Back in the the1900s banks used telegraphic wires to transfer money. This was done by sending telegraph messages that contained coded instructions. The money was then transferred by wire, and the transaction was completed.

This is how the term wire transfer came into the picture. 

What are Wire Transfers?

Wire transfer is a method of electronically transferring funds from one person or entity to another. It is a fast and secure way to send money from one bank account to another internationally or within the same country. These transfers are administered by banks and other transfer service agencies. 

For example Ravi who stays in the USA, can transfer funds to his parents in India using a wire transfer.

Similarly, Ravi’s parents in India can use wire transfers to transfer funds to Ravi in the USA.

How does a Wire Transfer work?

Let’s take a look at this example:

Ravi who’s in the USA goes to Bank X as he wants to transfer funds to his parents in India i.e Bank Y. Bank X will then send fund transfer instructions to bank Y. This includes the recipient’s name, account number and the amount to be transferred. 

The money gets debited from the sender’s bank account which is then added to the recipient’s bank account. Bank X and bank Y then settle the transaction in the backend post the money has been deposited. That’s how wire transfer works. 

The most common way of a wire transfer is through the SWIFT( Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) network. The SWIFT network consists of a number of banks in a lot of countries which is used to transfer funds from one bank account to another bank account. 

Types of Wire Transfers: 

1. Domestic Wire Transfer:

Domestic wire transfers are electronic payments made from one bank account to another within the same country. These transfers are typically used for larger sums of money, such as for large purchases or to move money between accounts quickly. 

The funds are usually transferred on the same day that they are initiated.

2. International Wire Transfer:

International wire transfers are electronic money transfers sent from one country to another. A SWIFT Code is required in order to take this ahead.

Funds are moved electronically from one bank account to another and usually take one to five business days to complete, depending on the country of the sender and the recipient.

Risks associated with Wire Transfer

1. Fraud: Wire transfers involve sending money to a third party, which makes them vulnerable to fraud. This is especially true of international transfers, which are more difficult to trace and recover.

2. Speed: Wire transfers are often completed within minutes, which can be both a benefit and a detriment. Speed can be beneficial when you need to send money quickly, but it can also make it difficult to stop or reverse a transfer if something goes wrong.

3. Fees: Wire transfers typically have higher fees than other forms of payment, especially for international transfers. The fees may vary depending on the bank, the amount of money being sent, and the destination country.

4. Security: It is important to ensure that the sender and receiver both have secure systems in place to protect the transfer of funds. Without adequate security, the funds may be vulnerable to theft or fraud.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Wire Transfer

Wire transfers are a convenient way of transferring funds both internationally and within the same country. 

Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of wire transfers.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Faster settlement, even across borders
  • Higher international wire transfer charges
  • Due to insufficient funds, a wire transfer cannot bounce.
  • Limitation on the maximum number of fund transfers
  • More reliable than checks


  • Cancellation is difficult once the transfer is initiated

Information Required for a Wire Transfer

You can directly contact the bank in order to initiate a wire transfer.

The bank would want certain details to proceed with the transaction to initiate a wire transfer. This often includes:

  • Recipient’s name
  • Recipient’s bank account number
  • Recipient’s address and ZIP code
  • Recipient’s bank name
  • Bank routing number

You may need to sign a form providing this information in order to initiate the wire transfer.

ACH Transfer Vs Wire Transfer

Although wire transfers and ACH transfers sound similar there lies certain differences between them. Let’s have a closer look.

Bank transfer Wire transfer
ACH payments can take a little longer, usually two-three days Faster transfer speed in domestic wire transfer, it takes a day or two. 
ACH charges are cheaper than wire transfers. Wire transfer costs can vary, depending on the amount and type of transfer, and international transfers will have a much higher price.
ACH transfers are often considered the more secure payment option for senders as if money is sent in error or by mistake, there are ways to reverse the payment. Wire transfer payments are relatively instant and therefore impossible to reverse if your cash is transferred in error 


Wire transfers have resulted in no cash exchange and have introduced the convenience of funds transfer across the globe.

From electronic wire transfers to digital modes of payment, banking has significantly evolved. Again the evolution of the fintech space has had a significant impact on businesses today.


Read more: What is Fintech? Meaning and Evolution

  • RazorpayX allows business owners to open current accounts, pay taxes, schedule payments, pay vendors seamlessly and check invoices from a single dashboard. This saves valuable time and effort. 
  • It fills the gap between advanced banking solutions and finance professionals. It allows easy accounting software integration.
  • With RazorpayX Payroll, businesses can automate salary payments and provide insurance policies to their employees


Frequently Asked Questions

What are wire transfers?

Wire transfer is a method of electronically transferring funds from one person or entity to another.

What are the types of wire transfer?

There are two types of wire transfer and they are:
Domestic wire transfer
International Wire Transfer

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    Aratrica Chakraborty
    Author Aratrica Chakraborty

    Content Marketer. Travel&Scuba enthusiast.Makes the best Vegan Coffee.

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