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Telegraphic Transfers Defined

Telegraphic transfer (TT) is a method of transferring funds electronically; it is usually used to refer to international wire transfers. The abbreviated term “TT” is often used for convenience to describe other types of transfers. In the U.S. a TT is more commonly called a wire transfer. Telegraphic transfers are characterized by being fast; they are usually completed within 2-4 business days depending on factors such as currency exchange requirements and the transfer’s origin and destination. TT’s are usually more expensive than some other methods of electronic transfers. A TT can be made between two accounts held by the same person or accounts held by different people.

For a TT made within the U.S. the funds move through the Federal Reserve System. For an international TT the SWIFT(go to swift checker)system is used. Both these systems are secure, reliable, regulated and held to high standards.


How Much does a Telegraphic Transfer Cost?

The cost of a TT depends on a number of factors including the amount being sent; the banks involved in the transaction and whether or not currency exchange is needed. There is a bank transaction fee charged by the sending bank and there may be fees also charged by the receiving bank.


To make a telegraphic transfer you will need:

  • Details of the recipient’s bank account number
  • The recipient’s name
  • Details of the recipient’s bank (name and address)
  • For transfers within the U.S. you will also need details of the recipient bank’s routing number and for transfers outside the U.S. you’ll need the recipient bank’s BIC code (SWIFT).
  • Identification information about the sender (name and account number)


The term “Telegraphic Transfer” dates back to the days before electronic payments, when transfers were made by a bank sending a telex or cable to another bank to effect a money transfer. Today, although the term is still used, telegraphic transfers are made electronically. Instead of a telex, an electronic message is sent between banks to facilitate transfer of funds. In the U.K. the term is used to refer to a domestic CHAPS transfer or an international SWIFT transfer. In Japan TT is used when quoting retail exchange rates and in Singapore telegraphic transfer refers to a cross-border money transfer. However, the main confusion about telegraphic transfers is that the term is often used generically to describe other forms of electronic money transfers. A telegraphic transfer is sometimes referred to as a wire transfer or EFT (electronic funds transfer).

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