How to transfer money from bank to bank

Couple in kitchen with cellphone, talking about how to transfer money from bank to bankImage: Couple in kitchen with cellphone, talking about how to transfer money from bank to bank

In a Nutshell

If you need to transfer money from bank to bank, you have multiple options. But some choices could be faster or cost less money than others.

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Whether you need to pay someone quickly or move money between accounts you own at different banks, there are many reasons you might want to transfer money from bank to bank.

While online transfers and banking apps may be convenient, there are other ways to move money between banks, with varying advantages and downsides. We’ll cover the options for how to transfer money from bank to bank, whether you need to make a one-time money transfer or set up ongoing payments.



How to transfer money from one bank to another

There are a few ways to transfer money between banks and credit unions. One option is by an electronic transfer, known as an ACH transfer because it goes through the Automated Clearing House system. Some common types of ACH transfers are direct deposits for your paychecks, and direct debits for mortgage payments, car loans and other recurring bills.

Moving money from bank to bank through an ACH transfer typically takes a few steps.

1. Link the two bank accounts. You’ll need to log in to one account, navigate to the section for managing external transfers and follow the instructions. Also, you’ll need to add the other account’s routing and account numbers. If you’re transferring money to someone else’s account, they’ll have to share this information with you.

2. Verify the external banking details. Your bank may need to verify these details through a test with a couple of small deposits or withdrawals.

3. Schedule a transfer. Once the verification is complete, you may start transferring money.

Your bank may allow you to complete ACH transfers through an online dashboard or on the go with your bank’s app.

What do you need to open a bank account?

Other ways to set up a bank transfer

While ACH transfers are common, there are some other options for transferring money from bank to bank. 

  • Wire transfer — You may send a wire transfer, which is another type of electronic payment.  
  • Peer-to-peer, or P2P, payments — You may also use peer-to-peer payments for a faster way to transfer money from bank to bank.

What information will I need to transfer money?

As you begin the money transfer process, you’ll need to gather some bank account details. Although the exact process may vary by institution, here’s the information you’ll likely need to transfer money from bank to bank.

  • Type of account — You’ll need to identify the type of account you’re transferring money to, which may be an eligible checking, savings or another type of account.
  • Bank name — You may also have to provide the bank name.
  • Routing number — A routing number or ABA routing number is nine digits and identifies the correct bank branch. You can find a bank’s routing number on its website.     
  • Bank account number — A bank account number is account-specific. You may find your bank account number on paper statements, on the bottom of your checks or on your deposit slips. You may also find this information by logging into your online account or by calling your bank. 

How long will it take to transfer money from one bank to another?

How you send the money is one of the main factors in how quickly a bank-to-bank transfer will go through. ACH transfers may involve added precautions against fraud and money laundering. The extra layer of security could make an ACH transfer take longer — up to several business days longer in some cases.

But if both bank accounts connect through Zelle, a peer-to-peer app, it may be possible to transfer money for free within minutes. Other peer-to-peer apps like Venmo, Cash App or a PayPal account may also offer instant transfers — some for a fee.   

How can I transfer money to someone else’s account?

There are scenarios where you may need to transfer money to someone else’s bank account. For example, you may need to chip in for a group vacation home or dinner. Or perhaps you’ve offered to lend money to a family member.

You may transfer money instantly through a peer-to-peer mobile app like the Zelle app or Venmo. For those who don’t need the money instantly, you may send the money through an ACH transfer or wire transfer, but you’ll need access to the recipient’s bank account information. There’s also the option of using a paper check or cash.       

Other things to consider when you transfer money

Whether you’re planning a one-time transfer or a series of payments, there are some additional things you’ll want to consider.

Money transfer limits

As you plan to transfer money from bank to bank, you should consider your bank’s daily, weekly and monthly transfer limits. You may find these limits in your account disclosures or by calling the bank’s customer service team. If you need to transfer larger amounts of money, you may need to split the transfer amount across multiple days.   

Protect yourself from cyber attacks

In the era of more online security threats, it’s critical to safeguard your online and mobile banking. The Federal Emergency Management Agency suggests taking these steps to protect your bank accounts from cyber attacks.

  • Back up your files.
  • Consider using a virtual private network, or VPN, when online banking.
  • Protect your home Wi-Fi network.
  • Use a strong password and two-factor authentication.
  • Update software and your operating systems regularly.

Watch for money transfer scams

You should also watch for suspicious activity, like money transfer scams, which may involve scammers trying to move stolen money. The Federal Trade Commission says these scams may occur through work-from-home jobs, online dating accounts or prizes. If you receive a suspicious request to transfer funds, notify the companies involved and report the incident at ftc.gov/complaint.


About the author: Kate Dore is a Nashville-based personal finance writer and Candidate for CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER<s… Read more.