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International money transfer duration

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A cash transfer is the quickest way to send money overseas — and the most expensive.

The processing time for a money transfer depends on how you send the money, the provider you choose and where you send the funds. While cash is fast, you can save a lot of money if you’re willing to wait a day.

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Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 0 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 0.895 EUR 4,473 Offering no maximum and no minimum limit transfers with $0 fees. Go to site Show details
USD 1 1 - 2 days USD 40.00 0.898 EUR
4,455
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EUR 1,000 1 - 2 days USD 10.00 0.889 EUR 4,437 Use TransferMate to help you send money to almost any country around the world for a small fee. Go to site Show details
USD 1 Within an hour USD 3.99 0.894 EUR 4,468 Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Send to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up. Go to site Show details
GBP 1,000 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 0.889 EUR 4,446 Exclusive: Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally $5,000).
For larger transfers, get no transaction fees and no maximum send limits.
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USD 1,000 1 day USD 0.00 0.889 EUR 4,446 No-maximum limit transfers with competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies. Go to site Show details
USD 5,000 1 day USD 0.00 0.889 EUR 4,446 Venstar will support you through the entire process of your international transactions, from start to finish. Go to site Show details

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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 transfer1-2-days
TorFXOnline transfer1-day
OFXOnline transfer1-2-days
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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87 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    JoshJuly 30, 2019

    An international bank transfer was made to my account using Swift code and according to my bank the fund was declined because the senders bank is on sanction due to some unexplained reasons but the sender has receipt that the fund was sent to me ..How long will the sender receive the funds back in his account. Meanwhile I didn’t get the notification from my bank but my bank officer told me the fund was rejected. Mostly I’m confused because there’s receipt by the sender that it was sent.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      fayemanuelJuly 31, 2019Staff

      Hi Josh,

      Thanks for contacting Finder.

      It all comes down to how good the receiving bank is in contacting the sending bank, to inform them that they are unable to receive the funds. The sender may not be aware that the money is going back to his/her account as usually, this can take anything between 2 days & over a week.

      I hope this helps.

      Kind Regards,
      Faye

  2. Default Gravatar
    JoshJuly 27, 2019

    A wire transfer euro payment was sent from germany to me in hong kong, its been 4 days and i haven’t received the money yet. I would like to know how many days it takes for an international transfer to clear from germany to asia. Please advise as its really bothering me

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      BellaJuly 29, 2019Staff

      Hi Josh,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      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. If it takes more than five business days, you can check with your bank on what could be causing the delay.

      I hope this information helps.

      Kind regards,
      Bella

  3. Default Gravatar
    DenzJuly 27, 2019

    I would like to know how long will it take to receive money from India to Oman bank transfer

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      fayemanuelJuly 28, 2019Staff

      Hi Denz,

      Thanks for contacting Finder.

      Please know that transfer times vary from a few minutes to up to five days. Generally, international bank transfer usually takes 5 working days or longer depending on various circumstances like holiday, verification process of the receiving bank etc.

      I hope this helps.

      Kind Regards,
      Faye

  4. Default Gravatar
    AlfonsJune 25, 2019

    I have transferred from hsbc bank uk to Albania £20.000 converted to euros,, this was a online transfer 2 weeks ago and my money its not yet in my account in Albania ! Any idea how long does it take…..? Please let me know as I am getting a bit worried, thank you,,

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      fayemanuelJune 26, 2019Staff

      Hi Alfons,

      Thanks for contacting Finder.

      Money transfers from HSBC to another bank overseas could take from 2 to 5 banking days. There are several factors that affect the time frame for funds to clear, such as, type of payment you are making, the currencies involved in the transfer and the time of day the transfer request is made. Both banks follow their respective funds clearing processes. It is highly suggested to check with either banks directly for a more accurate information.

      Hope this helps.

      Please feel free to contact us at any time if any other questions arise.

      All the best.

      Best Regards,
      Faye

  5. Default Gravatar
    StefanMay 28, 2019

    I was sent money Online from ING BANK Germany to HSBC DUBAI. Now it’s 8 working days and nothing how long does it take?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      BritnyMay 28, 2019Staff

      Hi Stefan,

      Thank you for reaching out to us.

      I’m sorry to hear that you’re having trouble with your transfer. The average amount of time it takes for a transfer to go through can vary depending on the provider. I recommend viewing our page on how to track your money transfer. If you still have questions, contact the provider you used to send the transfer and they should be able to give you more insight on the status of your funds.

      https://www.finder.com/money-transfer-tracking

      I hope this helps!
      Britny

  6. Default Gravatar
    JoshuaMay 24, 2019

    Hii my friend transfered 5000 USD from BMO Harris Bank to Bank of China, the day he wired BMO harris people told him it should take 2 hours to reflect on the beneficiery account, the next day after wiring the funds he went bank to the bank to check the status of wire now theyre telling him it may take upto 2 or 3 days , i dont understand why ?!

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      BellaMay 25, 2019Staff

      Hi Joshua,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      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.

      I hope this helps.

      Kind regards,
      Bella

  7. Default Gravatar
    JoshMay 9, 2019

    I was send money from Union bank of India to Kenya through cheque for how long will I receive the money in my account??

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniMay 9, 2019Staff

      Hi Josh,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      International bank transfer usually takes 5 working days or longer depending on various circumstances like holiday, verification process of the receiving bank etc. You may ask the sender if their union bank in India has completed the money transfer. If says yes, please check this with your Kenyan bank on when you will see your money on your account. Not sure if you were advised that you’re receiving a cheque. I suggest that you check this with your sender on how long you should wait for the cheque to arrive.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  8. Default Gravatar
    AimiApril 26, 2019

    How many days does t take for an usd online transfer to account in malaysia.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoApril 27, 2019Staff

      Hi Aimi,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder! Transfer speeds depend on the method used and the money transfer provider. You can find the specific transfer speeds on the part of the page that says “The average time it takes to send money overseas.” It’s important to check the exchange rate beforehand to maximize the funds to be exchanged. Also, read through the transfer process of the provider such as transfer fees, transfer options and transfer speed to set expectations for the receiver. Take note of any reference or tracking numbers should any transaction delays come up during the transit. Hope this helps and feel free to email back if you have questions.

      Best,
      Nikki

  9. Default Gravatar
    JamesApril 11, 2019

    One of my friends sent 10,000 south African cash from South Africa through banking to Ethiopia.
    How long it will take to my account?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      johnbasanesApril 12, 2019Staff

      Hi James,

      Thank you for reaching out to Finder.

      Generally, if the transaction was done online it is completed within minutes or 24 hours at the latest. You may need to wait 1-2 days for the money to arrive unless delays or clearing requires more time. Contact the money transfer company to learn more. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  10. Default Gravatar
    JohnApril 11, 2019

    I was sent some money via western union and on my track transfer shows in progress wondering how long it should take for pick up

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      BellaApril 12, 2019Staff

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      Western Union allows processing times of as little as 10 minutes, allowing your recipient to pick up the funds shortly after you initiate the transaction.

      I hope this helps.

      Kind regards,
      Bella

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