How To Transfer Money From a Savings to a Checking Account

A person looks at a bank statement.
•••

JGI/Jamie Grill / Getty Images

Savings accounts and checking accounts are safe places to keep your money, but you may need more funds available in your checking account so that you can make a purchase. Learn how transfers work, and the steps involved in completing transfers both online and in person at the bank.

Key Takeaways

  • To make a transfer from savings to checking, you’ll need the routing number, account number, name on the account, and the transfer amount.
  • Most banks will allow you to make transfers in one or more of the following ways: online, in person, over the phone, or at an ATM.
  • Your bank may limit the number of transfers you can make from your savings account, and may charge you a fee if you make more transfers per month than it permits.

Transferring Money From Savings to Checking Online

Transferring money online is often the quickest and easiest way. The process may be slightly different depending on whether you’re transferring internally or externally.

Internal Transfer

The transfer process is simple for account holders with checking and savings accounts set up at the same financial institution. Most banks offer an easy way to make internal transfers online through an electronic funds transfer (EFT), which is secure and doesn’t require paper checks.

You can quickly transfer money online using the bank website or app. Once you’re in the app or on the website, choose the transfer option from your savings account and select your checking account as the account you want to transfer money to. You’ll also need to specify the amount of money you want to transfer.

External Transfer

If you’re transferring money from a savings account at one bank to a checking account at a different bank, that’s an external transfer, which requires a bit more setup. Depending on the banks, you may need to make a test deposit or verify your accounts in some other way before you’re able to make your first transfer. You’ll need the following information about the checking account:

  • Account number
  • Routing number
  • Name on account
  • Type of account (checking, savings, etc.)
  • Amount to transfer

You can refer to a check or bank statement for this information. You can also contact your bank if you want to double-check your account and routing numbers. The routing number is the nine-digit number on the bottom corner of the check, while the account number is typically longer but can vary. Although many transfers are free, there may be a fee applied depending on the policies of the financial institutions and on the type of transfer.

Once you’ve linked your two accounts, you may not need to type in the account information each time you want to make a transfer.

With both internal and external transfers, you may be asked how frequently you’d like to make similar transfers—in other words, whether you’d like to set up a recurring transfer.

Transferring Money in Person, by Phone, or at an ATM

Although transferring money electronically is often the easiest way to go, there are other methods as well.

In Person

While transferring money in person means you have to make a trip to the bank, your transfer will be completed by a teller who can answer any questions along the way. Transferring funds at the bank is similar to making a transfer online. You’ll need all the same information. Depending on your bank, you might also need to show identification. In general, transfers made online or in person usually are completed in one to three business days.

By Phone

You can make a transfer by calling your bank. You’ll need the account numbers, routing number of the checking account bank, and the name on your accounts. If you choose this method, please note that some banks may only allow you to transfer between accounts at that bank.

By ATM

Most savings accounts don’t offer a direct way for you to access your money at an ATM—but a few do. If you have an ATM card for your savings account, you’ll simply need to provide information about the account you want to transfer the funds to, once you’re at the ATM.

Should You Transfer Money From Savings to Checking?

Whether you should move savings into checking depends on your reasons for doing it and your financial situation. Transferring money out of savings means you’ll stop earning the savings interest rate on it, and you’ll make the money easier to spend. In general, it’s best to keep your money in your savings account for as long as possible in order to earn more interest and lower the temptation to spend it on purchases for which it wasn’t intended.

That said, you may have very good reasons for moving the money. Perhaps you’ve reached your savings goal—such as amassing enough for a house down payment—and are ready to make the purchase. Or you may need to dip into your emergency savings account to cover unexpected medical bills or additional expenses while unemployed. Regardless of the reason, it’s best to carefully consider the move before you make the transfer.

Using banking features to keep extra change when making purchases can help you grow your savings. Saved change from purchases and small deposits can quickly add up. If you save $10 a week, you’ll have more than $500 in a year.

More Places To Transfer Your Money

If you have accumulated more than you need in your savings and aren’t looking to spend it in the near future, you may consider transferring this amount to other accounts to continue to grow your savings. Some accounts you might consider are money market accounts and retirement accounts.

Money Market Accounts

There are a couple of reasons you might want to transfer funds to a money market account (MMA). MMAs are similar to savings accounts, but MMAs typically have higher interest rates than regular savings accounts (although data gathered by The Balance shows the best savings account rates are comparable to or even better than the best MMA rates). An MMA also tends to give you easier access to your money through a debit card and online bill pay, but may require a larger minimum deposit than a savings account.

You can transfer money from your savings account to your MMA account online, at an ATM, through a wire transfer, or via check. In general, the process should be fairly similar to transferring money from a savings account to a checking account.

Retirement Accounts

If you want to invest your money for the long term, you can transfer the money from your savings account to a retirement account such as an individual retirement account (IRA). Both traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs hold investments that may be significantly riskier than savings accounts, but they have tax benefits that savings accounts lack.

The total amount you are allowed to contribute to your IRA accounts varies  depending on your income, your age, and the year. Be aware of income restrictions and contribution limits before you try to move your money.

You can transfer money into your IRA account(s) via EFT, check, or wire transfer. The process should be fairly similar to transferring funds between any of your bank accounts, although you may need to first move the money to an MMA at your IRA financial institution, then move it into the retirement account from there.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How many times can you transfer money from savings to checking?

While a regulation limiting savings transfers to six per month has been suspended since April, 2020, some financial institutions still implement that limit and may charge a fee if you go over it.

How do you transfer money from one bank to another?

Money can be transferred between banks in much the same way as transferring funds from savings to checking accounts within the same bank, but the procedure may be slightly different. Either way, you’ll need to know the routing number for the bank as well as the account number, name on the account, and the amount you’d like to transfer.

Want to read more content like this? Sign up for The Balance’s newsletter for daily insights, analysis, and financial tips, all delivered straight to your inbox every morning!

Article Sources