A Federal Reference Number is a way to keep track of wire transfers. Banks can use the Federal Reference Number to trace where your cash is if it doesn't show up in the account you wired it to. Most wire transfers will process smoothly without hiccups, but in the odd case where there's a problem, you'll need to provide the Federal Reference Number for the wire transfer to start the tracking process.
How to Track a Wire Transfer
Find the wire transfer number. It should be listed on your wire transfer receipt. Look for a 16-to-20-digit-number after the words "Fed Number" or "Federal Number." Call your bank. Give the customer service representative the federal number and ask them to trace the wire transfer.
Ask your bank about online tracking. If you have internet banking, your bank may provide a service where you can view your wire activity online.