How to transfer money online to friends and family
Digital apps and services make it easier to send money to others
Read, 3 minutes
Maybe you need to send money to a child in college, pay your son’s piano teacher or split the cost of dinner with a friend. Whatever the reason, most people need to send money to a family member, friend or someone else at one time or another. There are several ways to do that electronically, each with its own advantages.
Use a money-transfer app
If you have the email or U.S. mobile number of the recipient, you may be able to send money securely using an online service or app. The apps of most major banks, for example, include Zelle®, a fast and safe way to send money to friends and family. If your bank doesn’t use Zelle®, there are many other digital payment options available. Keep in mind factors like cost, speed and international capabilities can vary.
The recipient’s email or U.S. mobile number.
Generally free to download but costs can vary depending on how you use them.
Typically within minutes.
Consider a bank-to-bank transfer
If you have the recipient’s account number and routing number, there is another way you can transfer money from your bank account into that account. A routing number—also known as a bank routing number or ABA number—is a nine-digit code that identifies where an account is located. You might use this method for sending smaller amounts of money to someone you send to regularly; for larger amounts, a wire transfer is another option. This is also a great way to transfer money between your own accounts at different banks.
The recipient’s account and routing numbers.
Vary by bank, amount and delivery time but it could be free.
Varies by bank but can happen immediately or within a few days.
Set up a wire transfer
For sending a large amount of money, wire transfers can be a solution. To make a wire transfer, you’ll need the recipient’s name and address and their bank account and routing numbers. Call, visit or go online with your bank or a trusted wire-transfer company. Keep in mind that companies may charge a fee for both sending and receiving wire transfers, and rates may increase if you’re sending the money to someone outside the U.S.
The recipient’s name and address, as well as bank account and routing numbers.
Vary by institution, though may be free with certain types of bank accounts.
Generally one business day or less.
Request your bank send a check
Not everyone is set up for, or wants to receive, electronic transfers. You may be able to use online or mobile banking to arrange for your bank to send a personal or cashier’s check. For regular checks, recipients may have to wait several days before accessing the money. For cashier’s checks, recipients may receive the money immediately after depositing it. And though it’s rare, checks do occasionally get lost in the mail. Ask your bank what you should do if that happens.
The recipient’s name and address.
Vary by bank but could be free.
Depends on mail service and how quickly the recipient deposits the check.