Helen Geraghty   11 February 2020

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Wire transfers are a secure, fast and convenient way of sending money to someone.

We’ve put together a simple guide to help you understand the options available so that you can choose the right service.

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What is a wire transfer?

A wire transfer is an electronic transfer from one financial institution to another - from sending money to family or employees to pay for goods or services.

The two main types of wire transfer are domestic transfers (within the same country) and international transfers (sent overseas).

How to send an international wire transfer?

The first thing you’ll need to decide before you send money overseas is who you’re going to send it with.

Your main options are your bank, a high street money transfer agent, or an online money transfer service. Here are the pros and cons of each service and how they work to help you make an informed decision.

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1. Sending a wire transfer with a bank

Many people opt to make wire transfers through their bank because they believe it to be the easiest and safest option. Sending a bank-to-bank wire transfer may be convenient and secure, but it can also be expensive and slow, particularly when transferring money overseas.

Banks send international wire transfers through the SWIFT network. SWIFT is a network used by banks and other financial institutions all around the world to send or receive money securely.

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Read: WorldRemit bank account transfer guide

 When money is transferred through the SWIFT network, it does not always travel directly; it can pass through several banks before reaching its final destination. This usually means higher fees and slow transfer times - typically several business days. Banks also typically offer poor exchange rates on transfers, further increasing the cost of the service.

Requirements for sending a bank wire can vary from bank to bank, but the basic information required to make a transfer is:

?     The recipient’s bank name and address.

?     The recipient’s name, address and bank account type.

?     The recipient’s bank account number or IBAN.

?     The recipient’s bank’s SWIFT/BIC code. 

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2. Sending a wire transfer with a high street money transfer agent

High street money transfer agents like Western Union and MoneyGram have branches located in central locations all around the world.

Each high street agent will use its own network and provide a variety of different transfer options. High street transfer services cannot always send money to every country, and various services may be available depending on where you wish to transfer the money to.

Sending a wire transfer with a money transfer agent on the high street tends to be faster and more cost-effective money than using a bank. As well as charging lower fees, in most cases, high street agents usually also offer better exchange rates.

High street agents sometimes accept payments only in cash, which makes it possible to send a wire transfer without a bank account.

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Read: How to send money to someone without a bank account

 The information required to send a transfer with a high street agent is likely to vary depending on the company and service you choose.

You will usually be required to register with the agent and show an acceptable form of photo ID before you can begin using their services.

Once registered, you will need to provide your recipient’s personal and bank account details to make the transfer. This may include their full name, bank account details, address, and telephone number.

While these high street agents may undercut the fees charged by most banks, they are still usually more expensive than online money transfer services. They also lack convenience as they may require you to visit the branch to register and make your transfer.

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3. How to send a wire transfer online

More and more people are now choosing to make their wire transfers online with specialist money transfer companies like WorldRemit, Transferwise, or XE.

Online money transfer companies allow you to send a wire transfer from the comfort of your own home or while out on the move, providing unbeatable convenience.

They also offer fairer exchange rates, lower fees, and faster service than most banks and high street agents.

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Read: How do exchange rates work and how to get the best one?

 As well as wire transfers, many online money transfer companies provide a range of alternative money transfer services - allowing you to pick a service most convenient for you and the recipient.

The first time you make a transfer, you will be required to sign up and verify your identity. This is to help to regulate the service and keep it secure.

The services provided by online money transfer companies may differ depending on where in the world you wish to send money, so always check that the service you require is available for the country you are sending money to before spending time signing up.

Generally, you will be required to prove your identity by providing official ID documents, such as your passport details, before you can start using the service.

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Read: How to protect your identity online 

Once your identity has been verified, you will be required to provide the recipient’s details to make the wire transfer; this may include their bank account details, full name, telephone number and address. The recipient may also be required to provide official ID documents proving their identity.

How to send a wire transfer with WorldRemit

Sending a wire transfer with WorldRemit is fast, affordable and secure, here’s how to do it:

First, you will need to sign up and verify your account. Once you are on board, you can get started with making your first overseas bank transfer.

To begin, you will need to provide us with some basic information about what it is you want to do. We need to know which country you are sending money to and the amount you want to send.

Once you have entered this information and confirmed that you want to send the money by bank transfer, you will need to provide us with your recipient’s details, including:

  • Bank and branch name
  • Account number
  • Full name
  • Address
  • Telephone number
  • Country-specific account details
    (ABA routing number for recipients in the US, IBAN and BIC/SWIFT code recipients in Europe, Transit number for recipients in Canada, and branch state and code for recipients in India.)

We are committed to helping you to get the best deal on your money transfers. When you download our app, you can even choose to receive exchange rate notifications, helping you to choose the most cost-effective time to send your bank transfer.

Sign-up and send money for free using a code 3FREE

Read more:

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7 money transfer scams to beware of in 2020



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What is a remittance? Money transfer terms explained


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15 most asked questions about WorldRemit answered