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Dictionaries don't help me.

fund [countable] -an amount of money that has been saved or has been made available for a particular purpose. and
fund [plural] -money that is available to be spent.

Now, if I transfer ONE DOLLAR into your account, is it a fund transfer or funds? And, the sum is not for charity. It's merely a money-transfer which banks in India refer to as fund transfer or funds transfer. They have this option on netbanking sites.

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Would you still be asking the question if I rewrote it as "if I transfer 'one hundred cents' into your account,...?" rather than "if I transfer 'one dollar' into your account,...?", leaving it otherwise identical? And let's not get started on different currencies. –  Michael Kjörling Jun 5 at 9:01

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Fund and funds are two different words:

  1. Funds is an indeterminate, uncountable amount of money or currency. (Def.n 2 in OLD.)
  2. A fund is a countable noun meaning a collection of money to be used as payment or capital towards a certain purpose; account is a rough synonym. It offers no indication of how much money has been collected. The plural of this word is funds. (Def. 1 in OLD; def. 3 has the same meaning, just not necessarily about money.)

I've omitted the use of fund as a verb because it's not related to the question at hand.

A fund contains funds. For example:

Accounting needs to know which of our funds (2, plural) provided the revenue for the purchase.
The petty cash fund (2); it didn't cost very much.
Will we have enough funds (1) remaining in that account to buy lunch for everyone?
If we don't, we will have to wait until after our client's funds transfer (1) has gone through.

I'm surprised to hear that Indian English refers to a general movement of money from one account to another as a fund transfer. British, Australian and American English call it a funds transfer or transfer of funds. This makes more sense semantically, because fund transfer seems to imply a change in ownership of the account rather than a movement of money.

For example (ignore the electronic bit, it's not relevant to our discussion and just makes the term easier to search): Cambridge, Dictionary.com, Australian bank. Additionally, Google Books Ngram Viewer and the Corpus of Global Web-Based English both indicate that funds transfer is more popular by a wide margin. GloWbE shows that India prefers funds 67 to 37, though Bangladesh prefers fund 40 to 21, and Ireland is tied with both at 30.

Funds (or fund) describes the type of transfer, and together they form a compound noun. See the linked Cambridge and Dictionary.com definitions above, again ignoring the electronic portions. This noun is countable, but the pluralization applies to transfer. For example:

I processed seventeen funds transfers today.

Regardless of whether fund or funds is the term of choice, it should not be changed based on the amount of money being transferred, because the term never actually specifies a particular quantity of currency. The source or intended purpose of the money is also irrelevant, for the same reason: the term means nothing more than a simple movement of an unspecified quantity of money from one storage space to another.

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I added funds transfer as Indian Banks refer to. But trust me, I've seen fund transfer as well. BTW, +1. Nice answer. –  Maulik V Jun 5 at 7:07
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Sure; I included the additional information to clarify why someone might see both fund transfer and funds transfer. It's never because of pluralization. If you use fund transfer, don't switch it up to funds transfer (the same holds for changing in the other direction). The amount, purpose and source of the money don't make any difference to the term. –  Esoteric Screen Name Jun 5 at 7:25

If you transfer one dollar from the charity fund to the recycling center, it would be:

I transfered funds from the charity fund to the recycling center.

or

I made a funds transfer from the charity fund to the recycling center.

A fund is some group of money, while funds are money upon which some action is taken, as it indicates in the definitions.

The usage you found may be a localized usage or just wrong. Maybe its safer to say money transfer instead as the meaning is more clear.

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what is if I transfer one dollar into your account simply for no reason? –  Maulik V Jun 5 at 6:28
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@MaulikV the number of dollars is irrelevant; and the reason is irrelevant also. There might be some local language or style reasons for preferring fund vs funds in a particular usage, but in all such cases one dollar would be the same as two dollars, and the reason wouldn't affect it as well. –  Peteris Jun 5 at 7:39

I don't have a dictionary reference to back me up, but I would say it is still "funds" purely because the amount of money that was transferred is indeterminant

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clarified further. Kindly revise your answer. –  Maulik V Jun 5 at 5:36
    
i support what Esoteric Screen Name said :) –  Paul Carroll Jun 10 at 2:00

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