Wire transfers are extremely common in Europe; virtually instantaneous, cheap, etc. Customers can do them themselves, person to person.
Here in the US? Anywhere from a day to WEEKS for absolutely no legitimate reason. You generally need a teller or branch manager to do it. At least $5;
If the transfer is from FedWire bank to FedWire bank, it's posted within minutes. This is usually how most Americans close out mortgages (so that the interest owed and paid is *exactly* correct.
$40 if the transaction ends up going through the Fed.
It's 2015. Why does transferring money in the US take more than a minute and a few cents?
Because it's going through the Federal Reserve. And the $40 charge is the maximum change, which assumes sending from a non-FedWire bank to another non-FedWire bank (within the US). Most banks charge $25 (which is almost always more than what the bank pays the Fed).
Remember, these prices have been stable for *years*. So with inflation the cost has been decreasing.