How to Transfer Money to Someone Else's Bank Account [2021]

Getting a payment directly from your bank account to your recipient’s account means no carrying or handling cash, no visits to the bank or waiting in line, and faster, more secure money transfers.

If you need to make a payment direct to someone’s bank account you have a few options. We’ll cover the main traditional services - and a few modern alternatives, too. 

send a large amount of money overseas

How to transfer money to another bank account

There are better ways to transfer money to someone. From your regular bank you may be able to make direct bank transfers or domestic and international wires. In this case, your money travels directly from one account to another without you handling a penny. However, you may still have the hassle of visiting a bank branch, depending on your specific account.

Most banks have modern online options to make life even easier. Send money from your computer or mobile device, 24/7, with no need to make an appointment and go to a branch to transfer money to someone.

Ways of transferring money into someone else's account

Let’s walk through the key ways to get your payment to the right person, fast, and for a fair fee.

Option 1: Send money directly from your bank account to another bank account online

Depending on your bank account type you might be able to send money direct from your account to another online. Log into your online banking to check if this is possible. Many banks offer ACH (Automated Clearing House) payments domestically for free - that means there shouldn’t be a fee to send money to someone else in the US.

Pros and Cons when sending money directly from your bank account to another one online

  • Often free, at least for local payments
  • Pay online with no need to visit your bank branch
  • Relatively secure and established method of paying
  • You’ll usually need to be registered for online banking to get started
  • ACH payments may not be the quickest option
  • You’ll need your recipient’s full bank details to send money

Option 2: Domestic or International Wire transfers

Wire transfers are the other typical way traditional banks allow customers to send money out from their account to another. Wire payments are usually fast - they can often be available the same day if you hit the bank’s cut off time. The downside here is that there’s usually a fee - and this can be quite steep, especially for international wires. Receiving a wire might also incur a fee - so both you and your recipient get charged for the same payment.

Pros and Cons when sending money through a domestic or international wire transfer

  • Fast way to get money from one place to another
  • International wire transfers are available
  • Secure and established method
  • High fees are common, both to send and receive
  • You might need to visit your branch in person, depending on your bank’s policy
  • Check the exchange rate used if you’re sending internationally - there could be more fees added there

Option 3: Send a check

Sending a check is one of the more traditional options for getting money from one account to another. It’s familiar, but it’s not usually convenient and can involve a significant wait to get your money.

One option to make it a little easier when using checks is to find a provider which allows e-check deposits. In this case your recipient can add the payment to their account by simply uploading a photo of the check, without needing to visit the branch. Not all banks allow this, though - and it may mean additional costs.

Pros and Cons when sending a check

  • Familiar way to move money
  • With e-check deposits your recipient may be able to deposit the payment electronically
  • Not as secure as other methods
  • You’ll usually need to wait while the payment clears
  • It’s an extra hassle if you have to pay in the check in person

Option 4: Deposit cash at the bank

Some banks will allow you to walk in and hand over cash to add to another person’s account. You’ll need to visit the bank which holds your recipient’s account and have their full name and account details. It’s definitely important to check if this is possible at the bank you need before you head out. More and more banks are stopping this service because of concerns over fraud, so you might be out of luck.

Pros and Cons when sending money internationally through the cash option

  • If this service is available at the bank you need it’s low hassle for your recipient
  • Money should be available quickly
  • More and more banks are stopping this service
  • You’ll need to visit a branch in person which may not be convenient
  • Carrying a lot of cash around can be risky

Option 5: Transfer money with an international money transfer provider

Because traditional banks had some limitations when it comes to getting money from one account to another - especially across borders - a number of alternative online and mobile services have popped up. These providers may specialize in only international payments, or offer transfers both locally and overseas. With online service 24/7, and typically lower fees compared to traditional banks, you might find you can get a better deal transferring money abroad with a specialist.

Below are a few options you can compare and choose from if you want to transfer money to someone else's bank account using an international money transfer provider:

Pros and Cons when sending money with an international money transfer provider

  • Often lower fees compared to banks - some offer better exchange rates too
  • Online and mobile service with intuitive apps
  • Fast service, often with a range of payment delivery methods
  • You’ll need an account to send money, and your recipient may need one to receive it, depending on the service you choose
  • Newer service which not everyone knows about
  • Depending on where you’re sending money to, and which service you choose, exchange rate markups may apply

Wise

Wise (formerly TransferWise) logo
With Wise you can send money all over the world direct from your bank account to your recipient’s. You’ll get the real mid-market exchange rate with low, transparent fees - you can also open a Wise multi-currency account for free online to hold, send and spend using the mid-market rate all over the world

Key features and fees:

  • Wise account is 3x cheaper than traditional banks, 5x cheaper than PayPal and 1.7x cheaper than Western Union
  • Fees vary according to destination country and payment value - no exchange rate markup applied

 

Learn more about Wise

Remitly

Remitly Review 2020Remitly customers can send money direct to a bank account, as mobile money, for cash collection or even home delivery in some locations. There are different fees and delivery times depending on the service you select - get a cheaper economy service, or opt to pay a higher fee for a faster delivery time.

Key features and fees:

  • Choose to have your recipient get their money in a range of ways, with different fees based on how quickly you want the payment to arrive
  • Fees and rates vary depending on where you’re sending money to, the value and the payment/receipt method

 

Learn more about Remitly

WorldRemit


With WorldRemit you can send a payment direct to a bank account, for cash collection, as mobile money or even an airtime top up. Not all services are available in all countries, but over 130 countries are covered.

Key features and fees:

  • Model your payment online and see immediately the fees, rates and how much your recipient will get
  • Fees and rates vary depending on where you’re sending money to, the value and the payment/receipt method

 

Learn more about WorldRemit

XE

alternatives to XE Money Transfers
XE is a specialist in currency exchange and offers a broad range of data, insights, and also money transfer services to over 130 countries. You can send money online once you’ve created an account - you’ll need to model the payment you want to make before getting a quote covering both the fees and exchange rate on offer.

Key features and fees:

  • Create an account to model your payment, get a quote for fees and see the applicable exchange rate 
  • Fees and rates vary depending on where you’re sending money to and the value of your transfer

 

Learn more about XE

PayPal

PayPal is a global leader in digital payments, offering customers solutions for shopping online, as well as sending money locally and internationally. PayPal customers can send money abroad - or choose to use PayPal’s sister company Xoom for overseas payments to bank accounts and for cash pickup.

Key features and fees:

  • Send money with PayPal for free locally if you fund it with your PayPal balance or a linked bank account
  • International payments are available with both PayPal and Xoom - however, relatively high fees, including exchange rate markups do apply

 

Learn more about PayPal

Western Union


Western Union works globally, sending payments between bank accounts, as cash for collection, as well as issuing prepaid cards in association with Mastercard. With agents all over the world, you can often get money to friends and family in minutes if you need to.

Key features and fees:

  • Create an account to model your payment, get a quote for fees and see the applicable exchange rate 
  • Fees and rates vary depending on where you’re sending money to and the value of your transfer

 

Learn more about Western Union

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By Ileana Ionescu Updated August 13th, 2021