How to transfer money online to friends and family
Maybe you need to send funds to a child in college, pay your son’s piano teacher or split the cost of dinner with a friend.
Whatever the reason, at one time or another, most people need to send money to a family member, friend or someone else. There are several ways to send money online, each with its own advantages.
1. Use their contact information
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. For example, your bank's app might include Zelle®, a fast, safe and easy way to send money to friends, family and others you trust, offered by most major U.S. banks. There is also a stand-alone Zelle app that friends can use with their debit cards if their banks don't participate (terms and conditions apply). You should only use an app like Zelle with friends or family, not with people you don't know well, such as someone reselling concert tickets or doing another online transaction. This approach lets you easily send money to your loved ones, no matter where they bank in the U.S.
- Delivery time is typically within minutes when the recipient's email address or U.S. mobile number is already enrolled with Zelle.
2. Type in their account number
If you have the recipient’s account number and transit routing number, you can use online banking or an app to transfer money into their account. You might do this with someone you regularly send money to, such as a family member. This is also a great way to transfer money between your own accounts.
- Fees depend on the bank, but it could be free.
- Delivery time may be immediate or may take two to four days.
Tip: A transit routing number—also known as a check routing number, ABA number or routing transit number (RTN)—is a nine-digit code that identifies the bank, its branch and location. Bank of America customers can find their routing numbers by using the routing numbers FAQ page.
3. Set up a wire transfer
For sending a large amount of money, wire transfers can be a solution. Keep in mind that there’s typically a fee for wire transfers. To make a wire transfer, you can call, visit or go online with your bank or a wire transfer company. Regardless, make sure you use a trusted source.
- Fees vary based on the institution, though it could be free based on the type of account a customer has. Companies may charge a fee for sending as well as receiving wire transfers, and rates may increase if you’re sending the money to someone outside the U.S.
- Delivery time is generally one day or less.
4. Have your bank send a check
Not everyone is set up for, or wants to receive, electronic transfers of money. You may be able to use online or mobile banking to arrange for your bank to send them a personal or cashier’s check. The recipient can deposit or cash it at their bank or can use mobile check deposit in their bank’s app. For regular checks, recipients may have to wait several days before accessing the money. For cashier’s checks, recipients may receive the money immediately when they cash the check.
- Fees may or may not occur for ordering or depositing checks; ask your bank for policy details.
- Delivery time varies based on mail delivery and how long it takes for the recipient to deposit the money. Domestic mail generally takes one to three days. Though it’s rare, checks do occasionally get lost in the mail. Ask your bank the procedure you should follow if this happens.