You Can Bank On It

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The basics A bank transfer is when money is wired directly to the owner's account—a process you're more likely to run into when booking a property overseas. You'll need info from the owner, including the account name; the bank name, address, and routing number; and the IBAN (international bank account number) where the money is to be sent. It's more secure than using Western Union, but you still don't have the safety net of a credit card.

What it costs Transfers don't come cheap: Banks sending the money tack on fees, from $20 at Washington Mutual to up to $45 at Bank of America, and banks on the receiving end usually add on an extra $10–$15. A currency exchange will cost you another 2 to 4 percent. (Some owners' accounts accept dollars, so ask if the exchange is needed.) Account for all the fees before finalizing the amount you need to send.

How long it takes It may take up to seven business days. Be sure to let the owner know when to expect the payment.

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