Sending Money Online Using a Checking Account

There are times when it’s necessary to send funds which can be quickly be converted into cash for the recipient. That might be a one-time transaction. Perhaps your son at college finds a great deal on a car, the seller will only accept cash and wants it now. Or it might be a twice-a-month practice for your family in the U.S. or another country to receive about 50 percent of your paycheck which your employer direct deposits into your checking account. You can use your checking account to send money both domestically and internationally. This transfer of funds can be done through a variety of options. Here two are presented: Financial institution to financial institution or from your checking account via the Internet directly to the recipient’s bank account, mobile phone, or email address.

Financial Institution to Financial Institution

Once called “wiring money,” this process is now known as “online money transfer.” One standard way to do this is to authorize the movement of funds from your checking account in a bank or credit union to the account of the recipient in his or her financial institution. Depending on the financial institutions the recipient can pick up the cash within one to four hours. The possible hitch here is if one or both financial institutions only handle these funds transfers during certain hours. Therefore, to ensure the recipient will receive the funds when needed, you have to find out about scheduling at both financial institutions. Also, if international, remember time differences.

If you have never transferred money online from your checking account, many financial institutions require you to fill out official forms, provide proof that the checking account is yours and show official identification that you are the person owning the account. However, once this is completed, you are good-to-go for future transfers which you can transact from your phone or the Internet, if the latter is allowed.

In addition, you have to furnish two pieces of information about the recipient.

  • The transit routing code for the financial institution. Every financial institution has a different one. Therefore, verify it with the recipient. Otherwise the funds could be transferred to the wrong bank or credit union. That, of course, creates a time-consuming delay.
  • The exact number for the recipient’s checking or savings account. Again, verify that with the recipient. Otherwise the funds could wind up in the wrong account. That will delay receiving the funds.

Yes, you will have to pay a fee. The recipient may or may not. For a domestic transfer, that fee could range between $10 and $25. Some financial institutions may offer lower “teaser” or even longer-term rates. International ones could exceed $25. If the recipient is charged a fee and can’t afford it, you might factor that into how much you are sending.

Next, you verify that the funds have been transferred and received. This can be done through your financial institution or by contacting the recipient.

From Your Checking Account via the Internet Directly to the Recipient

If your checking account is online, some financial institutions provide the option to transfer funds electronically to any person in the U.S. who has a bank account, mobile phone or an email address.

Although each financial institution has its own name for this capability, it’s generically called “personal payment service.” Once you register for it, you can transfer funds without going into the bank or even visiting the ATM. You complete the transaction from a computer, smartphone, tablet or any other device which connects with the Internet. Yes, there is a fee for it.

Generally there is no limit on the amount of money you can send or how often you can send it. However, if the amount becomes large, the financial institution might require more information from you for security purposes. Should there be no time pressures, it could be more cost-efficient to send paper checks.

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