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If your funds are spread across accounts at different institutions, it helps to have an easy way to make transfers between them. Online transfers are a convenient way to transfer money from one bank to another.
Online transfers are generally free at online banks and some traditional banks, but others charge for this service. You will want to check with your institution before setting up your first transfer so you won’t be hit with unexpected fees.
» Looking for online accounts with low fees? Read NerdWallet’s list of best high-yield savings accounts.
How to transfer money from one bank to another online
Before you can start, you’ll need to set up a relationship between the two accounts you have at different banks — the one that will send money and the one to receive it.
Link the paired accounts. Log in to the first bank’s website or mobile app and select the option for making transfers. There may be a choice for internal transfers; you want the external option. The former is for transactions within the same bank — moving money from checking to savings, for example. An external transfer moves funds to a different bank.
Provide external account information. Have the bank routing number and personal account number handy for the account that will receive the funds. You can usually get this information from a bank statement or printed paper check.
Confirm the new account. After you enter the required information, the first bank will typically want to verify that you have access to the second bank’s account. You might be asked to enter your username and password, which the first bank would then verify. Another way the first bank could verify the account is to make a small deposit or two (think a few pennies each) and ask you to confirm the amounts. This process could take a couple of days to complete.
Set up transfers. Once the account is confirmed, you can set up transfers from the sending bank’s website. Choose the sending and receiving accounts, and enter the amount to be transferred and the date for the transaction to occur. From there, you can usually see which date the funds are expected to be available in the receiving account. You’ll also want to choose whether you want to make a one-time transaction or a recurring transfer (once a week, for example). After you’ve made your choices, select the option to submit them.
Use bank transfers to boost savings yields
Bank transfers are common for people who have checking accounts at one bank but want high-yield savings accounts at other banks. If they open a new savings account, they can link their existing checking account for automatic transfers.
This also works for online bank customers, who often need to link their existing bank accounts to fund their online accounts when those are first opened. These folks tend to get the benefit of better rates while having the convenience of keeping their existing accounts.
Here's a quick comparison:
Limits to savings withdrawals
You can generally make as many transfers into savings accounts as you’d like, but there are some rules when it comes to taking money out. Online withdrawals are considered convenience transactions, and per federal regulations, you can’t have more than six convenience transactions a month. If you try to have more than that, you may be charged an excess withdrawal fee, sometimes around $15.
» Learn more about savings withdrawal limits and Regulation D.
Sending money to others
If you don’t own the account you plan to send money to, you may need to explore other options. Many banks offer online bill pay services, which send a check or electronic payment to a merchant or vendor on your behalf. If you need to send money to another individual quickly, you can also use a peer-to-peer payments service, such as Venmo or PayPal. And if you need to send thousands of dollars quickly, it may make sense to wire the money.
» Curious about the best ways to transfer funds? Check out NerdWallet’s list of the best ways to send money.
Transferring funds from one bank account to another does not have to be a burden, especially if you have accounts that don’t charge transfer fees. Moving money from one account to the next can be just another easy online banking convenience.
» Ready to explore top savings options? Take a look at NerdWallet's best savings accounts.