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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 transfer2-days
TorFXOnline transfer1-day
OFXOnline transfer1-day
World FirstOnline transfer1-day
Travelex International PaymentsOnline transfer1-day
HiFXOnline 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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16 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    EstenJuly 9, 2018

    how many days can i receive a money postal order from france to our country philippines and do i need some code or control number to get it in the post office??

    • finder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoJuly 10, 2018Staff

      Hi Esten!

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      It is possible to send a money order from France to the Philippines. There are a number of ways to do this such as Western Union, MoneyGram or USPS. Both facilities offer a money order. Make sure to get the transaction number from the sender when you get your money order and take note of the requirements you need to get the money order as every facility is different from the other.

      Hope this helps.

      Regards,
      Nikki

  2. Default Gravatar
    DaisuJune 22, 2018

    Hello .My friend has transferred money from his credit card , in Ireland to my bank account in india, how long will it take to get credited in my account?

    • finder Customer Care
      joelmarceloJune 23, 2018Staff

      Hi Daisu,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      Many domestic wire transfers can be completed within 24 hours (especially if transfers occur between accounts at the same financial institution). But international wire transfers may take longer. If you’re receiving money from another country, it may take as many as five days for you to receive your funds.

      Cheers,
      Joel

  3. Default Gravatar
    WaqarJune 20, 2018

    Hi there!
    My friend made transaction from USA to me here in Pakistan of $250 . Now i want after how much time will i receive that in my bank account?

    • finder Customer Care
      joelmarceloJune 21, 2018Staff

      Hi Waqar,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      Bank transfers can take anywhere from one to five business days to process, and the same goes for online transfers. If it takes more than five business days, you can check with your bank on what could be causing the delay. 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.

      Cheers,
      Joel

  4. Default Gravatar
    FrancisJune 4, 2018

    Hello there…. I have been expecting a transfer which was made on express transfer to turkey but 2 weeks still on express transfer the bank receiving haven’t credited the account… What is going on?

    • finder Customer Care
      joelmarceloJune 5, 2018Staff

      Hi Francis,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      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. We took 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 in the article above.

      It would still be best to call your bank and ask them about the abnormal delay and what could be causing it.

      Cheers,
      Joel

  5. Default Gravatar
    johnJune 2, 2018

    Good day
    I was tracking money my sister sent me from NZ through moneygram and I saw it and later I didn’t see it again and the tracking didn’t show me anything if someone has picked it or not so what could be the problem of it. if someone picked the money would it show on the tracking number when you track it?

    • finder Customer Care
      JoshuaJune 6, 2018Staff

      Hi John,

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

      The tracking number is a way for you to track the status of your transaction. Your tracking should tell you whether the money has already been claimed by someone else, where it is now, or it was canceled by the sender. You may want to directly get in touch with your sister as well as Moneygram to know where the money is.

      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
    EbenMay 1, 2018

    How many days does it take to deposit a cash into a Nigerian account from USA through money gram?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynMay 1, 2018Staff

      Hello Eben,

      Thank you for your comment.

      You can send to any bank account in Nigeria and your cash can be picked up in minutes or is available in a bank account Same Day, this is subject to agent operating hours and compliance with regulatory requirements.

      Many account deposits are completed within a few hours. Timing of funds availability in your receiver’s account varies depending on destination country and is subject to banking hours and systems availability, good funds availability, approval by MoneyGram’s verification systems and local laws and regulations; banking business hours typically exclude weekends/holidays.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  7. Default Gravatar
    RenApril 5, 2018

    My sister has sent me 650 euros through swift code but still I haven’t received it so can u please tell me how many days will it take to get credited to my account which is in india

    • finder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoApril 5, 2018Staff

      Hi Ren,

      Thanks for your message and for visiting finder – the leading comparison website & general information service built to give you advice in your buying decision needs. How are you doing today?

      A swift code is like a US routing number or a zip code. It denotes the exact bank the recipient account is in. Your bank may be able to find out the recipient’s BIC/SWIFT code using the recipient’s name and account number or by using an online BIC/SWIFT code finder, but you can also just ask the recipient bank for the information.

      If your sister used Transferwise to wire money, there is a minimum of 3-5 business days as it would also depend on the receiving bank. You may want to ask your sister which transfer service she used to wire the money. :)

      Feel free to message us should you have further questions.

      Thanks and best regards,
      Nikki

    • Default Gravatar
      TERRYMay 23, 2018

      Good day
      I have friend from uk he use the tranfer go deposit. His from uk and form South Africa i will like ask how days it will take to be clear on std bank accout he always ask me a swift code wich ive given him.

    • finder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoMay 24, 2018Staff

      Hi Terry,

      Thanks for your message and for visiting finder – the leading comparison website & general information service built to give you advice in your buying decision needs. How are you doing today?

      Glad to hear from you again. Please note that we’re a product comparison website and we do not represent any company we feature on our site. We provide general information on products to assist you in your buying decision process hence we cannot recommend product / service that is rightfully fit for you.

      You’d have to call the money transfer service used to check how long it will take for the transfer to clear.

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

      Cheers,
      Nikki

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