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Electronic Funds Transfer

Process by which money is transmitted electronically from one bank account to another.

Question: What does it take 3-5 business days for an ELECTRONIC FUNDS TRANSFER? Never have understood that but why does it take 3-5 days for a bank to complete an electronic funds transfer, Guess it just never made any sense to me why it shouldn't be instant if it's electronic?

Answer: Normally it takes this long because the banks run these transfers in batches. They don't immediately do your transfer, but instead they bundle yours along with a thousand others and transfer them all in one group in a computer file. It is called a sweep. They also normally do this only once a day, typically at a lull period in a day, such as 7:00 p.m. at night. So, if you do your transfer before the sweep your's is in that days' batch. If you do it at 7:30, it waits until the next day. Also, the sweeps only happen on business days, so if you do something on Friday at 7:30, your sweep will happen at 7:00 on Monday, and be posted to your account on Tuesday. Once the sweep happens, they need to make sure the other bank involved has funds available to pay for the deposit or charge. If there is no money in the bank, they will "bounce" the transaction and treat it like a bounced check. So that check adds a day. So, basically, it is there way of covering themselves and letting people know it could take a while because of the timing and holiday differences and the possibility that the check might bounce. It isn't really any different than the sign at the teller's window advising you that a deposit made after 3:00 will be posted the next day, and that there is a 3 day hold on deposited checks before they will release funds.


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