Banks Adding Alternative Funds-Transfer Services

Rhett Pardon
LOS ANGELES — With alternative billing methods becoming a major challenge for online adult businesses, an increasing number of U.S. banks are rolling out new services that make it easier to transfer money from one account to another.

Wells Fargo & Co. plans to announce Monday a new transfer service called “Customer-to-Customer” that will be launched by the end of the year that allows customers to electronically send money from their checking and savings accounts to other accounts.

Citibank last year rolled out "Global Transfers," a service available online and on ATMs that enables customers to transfer money to the accounts of other customers in the United States and about a dozen countries.

Bank of America already has launched a new service in 18 states and the District of Columbia that allows customers to transfer money to other accounts.

While most of the banks’ online-transfer services are intended to be available just for personal-banking customers, many online businesses might find ways to work around the financial institutions’ policies.

The disadvantages of the instant-transfer services are that the initial sign-up process is somewhat cumbersome for the customer. To transfer money online, senders generally need to be registered for online banking and know the number of the account to which they want to send money.

While Wells Fargo hasn’t yet made available its fees for its new transfer service, pricing is set to be competitive with the other major banks.

Citibank, for example, charges $5 for domestic transfers and $10 for transfers to accounts in other countries.

Bank of America doesn't charge for internal transfers nor for inbound transfers, but there is a $3 fee for three-day outbound transfers and a $10 fee for overnight outbound transfers.