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What is a Wire Transfer Number?

A wire transfer number is a unique identifier for a bank transaction, ensuring funds reach their intended destination securely. It's like a financial fingerprint, guiding your money's journey with precision. Intrigued by the inner workings of wire transfers? Discover how this crucial number protects your assets and streamlines global finance. Ready to unravel the mystery behind these digits?
John Lister
John Lister

A wire transfer is simply a means of transferring money that has an electronic element. This can be a purely online transfer from one bank account to another, a system by which one person deposits cash at one location to be picked up by somebody in another location, or a combination of the two. The wire transfer number can refer either to the bank accounts used for the transaction, or the reference number used for the transfer itself.

The traditional form of wire transfer involves retail outlets. A customer will visit a branch of a wire transfer chain and hand over money plus the details of who is to pick it up. This person can then pick it up at any branch of the chain, most commonly in another country. Popular uses of this include people working in one country sending money to family back in their home country, and people wiring money to somebody who is traveling abroad and has got into financial difficulty.

A wire transfer routing number identifies the financial agency that is conducting the electronic transfer.
A wire transfer routing number identifies the financial agency that is conducting the electronic transfer.

In this context, the wire transfer number is usually a reference to the particular transaction, sometimes called a Money Transfer Control Number. In most cases, the person picking up the money will simply have to show adequate identification at the branch where they want to collect the money, and the wire transfer number will simply be a back-up check. In other cases, the number may have to be given by the person collecting the money as part of the verification process.

A wire transfer can also refer to a transfer between bank accounts. This is normally carried out online. In this situation, the wire transfer number can refer to several numbers. One would be the number of the bank account the money is going to. Another is the routing number of the bank used by the recipient of the cash, which sometimes also identifies the specific branch at which their account is held.

In the United States, this number is referred to as the American Banking Association routing number. In other countries, it may have a different name. For example, in the United Kingdom it is usually known as a sort code. Banks may also have a separate number specially for cross-border transfers. Transfers within the European Union use the International Bank Account Number, while international transfers using a system named SWIFT use a standardized code of eight letters to identify the bank, country and region, with another three numbers to identify the specific branch of office.

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Discussion Comments


I have done so many wire transfers that I have my bank ABA routing number and account number memorized.

I have known my account number for a long time, but after a few money transfers, I memorized my routing number too.

I think the quickest and easiest way to transfer money is with a wire transfer. Even though this is so simple, it is still very important to keep track of the wire transfer number and all the details until the transfer has been completed.

When I go through my bank statement every month and can see on paper that everything was completed properly is when I feel comfortable getting rid of the wire transfer number.


Once when my son was on vacation, his money was stolen and he needed some money to get back home.

This is the first time I had ever used anything like Western Union for a wire transfer, but it was a perfect solution for something like this.

This type of wire transfer has been around for a long time, but I am sure thankful it is there when you need it.

Once the wire transfer number was generated, all he needed to do was pick it up in the city he was in. This money got him home safe and gave me the peace of mind knowing he had what he needed to get home.


I had to rely on western union once in order to get some money that I desperately needed. The only person that could loan me the money on such short notice was my mother and she lives almost half way across the country. I needed the money in like an hour and a half so that was not going to work.

I called her in a panic not sure what I was going to do. My mom is great and she offered immediately to loan me the money and then came up with the idea of using western union. Its one of those things that you never really think about until you need it most. Long story short, it all worked out, I got the money, paid my debts, paid my mom back and am now on much better financial footing. Thank God for Western Union.


I absolutely love wire transfers and without them my life would be a lot more stressful and hectic. I am one of those people that tries to get as many different deals as I can from banks in my area. If someone has a hot promotion or an especially high or low rate on something, I will set up an account with the minimum balance and begin reaping the rewards.

Often times these rewards are only temporary and I end up closing a lot of accounts as well. Basically, I move a lot of money around from one bank to the next. And I always use wire transfers. This saves me so much hassle. If I had to drive back and forth between the banks it wouldn't make much sense to spread my money around so much. With wire transfers I can make the banks work to my advantage.


If you are going to be wiring money always make sure you get the wire routing number and keep it in a safe place. My money actually got held up in a transfer and I had a heck of a time locating it.

I had to take all of my original paperwork into the bank and get them to return the money to me because for some reason it was stuck in a bank in South Africa.

I didn't know that wire transfer routing could be such a complicated matter. I did get all of the bank fees refunded to me but it was a very stressful process. Make sure your money is insured before you send it.


When I was living in Korea and teaching ESL I often had to wire money back to my home. I found that if you set up your wire transfer information with the bank you could save a lot of money on fees by doing your wire transfers online.

You must do you first wire transfer in person at your bank though because they need to fill in a lot of forms. You would be surprised at the amount of information you have to provide. Though I guess is how they prevent people from illegally transferring large sums. On average most countries let you transfer $10,000 USD at one time without asking questions.

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    • A wire transfer routing number identifies the financial agency that is conducting the electronic transfer.
      By: JackF
      A wire transfer routing number identifies the financial agency that is conducting the electronic transfer.