Bank Payments/Transfers in the USA - how to?

Here in Australia, electronic bank payments are very easy. If you have the destination bank and account numbers, you can enter that in your online banking and make a payment. It is usually free, and payments go typically go through same day or next day.

Many suppliers include account information on their invoices, so you can make the payment electronically. (There is provision for limited reference information e.g. invoice number and payer.)

It works equally well to transfer money between your own accounts at different banks.

How does this work in the USA? I don’t know whether I don’t know the terminology or what to look for, or whether there is no similar facility.

My online banking has bill pay options which look similar, but I enter all the payment information and then the bank… mails a check!?

ACH looks promising but it seems to talk about pulling money from customer accounts, and seems to need some sort of setup before it is available. I want to push money from one account to another.

I need to transfer money between accounts at different banks. The only way I can figure out to do that online will involve mailing myself a check. Or may be a wire transfer, with corresponding wire transfer fees.

I can transfer electronically from an Australian account to a US account using the various FX companies, but I can’t figure out how to use a US account as the source.

What am I missing?

I’m pretty sure can do US -> Europe transfers.

You said you tried “various FX” companies.

If Transferwise is not one of them, then try Transferwise.

If you tried using Transferwise but couldn’t figure it out, then is a good start. You can also talk to their support.

And upfront apologies for pointing this out but your question boils down to:

Does anyone knows how I can transfer money from US account in Wells Fargo to Austrian bank My Austrian Bank".

You wrote 10x more than necessary while also not providing all the important information (which bank in US, which bank in Austria, which FX services did you try exactly).

Sorry if I wrote too much.

I’m not talking about FX, I’m asking how to transfer from one bank in the USA to another bank in the USA.

I keep getting less than useful responses like “you just transfer the money” or “there is an option in internet banking” so I was trying to provide more information about what I’m looking for and what I have found so far.

Maybe Transferwise is a useful example - I can set up a transfer no problem, but how do I send the money to Transferwise? I assume they are not expecting a check in the mail in 10 days, which is what my internet banking seems to offer.

Maybe this is part of the misunderstanding. In Australia, which bank doesn’t matter. You can do any to any transfers. Are there different procedures for different bank combinations in the USA?

Use Transferwise and follow their UI,

You start by saying how much you want to transfer, from where and where to and then you just provide the next piece of information they ask for.

At some point, you’ll have to provide details for both bank accounts and they’ll transfer the money between them.

I’ve used it to transfer money from european bank to US bank. This service is what Transferwise does.

OK, if Transferwise initiate the transfer then it wasn’t a good example.

All I want to do is transfer money from one US bank to another US bank. When I try it, internet banking wants to send me a check. Can I do it electronically?

No FX is involved.

From which bank to which bank?

Some online banks, like have a notion of “External accounts” where you can link most other banks, like WellsFargo or Capital One.

After verifying the external account you can transfer money between them via the web interface.

If neither of your banks has this option, then, well, switch one of them to or open a third account with simple and use it as an intermediary.

You can also use PayPal as such intermediary and I’m sure a few other services that allow sending money to people.

The US has an incredibly obsolete and bizarre banking system, which often comes as a shock for people coming from other countries. It appears that banks stopped evolving in the 70s of the previous century and were dragged kicking and screaming into the internet world, bolting on poorly-built online interfaces.

There is no unified account numbering system (like IBAN in Europe), no checksums on account numbers, people still use paper checks (!) which you need to “endorse” and “deposit” (!), and wire transfers are complex and expensive. A wire transfer than would cost €1 in Europe could cost the sender $35 and the receiver an additional $15 in the USA.

ACH is for charging customers and seems to also play the role of a workaround for the lack of a unified transfer system.

I also found that in many banks account security is sorely lacking: banks usually force the use of SMS as a second factor, with some (Chase) going as far as allowing you to get a code via E-mail (!!!).

So, don’t be surprised :slight_smile: It’s just how things are.


Thanks, I am figuring that out!

My main problem was that I wasn’t sure whether what I was looking for didn’t exist, or whether I couldn’t find it because I didn’t know the correct terminology. It seems like it doesn’t exist.

About ACH, my customers are businesses and some seem to be able to pay by ACH. Is that a generally available feature? It seems like you need to enroll with the bank to do ACH, is that something that is typically an additional charge?

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