How to transfer money from one account to another

United Kingdom By Steve Wong April 26, 2022

Learn a quick way to transfer money between different bank accounts

With well over 350 banks and building societies operating in the UK and thousands more around the world, it’s easy and convenient to transfer money between different accounts. You might be sending urgent funds to a friend or relative, or simply taking care of your own finances. Whatever the reason, you can find out how to transfer money to another account using our handy guide.

With Western Union, it’s possible to make bank account transfers from anywhere in the UK to , providing vital support to your loved ones when they need it most.

So why not spend a few moments learning how to transfer money between different bank accounts at a time and place that suits you. We’ll explore each step in the process, the details you’ll require and the costs you might want to budget for. Our in-depth guide also touches on some alternatives you may wish to consider, including cheques and bank-to-bank transfers.


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How to transfer money from one bank account to another

Whether sending money to pay for essential bills or transferring a lump sum as a gift, there are a host of reasons to make a direct transfer to a friend or relative’s account. You may also want to switch funds between your own accounts for ease and convenience.

The latest World Bank data suggests 3.8 billion people had access to a bank account, or one with a mobile money provider, in 2018. So that gives you plenty of options.

Here’s how to transfer money from one bank to another online in four easy steps:

1. Set up a Western Union profile

Register and verify a profile to benefit from our app and online services. Simply log in to get started. Then click on ‘Send money’.

2. Pick a destination

Check the bank information needed for your destination. Then type in the country and amount to send.

3. Tell us about your receiver

Choose ‘Bank account’ as the payout method and click ‘Continue’. Then tap in your loved one’s information – or select their name if you’ve sent to them before.

4. Pay for your money transfer

Select a bank transfer as the payment option, check the details are correct and pay. Your confirmation email will contain a tracking number (MTCN), allowing you to follow your money.


What do you need to transfer money from one account to another?

Once you’ve found out how to transfer money between different bank accounts, you’ll no doubt be keen to get started. But it’s useful to take the time to gather all the bits and pieces needed to make a successful bank transfer.

For one thing, you’ll need to consider the destination. Extra information may be required if you’re sending money overseas – or to another person rather than one of your own accounts.

Each country has different requirements, which can include:

Specific bank and receiver information

The bank name and branch may be requested. You might need your receiver’s address, national ID and phone number too.

Account numbers

Some countries use International Bank Account Numbers (IBANs) to identify accounts. This is different to a domestic account number.

Bank codes

At three to 23 digits, these ensure your money goes to the right bank. You may see them referred to as BSB, SWIFT and Bank Identification Codes (BICs).

Purpose of transfer

A purpose of transfer and your relationship to the receiver could be asked for, as well as proof of source of funds.


How much does it cost to transfer money from one bank account to another?

Chosen a money transfer service? Check. Gathered up all the requested details? Check. There’s just one more thing to tick off your list before sending money to a different bank account: budgeting for any fees and charges.

The cost to transfer money between two bank accounts will ultimately depend on where your funds are heading. For example, you may need to budget for:

  • Transfer fees[1] – these could be added before you can send money. However, many of the countries we serve are free of transfer fees1 when it comes to bank-to-bank payments.
  • Exchange rates – currencies fluctuate, so it’s always best to double-check the amount your loved one will receive. This is less of a concern for transfers within the UK.
  • Limits – different transfer limits apply to each country we serve. For many, a limit of £50,000 is in place, but the cap is lower for others.

Use our price estimator tool

[1] Western Union also makes money from currency exchange. When choosing a money transmitter, carefully compare both transfer fees and exchange rates. Fees, foreign exchange rates and taxes may vary by brand, channel, and location based on a number of factors. Fees and rates subject to change without notice. 


How long does a bank transfer between accounts take?

With so many gadgets and tools at your disposal, tracking your money no longer needs to be a guessing game. You can follow your funds from the moment they leave your account. That means you and your receiver will know exactly how your money transfer is getting on.

It generally takes one to two banking days to complete a transfer between accounts. However, delivery times for certain countries can be up to five days. You’ll receive an estimate of the delivery time before you send money with Western Union.

The following factors can affect how long your bank transfer takes:

  • Receiving country – domestic transfers within the UK typically take 0-1 banking days. But it’s different for each overseas destination.
  • Day the transfer is made – sending on a weekend or bank holiday may add to the delivery time.
  • Incorrect details – always enter bank details with care as the wrong data could hold things up.


Further methods to transfer money from one bank account to another

In this hi-tech era of fast communications, there are lots of different ways to send money at home and abroad. Along with our services, think about the following methods when deciding how to transfer money from one account to another.

Bank-to-bank transfers

You might have the option to make transfers directly through your bank. It could just be a case of logging in to your online account, downloading the bank’s app, or heading to a branch. Depending on your bank and account type, international transfers may also be possible.


A cheque is a written agreement to pay a certain sum from your bank account to another individual’s or company’s account. However, cheques are increasingly making way for online transfers, to save time and reduce fraud risks. The number dropped by 32% in the UK during 2020, to 185 million.

Pay bills

Setting up a direct debit allows you to pay bills from your account to a company’s account automatically. You authorise the business to take a certain amount from your account on a pre-agreed date. For example, this could be a utilities payment on the same day each month.


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