Wire Transfer vs. Direct Deposit — the Pros and Cons of Each

Jan 19, 2023 by Zazil Martinez

A substantial advantage of online business is offering our customers many payment methods. But, despite such varied offers, two forms prevail: bank transfer and direct deposit.

These methods are standard, but you must learn precisely what they are and how they work. Some people need to realize that there is a significant difference between the two.

Read on for all the information you need, the pros and cons, and when to choose one over the other.


Wire Transfers 101

A wire transfer is an electronic transfer that sends money from one bank account to another. Individuals and businesses use it to send money to other parties overseas. However, you can also make a wire transfer to send money domestically.


How Wire Transfers Work

Most financial institutions offer wire transfer services, traditional banks and credit unions being the most common. These providers allow transfers over the phone, an online portal, or an in-person branch.

Issuers can also use a non-bank provider, as their services may be cheaper or more convenient.

Wire transfers require to provide a government-issued identification and the following information:

  • Issuer's bank account number
  • Recipient's full name and contact information
  • Recipient's bank account and transit number
  • Recipient's bank name, address, and phone number

Before sending the wire transfer, issuers must read the fine print. Federal law grants the right to know all taxes, exchange rates, and fees.


The Pros of Wire Transfers

Wire transfers are popular with businesses for many reasons. Here's a look at the top pros:

  • Velocity. This is one of the best advantages of wire transfers. Most recipients can access funds within a few hours. They may have to wait about two business days for international wire transfers. However, turnaround times are still much faster than other methods of sending money overseas.
  • Easy currency exchange options. Wire transfers make it easy to send money in a currency that is not your local one. Most services will offer to exchange it, but you will have to pay the associated fees.
  • Safety. Wire transfers go through the Office of Foreign Assets Control. This ensures those involved in terrorist activities or money laundering don't get the money.

The Cons of Wire Transfers

Wire transfers are great, but there are a couple of downsides to consider:

  • High costs. Not surprisingly, there's a price to pay for the convenience of wire transfers. Fees vary depending on factors such as provider or method used (online, over the phone, or in person). Money sent within the U.S. will cost around $35, and international transfers can come with $50 in fees.
  • Irrevocability. Once a wire transfer is sent, the issuer can't get the money back. They need to be sure the recipient's details are correct on the form.

Direct Deposits 101

A direct deposit is another quick way to make electronic payments. However, this method has significant differences from a wire transfer. Learn more about direct deposit below.


How Direct Deposit Works

Direct deposits rely on the ACH (Automated Clearing House) Transfer System. It refers to a U.S. banking network that facilitates transactions between financial institutions. Banks, credit unions, and the Federal Reserve are all part of this network, making direct deposits accessible.

The Pros of Direct Deposit

Among the many advantages direct deposits provide, we can find the following:

  • Affordability. Direct deposits are much more affordable than wire transfers, as banks allow recipients to receive their funds for free. Businesses must pay system implementation fees, but they're nothing compared to the cost of sending frequent wire transfers.
  • Convenience. Having paychecks deposited directly is much easier than dealing with the hassle of the manual labor paper checks represent. It's also quicker and, of course, safe.
  • Safety. Direct deposits are safe because they go into your bank account. With checks, you have to consider the possibility of fraud.

The Cons of Direct Deposit

Two disadvantages of direct deposit to keep in mind include the following:

  • Slowness. Direct deposits are the slowest payment method, taking from one to five business days.
  • Possibility of insufficient paychecks. When your paychecks go into your account, you may not be checking them as regularly as you should.


Which is the Best Option for Your Company?

To make a decision, evaluate these four aspects: cost, speed of receipt, limit, and security. Both methods involve costs on the issuer's and recipient's sides.

In terms of speed, a wire transfer will take longer to arrive, as it has to be issued in the bank's branch office. Direct deposits have a set time limit for receipt (about 24 hours). In some cases, they can be immediate.

Another difference is the limit of money that can be sent. Wire transfers are best for small transactions, while direct deposits allow more significant amounts.

Different clients have different needs, and we have the perfect solution if you use both wire transfers and direct payments. Paystand supports these types of transactions and even has a zero-fee option, the Paystand Bank Network, making the process as smooth as it gets for you and your clients.

Discover what Paystand can do for your company's payments needs by booking a demo today!