Some money transfers can take up to five days or more to arrive to your recipient, and that’s a long time to be stressing about your money’s safe arrival. Many money transfer companies and banks offer end-to-end tracking so that you can monitor the progress of your payments. However, each company has a different procedure for tracking transfers. To help you understand the differences, here’s a look at how the major transfer companies handle tracking your cash.
With most companies, you can track your transfer using the confirmation number that came with your receipt. You should be able to view the steps of your progress, from sending to receiving, either online or by contacting them by telephone. A few transfer services also offer the option of text or email notification at each stage of your transaction.
Depending on the service you choose to transfer your money overseas — whether a bank or independent money transfer specialist — your transaction should come with a confirmation number or a record of your transaction.
Money tracking numbers come in many different names:
MTCN (Money Transfer Control Number)
RTRN (Remittance Transaction Reference Number)
What is an MTCN?
Every brand wants points for originality — and money transfer providers are no exception. An MTCN is what Western Union calls its transfer confirmation number. It stands for Money Transfer Control Number, a unique reference number assigned to your specific transfer.
If you’ve ordered a cash pickup, your recipient will need to submit the MTCN before Western Union will release your funds.
Similarly, a Transfer ID is used for Azimo transactions. Each transfer generates its own Transfer ID so you can use this to track your money transfer.
What if I don’t have a tracking number?
Transfers come in all shapes and sizes, and depending on what type of provider you use to send your money you may or may not have a tracking number. Don’t worry, chances are you can still track your transfer even if you don’t have a tracking number — here’s how:
Tracking bank wire transfers
Sending money internationally through your bank typically won’t generate a tracking number, as wire transfers are a bit different from money transfer services. Instead, you’ll typically use a SWIFT code to track this transfer. For details on how to track through your bank specifically, call your bank’s customer service or contact your bank online.
Tracking using a tracking number
As mentioned above, check your receipt for a highlighted number that may be called your reference number, tracking number, confirmation number or something else. Input this number on the transfer companies website, share it with a customer service representative on the phone or hand it to an employee of an agent location to track your transfer.
Track without a tracking number
Some services, typically those that operate entirely online, require you to track through your order history instead of through a tracking number. To do so, login to your account and navigate to your order history. From there you’ll typically be able to see your order in transit, including specific details on arrival time and any occurring delays.
Can I track a transfer using a SWIFT code?
Yes. If your transfer isn’t delivered within the window you were promised, you can request a trace on your transaction using the bank’s SWIFT code. A SWIFT code is an ID that banks use when sending wire transfers. With this number, your bank can determine whether the deposit is on hold or in progress.
How can “on hold” be an option? One drawback of SWIFT transfers is that a bank can hold on to your money until it’s able to get an exchange rate that better favours its own bottom line. If your money needs to reach your recipient by a specific deadline, be sure to specify that exact date or time to avoid any bank delay.
Sometimes you’ll need to know your IBAN — International Bank Account Number — for international money transfer tracking. This number identifies your bank account, your bank and your country to make international transfers faster. Transfers to and from the European Union often use an IBAN, so be prepared to use it when transferring money from Ireland.
What are my rights when transferring money internationally?
If you use a bank to transfer money, you are covered by theFinancial Services Compensation Scheme(FSCS). It’s different with online transfer companies, though, which generally aren’t covered by this scheme.
Areputable online providerwill have up-to-date security measures in place to make sure your data and information is secure when sending an international money transfer, but you should also check that it’s ‘authorised’ by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This means that your cash will be protected, as it is separated from the company’s own accounts – this is known as ringfencing.
If an online transfer company loses your money and can’t sort it out for you, you can complain to theFinancial Services and Pensions Ombudsman. It will investigate for you and if the company’s in the wrong, you should get the money back.Always be aware of potential scams, too.
When choosing a provider, don’t be afraid to ask tough questions and compare your options to find the safest one for you.
How do I cancel a money transfer?
Nearly all banks and money transfer providers offer some way of cancelling your transaction after you’ve set it in motion — especially if your money hasn’t yet been delivered. Simply call or visit — in person or online — the provider you used to send your transfer. If you can log in to your online account, you may have the option of cancelling there.
Can I get a refund for a money transfer?
If you’re able to cancel your money transfer, you should see a refund for the total you paid for it. In the rare case, a provider may deduct a cancellation fee from your refund — which might be another factor to weigh when choosing the company you ultimately go with.
If your transfer is not yet picked up or deposited into your recipient’s account, you may be able to log in to your account to cancel the transfer yourself. Otherwise, call, visit or live chat with your provider to discuss its refund process and how much you can expect to get back.
Can I change my recipient’s information if I entered it incorrectly?
Unfortunately, you’ll find that changing your recipient’s name or address is quite complicated after you’ve initiated a transfer. But if you haven’t entered your recipient’s details correctly, they may not be able to receive their funds at all.
If you’ve found an error with your recipient’s information, call, visit or live chat with your provider immediately. Keep any confirmation number or receipt handy to help in pulling up your transfer.
Your provider should be able to correct or modify your recipient’s details for you, even if it means adding a few more days to your delivery window as the system updates.
If you’ve discovered the error outside business hours, try logging in to your account — you may be able to make the changes yourself if your transfer isn’t yet complete.
Closing the deal
An international money transfer is a safe way to get money to loved ones and businesses worldwide quickly and easily. And with most providers, you can track your cash every step of the way to its ultimate destination.
The Internet’s opened up a world of options beyond your local bank or corner financial stores — options that typically come with stronger exchange rates, low or no fees and flexible tools that help you lock in deals on regular transfers.
Adrienne Fuller is the head of publishing at Finder US. With a decade of experience creating guides in finance and education, she aims to deliver the accurate and transparent information she wishes she had when she made some of life's important financial decisions. For the past 3 years she has been the publisher of money transfers, helping readers save when they send money all over the globe. She has a BA from Colorado College and loves to hike with her two Catahoula dogs around her home in San Diego.
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