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What is a Telegraphic Transfer?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 17, 2024
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The telegraphic transfer is a means of wiring funds from one location to another. Originally, this process made use of the telegraph as a means of transferring money between a point of origin and a point of termination. Today, the process of transferring money between two parties no longer involves the telegraph, but the use of the term remains common in several countries.

Sometimes referred to as a Telex Transfer or simply TT, the telegraphic transfer has long been a means of communication between banking institutions. In days gone by, the telegraphic transfer could be used to send money from an account in one bank to an account at a bank located anywhere else in the world. Generally, there were charges associated with the performance of a transfer, with both the sender and the recipient paying a small fee for the transaction.

Well into the 20th century, persons could also make use of a telegraphic transfer to move entire balances of funds from one bank to another. For example, a person living in New York City may take a job located in Los Angeles. Rather than withdrawing funds from existing bank accounts and physically transporting the funds across the country, the individual would establish new accounts in Los Angeles and then authorize the two banks involved to transfer all the funds into the new accounts. At that point, the accounts at the New York bank would be closed.

The proliferation of national and international banking concerns has made the use of the telegraphic transfer obsolete in some cases. However, the general concept of quickly and securely transferring funds from bank to another remains a common practice. Many businesses pay vendors by wiring money directly from an operations account to the vendor account. As in the past, many banks around the world still use a secure cable network to make these transfers. Thus, the essential principle of the telegraphic transfer remains functional today, just with different technologies employed to perform the task.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By anon153851 — On Feb 18, 2011

How long should a telegraphic transfer take coming from a Swiss bank account into a British bank account?

By anon138075 — On Dec 30, 2010

can my bank give me a telex confirmation slip that the funds has been transferred into the receiver's account?

By CopperPipe — On Aug 07, 2010

Is there anywhere in the world now that still relies on telegraphic bank transfers? I know just about everywhere is on the internet now, but I would think that telegraphic transfers might be faster than the internet in some cases.

Does anybody know?

By sivaram1968 — On Mar 04, 2009

What is the difference between Transferring funds by TT and CMS? Why should a client having a sales depot at various locations convert all TT Collection Centres into CMS? *Can you please explain in detail*?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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