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how long does it take for a wire transfer

How long does it take for a wire transfer

Watch out for scams involving wire transfers: You send money, the thief withdraws cash (or wires it to a different account, possibly overseas), and you don’t realize you’ve been scammed until it’s too late to recover the funds. Thieves only need to take control of somebody’s bank account for a few days to get cash or send the money elsewhere. Because of this, don’t ever send money to anyone you don’t know.

Down payments and other wires to a title company are an attractive target for hackers. When buying a home, always verify where the money is supposed to be wired—especially if you get wire instructions by email. Hackers can alter emails (even from people you’ve been working with for several weeks) and instruct you to send money to the wrong place. To avoid problems, call the recipient to verify the wire instructions.  
A wire transfer is an electronic transfer of money. A traditional wire transfer goes from one bank or credit union to another using a network such as the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) or Fedwire.  

Some money transfer services (like Western Union) operate independently—you can bring cash for an in-person transfer and the recipient will walk out with cash. The recipient is identified with a phone number or email address.
Automated clearing house (ACH) transfers are also different. The money moves from bank to bank, but the transfer takes several days, and the payee won’t know for sure if the funds will arrive. ACH payments can be reversed, but only in limited circumstances.  
Because the money moves quickly, the recipient should not have to wait for funds to clear before claiming or using the money. In other words, there is usually no hold placed on money received via wire transfer. For anybody selling merchandise or services, a wire transfer is safer than a check. Checks can bounce, and it can take several weeks (or more) to find out that a payment was bad.  
What about receiving a wire transfer—is that safe? For the most part, yes. Payments are more certain because banks only wire money out if the sender has the funds available, usually within one business day (although exceptions may apply). What’s more, it is very difficult for the sender to pull money back after it’s been transferred.  
However, some electronic payments can be reversed. Thieves like to take advantage of customer confusion by promising to send a wire transfer but actually sending money using a different (reversible) method.  

The main risk with wire transfers is when you send money.

A wire transfer is an electronic transfer from one bank or credit union to another. Learn about the speed, security, and costs of wiring money.