How to Transfer Money Between Bank Accounts


Long gone are the days when the only way to transfer money between accounts at different banks was by check or cash.

transaction completed

Nowadays, technology makes it easy to send money where it needs to go. For example, you can use an ACH transfer or another online option to transfer money within a few days at little to no cost to you. Or you could always wire the funds, but it’ll cost you.

Keep reading to learn more.

How to Transfer Money from One Bank to Another

This is a common feature offered by most banks. It allows customers to transfer funds to an account outside their institution.

Is the intended recipient of the funds is someone other than yourself? If so, Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers are still an option worth considering.

Step 1: Login to the online portal.

Have you enrolled in online banking? If so, use your credentials to log in. But if you haven’t yet enrolled or are having trouble accessing the dashboard, contact your bank’s help desk. They should be able to resolve any issues you’re having right away.

Step 2: Locate the ACH transfer feature from the dashboard of the online portal.

It may also say “external bank” or “bank to bank transfer.” If you can’t find the feature, use the search toolbar to point you in the right direction or call customer support.

Step 3: Add the requested information for the recipient account.

Most banks will prompt you to enter the recipient’s name, routing number, and account number. You may also have to enter a nickname for the account so you can distinguish it from others.

Step 4: Verify the recipient account (if applicable).

This step usually only applies if the account belongs to you. The bank may send a small test deposit before allowing external transfers. You’ll only have to confirm the deposit(s) once to use this feature.

(Quick note: it’s best to link accounts well in advance. This is because the verification process usually takes a few days and can be problematic if you need the funds fast).

Step 5: Schedule the transfer.

Once you’ve initiated the transfer, you’re all set, and the bank will take it from there. And, of course, if there are any issues or the bank suspects fraud, they will contact you right away.

How long do bank transfers take?

When considering external account transfers, consider the timeline. In most cases, it’s three to five business days, but it could be longer if issues arise during transmission.

Furthermore, external transfers are only processed on business days. So holidays and weekends could make the time frame lengthier.

Here’s how it works:

  • The customer initiates the transfer and the funds travel to the ACH. (If it’s later in the evening, the funds may not leave your account until the following business day).
  • The funds reach the ACH network.
  • Money leaves the ACH network for the intended recipient.
  • The receiving bank posts the funds to your account. (Quick note: the posting and availability dates may differ, depending on the bank).

Potential Fees and Restrictions

When transferring money between bank accounts, it is important to be aware of any potential fees that may be associated with the transaction. These fees can vary depending on the method used to transfer the money and the financial institutions involved.

For example, some banks may charge a fee for transferring money online using their online banking platform, while others may not. Additionally, wire transfer services may charge a fee for their services. Check with both your own bank and the recipient’s bank to determine if any fees will apply.

There may also be potential restrictions on transferring money between bank accounts. For example, there may be limits on the amount of money that can be transferred in a single transaction or in a certain time period.

Be aware of these restrictions and plan accordingly. It may be necessary to complete multiple transfers to move a larger sum of money. You should also check with the financial institutions involved to see if there are any other restrictions that may apply to the transfer.

Other Options

Beyond standard ACH transfers, there are several ways to transfer money between accounts at different banks.

Personal check

You can write a check payable to the intended recipient or yourself. It’s a bit old school, and there may be a delay in the availability of funds. But you can rest assured that the funds will make it to where they need to go.

Even better, mobile deposit apps available on most smartphones prevent you from having to visit the branch to make a deposit.

Don’t have personal checks on hand? Visit the branch and request that a check is cut on your behalf. You can also use the starter checks you received when opening your account.

Cashier’s check

If you’d prefer not to use a personal check, a cashier’s check is also an option. Once the check is deposited, the funds should be available immediately or the following day since they are guaranteed and have already cleared the bank.

To get one, you may have to pay a nominal fee. Furthermore, the funds will be withdrawn from your account when the check prints.

Wire transfer

Do you need to move money fast and don’t have much time to explore all the options available to you? Wire transfers arrive the same business day, usually within a couple of hours.

(The funds may post the following day if the wire transfer is sent later in the afternoon). You should also know that this convenient and rapid option comes at a cost ranging from $30 to $40.

Contact your bank to learn more about wire transfers as procedures and transfer limits vary across the board.

Online Options

Always on the go? One of these online options should get the job done.

woman transferring money


Venmo functions as a digital wallet and allows you to transfer money between bank accounts quickly. The service is free unless the source of the funds comes from a credit card.

To use this service:

  • Link the bank account you want to withdraw funds from to your Venmo account.
  • Pay yourself on Venmo from that same bank account. (You can also use a debit card).
  • Transfer the funds to the intended bank account from the available balance in your Venmo account. It should only take one business day to process and clear your bank for use.

Google Pay

Google Wallet operates in the same manner as Venmo, and transfers can be done free of charge. To get started, log in to your Google account and access the Google Wallet feature.


You can also use PayPal to move funds without incurring a fee. But it may take a while because PayPal must verify any bank account linked to your PayPal account first. A closer look at how it works:

  • Sign up for a PayPal account if you don’t already have one.
  • Link the bank accounts to your profile. You may be able to verify the accounts quickly if you use online banking. (If you’re sending money to someone other than yourself, you’ll only need to link and verify the account funds are being drawn from).
  • Confirm test deposits sent by PayPal.
  • Add money to your PayPal account from your bank account. (This could take three to five business days, but a debit card transfer will post immediately, and you may incur a fee).
  • Send funds from your PayPal balance to the intended account. The funds will arrive within three to five business days.


Zelle works with select banks and credit unions to help customers transfer funds between accounts at different institutions. Participating banks include:

  • Bank of America
  • Capital One
  • Chase
  • Citi
  • Fifth Third Bank
  • 1st Bank
  • PNC
  • Truist
  • TD Bank
  • US Bank
  • USAA
  • Wells Fargo

If your bank isn’t on the list, a partnership could be in the works. Otherwise, you still have the option to use clearXchange, a digital payment network recently acquired by Zelle, to move funds.


PopMoney is comparable to Zelle but assesses fees of $0.95 to process transfers. You can learn more by visiting their website.

See also: The 9 Cheapest Ways to Send Money Online

Important Considerations

Before using an online service to transfer money, consider the following:

  • Fees: If you prefer one option over the other, the fee may not be an issue. Otherwise, do your homework and select the most affordable platform.
  • Transaction cancellation policy: What if you entered information for the receiving account wrong or changed your mind? Are you able to change or cancel the transaction within a specific time frame? Or do you have to wait it out and submit a refund request?
  • Timeline: Is account verification required? If so, it could take up to ten days to process the transfer from start to finish. In this case, a wire transfer may be more sensible to avoid overdraft fees.
  • Transfer limits: most online platforms cap the transfer amount for security reasons. Therefore, it may be necessary to process multiple transfers.

Finally, always be on the lookout for scams when sending money from one bank account to another. If you discover a way to transfer money that’s not mentioned here, and it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Allison Martin
Meet the author

Allison Martin is a syndicated financial writer, author, and Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI). She has written about personal finance for almost ten years and holds a master's degree in Accounting from the University of South Florida.