MoneyGram, offer wire transfers to individuals and businesses. They’re typically a bit slower than other methods, but they can be more affordable and secure. They’re also easier for people without bank accounts to use, as they don’t need to have an account with a particular company to receive money from them. They’re not as widely available as other types of money transfers, though.