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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.

You’ll need colon

The recipient’s email or U.S. mobile number.


Fees colon

Generally free to download but costs can vary depending on how you use them.


Timing colon

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.

You’ll need colon

The recipient’s account and routing numbers.


Fees colon

Vary by bank, amount and delivery time but it could be free.


Timing colon

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.

You’ll need colon

The recipient’s name and address, as well as bank account and routing numbers.


Fees colon

Vary by institution, though may be free with certain types of bank accounts.


Timing colon

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.

You’ll need colon

The recipient’s name and address.


Fees colon

Vary by bank but could be free.


Timing colon

Depends on mail service and how quickly the recipient deposits the check.

What to read next

Contact Us

Zelle® should only be used to send money to friends, family or others you trust. We recommend that you do not use Zelle® to send money to those you do not know. Transfers require enrollment in the service with a U.S. checking or savings account and must be made from an eligible Bank of America consumer or business deposit account. Transactions between enrolled users typically occur in minutes and transactions between enrolled consumers do not typically incur transaction fees. We will send you an email alert with transaction details after you send money using Zelle®. Dollar and frequency limits apply. See the Online Banking Service Agreement at bankofamerica.com/serviceagreement for further details. Data connection required. Message and data rates may apply. Neither Bank of America nor Zelle® offers a protection program for any authorized payments made with Zelle®. Regular account fees apply.

Zelle and the Zelle related marks are wholly owned by Early Warning Services, LLC and are used herein under license.