What’s The Best Alternative To Wire Transfers?

Written by in P2P on March 28, 2021

Shift Connect is an incredible alternative to cheques, bank visits, or international wire transfers, which can be time-consuming and expensive. The Shift Connect Global Network allows quick and simple localized business payments domestically and worldwide. Shift Connect also offers businesses a free Global Business Account for receiving funds in over 30 currencies including USD, GBP and EUR – all without the bank fees or delays.

The best way to avoid expensive wire transfers and bank fees is to use a Money Service Business (MSB) like Shift Connect.

The Shift Connect Global Network empowers businesses in the United States, UK, and Europe to send domestic payments for minimal fee, and international payments to 150+ countries worldwide for a fraction of the cost, banks and credit unions charge. Using Shift Connect localized payments also means that your recipient pays zero receiving fees.

We also provide an alternative to wire transfers for Canadian businesses that wish to receive payments from online sales or international partners. 

The Shift Connect Global Business Account allows businesses to get paid in over 30 currencies including $, €, and £, like a local business, in just 1 day, all while saving up to 2% in currency costs.

Guide to USD transfers

Here you’ll find answers to the most common questions about US dollar (USD) transfers.

Who can I send USD to?

You can send USD to any bank account in the US that accepts ACH payments. You can also send USD to bank accounts outside the US using the SWIFT payment network. These payments can take up to 5 working days to arrive and may be more expensive than transfers inside the US.

What information do I need about my recipient?

You’ll need their full name, full address (we don’t accept PO boxes), bank account number, routing number (ABA or ACH), and account type.

If you’re sending to an individual, please include their first and last names and use only Latin characters (a-z). There’s an 18-character limit on recipient names. Account numbers are between 4–17 digits long.  Routing numbers are 9 digits long.

How much can I send?
Up to $1 million USD per local transfer. And unlimited USD per SWIFT transfer.

How long does it usually take for the money to arrive?

Once we receive your money, we’ll send it out to your recipient. If you sent USD to someone in the US, it usually takes 1–2 working days to arrive in their bank account. If you sent USD abroad, it usually takes 1–3 working days to arrive. 
We’ll always give you an estimate for how long your transfer will take when you set it up.

Is there any other information I need to know?

Some banks use different routing numbers for different types of transactions. So, the routing number on your recipient’s checks might not be the right number for sending a transfer.

If you’re not sure which routing number you’ll need, ask your recipient to check with their bank that it supports ACH transfers. Using the wrong number can slow down your transfer.

How can I pay for my transfer from USD?

You can pay for a transfer by:


FED Wire



You can’t pay for your transfer with cash, or checks.

What is a Wire Transfer?

One of the fastest ways to send money is via wire transfer. Although a wire transfer can take days, in most cases it takes place within minutes. It is a direct bank-to-bank transaction that allows you to move money from your account directly into the account of someone else. This transfer is conducted as part of an agreement set up between banks that establishes guidelines and allows for such transfers to take place.

When a wire transfer is made from one bank account to another, both account holders are verified. Additionally, the amount of money in each account is verified, so there are no chargebacks associated with wire transfers. In general, a wire transfer is fast and secure. Since it is handled individually by the banks and does not go through a clearinghouse first, a wire transfer can take place almost in real-time.

Financial institutions often charge fees for receiving wire transfers, as well. Because a little more effort has to be made when receiving, since the institution is contacted directly, many banks and credit unions will charge a fee to receive transfers. However, the fee to receive a transfer is often less than the fee to send a transfer. Wire transfer fees vary according to the financial institution, but many institutions charge between $25 and $45 to send a wire transfer, and between $15 and $25 to receive one.

Automated Clearing House (ACH) While it may seem similar to a wire transfer, a transaction accomplished with the help of an automated clearing house (ACH) is not the same thing. The banking system has utilized the ACH method for more than 40 years. These types of transactions can be quite convenient and are the type utilized when you use online bill pay, and often when you use your debit card.

When you arrange for the electronic transfer of funds, all of the information is included in a batch, which is then sent to the clearinghouse. All of the transactions in the batch are then handled by the clearinghouse, rather than as a direct bank-to-bank transaction. Additionally, banks receive their ACH transactions at once, as well, processing those as a single transaction, in a batch. This approach simplifies the process, as each individual transaction does not need individual attention - it is all automated.

As a result, your money is not available as quickly as it often is with a wire transfer. The ACH process can be more convenient and is less expensive, but it also takes a little bit longer. This is why you often have to make sure that bill payments are scheduled a few days early. Additionally, when you deposit a check, the ACH system means that the funds from the check writer’s bank will not be cleared until the batch is run. So you will not have access to all of your money until at least the next day in many cases (and sometimes longer). You need to account for this when making deposits and planning on automatic bill pay and other transactions. Otherwise, your payments might not be received in time, and you might be subject to overdraft fees.

Wire Transfer vs. ACH

Because a wire transfer requires the individual bank-to-bank process, it is usually more expensive than an automated clearing house (ACH) transaction, which requires minimal involvement by individuals at the financial institutions involved. Many ACH transactions come with only a small fee, or even no fee at all, since they are run with more efficiency. However, if you want a better guarantee that your money will arrive on time, it might be worth it to pay the wire transfer fee.

In both cases, it is possible for errors to be made. However, since you often get to review the information before it is sent with a wire transfer, the method is a little more secure. Also, because identities are verified with wire transfers that take place between bank accounts, the chance of fraud is lower. Wire transfers that take place between financial institutions are generally considered quite secure.

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To find out how Shift’s custom solutions can serve and elevate your business, get in touch today.

© SHIFT Connect 2019 | Payment services for Shift Connect Ltd. is provided by The Currency Cloud Limited. Registered in England No. 06323311. Registered Office: Stewardship Building 1st Floor, 12 Steward Street London E1 6FQ. The Currency Cloud Limited is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011 for the issuing of electronic money (FRN: 900199)