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International money transfer duration

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How long does it take to send an international money transfer to a friend or loved one overseas?

When you send money overseas, the speed with which your transfer is processed is critical. Whether you’re paying off a debt or sending an urgent transfer to a friend or loved one, it’s important to know how long it will take for your funds to arrive.

But the processing time for an international money transfer will vary depending on a range of factors, including the transfer provider you choose and where you send the funds. Let’s take a closer look at the average transfer speed when you send money overseas and how the specifics of your transaction can influence its processing time.

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The average time it takes to send money overseas

How long does it take for an international money transfer to arrive in your recipient’s bank account or wallet? Well, that depends on a range of factors, but at the top of the list is the bank or money transfer company you choose to handle the transaction. The table below shows the processing times for some popular money transfer providers and banks.

As you can see, transfer times vary from a few minutes to up to five days, with some companies only offering an approximate range rather than a specific number of days, so it’s a little difficult to work out an accurate overall average transfer speed.

ServiceTransfer typeTransfer speed
CurrencyFairOnline transfer3-5-days
TorFXOnline transfer1-day
OFXOnline transfer1-day
World FirstOnline transfer1-day
Travelex International PaymentsOnline transfer1-day
XEOnline transfer2-days
TransferWiseOnline transfer1-2-days
Currency OnlineOnline transfer2-days
Compass Global MarketsOnline transfer1-day
1st ContactOnline transfer2-days
CurrencyFairOnline transfer3-5-days
Western UnionCash transferSame-day
MoneyGramCash transferSame-day
HSBC Multi-Currency AccountBank transfer
Citibank Plus Everyday AccountBank transferSame-day

Banks vs online transfer companies vs cash transfer providers: which is quickest?

Despite the variances in the services offered by individual providers, we can draw a few important conclusions from this table:

  • Cash transfer companies offer the fastest transfer times, with cash sometimes available for collection by your recipient within minutes. However, cash transfer companies typically do not offer the best exchange rates and also charge high fees.
  • Many online transfer companies can offer faster transfer times than the “Big Four” banks.
  • It pays to shop around to find the quickest transfer processing time for your specific transaction.

What factors affect transfer times?

The table above clearly shows that transfer times can differ substantially depending on the transfer company you choose and the details of your transaction. In fact, there are several factors that affect the speed of an international money transfer including:

  • The money transfer provider you choose
    Processing times for international money transfers vary from one company to the next. Ask each provider for a guide to how long it will take them to transfer money to your chosen destination.
  • Where you are sending the money
    The destination of your transfer will also influence the transaction speed, as the banking structures in place in specific countries may result in longer processing times. Transfers to developed countries are usually much quicker than transfers to developing nations.
  • The type of transfer
    As the table shows, online transfers can take anywhere from one to five business days to process, and the same goes for bank transfers. However, if you’re sending a cash transfer through a company like Western Union, the money will often be available for collection by your recipient within minutes.
  • Inter-bank transfers
    If sending an international transfer to an overseas account held with the same bank, for example from an United States Citibank account to a Citibank account in the UK, you may be able to enjoy faster than normal processing times for bank transfers.
  • The currency used
    Popular global currencies like the Euro and the US Dollar are regularly traded on foreign exchange markets, which means your transfer will typically be able to be completed as quickly as possible. However, there may be an additional wait if you’re transferring a rare or exotic currency.
  • The payment method
    Depending on the money transfer provider, the payment method used to fund the transaction could also affect transfer speed. For example, the time required for a bank transfer to clear will differ from the time required to process a credit card transaction to pay for your transfer.
  • When you lodge your transfer
    It’s important to consider public holidays and weekends in both the sending and receiving country, as this can add extra time to your transaction. It’s also worth pointing out that the transfer provider you choose will most likely have a cut-off time each business day for transfer requests; if you request a transfer after that time, the transaction won’t begin to be processed until the next business day.
  • Special arrangements
    Some providers offer the ability to send urgent transfers if you lodge a special request. However, be warned that you may be charged a high fee and also have to accept a low exchange rate.

What should I do if I need to send an urgent transfer?

Sometimes situations arise where you need to send money overseas as quickly as possible. For example, you may have an outstanding debt that was due to be paid off last week, or you may need to help out a cash-strapped loved one who is stranded on holiday on the other side of the world. Whatever the case may be, there are ways to expedite the transfer.

