A wire transfer is a bank-to-bank transaction in which a sender goes to his bank and has money transferred from his account to another person's account at the same bank or in a different bank. Typically, an interbank transfer occurs in the same-day. It can take one or two business days for a wire transfer to go from the sender's bank into the receiver's checking account.
The reason it normally takes longer for a transfer to cross from one bank to another is that the transfer must go through the Automated Clearing House -- ACH -- security check. This process takes one or two days in most cases. If the transfer doesn't clear because of a lack of funds, or because of an error on the receiver's end, you should get notified after a couple of days. Once the funds clear, they are typically available immediately.
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images