DEFINITION of 'Bank Wire'

A bank wire is an electronic message system, which allows major banks to communicate various actions or occurrences regarding client accounts. The wire represents a secure computerized messaging system that sends account information, notifications, and transaction requests between banks.


While the bank wire does not affect actual transfer payments, such as a wire transfer, it will provide the financial institutions with knowledge of such events. For example, the purpose of a bank wire would be to notify a bank if a client has deposited funds into its account.

Bank Wire v. Wire Transfer

In contrast with a bank wire (although perhaps more well known) a wire transfer is an electronic transfer of funds across a network, which a global group of hundreds of banks administers. In particular, wire transfers can help people in different geographic locations safely transfer money to one another. During a wire transfer no physical money is exchanged between banks or financial institutions; instead, banks pass information among one other regarding who the recipient is, what her bank account number is, and how much money she is receiving.

International bank account numbers (IBAN numbers) help in the identification of the correct financial institutions in complex bank wire transfers. A wire sender first pays for the transaction up front at his bank. Then, the recipient's bank all necessary information from the initiating bank and deposits its own reserve funds into the recipient's account.

Bank Wire and Security

Cybersecurity threats are increasing with more online financial services, such as bank wires and wire transfers. Threats to a computer system are classified by the method used to attack.

Three common types of cyber attacks include:

  • Backdoor attacks: These exploit alternate methods of accessing a system, which don't require usual authentication methods. Some systems come with these backdoors by design, while others result from error.

  • Denial-of-service attacks: These prevent the correct account user from accessing a system. A common method of denial-of-service attacks is entering a wrong password enough times that the account is locked.

  • Direct-access attacks: These includes bugs and viruses, which gain access to a system and copy its information and/or modify the system entirely.

While any individual system is vulnerable to cyberattacks, larger entities, such as major commercial banks, along with other large businesses (e.g. Fortune 500 companies that deal with consumer data), along with government agencies and systems, are often key targets.

  1. Wire Fraud

    Wire fraud is a crime in which a person schemes to defraud or ...
  2. Mobile Banking

    Mobile banking is the act of making financial transactions on ...
  3. Night Depository

    A night depository is a bank drop box where merchants can deposit ...
  4. Telegraphic Transfer - TT

    A telegraphic transfer (TT) is an electronic method of transferring ...
  5. Home Banking

    Home banking is the practice of conducting banking transactions ...
  6. Vostro Account

    A vostro account is an account that a correspondent bank, usually ...
Related Articles
  1. Insights

    How to Open And Access an Offshore Bank Account

    You don't have to be a master criminal or billionaire to open an offshore bank account. This article will walk you through the process.
  2. Personal Finance

    Cut Your Bank Fees

    Find out how to get the bank to pay you for using their services, not the other way around.
  3. Personal Finance

    How Cyber Security Risks Impact Your Bank

    Here's how cyber security risks mean for the financial industry and consumers.
  4. IPF - Banking

    These Savings Accounts Have the Highest Interest Rates

    Don't expect interest from a bank savings account to make you rich. You can do better, however, than the paltry 0.08% average paid in 2015.
  5. Investing

    5 Money Transfer Tips For Foreign Workers

    If you are working in the U.S. as a foreign worker, here are some tips for sending money back home.
  6. Tech

    The Pros And Cons Of Internet Banks

    Learn how internet banking services stack up against their brick-and-mortar peers. Find out what internet banks have to offer and where they fall short.
  7. Insights

    The World's Top 10 Banks

    Learn more about the world's largest banks and how more financial power shifts eastward as China is home to four of the world's largest banks.
  8. IPF - Banking

    Handling High-Yield Savings Accounts

    Is this the savings route for you? Read on to find out what these accounts have to offer.
  9. Insights

    The Role of Commercial Banks in the Economy

    We interact with commercial banks daily to carry out simple financial tasks. That said, the function and creation of a commercial bank is anything but simple.
  10. Personal Finance

    What is Fractional Reserve Banking?

    Fractional reserve banking is the banking system most countries use today.
  1. Does Netspend accept wire transfers?

    Find out how Netspend cardholders can arrange for electronic transfers to add money to their Netspend prepaid debit cards ... Read Answer >>
  2. How does investment banking differ from commercial banking?

    Discover how investment banking differs from commercial banking, the responsibilities of each and how the two can be combined ... Read Answer >>
Trading Center