A wire transfer is a convenient way to move funds. Depending on the sender's instructions, a bank can credit an incoming wire transfer to a deposit account or a credit account. With proper identification, you also can pick up the money in person.
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Wire transfers allow customers to send and receive money from almost anywhere in the world. Often, you'll receive the money the same day that the sender initiated the transfer if the money is coming from a domestic bank. If you're receiving money from overseas, you might need to wait a few days to spend it.
The sender of the wire transfer must provide the bank or credit union with both his identifying information and yours. This information includes your exact bank account number, name and address. If the money is coming from or going to another country, he also might need to provide the receiving bank's Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication code, which is the banks international identifier. The sender also needs to give a reason for transferring the money. After the bank verifies that the sender has sufficient funds, it subtracts the amount from the sender's account and sends notification to the receiving bank of the transfer. The sending bank then sends the money to the receiving bank electronically.
Incoming wire transfer fees often are a lot lower than the fees the sender pays for sending the money to you. Such fees depend on your account type and the wire transfer type.
Wire transfer fees may vary depending on whether you're receiving money from an international or domestic bank. For domestic incoming transfers, fees range from $15 to $25, while outgoing transfers might cost about $20 to $35. Conversely, incoming international transfers also cost about $15 to $25, but outgoing international transfers generally run between $45 and $65. Sometimes banks waive the incoming wire transfer fees for certain accounts, and you might not incur a fee if you're transferring money between accounts at the same bank.
You can receive any number of wire transfers, as well as any amount in wire transfers. But, under the Bank Secrecy Act rules, banks must adhere to strict reporting guidelines when transferring money. If your bank becomes suspicious of your incoming wire transfers, it must report your activities to the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Suspicious activities include receiving large sums of money when there's no apparent matching service provided, as well as receiving multiple transfers in amounts lower than $3,000 that add up to substantial deposits.