A wire transfer is a method of electronic funds transfer from one person or entity to another. It is a direct bank-to-bank transaction that allows for the quick and secure transfer of money. Wire transfers can be made domestically or internationally and are used for a variety of purposes, including sending money to family and friends, paying for goods and services, and conducting business transactions.

Unlike other forms of payment, such as checks or credit card transactions, wire transfers usually involve a fee and can be completed more rapidly, often within the same day for domestic transfers and within a few days for international transfers. The process requires the sender to provide the recipient’s banking details, such as the bank name, account number, and routing number, to initiate the transfer.

Wiring money is like sending cash, so never wire money to a stranger — no matter how convincing they are. Once you send it, it’s probably gone for good.

Federal Trade Commission

In Simpler Terms

Think of a time when you needed to send money quickly for an emergency, like a family member stranded without cash in another country. A wire transfer is like a digital lifeline, moving funds from your bank account directly to theirs, often within the same day, ensuring they’re not left in a lurch.

While wire transfers are a go-to for immediate transactions, they’re also a favorite in the business world for their reliability and speed, especially in real estate deals or large purchases where the timely arrival of funds is crucial.