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Differences Between EFT & Wire Transfers

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What are the differences between EFT and Wire Transfers? What file formats are used by each?

The definitions of those terms can vary depending on the context. EFT -- electronic fund transfer -- is any transfer of funds that takes place electronically. Using a dictionary definition, it would include wire transfers. But a more limited definition of EFT is used under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act and Regulation E. That definition excludes transfers completed via major interbank wire transfer systems such as the Federal Reserve System's wire transfer system, and systems like SWIFT.

There is also the automated clearinghouse system for typically smaller electronic payments. These transactions are also EFTs under either definition when consumer accounts are involved. Each system that handles electronic transfers of either type has specific file format specifications.

First published on 6/08/09

First published on 06/08/2009

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