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Wire Transfers

Wire Transfers are a method of transferring money electronically, from one person or institution to another.

wired earth

A money transfer can be made from one bank account to another bank account, through a transfer of cash at a local money transfer office or an online currency exchange service provider.

Different systems and operators provide a variety of options relative to the immediacy and finality of settlement and the cost, value, and volume of the transactions.

The History of the Wire Transfer

Wire transfers are a way for people and businesses to exchange money when they are located apart from one another.

In the United States wire transfers date back to the invention of the telegraph, this is when Western Union first got onto the scene.

The method of exchanging currency between people dates all the way back to the "giro."

The giro was a centralized banking system in which funds could be withdrawn or deposited through the post office. The giro system dates back at least to Ptolemaic Egypt in the 4th century BC.

Wire Transfers...The Process

Bank money transfers are often the most expedient method for transferring funds between bank accounts.

  • The person or institution wishing to do a transfer approaches a bank and gives the bank the order to transfer a certain amount of money. If the person or entity uses a online currency exchange service, make sure that the company is trustworthy, has a good track record of sending money and has expertise in wiring money.
  • Talk to your local bank official or to a customer service agent with the specific information needed to make the wire transfer. However if you are doing this online make sure all your information is correct before entering it into the system.
  • The person or entity will need the recipients banking information, the recipient's name, the recipient's address, the bank's routing number, bank account number, and the bank's phone number and address.
  • If transferring money to an international bank account, you will need the recipient's bank's SWIFT code. A "SWIFT code" is a standard format of Bank Identifier Codes (BIC) and it is unique identification code for a particular bank. These codes are used when transferring money and information between banks.

The following link is to a website that offers all the International SWIFT or BIC codes The SWIFT codes

  • If the person or entity is sending money from a wire-transfer service (not a bank), they will need to know the recipient's name and also the wire-transfer location in his area where he will pick up the wire transfer.
  • Depending on the company that you use, you may need to know the exact address of the bank or wire transfer company's office where the recipient will receive the money.
exchange rates
  • If the person or entity is sending money internationally, they need to make sure they are aware of the currency's conversion rate.

This is so you will have enough money for the purchase or transfer.

Some services will provide this information for you before you initiate the transfer, although not all do.

It is up to the individual or entity to know this before they move forward with the money transfer.

Currency Converter

  • If using an online service fill in the indicator of how much money you would like to transfer.   Or otherwise tell the agent at the bank or wire transfer office of how much money you would like to transfer.
  • The sending bank transmits a message, via a secure system (ex: SWIFT or Fedwire), to the receiving bank, requesting that it will receive the payment according to the instructions given.
  • This message will include settlement instructions.
  • Make sure to get a receipt for the money transfer or have one emailed to you. If the transfer of money was from one bank to another, make sure you have confirmation that the transfer was successfully competed.
  • If using a wire-transfer service ask for a confirmation number so that you can check to make sure that the recipient successfully received the money.
  • Furthermore, if you are using an online wire-transfer service make sure the company provides you with a confirmation number in your account or sends one to you via: email.
  • The money will be held through the banks involved. They will hold a reciprocal account with each other, or the payment must be sent to a bank with such an account, for further benefit to the recipient.

A few extra Notes:
Banks and wire-transfer services collect payment for the service from the sender as well as from the recipient. The bank from which the person or entity sends the funds will collect a fee separate from the funds being transferred or it will be include into the cost of the transfer. Furthermore, the service or bank may or may not charge the receiver for the funds they will collect, you will want to know this before you send the money.

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Why Bullion Dealers Charge Less
for Wire Transfers

Although Wire services will cost you money to send the funds whether it be a percentage of the cost or a flat fee.

It costs the dealer virtually nothing to receive the funds compared to credit card purchases. However, dealers often charge less for their bullion if the buyer/investor is using a wire service.

Why is this? Credit Card services cost money to the dealer. Having once owned a business and collected money from customers using credit cards, I have some experience in this area.

Credit Card services charge dealers and business owners to use their services. There are fees for every transaction, usually running anywhere from 3.0% to 6.5% of the total cost of the purchase.

In addition, not all Credit Card services process the transactions themselves (ex: Visa and MasterCard), so there are additional fees to an outside processing company.

Some of these fees are billed at the time the transaction is processed or at the end of each month.  Either way, if the dealer or business does not compensate for these fees in one matter or another it will slowly eat away at the businesses bottom line and could ultimately effect the business in a bad way.

Note:  Be aware of the fact that if you choose to send money by a wire transfer you can't get it back.

Bullion dealers are generally different in this respect because almost all of them offer refunds if you are not pleased with an order.

However, in the case of sending money to a person or someone you may not know, once you send the money there is virtually no way of getting it back. So know who you are sending the money to.

Click "here" to read an article from the US Federal Trade Commission concerning wire fraud.

Wire Transfers
w/ Bullion Dealers

Most bullion dealers have a minimum on the amount that must be purchased before you can pay for items via a wire transfer. Most of the minimums that I have seen have been over $1000.00.

When using a money transfer service to wire money to make a purchase of bullion, you will be sending the money to the bullion dealers bank not to them directly.

You must give the bank or money transfer service instructions as to where or whom the money is to be sent. This is why it is very important to get all the recipients correct information before initiating the transfer.

The following is what generally happens after you purchase bullion from a bullion dealer and wish to pay with a wire transfer.

  • The bullion dealer sends you a receipt, usually via email. This receipt will include all the information needed for the currency exchange.
  • It will include the dealers bank name and address, the amount needed to complete the order, and the bank account number and routing number.
  • Once you have filled out all of the necessary information needed to complete the money transfer, the dealer will send you an email or call you to confirm the transfer was successfully completed.

Wire Transfer Services

currency symbols

Is a list of reputable companies who offer online wire services.

Please read all information carefully and make sure that you are aware of a currency's conversion rate if you are sending the money internationally.

It is up to you if you wish to use one of these services. If you feel more comfortable using your own local banks to send money via a wire transfer, I would encourage you to do so.

This page has been included on this site so that you have a better understanding of the reasons why dealers use wire services and to make you more knowledgeable of the process.

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Wire Transfers - Sources:

Wikipedia.org - Wire-Transfer

eHow.com - How to Do an International Wire-Transfer

wiki How - How to Wire-Transfer Money

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