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What’s The Difference Between Electronic Transfers, Telegraphic Transfers, Wire Transfers and IBAN transfers?


The terms used to describe different methods of moving money from one account to another can be confusing. There are electronic, telegraphic, wire and IBAN transfers. So is there a difference and if so what is it? Most of the confusion comes from the fact that the terms are used interchangeably and that they are all quite similar.


What is an Electronic Transfer?

Electronic Money Transfers or Electronic Fund Transfers (EFT) are used to move money from one bank account to another via a computer system without direct human intervention. The transfer can be initiated from an electronic terminal such as an ATM, credit card or point-of-sale.  In the U.S. electronic transfers are processed through the Automated Clearing House (ACH).


An EFT can be made between accounts held at the same bank or across banking networks anywhere in the world. Electronic Money Transfers are known by different names and are sometimes called a direct deposit. Direct deposit is the term used for an EFT that deposits your salary directly in your bank account.


EFTs can be used to credit funds to an account such as payroll payments and to debit funds from an account like with a mortgage payment. When you make a payment or purchase using your credit card this is also called an electronic fund transfer.


  • Electronic transfer is also called an EFT, bank transfer, direct debit, wire transfer or PIN-debit transaction.EFT is also a broad term used to describe online transactions.
  • Transfer using computerized network
  • Initiated online, by phone or bank
  • Costs vary but generally low-cost

What is a Telegraphic Transfer?

A Telegraphic Transfer (TT) or Telex Transfer is an electronic method of moving money using a secure cable network. TT is primarily used when funds are sent internationally although the term is used for U.S. domestic transfers; CHAPS transfers in the U.K.


and international transfers. For U.S. domestic transfers the funds are transferred through the U.S. Federal Reserve System and for international transfers TT usually refers to funds sent using SWIFT (or SEPA in Europe). TT transfers are distinctively fast (2-4 days), regulated and secure but expensive. The delivery time can vary depending on holidays, weekends, currency exchange requirements and the origin and destination.


The price can also vary according to any necessary currency exchange; the amount being transferred; the institution used for the transfer and other factors. TT transfers are sometimes referred to as wire transfers or electronic fund transfers.


  • Telegraphic transfers are also called telex transfers, TT. Wire transfers or electronic fund transfers.
  • Electronic transfer of funds, usually international, through SWIFT (go to BIC checker), CHAPS or FRS.
  • Expensive; fees not standardized between institutions and can vary.
  • Fast 2-4 days

What do you want to know about business banking?

    What is a Wire Transfer?

    A Wire Transfer or simply called a bank transfer sends funds electronically from one person to another. The funds can either be sent directly to the receiving person’s account or it can be wired to a cash office where the money can be collected physically.


    There are a number of wire transfer systems and operators each with its own advantages and disadvantages – some faster, cheaper and more convenient. A wire transfer is initiated at a bank where you will need to supply the IBAN and BIC of the recipient. The sending bank then transmits a message with the transfer request to the receiving bank via one of the secure wire systems like Swift or Fedwire.


    The message contains the order to transfer and settlement instructions. Wire transfers are possible between banks that hold reciprocal accounts or if there is no reciprocal agreement the transfer is sent via a correspondent bank with such an account.


    A wire transfer can take several hours or several days. The sending bank charges the sender a fee separate to the amount being sent. The receiving bank will usually deduct a fee from the funds being sent so that the recipient gets less money than was actually sent. If an intermediary bank is involved they will also deduct a fee from the amount sent.


    • Wire transfers are also called bank transfers and other synonyms.
    • Delivery 1-2 days
    • Can deliver to a bank account or a cash office.
    • Electronically across a network of banks or transfer agencies.
    • Sender pays fee and fees are deducted from the funds sent to the recipient by the receiving bank and any intermediary banks.


    Wire transfer vs bank transfer

    :Wire transfers and bank transfers are both methods of moving funds electronically from one account/person to another. In general wire transfers are faster than bank transfers but more expensive and less secure. Bank transfers have the advantage of being cheaper and more secure. Domestic wire transfers are usually received within 24 hours and within 1-5 days for international wire transfers. Bank transfers take up to 4-5 business days. Wire transfers cost the sender about $25-$100 and sometimes an additional fee is charged to receive the funds. Bank transfers are cheaper than wire transfers. Bank transfers are considered safer, and less vulnerable to scams than wire transfers.


    Wire transfer vs electronic transfer

    Wire transfers and electronic transfers both move funds electronically. In general wire transfers are faster and more expensive and electronic transfers are more convenient and more secure. A wire transfer is done through a network of banks or transfer agents from one account to another. Once initiated a wire transfer cannot be reversed and is generally available immediately. An electronic transfer can be done between two accounts as a recurring automatic payment or via a credit or debit card when a purchase is made. The electronic transfer goes via an automated clearinghouse and can take up to 3 days to complete.


    Wire transfer vs ACH

    The Automated Clearing House Network (ACH) is a shared network for banks in the USA to transfer funds between participating banks. Transfers are made in batches, directly from the sending bank to the receiving bank via the ACH system without any intervening banks’ intervention. Wire transfers are one-on-one transfers of money between accounts in different banks which may not have any direct connection, so the transfer has to be routed through one or more intermediate banks, which may take some commission, and which can also slow down the process.


    Sending Money Overseas

    Whichever method of money transfer you choose you will need to supply the bank of origin with certain details. When wiring money internationally you will usually need to supply the bank of origin with the IBAN of the receiving account.


    This unique number is associated with one account only and is made up of numbers and letters representing the account’s country, bank and account number. The above methods of sending money have their advantages but you also have the option of transferring funds electronically using money transfer apps, online banks and payment tools.

    Cost of an International Money Transfer:

    Banks will usually charge a standardized money transfer fee; money transfer services will charge according to whether you send the money from a funded account, a debit card or credit card. The fee can be anywhere between 0.5% and 3.9%.


    Required Information when Sending an International Bank Transfer

    When you make an international money transfer from your bank you need the recipient’s name, address, account information including the recipient’s IBAN.


    • IBAN – If you have the recipient’s IBAN number it will make the transfer easier, sometimes it is a requirement and sometimes just an added assurance that the money will get to the account it is intended for.
    • SEPA – If you are making a money transfer between countries within the SEPA zone in Europe you will need the IBAN. SEPA transfers can be executed like a domestic transfer.
    • SWIFT – Small banks and credit unions in the US are not connected to the SWIFT network and so they don’t have a SWIFT code or IBAN. However, this doesn’t mean they can’t do international wire transfers. go to SWIFT code checker
    • Recipient’s Name – To make international transfers you must have the correct BSB and account number as the name of the recipient is not used during the transfer process; only the codes and account numbers are used.

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