DEFINITION of 'Fedwire'

Fedwire is a real-time gross settlement system of central bank money used by Federal Reserve Banks to electronically settle final U.S. dollar payments among member institutions.

BREAKING DOWN 'Fedwire'

Fedwire is owned and operated by the 12 Federal Reserve Banks. It is a networked system for payment processing between the member banks themselves, as well as other participating institutions. These include depository financial institutions in the U.S., as well as the American branches of certain foreign banks or government groups, provided they maintain an account with a Federal Reserve Bank.

While Fedwire is not managed for profit, the law mandates that the system charge fees in order to recoup costs. Both participants in a given transaction will pay a small fee.

The Fedwire system processes trillions of dollars daily, and it includes an overdraft system that covers participants with existing and approved accounts. Fedwire has been in operation in some format for nearly 100 years, and is considered to be robust and reliable.

Fedwire operates Monday through Friday, excluding holidays, from the hours of 9 p.m. ET on the prior calendar day to 6:30 p.m. 

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