While some traditional methods like physical cash, checks, wire transfers and money orders may seem outdated when there are faster electronic alternatives, they’re still popular choices for people who need to transfer funds quickly. For instance, if you’re paying back a friend or splitting utilities with your roommate, an online peer-to-peer payment platform such as PayPal, Venmo, Zelle and Cash App is convenient and secure. And if you need to send money abroad, a Western Union or MoneyGram can get the job done for a fee.
What is a money transfer?
A money transfer is the process of moving assets, monetary funds or ownership rights from one account to another. It can be done within the same bank, between different banks or from an individual to another person. It can also be transferred between entities, such as real estate, car titles and stocks and other securities.
If you’re transferring money within your own bank, the easiest way is with an electronic fund transfer (ACH). It’s a fast and free option for domestic bank-to-bank transfers. You can complete an ACH transfer in person at your bank branch, over the phone or by using your mobile app. It typically takes two to three business days for the funds to show up in your recipient’s account.
Another method is a wire transfer, which is typically used for larger amounts and is usually processed the same day. A wire transfer can be completed in person at your bank branch, over the telephone or by logging into your account online. You’ll need your recipient’s account number and their bank’s routing number, which you can find by contacting their bank or looking up their information online.
You can also use a money order, which is prepaid and can be cashed at most post offices, Walmarts and some convenience stores. However, it isn’t as safe as a personal check and doesn’t offer any protection against identity theft or fraud. You can also use a debit or credit card to purchase a money order, and you’ll receive a confirmation email with a Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) that helps track the status of your transfer.
The best way to transfer money depends on your needs and the recipient’s preferences. If you need to move a large amount of money quickly, an international wire or bank-to-bank transfer is the fastest and most reliable option. But if you’re only sending small amounts of money, you may want to consider an app such as PayPal, Venmo or Zelle. And if you’re planning to send money abroad, shop around and compare fees to ensure you’re getting the best deal.