Can a Wire Transfer Bounce?

by Julie Davoren
You can use wire transfers to send or receive money quickly.

You can use bank wire transfers to move funds between bank accounts quickly. Banks conduct wire transfers electronically and can send money anywhere around the world. You’ll need to provide the name of the recipient’s bank, sending and receiving bank account numbers, and the American Bankers Association number or Society of Worldwide Interbank Financial Transfer codes. You’ll also need to provide transfer instructions. Wire transfers don’t bounce because banks verify that you have sufficient funds before initiating the transfer.

ABA and SWIFT Codes

Banks use ABA and SWIFT codes to transfer funds electronically. The American Bankers Association developed the ABA Routing, or Routing Transit, number to identify U.S. banks. The ABA routing number is like an address for a bank, and it tells other banks where to send money, or if they are in receipt of a transfer, it identifies which bank sent the money. You need the ABA number for both the recipient and sending bank when you request a wire transfer. SWIFT codes are similar to ABA routing numbers because these codes identify banks. SWIFT is a secure service that facilitates wire transfers across international borders. You typically won’t need a SWIFT code to receive funds, but you’ll need it if you wish to wire money to a foreign bank account.

Delayed or Rejected Wire Transfers

Banks complete several verification steps before they issue a wire transfer. This includes taking steps to identify you and making sure you have enough money for the transfer. The bank will delay your wire transfer request if your ID is outdated or expired. They’ll also delay the transfer if you have insufficient funds to cover the transfer and applicable fees. The wire transfer might be rejected, returned or misapplied if the ABA number or other recipient information is incorrect.

Wire Transfer Errors

It is crucial that you verify the information you give when you initiate a wire transfer, particularly the ABA and SWIFT codes. Wire transfer amounts often are substantial, and once the transfer goes through, you can’t get the money back. While banks are sure to validate that you are authorized to issue a wire transfer, they aren’t obligated to ensure the information you provide is correct. For example, they might not take steps to match the bank identification codes with the bank name that you list. If you give incorrect information, someone other than your intended recipient might receive the funds. Your bank may process a reversal or cancellation request, but there’s no guarantee that the receiving bank will honor the request.

Scams Involving Wire Transfers

If a stranger asks you to wire money to them, you need to be careful. Often, scammers send these requests to steal your money with your help. They use schemes such as foreign lottery, check overpayment, Internet auction and secret shopper scams. They might send you fake checks and ask you to wire them a portion of these funds. Wire transfers are quick, and by the time their fake check bounces, your money will be long gone. Not only are you out of the money that you wired, but you’ll also need to pay fees for depositing a bad check. To protect against these scams, avoid wiring money to unknown entities, or ask for an escrow arrangement.

Photo Credits

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