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How to receive a wire transfer

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Here’s what to expect when waiting on money from a loved one or business.

Everything is done online nowadays — including the ability to get financial help from friends and fast payments for your services or goods.

With a wire transfer, you can safely receive money from a bank account to your own, for pickup at a money store or to an intermediary account through an online money transfer specialist.

Many banks and specialists offer fast turnaround, but your wire transfer can take days to clear depending on where it’s coming from and how it’s delivered. We break down what to expect when you’re expecting a payment.

How can I receive a wire transfer?

The steps to receive a transfer depend on whether your money is wired through a bank, an in-office money transfer service or an online specialist.

Bank-to-bank wire transfers

To receive money to an account through a bank, you need only check your account for a successful transfer.

Your account should reflect a transaction involving the sender’s bank and the amount you’re expecting. Depending on your bank, you might pay a fee to receive your wire transfer, typically automatically withdrawn from your account balance.

In-office wire transfers

For wire transfers through Western Union, MoneyGram or a similar service, your sender typically receives a tracking or money transfer control number (MTCN).

You can use this number to track the progress of your wire transfer to delivery. If you plan to pick up cash at a storefront, you’ll likely need this number to complete a form and receive your money.

Online transfers

If your sender wires money through an online service, you’ll receive an email when the money is credited to your account. Open your account to confirm receipt of the money.

What do I need to receive a wire transfer?

Depending on the sender’s preferred wire transfer service, you may need to submit personal details to receive your money, including:

  • Your name, address and contact information.
  • Your bank account information, including routing and account numbers, for bank-to-bank transfers.
  • Your bank’s SWIFT, BIC or IBAN codes, if an international wire.
  • Your email address for wire transfers using PayPal and similar services.
  • For in-office cash pickups, a branch or storefront location and a tracking number.

Learn how to send simple, easy and cost-effective wire transfers

Is a bank account necessary to receive a wire transfer?

No. Bank-to-bank transactions require depositing your money directly to your bank account. But if you don’t have a bank account, online and storefront money specialists allow your loved ones to send money for cash pickup.

Companies like Western Union allow for cash pickups, while PayPal and similar sites provide intermediary accounts for deposits. To receive a wire transfer, it’s as easy as providing the details of these accounts.

How long does it take to receive a wire transfer?

How long you’ll wait depends on the wire transfer delivery option your sender chose.

For bank-to-bank accounts, wire transfers can take from one to three days, with delays over weekends or holidays.

In-office wire transfers allow for money transfer deposits or cash pickup in minutes, as do online payment systems like PayPal.

How can I track a wire transfer?

Most money transfer services and online specialists offer end-to-end tracking of your transfers so that you can monitor the progress of your payments.

For in-office wire transfers, the service typically emails notification that your money is ready for pickup or withdrawal. You can often track the transfer using a transaction number provided by the sender.

For online transfers, email notifications are sent to both parties after the money is available in the recipient’s account.

Bank-to-bank wire transfers can often only be tracked from the sender’s online banking account. You can check your bank account from time to time to check if the money is already available in your account.

What are potential drawbacks to a wire transfer?

With the rise of online money transfer specialists, you’ve many options for receiving money outside of the big-name bank down the block.

Here’s what to look out for when weighing your bank against online specialists:

  • Banks aren’t fast. Layers of networks and bureaucracy can result in up to five days of processing for a typical wire transfer at your bank.
  • Banks offer limited delivery. Wire transfers are typically bank to bank. If you don’t have an account, some online specialists offer intermediary accounts for delivery from a bank.
  • Banks are expensive. Fees can range from $20 to $60 a transfer, sometimes on both ends. If you’re receiving money internationally, you’ll often see high markups on the exchange rate to boot.
  • Banks limit transfer amounts. And maximum transfers can vary widely among domestic and international accounts, not to mention the banks themselves.
  • Banks require the details. ID, forms, in-store requirements — banks simply don’t offer the intuitive process you’ll find with most online specialists.

Bottom line

Wire transfers are a dependable, secure and fast option for getting money from Point A to Point B. While bank-to-bank wire transfers typically require fees on both ends, money transfer specialists — both in store and online — tend to offer lower fees, faster transactions and tracking for peace of mind.

Learn more about providers in our guide to international money transfer services.

Compare providers that can help you send money transfers

I want to send

to

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 0 3 - 5 days USD 0.00 18.883 MXN 94,415 Transfer up to $500,000 with no minimums and no fees. Go to site Show details
USD 1 1 - 2 days USD 7.00 18.94 MXN
94,569
Enjoy high maximum transfers into more than 20 currencies while saving up to 90% over local banks. Go to site Show details
USD 1 Within an hour USD 3.99 18.902 MXN 94,435 Use promo code FINDER to send your first transfer with no fee.
Send to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up.
Go to site Show details
USD 1,000 1 day USD 0.00 18.864 MXN 94,319 Exclusive exchange rate discounts
No-maximum limit transfers with competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies.
Go to site Show details
GBP 1,000 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 18.883 MXN 94,415 Exclusive: Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally $5,000).
For larger transfers, get no transaction fees and no maximum send limits.
Go to site Show details
USD 50 1 - 2 days USD 25.00 18.864 MXN 93,848 Simple, zero-margin exchange rates, plus earn loyalty points on sign up, referral and every transaction. Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Frequently asked questions

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US International Money Transfers Offers

Important Information*
XE Money Transfer

Transfer up to $500,000 with no minimums and no fees.

WorldRemit International Money Transfers

Use promo code FINDER to send your first transfer with no fee.
Send to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up.

TransferWise

Enjoy high maximum transfers into more than 20 currencies while saving up to 90% over local banks.

CurrencyTransfer

Exclusive: Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally $5,000).
For larger transfers, get no transaction fees and no maximum send limits.

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4 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    Ma.March 21, 2019

    Maam/sir it is possible that the money from international using wire transfer are long days to reflect in my local bank account?

    • finder Customer Care
      BellaMarch 22, 2019Staff

      Hi Ma. Gena,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      Bank transfers can take anywhere from one to five business days to process, and the same goes for online transfers. If it takes more than five business days, you can check with your bank on what could be causing the delay. You may also want to check out this page to see some several factors that may influence the time for funds to reach your bank account.

      I hope this helps.

      Kind regards,
      Bella

  2. Default Gravatar
    SusanOctober 18, 2018

    I have Chase bank & need help with adding a name to my wire transfer, having trouble adding to the wire transfer, I have one on there & need to add another name.

    • finder Customer Care
      AnndyOctober 21, 2018Staff

      Hi Susan,

      Thanks for your question.

      You can add another Chase wire transfer recipient by following these steps.

      1. Log-in to your Chase account.
      2. Go to Payments & Transfers then scroll down to “Wire Transfer” and select “Add a Wire Recipient.”
      3. You can then enter your recipient’s details in the fields and follow the prompts.

      I hope that helps Susan.

      If you encounter issues in adding another recipient, you may have to contact Chase directly so they can assist you.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

US International Money Transfers Offers

Important Information*
XE Money Transfer

Transfer up to $500,000 with no minimums and no fees.

WorldRemit International Money Transfers

Use promo code FINDER to send your first transfer with no fee.
Send to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up.

TransferWise

Enjoy high maximum transfers into more than 20 currencies while saving up to 90% over local banks.

CurrencyTransfer

Exclusive: Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally $5,000).
For larger transfers, get no transaction fees and no maximum send limits.

Go to site