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Big banks team up

By David McMillin ·
Friday, June 8, 2012
Posted: 8 am ET

It looks like two of America's biggest banks are bringing their customers closer together.

Wells Fargo unveiled its new Send & Receive Money service last week, which allows the bank's account holders to make free person-to-person transfers to Bank of America account holders and other Wells Fargo customers. The process is painless and, equally important, free.

  1. Sign up for online and/or mobile banking.
  2. Enter the mobile number or email address of the person you need to pay.
  3. The money is withdrawn from your checking or savings account.
  4. The payee will receive the money within three business days (one business day if you're transferring to a customer at the same bank).

The service is part of the clearXchange network, which was founded by Wells Fargo, BofA and JPMorgan Chase. Chase customers don't appear to be included in the initial launch, but I'm guessing customers at the nation's biggest bank will be able to take advantage of the technology soon.

It's not often we see the biggest members of the banking industry join forces, but it's good news for everyday consumers. Let's say you want to pay your friend back for dinner. Forget writing a check or taking cash out at the ATM. Just hit "send," and you've taken care of your debt. While big banks have received plenty of negative attention over the past few years, this service certainly makes good on the promise of convenience for customers.

Of course, this isn't just a show of goodwill from the banking industry. These banks are poised to benefit from breaking the walls of competition, too. By allowing free transfers from customers across the banking industry, they'll be able to cut down on the costs of processing checks. They'll also be able to compete with a certain company that currently has a corner on P2P payments: Paypal.

How will the service make money, you ask? Even if you aren't a customer of one of these three banks, you may eventually be able to use it. Your bank will just have to pay to join the network and give you access to the service. Ultimately, I'm guessing that could lead to some small fees for the service, depending on where you keep your money. For now, though, this is a free feature designed to make money management more efficient.

What do you think of big banks joining forces?

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