ACH vs. Wire Transfer

Both ACH and wire transfers move funds from one bank account to another, but there are key differences. Let's start with defining each and then we will compare ACH vs. Wire transfers.

An Automated clearing house (or ACH) transfer moves funds from one account to another by using an ACH as an intermediary. The ACH network then approves the transaction and sends the funds on to the receiving account.

A wire transfer on the other hand uses other banks as intermediaries.


ACH vs. Wire Transfers 

The 3 keys to comparing ACH vs. Wire Transfers are: 

  1. Speed
  2. Security
  3. Cost

Which is Faster, ACH or Wire?

Traditionally, ACH transfers have taken days, while wire transfers are immediate. However, ACH has been sped up substantially with recent tech innovations. There is one key factor to consider when we are talking about the speed of ACH; businesses that use payments automation software that includes ACH transmission are transferring funds to the software services provider who then transfers to the ACH, before it goes to the recipient. Direct ACH Transmission offered by some accounts payable automation solutions, on the other hand, is just what it sounds like… direct. Learn more about direct ACH transmission here.

Which is More Secure, ACH or Wire?

ACH is more secure for accounts payable departments. Since wire transfers make funds immediately available to the recipient, they can't be reversed in the case of fraud or error. ACH on the other hand is often reversable and can be used to help prevent fraud and costly errors.

Which is More Cost Effective, ACH or Wire?

ACH transfers are cheap or even free while wire transfers can come with fees ranging from a few bucks up to more than $50 for overseas transactions. What's more, ACH's ability to prevent fraud and costly errors often translate into major cost savings.


In Conclusion, Which is Better:  ACH vs. Wire Transfer? 

  • ACH is the best option for regular frequent use scenarios like accounts payables processing because it is cost effective, reliable and secure.
  • Wire transfers are used when the transaction needs to be immediate and ongoing payments are not a concern.


Looking for AP Automation with ACH Direct?

Learn More Request


Back to Blog