electronic funds transfer


Definition of electronic funds transfer

: transfer of money from one bank to another using their computer systems
  • We did an electronic funds transfer.

Word by Word Definitions

electronic play
  1. : of or relating to electrons

  2. : of, relating to, or utilizing devices constructed or working by the methods or principles of electronics

  3. : implemented on or by means of a computer : involving a computer

fund play funds
  1. : a sum of money or other resources whose principal or interest is set apart for a specific objective

  2. : money on deposit on which checks or drafts can be drawn

  3. : capital

  1. : to make provision of resources for discharging the interest or principal of

  2. : to provide funds for

  3. : to place in a fund : accumulate

transfer play
  1. : to convey from one person, place, or situation to another : move, shift

  2. : to cause to pass from one to another : transmit

  3. : transform, change

  1. : conveyance of right, title, or interest in real or personal property from one person to another

  2. : removal or acquisition of property by mere delivery with intent to transfer title

  3. : an act, process, or instance of transferring : transference


electronic funds transfer

What It Is

An electronic funds transfer (EFT) is a transaction that takes place over a computerized network, either among accounts at the same bank or to different accounts at separate financial institutions.

How It Works

EFTs include direct-debit transactions, wire transfers, direct deposits, ATM withdrawals and online bill pay services. Transactions are processed through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network, the secure transfer system of the Federal Reserve that connects all U.S. banks, credit unions and other financial institutions.

For example, when you use your debit card to make a purchase at a store or online, the transaction is processed using an EFT system. The transaction is very similar to an ATM withdrawal, with near-instantaneous payment to the merchant and deduction from your checking account.

Direct deposit is another form of an electronic funds transfer. In this case, funds from your employer’s bank account are transferred electronically to your bank account, with no need for paper-based payment systems.

Why It Matters

The increased use of EFTs for online bill payments, purchases and pay processes is leading to a paper-free banking system, where a large number of invoices and payments take place over digital networks. EFT systems play a large role in this future, with fast, secure transactions guaranteeing a seamless transfer of funds within institutions or across banking networks.

EFT transactions, also known as an online transaction or PIN-debit transaction, also offer an alternative to signature debit transactions, which take place through one of the major credit card processing systems, such as Visa, MasterCard or Discover, and can cost as much as 3% of the total purchase price. EFT processing, on the other hand, only charges an average of 1% for debit card transactions.

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up electronic funds transfer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!