I need to get money (usually ~$500) to another U.S. person with same-day access to the funds. (I already have a bill payment schedule but it doesn't account for this.)

The fee should be <= $5

Current outgoing wire transfer fee is $20. And I looked at using PayPal but that takes 2-3 days. How can I work around this?

How do I make a debit purchase from them so that they have the funds in their bank same-day?

  • 6
    is BitCoin an option? Dec 8 '15 at 18:55
  • Are you actually looking at wire transfers? A much better option within the US is ACH; the two are often confused. However, probably neither one will provide same-day service. Dec 8 '15 at 20:44
  • @SomeFreeMason they need typical U.S. currency for vendors that only take check/cash/debit/credit.
    – Kern
    Dec 8 '15 at 20:52
  • 1
    There's no guaranteed time period for any kind of EFT. It depends on the sending and receiving bank, time of day and how busy the system is. Fastest way is going to be wire (not ACH - which is almost certainly guaranteed to be slower and > 24 hrs, though cheaper & maybe free). BitCoin = a terrible suggestion.
    – maplemale
    Dec 8 '15 at 20:58
  • 2
    Based on these two questions, it seems like a BitCoin exchange/trasfer/exchange would take more than a day and the fees are too high.
    – Kern
    Dec 9 '15 at 18:26

If it's always the same person: Open a second account, with them as the account holder. Get them a debit card for that account. To move money, do an inter-account transfer from yours to theirs. Fast, low to no fee, simple.

(For a while I had a second credit card on my account for this purpose -- the other person was a trustworthy family member -- but a debit card on its own account is cleaner and much less risky.)


Free Wire Transfers

You get better deals on wire transfer fees from brokerage firms and mutual fund companies.

Vanguard doesn’t charge a wire transfer fee if the amount of the wire is over $5,000; the fee is only $5 if the amount is between $1,000 and $5,000.

Fidelity doesn’t charge a wire transfer fee if your total household balance at Fidelity is above a certain amount ($15 otherwise).

Schwab gives you three free domestic wire transfers per quarter if your total household balance at Schwab is above a certain amount ($25 otherwise).

Incoming wires are free at Vanguard, Fidelity, and Schwab.

Business checking accounts sometimes get free wire transfers. For example you get 10 free wire transfers every month (5 incoming, 5 outgoing) with HSBC’s free no-minimum-balance Business Direct checking account.

Some premium level personal checking accounts also give free wire transfers. For example if you have Premier Checking at Northwest Federal Credit Union ($50,000 minimum balance or $10 monthly fee), you get free outgoing domestic wire transfers.

The Vanguard information in that article appears to be dated: they seem to allow free outgoing wire transfers without caveat even from the minimal, fee-free account.

I am aware of PNC's Performance Select checking account, which allows unlimited free domestic wire transfers. The fee for this account is $25 per month, which would be around $5 per weekly transfer. Alternatively, the fee is waived if you maintain a $5000 minimum balance or $5000 direct deposit.

  • About a month ago, Schwab was going to charge me $25 for a wire transfer. My account would have been a few hundred even after the transfer. I saw no text anywhere about a free option. Furthermore, they demanded I mail in a paper form, and then refused to do the transfer because my phone was not working. "Policy" insists on them informing the customer audibly by phone what the exchange rate is. "Secure chat" doesn't qualify, nor does the customer's ability to look up the exchange rate online.
    – WGroleau
    Jun 19 '17 at 16:45

If it's always the same person, you could open a joint account. Then fees are avoided altogether. How fast the funds are available depends on what you deposit. Cash is immediate.

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