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Guide to Transferring Money Between Banks

How to Transfer Money From One Bank to Another
Susan Guillory
Susan GuilloryUpdated December 10, 2022
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If you’ve got accounts at multiple banks and you want to transfer money from one bank to another, you have options. To choose the best one for you, consider how soon you need the transfer to go through, how much money you’re sending, and whether you’re willing to pay a fee. In general, the faster the method, the more it is likely to cost you. Same-day bank transfers often come with fees. Low- or no-cost transfers sometimes involve delays. Also, your bank may have daily limits on how much you can send or receive. If it’s your first time transferring money between banks, be aware the process is not automatic, and setup could take some time. Read on for guidance and details about transferring sums of money between your bank accounts, plus ways to get your money to another person’s account if need be.

4 Steps for Transferring Money Between Banks

If you’re used to accessing your account online or through a mobile app, it’s simple to transfer money between two accounts you hold at different banks. Here’s how to do it in just four steps.

1. Log In to Your Bank Account

Log in on your phone or computer as you normally do, keeping your information private.

2. Find the Transfer Feature

Every bank website will link to the money transfer function somewhere on its home page, so look around. There may be a button or link labeled something like “Pay Bills and Transfer Money.”That feature should give you the ability to make both internal and external transfers. Select the option for external transfers, since you want to move money from one bank to another. (An internal transfer moves money between two of your accounts at the same bank.) 

3. Enter the Requested Information

To link your external bank account, provide its account number and the second bank’s nine-digit Automated Clearing House (ACH) routing number. You can usually get the routing number from the lower left corner of your paper checks; if not, search the receiving bank’s website. 

4. Send the Money

For new ACH connections between accounts, your bank may take a day or two to verify the receiving account. This often involves the bank making a test deposit into that account and asking you to verify the amount as confirmation. Once the bank has confirmed the connection, you can transfer money to that account anytime. Same-day ACH transfers are increasingly common, though fees may apply.Recommended: Bank Account Password Managers: What to Know

How Much Can You Transfer With Bank-to-Bank Transfers?

If you want to transfer large sums of money between your bank accounts, be aware that most banks have daily limits on external transfers, and they vary. Limits apply to ACH bank-to-bank transfers as well as wire transfers. Also, banks may limit incoming funds as well as outgoing ones. If there’s a mismatch, it could be big. For example, even though banks’ same-day ACH transfers can be up to $1 million per payment, daily limits on incoming funds tend to average around $25,000. For your transfer, you’ll have to abide by whichever limit is lower.Wire transfer limits range widely. For example, let’s look at the three biggest banks in the U.S.: Bank of America allows consumer accounts to wire $1,000 per transaction. Most Chase accounts have a limit of $25,000 per day. Citibank will transfer up to $50,000 per business day. The situation is the same at smaller banks and online banks. Zions Bank has a $50,000 daily cutoff. M&T Bank enforces a combined limit for inbound and outbound transfers. The maximum is $2,000 per day and $5,000 within a 30-day period. Capital One has no wire transfer limit as long as the external account has been linked for at least 30 days.Recommended: Routing Number vs. SWIFT Code: What Are the Differences?

Ways of Transferring Money to Other People

You’ve got many alternatives for sending money to someone else. Depending on your   needs and preferences, you may prefer a state-of-the-art payment app or an old-school method such as cash and checks. 

Third-Party Apps

Third-party peer-to-peer payment apps let you direct the money into someone else’s account by way of their email address or cell phone number. Among the best known apps are Venmo, Google Pay, Cash App, and Paypal. Another option, Zelle, is the primary peer-to-peer payment option offered by banks themselves. It directly connects your account to someone else’s, as long as both banks are in the U.S. More than 1,000 banks now bundle it in with their mobile apps, but you can also download the Zelle app separately.Keep in mind that you or the recipient may be charged a fee to send or receive money. Often the fee is a percentage of the amount you’re sending.