If you’re sending cash, companies like Western Union and MoneyGram allow processing times of as little as 10 minutes, allowing your recipient to pick up the funds shortly after you initiate the transaction. In other cases, you may be able to ask your money transfer provider about the possibility of speeding up the transfer process. Some providers have systems in place to handle urgent transfers, but choosing this option will usually incur a higher fee and possibly mean you have to accept a lower exchange rate.

Other factors to consider when choosing a money transfer company

Transfer speed is just one of the factors you need to consider when choosing a money transfer provider. You should also compare:

  • Exchange rates
    Compare exchange rates between different providers for the currencies you will transfer regularly. Even a small difference in exchange rates can result in much more money making it into your recipient’s bank account.
  • Transfer fees
    You’ll need to look at a company’s exchange rates in line with the transaction fees it charges. Make sure you’re aware of any hidden fees and charges that apply to your transaction, and remember that some companies offer fee-free transactions when you transfer more than a specific amount.
  • Transfer options
    Does the provider allow you to place forward contracts or limit orders to get a better exchange rate? Can you schedule repeating transfers to save time?
  • Supported currencies
    It’s always a good idea to check exactly which currencies you are able to transfer with any one company. While some banks and providers support 100 currencies or more, others will only provide transfers in a much smaller selection of currencies.
  • Sending and receiving options
    How can you lodge a transfer request: online, through a mobile app, over the phone and/or by visiting a branch? It’s also important to compare how your recipient will receive the money: will it go to their bank account or to their account with the transfer provider, or will it be made available for cash pickup? Customer support. Finally, check out each company’s reputation for providing prompt and helpful customer support. During what hours is support available and how can you access it?

Compare the processing times and features of a range of leading money transfer providers to find a fast and affordable way to send money overseas.

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38 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    PsalmsNovember 6, 2018

    Someone sent money to my Citibank in the US from Singapore on the 1 November 2018 and it’s 4 working days now I haven’t receive the money…please what’s wrong?

    • finder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoNovember 7, 2018Staff

      Hi Psalms,

      Thanks for reaching out! The transfer speed depends on the transfer option your sender used to transfer funds to you. It would be best to follow up with the sender and call your bank to ask how long they process an international money transfer.

      Hope this was helpful. Don’t hesitate to message us back if you have more questions.

      Best,
      Nikki

  2. Default Gravatar
    AhmedsalanOctober 30, 2018

    I want to know how long will it take online bank transfer China to Djibouti?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynOctober 30, 2018Staff

      Hello Ahmedsalan,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Please note that there are several factors that influence the time it takes for funds to reach an overseas account. However, a standard timeline for most international transfers is about 1 to 5 business days.

      Should you wish to have real-time answers to your questions, try our chat box on the lower right corner of our page.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  3. Default Gravatar
    AnonymousOctober 24, 2018

    I withdraw money from my Ontega trading account and they have mailed me that the withdrawal has been processed since 12 days ago and I haven’t received it. Please how long will it take?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynOctober 24, 2018Staff

      Hello,

      Thank you for your comment.

      According to the terms and conditions, Ontega shall execute the client’s withdrawal within 96 working hours as soon as the requirements are aggregately completed and upon approval of such by the Ontega Back Office Department. The client acknowledges that fund transfer times may vary according to its account type, issuing bank, intermediary bank, receiving bank, destination country or any 3rd party involved in the transfer of funds. Withdrawal of funds may also be subject to restrictions imposed by or in connection with the receiving bank. Ontega shall not be liable for any fund transfer.

      Should you wish to have real-time answers to your questions, try our chat box on the lower right corner of our page.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  4. Default Gravatar
    HarvirOctober 11, 2018

    I have transferred money to my college in New Zealand, where the receivers account number, Beneficiary Name, bank name and SWIFT codes are correct. However, in place of beneficiary address the transferring bank erroneously written the receivers bank address. Will it impact in delay or rejection of the transfer.

    • finder Customer Care
      AshOctober 12, 2018Staff

      Hi Harvir,

      Thank you for reaching out to us.

