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What is the difference between a wire transfer and a real time payment?

The difference between a wire transfer and a real time payment is that real-time payments take place and settle instantly, but wire transfers can take anywhere from a few minutes to 24 or more hours, depending on the financial institutions involved in the transactions.


Real-time payments are also available year round unlike wire transfers which don't operate on weekends, bank holidays, or outside of business hours. Wire transfers are also generally more expensive, costing between $25 - $50 on average, whereas real-time payments usually cost between $0.25 - $1.

A timeline of payments in the United States

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RTP (Real-Time Payments) is a payment processing network used to send money electronically between banks in the United States.

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To be considered a real-time payment, a payment service must be able to allow users to initiate, send, and receive payments instantaneously or nearly-instantaneously (i.e. within a few minutes).

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RTP (Real-Time Payments), allows users to initiate, send, and receive payments instantaneously, 24/7 and 365 days a year.

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Zelle is a real-time payment.

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While PayPal is not an official part of the Real-Time Payments (RTP) Network itself, it is a service provider that can provide instant payments.

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More than 280 banks and credit unions are currently utilizing the Real-Time Payments (RTP) Network.

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The RTP limit for single transactions is currently $1,000,000, raised from $100,000 in 2022.

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