Can you do a wire transfer online? Yes, but it might not be the most efficient way to send money

Canada By Serra Pinto Avimlah June 17, 2024

A is a time-tested and reliable way to send money. Many banks enable you to start conventional wire transfers online with a few clicks. You tell your bank where to send money, provide them with some important details, and they send it to the recipient’s bank account.

Conventional wire transfers through a bank can be fast, secure, and ideal for some of life’s bigger transactions. Examples might be making a down payment on a car or sending a sizable sum of money to a friend or family member.

However, a wire transfer is just one way to send money electronically. A similarly secure, often speedier alternative is a peer-to-peer (P2P) money transfer through a provider like Western Union.

In this article, we’ll show you how to initiate an online wire transfer through a bank and explore why a P2P money transfer is often a more convenient way to send money to friends and family.

In this article

  • How can I do a wire transfer online?
  • What does an online wire transfer involve?
  • What will I need to send a wire transfer online?
  • Can I send a wire transfer online for free?
  • How long will my online wire transfer take?
  • Alternatives to online wire transfers
  • FAQs
  • Guides

How can I do a wire transfer online?

To make a wire transfer online, you’ll typically start by logging into your bank’s online platform or app. From there, the steps will likely look something like this (though the specifics may vary depending on your bank):

  1. With the app or online navigation, search for a section titled “transfer” (or something similarly worded). Within that section, search for an option worded something like “wire transfer” or “wires” and click on it.

The precise steps and necessary information vary by financial institution, so double-check the details with your bank. Also, be aware that while online wire transfers .

What does an online wire transfer involve?

An online wire transfer is a way to send funds from one bank account to another electronically. You provide your bank with the recipient’s personal information and bank account details and specify how much you want to send.

The money then moves between accounts through secure networks like the Federal Reserve Wire Network (Fedwire) within the US or the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) system for international transfers.

Because many banks now enable you to initiate wire transfers online, you can send money to friends and family—even in different countries—from the comfort of your home.

What will I need to make a wire transfer online?

It’s important you have the correct information to wire money reliably when making an online wire transfer through a bank. That typically includes:

  • The full name, address, and phone number of your receiver.
  • Information about the receiver’s bank, including the institution’s name and address.
  • Your receiver’s bank account and routing number to help identify the correct account.
    • For international wires, you will need their International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and the Bank Identifier Code (BIC).
    • For wire transfers within the US, you will need the receiver’s American Banker’s Association (ABA) routing number and bank account.

Can I send a wire transfer online for free?

Some banks might not charge wire transfer fees, but most do. These fees and can often be quite high. It’s important to explore all the ways to send money online to find the best deal.

Wire transfer fees will also vary depending on your payment method and the country you are transferring to. You can face transfer fees on both international and domestic wire transfers, although international fees tend to be higher because they can involve exchange rates and more parties, such as foreign processing systems.

How long will my online wire transfer take?

Domestic online wire transfers can settle within minutes but typically take about one to three business days to complete, while international wire transfers can take one to five business days to process fully.

Delays may occur if you incorrectly enter the wire transfer information, such as a misspelled name, address, or account details. Another reason might be if you’re sending a particularly large amount of money.

Alternatives to online wire transfers

While online wire transfers make sense in certain instances, they’re not your only option for sending money electronically.

Mobile payment services

Sending money using a mobile payment service enables you to make money transfers from your smartphone or device. Usually, your friend or family member receiving the funds also needs to have a profile on the platform you are using to send money.

Mobile payment services work by transferring money directly from your bank account and can be sent in different currencies depending on which service you are using. Mobile payments like these can have lower daily limits on the amount you can send compared to online bank wire transfers.

What will I need to use a mobile payment service

Typically, sending money online through a mobile payment service requires:

  • A profile with the service.
  • The profile information of the receiver.
  • Your payment details to send the funds with—for example, your bank account information.

Money transfer providers

You can also send money to family and friends electronically via a P2P money transfer provider. Money transfer providers enable you to send money online within the US and internationally, and many offer transfer tracking so you and the recipient can monitor the transaction’s status for peace of mind.

For example, you can send money to family and friends through Western Union via whatever method works best for you—in person, online, or via our mobile app. Unlike traditional bank wire transfers, the recipient doesn’t necessarily need a bank account to get their money.

Depending on the countries involved in the transfer, they have the option to pick up their funds in cash at one of our agent locations or receive it in a mobile wallet. In some cases, money transfers are ready for pickup within minutes.

What will I need to use a money transfer provider online?

Sending money online through a P2P money transfer provider like Western Union will typically require:

  • Your login information.
  • Your receiver’s full name as it appears on their government-issued ID.
  • The country, full address of the receiver, and the amount you want to send.
  • The method of payment you are sending funds from, such as your credit or debit card details.


Can you do a wire transfer through online banking?

You can initiate wire transfers online through your bank’s website or mobile app to deliver funds, sometimes within minutes but typically within one to five business days. Fees and speed vary.

Can you wire money without going to the bank?

Maybe. Sometimes, banks enable you to wire money directly from their website. You can also send money without going to the bank through peer-to-peer (P2P) money transfer providers like Western Union, online payment platforms like PayPal, and foreign exchange brokers.

How do I wire money to someone else’s account online?

To initiate a wire transfer online, you’ll need to log into the account of your online wire transfer provider. You’ll be asked to enter key details about the transfer, such as the recipient’s name, bank details, account number, and the transfer amount.

Once submitted, the provider will immediately debit the transfer amount from your account and route the funds using national and international wire transfer systems to arrive at the recipient’s bank account. National wire transfers could be completed within minutes, while international transfers may take several business days.


Send money with the Western Union mobile app