What is Fedwire? Example & How it’s Used


Fedwire serves as a real-time gross settlement system utilized by Federal Reserve banks for prompt U.S. dollar payments among member institutions. As part of the Federal Reserve’s payment systems, it ensures immediate, final, and irrevocable transactions for large same-day transfers.

What is fedwire?

Fedwire is a pivotal electronic funds transfer system overseen and managed by the Federal Reserve. Its primary objective is to enable and expedite substantial same-day transactions among member institutions. This system plays a vital role in the financial infrastructure, processing a significant volume of U.S. dollar payments on a daily basis.

How fedwire works

The orchestration and management of Fedwire primarily rest within the Federal Reserve banks. This ensures the immediate and efficient settlement of individual transactions among the participating institutions. Upon the settlement of a transaction, it becomes both final and irrevocable, thereby assuring secure fund transfers and promoting trust within the financial ecosystem.

Participation and usage

Fedwire caters to a broad spectrum of entities within the United States, including depository financial institutions, specific foreign banks’ American branches, and government entities maintaining accounts with a Federal Reserve Bank. These participants employ Fedwire for diverse purposes such as the seamless settlement of commercial payments, remitting tax payments, and facilitating the trading of federal funds.

Operating hours and transaction volumes

Operating during the weekdays from 9 p.m. Eastern Time on the previous calendar day to 7 p.m. ET, Fedwire efficiently processes an astounding volume of trillions of dollars daily. However, it remains closed on federal holidays, adhering to a specific operational schedule to ensure financial stability and consistency.

The history of fedwire

Evolution of fedwire

Fedwire, together with the Fedwire Securities Service and National Settlement Service, boasts a rich history spanning over a century. Its inception traces back to 1915 when the Federal Reserve commenced the facilitation of fund transfers. By 1918, the central bank had established its proprietary system dedicated to processing these transfers.

Regulation and fee structure

In its nascent stage until 1981, Fedwire’s services were rendered free of charge to member banks. However, subsequent to the enactment of the Monetary Control Act of 1980, the system began charging fees to cover operational costs.

System development and expansion

Over the years, Fedwire has evolved into a robust and dependable system, becoming an indispensable component of the Federal Reserve’s extensive payment infrastructure. Its continual development has enabled it to adapt to the dynamic landscape of financial transactions, further solidifying its significance within the financial domain.


Here is a list of the benefits and the drawbacks to consider.

  • Immediate settlement
  • Final and irrevocable transactions
  • Secure fund transfers
  • Incurs transaction fees
  • Restricted operating hours
  • Dependency on Federal Reserve regulations

Frequently asked questions

What institutions can use fedwire?

Banks, government agencies, and specific foreign bank branches in the U.S. with accounts at a Federal Reserve Bank can use Fedwire.

Are fedwire transactions reversible?

No, once a transaction is settled through Fedwire, it is final and cannot be reversed.

Does fedwire operate on weekends or holidays?

Fedwire operates Monday through Friday and is closed on federal holidays.

Key takeaways

  • Fedwire facilitates real-time gross settlement among Federal Reserve member institutions.
  • Transactions through Fedwire are immediate, final, and irrevocable.
  • The system operates on weekdays and is closed on federal holidays.
View article sources
  1. Fedwire and National Settlement Services – University of North Texas
  2. Fedwire Funds Services – Federal Reserve System
  3. Fedwire Funds Transfer System – Federal Reserve System
  4. The Basics of the Federal Reserve System (FRS) and Understanding the U.S. Central Banking System – SuperMoney