What information is needed for a wire transfer? | Western Union (2023)

Article summary

There are all sorts of possible methods for moving money to your loved ones. If you want a way that’s quick and simple, then a wire transfer could be right for you.

Whether you’re sending a gift to family living a few blocks away or supporting friends in Australia or anywhere else around the world, knowing what is needed for a wire transfer is vital. Following wire transfer instructions properly helps get money to the right people at the right time with ease.

Understand what information is needed for a wire transfer when sending money internationally or domestically via your bank or a money transfer service with this guide.

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In this article

What information do you need for a bank-to-bank wire transfer?
What information do you need to wire money using an online money transfer service?
The importance of following wire transfer instructions
FAQs and guides

What information do you need for a bank-to-bank wire transfer?

Making a wire transfer from your bank account to one held with another bank is a common way to move large amounts of money within the US and overseas. Generally, you need to provide your full name and phone number as the sender. You’ll also need to give the receiver’s:

  • Full name
  • Phone number
  • Address
  • Bank name and information
  • Checking account information

Normally you can fill in a form at your local bank branch or complete one online.

These are the essential details, but wire transfer requirements can differ when sending money internationally or domestically.

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Information required for an international bank transfer

What information is needed for an international wire transfer includes all the above and one or more of the following for your receiver:

  • IBAN (International Bank Account Number) – up to 34 characters, depending on the destination. The first two identify the country, followed by two check digits and the bank account number (up to 30 digits).
  • SWIFT(Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) and BIC (Business Identifier Code) – Often used interchangeably, these are standard format codes to identify banks and financial institutions around the world. SWIFT codes are 11 digits that contain the bank, country, location, and branch code.

Find out more in our guide to SWIFT and BIC codes.

Information required for a domestic bank transfer

Wire transfer requirements when sending money domestically to someone or a business in the US are slightly different. You don’t need a SWIFT or IBAN code but instead require these two codes to make a domestic bank transfer:

  • Routing number – The American Bankers Association (ABA) designed the routing transit number (sometimes referred to as an ABA RTN). This is a nine-digit code that identifies the financial institution where a wire transfer is sent from (your bank). Electronic payment methods use this to identify the paying bank for wire transfers.
  • Account number – A bank account number can be between eight and 12 digits usually. It identifies the specific bank account where the money is being wired.

What information do you need to wire money using an online money transfer service?

What information is needed for a wire transfer can differ if you use an online money transfer service rather than a bank. Wiring money via a money transfer service may be quicker and more affordable, with the costs based on factors including how much you want to wire, the destination and receiving currency (for international wire transfers).

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The main difference is that the money you wire doesn’t have to be from your bank account – you can often cover the costs with a credit/debit card or even cash.

Online money transfer services provide an alternative to bank-to-bank wire transfers, and you can often send money around the world 24/7. Simply register and verify a profile with your provider of choice and prepare the following information to transfer money depending on your preferred method.

Information required for sending money online or through an app

To send money online or via your provider’s app, you first need to register Then you can arrange to transfer money, but may also need your:

  • Login information
  • Credit or debit card details
  • Receiver’s first and last name – the same as their government-issued ID
  • Receiver’s country – sometimes you need their full address

Information required for sending money in-person

Like visiting a bank, money transfer services often allow you to send money in person. This could be to set up a money transfer from the start or complete one you began online. Either way, you may need:

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  • Government-issued ID to confirm your identity
  • Cash, credit or debit card to pay for the total – including any transfer fees and currency exchange rates
  • Your receiver’s full name (as on their ID), country and address (where requested)

Information required to transfer money to a mobile wallet

Sending money to a mobile wallet can be quick and convenient. To do this you may need your:

  • Mobile phone number
  • Receiver’s full name, country, and address
  • Receiver’s mobile phone number

Information required to send money to a bank account

You can also use money transfer services to send money to a bank account, whether you have a bank account yourself or not. To do this you generally need your receiver’s:

  • First and last name, as it appears on their government-issued ID
  • Country and possibly their full address
  • Phone number

Then it depends if you’re sending money domestically or internationally. Further information you need includes:

  • Within the US – Your receiver’s bank name, bank routing number (ABA RTN), and bank account number.
  • Outside the US – Your receiver’s IBAN and the receiving bank’s Bank Identifier Code (BIC or the receiving country equivalent). Further details may be requested depending on the destination.

The importance of following wire transfer instructions

Carefully following wire transfer instructions is essential to make sure the money you send arrives with your intended receiver. Double check you have met all wire transfer requirements for the destination and bank or money transfer service you use. This includes filling in the right digits for your receiver’s bank account and spelling everything correctly.

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Making a mistake or missing a step when following wire transfer instructions could mean the money goes to the wrong account. If an account doesn’t exist, the wire transfer may be rejected and returned, causing a delay. This is especially an issue when wiring money to pay for a bill or where another deadline is in place.

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Last Updated: 04/10/2023

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