Wire Transfers

As mentioned above, most banks offer wire transfers. To send money to someone else via wire transfer, you will need to supply details about them and their account. Requirements may include their name, phone number, email address, or other identifying information on file with their bank.Wire transfer fees can be high. You’ll need to decide whether the convenience of a fast transaction is worth the price, which can vary by bank or the amount being sent. There are also other services like Wise, MoneyGram, and Western Union that offer wire transfers at reasonable rates.

Email Money Transfers

With this method, as with PayPal, you can send someone money using only their email address. They’ll get an email notifying them that they have funds available, and they can then access the money through the transfer service. Email money transfers are popular in Canada. 

Checks

Paper (or digital) checks provide another means of moving money. Even if you don’t have a paper checkbook, you can send someone a check through your online bill pay function. Your bank simply prints a check and mails it on your behalf. You don’t even have to pay for the stamp. 

Cashier’s Checks 

For greater security when transferring large sums, you may want a cashier’s check. Upon request, your bank (or credit union) draws the specified amount from your account and issues you a paper check that’s made out to the payee and guaranteed by the bank. Fees and limits vary by institution, as usual, and may depend on whether you order the check online or in person. 

Cash

Another simple solution is to use cash. Take money out of an ATM and give it to the recipient. The best part? If your bank waives withdrawal fees at its own ATMs, use one of those, and your transaction will be both fast and free.

Is Transferring Money From Savings to Another Bank Possible?

While it depends on the bank, most will allow you to transfer from a savings account to another bank. Just specify savings as the account you want to transfer from.

Transferring Large Sums of Money

Maybe you took out a large loan or you’re buying a house and now need to transfer large sums of money between bank accounts. Here are a few things to be aware of. If you send all the money at once with a wire transfer, the bank will probably charge you a sizable fee. You’ll need to decide whether you need the convenience of moving the money quickly (and paying for the privilege). As noted above, some banks have limits on how much you can transfer per day. So if you need to transfer $50,000 but the daily limit is $5,000, you may have to spread out partial transfers over several days. Or you could use a method that has a higher limit, such as a cashier’s check.

Undoing a Transfer

Depending on the method of transfer you use, you may be able to halt or reverse the payment before the money leaves your account. You can stop payment on a personal check — for a fee — before funds have cleared; not so with cashier’s checks. ACH bank-to-bank transfers can be halted while still pending, but not if the transaction has already been processed. You may have to fill out a form to make the request.Instant transfers, such as peer-to-peer payments and wire transfers, generally can’t be canceled or undone once the transfer is initiated. 

Money Transfer Fees

Fees will vary, based on your bank, the receiving bank, and which transfer method you choose. Many banks and credit unions, of all sizes, carry out standard ACH transfers for free. Same-day ACH transfers often have a surcharge.      A domestic wire transfer through your bank could cost you $20 to $30. For international transfers, the typical fee is $49.Wise charges a percentage, which depends on the type of currency you’re sending and the country of your recipient. Fees start at 0.41%.Recommended: Guide to Offshore Banking

Overdraft Fees

Always make sure you have enough money in the sending account to cover the transfer. This will keep you from incurring an overdraft fee on top of any transfer fees. 

The Takeaway

Transferring money to another bank account can be fairly simple. You can do it online, through your bank’s app, or with a peer-to-peer payment tool. You'll need the other bank's routing number as well as the account number. Generally, bank-to-bank transfers take a day or two, though you can make it happen faster — for a fee — by using a wire transfer. If you’re transferring money and want a handy place to park it, you might consider a high-interest savings account. Lantern makes it easy to compare high-yield savings accounts, providing information on fees and balance minimums. Compare today’s high-yield savings rates, including fees and balance minimums.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I transfer money from one bank to another?
What is the easiest way to transfer money from one bank to another?
How do I transfer money from my bank account to someone else's bank account?
Photo credit: iStock/AlexSecret
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About the Author

Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory

Su Guillory is a freelance business writer and expat coach. She’s written several business books and has been published on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and SoFi. She writes about business and personal credit, financial strategies, loans, and credit cards.
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