What Is a Wire Transfer Number?

The rise of electronic banking has made the transfer of funds from one bank to another as easy as entering a series of numbers. A wire transfer number identifies a particular transfer from one account to another and helps ensure that funds are transferred quickly and accurately. Wire transfer numbers are used for both domestic and international transfers, although different steps and additional codes are required.

Wire Transfer Process

To send money via a wire transfer, you'll have to provide information about the receiving bank, such as the name and address of the bank along with the correct receiving account information. You'll also need the bank's routing number or American Banking Association Number, referred to simply as the ABA number. When all of the correct information is entered into the wire transfer system, you will receive a unique wire transfer number that will be used to track and process the transfer.

Payment Systems

Domestic wire transfers are handled either by the Federal Reserve Wire Network or the Clearing House Interbank Payments System. The Fed Wire system is managed by the U.S. Federal Reserve Banks, while the Clearing House system is a bank-owned competitor network.

Tip

Under both wire transfer systems, you can send money to any domestic bank and the money will be available for withdrawal on the same business day.

International Wire Transfers

International wire transfers follow the same general process as domestic wire transfers. However, ABA numbers only apply to American banks, so international transfers use International Bank Account Numbers, or IBANs. Letter codes devised by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, appropriately known as SWIFT codes, are also often needed for international wire transfers. As with domestic transfers, once you provide all the needed information for your international wire transfer, you will receive a unique wire transfer number for tracking.