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What Is a Wire Transfer?

Key Takeaways

  • Wire transfers allow you to electronically send a large amount of money
  • Wire transfers are protected by the same security systems used by the institution performing the transfer
  • Most banks, like Citizens Bank, require you to initiate a wire transfer in person at a branch in order to reduce incidents of fraud and identity theft

A wire transfer is an electronic transaction that facilitates sending a large amount of money in a quick fashion. Other money-transferring services have limits on how much money can be transferred, but wire transfers allow you to send more than $10,000.

Wire transfers are sent to the recipient instantly and directly, and could be completed in one of three ways (depending on bank or financial institution you use): in person, online, or via phone. Citizens Bank customers must initiate wires via an in-person visit to a branch. Domestic wire transfers can be cleared within the same day, while international transfers can take a few days.

When would you need to complete a wire transfer?

Wire transfers make the most sense for large transactions, such as real estate or when sending large sums of money internationally. Otherwise it’s more affordable to use different money-transferring services like Zelle®  or others that don’t have transaction costs.

How to do a wire transfer

Citizens Bank customers should visit a branch to initiate a wire transfer. Depending on the bank or provider you use, the list of information needed to perform the wire transfer may vary. Here’s a sample of what you, the sender, would need to provide:

  • A government-issued form of identification (driver’s license, passport)
  • How much money you’d like to transfer
  • Your address
  • Your bank account number

You’ll also need to provide some information about the recipient. That includes their:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Routing number (or SWIFT code for international wire transfers)
  • Bank account number

Wire transfer cost

You’ll be charged a flat fee for sending a wire transfer. Domestic transfers tend to cost around $30 while international transfers are approximately $40.

In most cases, the recipient will have to pay a receiving fee of around $20 and/or intermediary bank fees for international wires. Again, check with your provider for the exact costs.

Are wire transfers safe?

Wire transfers are protected by the same security systems used by the institution performing the transfer. That means wire transfers done at a bank or other financial institution are protected by the same technology that guards your account information.

Online and phone scammers use wire transfers as their tool of choice since U.S. wire transfers are irrevocable by nature. However, it’s very rare, but possible a financial institution will honor a request to cancel or recall a wire, but to complete the recall, the recipient will needs to approve it as well. Wire transfers are safe; just make sure they’re sent to the correct account.

More information

Need to perform a wire transfer? Visit your nearest Citizens Bank branch.

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