April 2013: Online Transfers

This report reviews online ACH and wire transfer capabilities provided by e-Monitor firms. We reviewed the types of transfers clients can perform between their internal brokerage accounts and linked external bank accounts. We examined the transfer interfaces for usability and highlighted the transfer process by initiating and completing a transfer.

A central part of online cash management within brokerage accounts is the ability to move money between an existing brokerage account and linked external bank accounts. We are pleased to note that all but one e-Monitor firm allows clients to initiate online ACH transfers between internal and external accounts. Brokerage firms are also increasingly offering online wire transfers. The majority of firms in this report offer the most basic transfer – a one-time internal transfer. All but two firms allow clients to transfer funds between two internal brokerage accounts. One-time online transfers to a linked external bank account are also fairly common. Currently, all but one firm allow clients to deposit and withdraw funds from an external linked bank account into their internal brokerage account.
Beyond simple one-time transfers, 15 firms also allow recurring online withdrawals and deposits. In this we review, we found only one firm that does not allow recurring transfers at all. Another online brokerage limits recurring transfers to internal accounts, while three others only allow them for external accounts. Overall, 13 firms allow recurring transfers between internal and external accounts.
Additional Key Findings:

  • Two firms require the use of an automatic investment platform to make recurring transfers
  • 71% of firms utilize a single interface for both internal and external transfers
  • Five firms split up transfers by the type of account (internal or external), the direction of the transfer (deposits or withdrawals) or frequency (one time or recurring)