      The verification process will take a while if the Beneficiary’s details will not match at all. You may call your bank to have the details corrected or the Beneficiary’s Bank so they can correct/ verify the details.

      I hope this helps.

      Please do not hesitate to reach out again to us if you have additional questions.

      Cheers,
      Ash

  5. Default Gravatar
    PhuongOctober 9, 2018

    I have account in binary.com and i withdrew my money on Thursday to my bank account in vietnam by worldpay option, i received a confirmed mail that the withdraw successful but have not received it yet, so how long can i receive my money?

    • finder Customer Care
      JoshuaOctober 14, 2018Staff

      Hi Phuong,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      According to Worldpay’s website, it typically takes up to three days for funds to settle after an order is placed. If after three days you haven’t received your money yet, you would need to ask Worldpay to ask about your transfer’s status.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  6. Default Gravatar
    AyeniOctober 8, 2018

    They send me money on Friday evening from USA and have not received it yet and it’s a bank deposit.

    • finder Customer Care
      johnbasanesOctober 8, 2018Staff

      Hi Ayeni,

      Thank you for leaving a question.

      Generally, The receiving banks often take 2-4 days for funds to be released to customers because they are following what they call the “Three-day good funds model”, which basically means they’ll hold the funds for three days to make sure it’s not a fraudulent transaction. You may also check with the receiving bank if you have a transaction number for the transfer to make sure they did receive the funds and are just waiting for it to clear. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  7. Default Gravatar
    SalomOctober 6, 2018

    how many days does transfer funds takes from Nab bank transfer in Australia to wellsfargo account in United States

    • finder Customer Care
      joelmarceloOctober 6, 2018Staff

      Hi Salom,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      Bank to Bank transfer is usually 1-2 business days excluding bank holidays (keeping into consideration time differences, if applicable). Also you need to understand if a correspondent bank is involved. All in all your money usually would be available on Day 3. However, banks might keep this money for a day or two, to earn some float on it.

      Please send me a message if you need anything else. :)

      Cheers,
      Joel

  8. Default Gravatar
    MojisolaOctober 4, 2018

    I don’t want to send money to anybody but I want to save it to my Nigeria bank account straight from Oman I use Express Exchange to sent it but I was given a paper with long pin how should I do the pin for me to receive my alert from my Nigeria bank account.

    • finder Customer Care
      JoshuaOctober 7, 2018Staff

      Hi Mojisola,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      You can go to Xpress Money website. They have a page that allows you to track your transaction. Once you’re on their website’s homepage, you can click on the “Transaction tracker” tab and there, you can then type in your 16-digit pin.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  9. Default Gravatar
    egonOctober 2, 2018

    i want to know how long it will take online bank transfer locally in germany

    • finder Customer Care
      CharisseOctober 2, 2018Staff

      Hi Egon,

      Thanks for reaching out to finder.

      Domestic bank to bank transfer duration in Germany usually takes 2-3 business days but may also vary depending on several factors such as:

      How the transfer was made – online transfers are usually quicker to process
      When the transfer was made – if you are able to submit the transfer request before the bank’s cut off time, the bank may process it on the same day
      Bank’s clearing time- if the paying and the receiving bank use the same clearing center or have the same clearing arrangements, your payment may arrive on the same business day

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Charisse

  10. Default Gravatar
    MemeSeptember 27, 2018

    Hi. Someone sent me money from Ireland and I received a call that I need to have at least R1500 for it to be transferred into my account. Is this possible?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynSeptember 28, 2018Staff

      Hello Meme,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Usually, when receiving money, the fees are already shouldered by the sender. The recipient will just pick up the amount without having to pay anything. It’s important that you verify this first before you shell out the amount to avoid being scammed. Please contact the transfer company, and verify the details.

      Should you wish to have real-time answers to your questions, try our chat box on the lower right corner of our page.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

US International Money Transfers Offers

Important Information*
XE Money Transfer

Transfer up to $500,000 with no minimums and no fees.

WorldRemit International Money Transfers

Use promo code FINDER to send your first transfer with no fee.
Send to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up.

World First Foreign Exchange

No maximum limit, no fees and competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies.

TransferWise International Money Transfers

Enjoy high maximum transfers into more than 20 currencies while saving up to 90% over local banks.

Go to site