Wire Transfer – Definition

Cite this article as:"Wire Transfer – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated May 13, 2019, last accessed October 25, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/lesson/wire-transfer-definition/.


Wire Transfer Definition

A wire transfer is a financial transaction that allows individuals transfer funds from one account into another account regardless the location. Wire transfer is an electronic transfer of funds used by banks, individuals and entities around the world. This type of transaction is often safe, fast and not distorted by the sender’s or receiver’s location.

Wire transfer as used by a variety of institutions and people is also called credit transfer or bank transfer. It enables user directly send funds from one account to another.

A Little More on What is a Wire Transfer

For a user of wire transfer to send fund into another account, no cash or physical money is required. For a bank wire transfer, the sender deposits the cash into his bank account, then fills the receiver information that will enable his bank conduct wire transfer. Physical transfer of money are not required in wire transfers, in stead, two banks (one for the sender and the other for the receiver) settle payment electronically using the bank end.

In the United States law, wire transfers are tagged remittance transfers, it is an electronic way of remitting funds into an individual or entity’s account.

Domestic wire transfer and international wire transfer are the two types of wire transfer. While the former use domestic Automated Clearing Houses (ACH), the latter use foreign processing systems. These types of wire transfers attract different charges (costs) and have different time frames.

A domestic wire transfer is done to a local bank and this takes few hours before delivery. The international wire transfer on the other hand entails transfer of funds into a foreign account which takes up to two business days. Domestic wire transfers attract charges between $25 to $35 per transaction. International wire transfers have a higher fee of $45 and above.

References for Wire Transfer

Academic Research on Wire Transfer

The Inverted Pyramid of Wire Transfer Law, Bhala, R. (1993). Ky. LJ, 82, 347.

Paying for the Deal–An Analysis of Wire Transfer Law and International Financial Market Interest Groups, Bhala, R. (2011).

Treasury Regulation of International Wire Transfer and Money Laundering: A case for a permanent moratorium, Wyrsch, G. (1991). Denv. J. Int’l L. & Pol’y, 20, 515.

Article 4A of the Uniform Commerical Code: Finally, Banks and Their Customers Know Where They Stand and Who Pays When a Wire Transfer Goes Awry, McKelvy, T. E. (1990). Mem. St. UL Rev., 21, 351.

The Evolving Law of Payment by Wire Transfer-An Outsider’s View of Draft UCC Article 4A, Geva, B. (1988). Can. Bus. LJ, 14, 186.

What you should know about wiretransfer liabilities, Brandon, G. (1990). Financial Executive, 6(6), 39-44.

Is your wire transfer system secure?, Champlain, J. J. (1995). Internal Auditor, 52(3), 56-60.

Keep the Lid on Wire Transfer Fraud, Cocheo, S. (1991). ABA Banking Journal, 83(1), 39.

The Concept of Payment: Wire Transfer Orders, the Common Law and Article 4A, Kyles, D. (2002). Dalhousie J. Legal Stud., 11, 217.

Check, Money Order, Credit Card or Wire Transfer, Klassen, W.

Ready for the new wire transfer rules?, Byrne, J. J. (1995). American Bankers Association. ABA Banking Journal, 87(11), 26.

Reducing risk in wire transfer systems, Stevens, E. J. (1986). Economic Review, (Q II), 17-22.


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