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What It Costs to Transfer Money Between Banks

External transfers are free at some banks, and cost from $3 to $10 at others. Here are the specifics for ACH transfers at 18 top banks.
March 20, 2019
Banking, Banks & Credit Unions, Money Transfer
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When you transfer money between banks — called an external transfer — there can be fees and it might take days. These transfers are processed through the Automated Clearing House electronic network, much like other ACH transfers such as bill payments and direct deposit.

While transfers between accounts at the same bank can be instant, you generally must wait for bank-to-bank transfers to process before funds get delivered. Some banks and credit unions don’t charge for external transfers, but others assess a small fee, typically $10 or less. And this applies only to online transfers. We’ll talk about staff-assisted transfers at the end of the article.

» In the market for a new bank? See our list of favorites

External transfer fees by financial institution

The table below lists transfer data for some of the country’s largest financial institutions, including Chase’s external account transfer fee and Bank of America’s transfer fee. Skip ahead to read more about external transfers.

Financial institution
(Click on the bank name to read review)
Cost (both directions unless specified)Approximate delivery times*
Alliant Credit Union$01-2 business days
Ally Bank$03 business days
American Express National Bank$01-3 business days; longer for transfers initiated at the bank where the funds should arrive
Axos BankTo or from Axos account: $0

To Axos account (next day): $0

From Axos account (next day): $7
3 business days; option for next-day delivery
Bank of AmericaTo Bank of America account: $0

From Bank of America account (3 business days): $3

From Bank of America account (next day): $10
3 business days; option for next-day delivery
Bank5 ConnectTo Bank5 Connect account: $0

From Bank5 Connect account (standard delivery): $0

From Bank5 Connect account (next day): $3
Up to 3 business days; option for next-day delivery
Barclays$02-3 business days
Boeing Employees Credit Union$02-3 business days; option for free next-day delivery
Capital One 360 Bank$02 business days
Chase$0 2 business days
Citibank$03 business days; option for free next-day delivery
Discover Bank$00-3 business days
Navy Federal Credit UnionTo and from a Navy Federal account: $0

Same-day bill pay: $5
1-2 business days; option for same-day bill pay service
PNC Bank$03 business days
Synchrony Bank$0Up to 3 business days
TD Bank$01-3 business days
U.S. BankTo U.S. Bank account: $0

From U.S. Bank account: Up to $3
3 business days; option for free next-day delivery (incoming transfers only)
Wells Fargo$0To Wells Fargo account: 3 business days

From Wells Fargo account: 2 business days

*These are typical total outgoing and incoming transfer times when initiated through online banking, according to each financial institution’s disclosures and general policies. Delays can occur due to holding periods, sending after daily cutoff times, initial service setup and other reasons. This list includes only personal accounts, not business accounts.

» MORE: Learn the basics of ACH transfers

How to transfer money more quickly

ACH transfers usually take a few business days to process, and nearly every financial institution has a cutoff time for transfer requests. Respecting these will help your money arrive on time. If you submit a transfer request after the cutoff — around the end of the business day — it generally won’t be processed until the next business day.

Some banks offer next-day delivery, usually for an extra cost.

Weekends and bank holidays don’t count as business days. If you initiate a transfer request at 11 p.m. on the Friday before a three-day holiday weekend, the money might not reach its destination until the following Thursday.

Some banks offer next-day delivery, usually for an extra cost. Even then, “next day” usually means “next business day,” not “next calendar day.” But rules implemented in March 2018 make it possible for most ACH payments, including payroll and account-to-account transfers, to be processed the same day they’re requested.

Transfer money between banks without fees

Person-to-person transfer service Zelle can work for external transfers between accounts you own. And, unless one of your banks tacks on its own Zelle fee, it’s free.

Zelle is both a service integrated with over 200 banks as well as a standalone app. Zelle requires a way to contact you for notifications, such as an email address or phone number, and if you register for Zelle with two or more banks, you need a different contact for each. You only need one Zelle account to use the service and your recipient must enroll, as well. Zelle allows banks to front payments, so they can arrive within minutes. Banks are reimbursed when the ACH transfer clears.

 

If you’re looking at fees beyond ACH transfers, consider online banks such as these three, which have free checking accounts:


NerdWallet bank rating:



NerdWallet bank rating



NerdWallet bank rating:


Monthly fee

$0






Free ATM access

Over 38,000 ATMs






Bonus Features

No overdraft fees



Monthly fee

$0





Free ATM access

Over 43,000 ATMs






Bonus Features

Account pays interest




Monthly fee

$0






Free ATM access

Over 39,000 ATMs






Bonus Features

Account pays interest




See more free checking accounts

ACH transfer vs. wire transfer

ACH transfers are cheaper than wire transfers, which typically cost about $25 to send and $15 to receive. You might pay more than $40 to transfer internationally. There’s a reason for the higher fees: Whereas ACH transfers may take days, wire transfers may be completed in minutes or hours.

» MORE: Learn the basics of wire transfers

Staff-assisted vs. online banking transfer

If you call a customer service representative or visit a branch to request a bank transfer, your financial institution might charge you — even if online transfers are free. For example, PNC Bank doesn’t charge for online transfers, but you’ll pay $3 for each staff-assisted transfer.

Before you make a transfer, make sure you know your financial institution’s policies. Read our article on how to avoid checking fees to lower your costs and keep more money in your account.


METHODOLOGY

We looked at more than 30 financial institutions: the largest U.S. banks based on assets, debit card volume and internet search traffic; the nation’s largest credit unions with broad-based membership requirements; and other notable and/or emerging players in the industry.

About the authors