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Electronic funds transfer (EFT) is the electronic transfer of money from one bank account to another, either within a single financial institution or across multiple institutions, via computer-based systems, without the direct intervention of bank staff.
According to the United States Electronic Fund Transfer Act of 1978 it is "a funds transfer initiated through an electronic terminal, telephone, computer (including on-line banking) or magnetic tape for the purpose of ordering, instructing, or authorizing a financial institution to debit or credit a consumer's account".
EFT transactions are known by a number of names across countries and different payment systems. For example, in the United States, they may be referred to as "electronic checks" or "e-checks". In the United Kingdom, the term "bank transfer" and "bank payment" are used, while in several other European countries "giro transfer" is the common term.
EFTs include, but are not limited to:
In the United States, the ACH Network is the national automated clearing house (ACH) for electronic funds transfers. It processes financial transactions for consumers, businesses, and federal, state, and local governments. ACH processes large volumes of credit and debit transactions in batches. Short for "Automated Clearing House", ACH credit transfers include direct deposit for payroll, Social Security and other benefit payments, tax refunds, and vendor payments. ACH direct debit transfers include consumer payments on insurance premiums, mortgage loans, and other kinds of bills.
A transaction account, also called a checking account, chequing account, current account, demand deposit account, or share draft account at credit unions, is a deposit account held at a bank or other financial institution. It is available to the account owner "on demand" and is available for frequent and immediate access by the account owner or to others as the account owner may direct. Access may be in a variety of ways, such as cash withdrawals, use of debit cards, cheques (checks) and electronic transfer. In economic terms, the funds held in a transaction account are regarded as liquid funds. In accounting terms they are considered as cash.
Cheque clearing or bank clearance is the process of moving cash from the bank on which a cheque is drawn to the bank in which it was deposited, usually accompanied by the movement of the cheque to the paying bank, either in the traditional physical paper form or digitally under a cheque truncation system. This process is called the clearing cycle and normally results in a credit to the account at the bank of deposit, and an equivalent debit to the account at the bank on which it was drawn, with a corresponding adjustment of accounts of the banks themselves. If there are not enough funds in the account when the cheque arrived at the issuing bank, the cheque would be returned as a dishonoured cheque marked as non-sufficient funds.
Wire transfer, bank transfer or credit transfer, is a method of electronic funds transfer from one person or entity to another. A wire transfer can be made from one bank account to another bank account or through a transfer of cash at a cash office.
A giro, or giro transfer, is a payment transfer from one bank account to another bank account and initiated by the payer, not the payee. The debit card has a similar model. Giros are primarily a European phenomenon; although electronic payment systems such as the Automated Clearing House exist in the United States and Canada, it is not possible to perform third party transfers with them. In the European Union, there is the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) which allows electronic giro or debit card payments in euros to be executed to any euro bank account in the area.
The Australian financial system consists of the arrangements covering the borrowing and lending of funds and the transfer of ownership of financial claims in Australia, comprising:
In banking and finance, clearing denotes all activities from the time a commitment is made for a transaction until it is settled. This process turns the promise of payment into the actual movement of money from one account to another. Clearing houses were formed to facilitate such transactions among banks.
A Bank State Branch is the name used in Australia for a bank code, which is a branch identifier. The BSB is normally used in association with the account number system used by each financial institution. The structure of the BSB + account number does not permit for account numbers to be transferable between financial institutions. While similar in structure, the New Zealand and Australian systems are only used in domestic transactions and are incompatible with each other. For international transfers, a SWIFT code is used in addition to the BSB and account number.
A payment system is any system used to settle financial transactions through the transfer of monetary value. This includes the institutions, instruments, people, rules, procedures, standards, and technologies that make its exchange possible. A common type of payment system is called an operational network that links bank accounts and provides for monetary exchange using bank deposits. Some payment systems also include credit mechanisms, which are essentially a different aspect of payment.
A Direct Debit or direct withdrawal is a financial transaction in which one person withdraws funds from another person's bank account. Formally, the person who directly draws the funds instructs his or her bank to collect an amount directly from another's bank account designated by the payer and pay those funds into a bank account designated by the payee. Before the payer's banker will allow the transaction to take place, the payer must have advised the bank that he or she has authorized the payee to directly draw the funds. It is also called pre-authorized debit (PAD) or pre-authorized payment (PAP). After the authorities are set up, the direct debit transactions are usually processed electronically.
Fedwire is a real-time gross settlement funds transfer system operated by the United States Federal Reserve Banks that allows financial institutions to electronically transfer funds between its more than 9,289 participants. Transfers can only be initiated by the sending bank once they receive the proper wiring instructions for the receiving bank. These instructions include: the receiving bank's routing number, account number, name and dollar amount being transferred. This information is submitted to the Federal Reserve via the Fedwire system. Once the instructions are received and processed, the Fed will debit the funds from the sending bank's reserve account and credit the receiving bank's account. Wire transfers sent via Fedwire are completed the same business day, with many being completed instantly.
Cash management refers to a broad area of finance involving the collection, handling, and usage of cash. It involves assessing market liquidity, cash flow, and investments.
Payment cards are part of a payment system issued by financial institutions, such as a bank, to a customer that enables its owner to access the funds in the customer's designated bank accounts, or through a credit account and make payments by electronic funds transfer and access automated teller machines (ATMs). Such cards are known by a variety of names including bank cards, ATM cards, MAC, client cards, key cards or cash cards.
An ATM card is a payment card or dedicated payment card issued by a financial institution which enables a customer to access automated teller machines (ATMs). ATM cards are payment card size and style plastic cards with a magnetic stripe or a plastic smart card with a chip that contains a unique card number and some security information such as an expiration date or CVVC (CVV). ATM cards are known by a variety of names such as bank card, MAC, client card, key card or cash card, among others. Most payment cards, such as debit and credit cards can also function as ATM cards, although ATM-only cards are also available. Charge and proprietary cards cannot be used as ATM cards. The use of a credit card to withdraw cash at an ATM is treated differently to a POS transaction, usually attracting interest charges from the date of the cash withdrawal. Interbank networks allow the use of ATM cards at ATMs of private operators and financial institutions other than those of the institution that issued the cards.
Payment and settlement systems in India are used for financial transactions. They are covered by the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007, legislated in December 2007 and regulated by the Reserve Bank of India and the Board for Regulation and Supervision of Payment and Settlement Systems.
Alternative payments refers to payment methods that are used as an alternative to credit card payments. Most alternative payment methods address a domestic economy or have been specifically developed for electronic commerce and the payment systems are generally supported and operated by local banks. Each alternative payment method has its own unique application and settlement process, language and currency support, and is subject to domestic rules and regulations.
The National Payments Corporation of India is an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India.
Vocalink is a payment systems company headquartered in the United Kingdom, created in 2007 from the merger between Voca and LINK. It designs, builds and operates the UK payments infrastructure, which underpins the provision of the Bacs payment system and the UK ATM LINK switching platform covering 65,000 ATMs and the UK Faster Payments systems.
gh-link is GhIPSS’ interbank switching and processing system which interconnects financial institutions and systems of third party payment service providers. gh-link is a local electronic payment ecosystem based on the domestic ATM card with channels such as ATM, POS and Web.
An automated clearing house (ACH) is a computer-based electronic network for processing transactions, usually domestic low value payments, between participating financial institutions. It may support both credit transfers and direct debits. The ACH system is designed to process batches of payments containing numerous transactions and charges fees low enough to encourage its use for low value payments.
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