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Wiring money can be a fast way to move large amounts of money — thousands to tens of thousands of dollars, or more — within the U.S. and abroad. You can usually send much larger amounts with wire transfers than when using a peer-to-peer payment app, which might have significantly lower sending limits, require a bank account or debit card, and not allow international transfers. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to wire money.
1. Decide which provider to use
Both banks and nonbank money transfer providers can help you send wire transfers.
A wire transfer typically can’t be reversed, so always make sure you have the correct information and that you’re sending to the correct account number, and never send funds to anyone you don’t know well. The Federal Trade Commission has tips on how to avoid wire transfer scams.
» How much will it cost? See our guide to how much banks charge for wire transfer fees
2. Gather the information
If you’re using a bank to transfer money, you’ll likely need the following information handy:
Government-issued ID and/or online account access.
Account funded with at least the amount you want to send.
Bank account number (found on a bank statement, a check or your online account).
Recipient’s full name and contact information.
Recipient's bank account number.
Recipient bank’s name and routing number or equivalent.
Nonbank providers might not require bank account information, depending on which delivery option you choose, but they will require the recipient’s name and location.
You should always check with the bank or other provider you’re using to see if they have more specific requirements.
3. Check costs and choose the transfer method
Your bank or nonbank provider may let you send a wire transfer in several ways, such as online or through a mobile app, by phone or at a bank branch or the provider’s retail locations. The methods can vary in cost, so compare prices before making a decision.
The median cost at banks is $25 for sending wires domestically and $45 internationally, according to a December 2022 NerdWallet survey. Many nonbank providers have online tools that let you estimate the cost of a wire transfer before sending.
» Not sure if you need a wire transfer? Check out other ways to send money
4. Read the fine print
Before sending international wires, understand details about the exchange rate, total fees and taxes collected by all parties, the delivery date and the amount expected to be delivered abroad (separate from fees). Generally, transfer providers must give that information to you both before and after you pay for the wire.
5. Fill out the form carefully
Whether you speak with a bank teller or fill out a form online, be precise with the information you provide. A misspelled name or a missing digit can prevent the recipient from getting the money, and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get the money back. Wiring money is similar to sending cash — once you’ve authorized the transfer, it's very difficult to get back.
» Do the math: Compare providers for international money transfers
6. Save the receipt
Get confirmation of the transfer in a receipt, which should include contact information for the wire transfer provider, the transfer date, the date the funds will be available and the name of the recipient. save the receipt and refer to the specific transfer if any issues arise.