How to transfer money from one bank to another to combine finances or earn more interest

woman using bank ATMGetty/Kevork DjansezianGetty/Kevork Djansezian

  • You can transfer money from one bank to another through a paper check, a bank-to-bank transfer, an ACH transfer, or a wire transfer.
  • For any type of electronic transfer, you'll need the account and routing numbers of the account where you want to deposit the money.
  • You can also transfer by check, for which you'll only need the recipient's name (which can be yourself).
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There are countless reasons you may want to transfer money from one bank to another. Maybe you'd like to combine finances with your new spouse, or start earning more interest by moving your money to a different bank.

Fortunately, the process of transferring money from one bank to another is fairly simple. You can write a check, do a bank-to-bank transfer, perform an ACH transfer, or initiate a wire transfer. Here's how you can transfer money with each of these methods.

How to transfer money from one bank to another

Transfer money by writing a check

If you prefer to transfer money the old fashioned way and aren't in a hurry to get it into the other account, writing a check may be a good option.
  1. Take a check from the bank you'd like to transfer money from and fill it out like you normally would.
  2. If you're transferring money to your own bank account, write your name in the "Pay to the Order Of" line. If the money is going into someone else's account, fill out this line with the recipient's name.
  3. Sign the back of the check and deposit the money into your own account by visiting a local bank branch or ATM. Many banks also allow you to make an electronic deposit by taking a picture of the front and back of your check and depositing the money via the bank's app on your mobile device. 
  4. If you'd like to transfer the money into someone else's account, simply send them the check and let them deposit it.

Transfer money through a bank-to-bank transfer

If you'd like to transfer money from your account with one bank to your account with another bank, you can do so easily online with a bank-to-bank transfer. Note that the exact process might vary a little between banks, but in general, the steps are the same: 

  1. Log in to the bank from which you'd like to transfer money.
  2. Look for an option that says "transfer" or "pay and transfer."
  3. If you've already added another account, simply select it as the destination from a drop-down menu.
  4. If you haven't added the new account, choose the option that says "add new account" or "add new bank" from the drop-down menu.
  5. The site will prompt you to add your other account's number and routing number.
  6. Then, the first bank need to verify your account, often by making two or three small deposits, under $1, into the account receiving the money.
  7. Check the receiving account over the next few days to make note of the deposits.
  8. Once those deposits go through - usually within a business day or two - you'll log back into your first bank account to verify how much was deposited.
  9. Once your other account has been verified, you'll be able to use the same screen to schedule a one-time or recurring transfer to the receiving bank. 
  10. It will usually take one to three business days for your transfer to go through, so make sure to check that your account has been debited and that the receiving account has been credited.

Transfer money through an ACH Transfer

An ACH transfer moves money between banks through the Automated Clearing House network, one of the largest payment systems in the US. ACH transfers are almost always free.

  1. Set up an ACH account with your bank in person or online.
  2. When you're ready to initiate a payment, you'll need to provide the following information:
  • Amount you'd like to transfer
  • The recipient's nine-digit routing number
  • The recipient's ten-digit account number 
  • The recipient's name
  • The recipient's billing address
  • The recipient's phone number
  1. Review your payment information and submit for processing. 
  2. Wait for the funds to arrive within two to three business days. Arrival time will depend on your bank.

Transfer money through a wire transfer

With a wire transfer, you can move money from one bank to another within one business day. However, wire transfers typically cost between $10 and $35 to initiate. A wire transfer may make sense if your goal is to get the money into the other account as soon as possible.

  1. Visit your local bank or go online and provide the following information:
  • Amount you'd like to transfer
  • The recipient's nine-digit routing number
  • The recipient's ten-digit account number 
  • The recipient's name
  • The recipient's billing address
  • The recipient's phone number
  • The recipient's bank name and address
  1. Review your payment information and submit for processing. 
  2. Wait for the funds to arrive within one business day.

Related coverage from How to Do Everything: Money

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