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How long does a wire transfer take?

Wire transfers are convenient, but using a money transfer service can almost always get your money there faster.

Bank wire transfers have been around for more than a century, and although they’ve gotten faster, they still typically aren’t instantaneous. Several factors come into play when transferring money through your bank. Understanding why transfers take time and what alternatives are available can help you avoid delays when you’re in a hurry.

How long does a wire transfer take?

At best, expect the following transfer times for domestic and international transfers.

  • Domestic wire transfer speed – Within 24 hours is possible, particularly for transfers between accounts at the same bank.
  • International wire transfer speed – Between two and five business days, perhaps longer depending on various factors like payment method and delivery destination.

What impacts wire transfer speed?

When you send a wire transfer through your bank, you should be provided with an expected delivery date, though this isn’t a guarantee of any sort. Wire transfer time varies based on many factors, some that are in your control and some that aren’t:

  • Your bank – Smaller banks may take longer for international transfers, as they may not have an International Bank Account Number (IBAN).
  • Receiving bank – If you’re sending a wire transfer to a bank other than your own, the banks have to communicate which can take time.
  • Time of transfer – Sending transfers earlier in the day is better. If you send it at the end of the day, it has to wait until the next business day to start processing. The same goes for the end of the week, or right before a bank holiday.
  • Type of transfer – Some banks offer expedited wire transfer services, but beware of high fees added to your transfer total.

How to have wire transfer funds available immediately

When you are in a rush, or you just don’t feel like waiting, there are ways to expedite the speed at which your money is transferred. By default, almost no wire transferred funds are available immediately, so use these alternatives to get your money faster.

Blue icon representing money transfers Image: Infogram

Digital money transfer services

Companies like OFX and CurrencyTransfer specialize in foreign currencies, making them some of the most cost-effective transfers. Most offer transfers directly to your recipient’s bank account, often in as little as a day.

Picture not described: BlueCoinsCashIcon_Infogram_94x62.png Image: Infogram

Cash transfers

Services like WorldRemit allow you to transfer cash for nearly instant pickup. While it’s a fast way to send money, you may pay more in fees than you would with a digital money transfer service.

Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending $1,500 to India

Let’s say you need to send $1,500 to family in India. Here’s what you might face as far as fees and exchange rates as of May 26, 2020.

Digital money transfer serviceCash transferWire transfer
Fee$0$3.99$25 + additional correspondent bank fees
Exchange rate1 USD = 73.179 INR1 USD = 73.312 INR1 USD = 70.213 INR
Transfer speed1 dayMinutes2-5 days
Amount receivedINR 109,769INR 109,675INR 103,564
Verdict
  • Best value
  • Fastest
  • Slowest and most expensive

Using an international money transfer service can often deliver your money instantly, something that wire transfers can almost never achieve. On top of that, you’d end up sending 6,205 less rupees if you send through a wire transfer.

Compare ways to send money

Our table lets you compare the services you can use to send money abroad. Compare services on transfer speeds and fees, then click Go to site when you're ready to send.
Name Product Filter Values Fastest Transfer Speed Fees (Pay by Bank Transfer) Learn More
OFX
24 hours
$0

View details
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies.
Dunbridge Financial
Dunbridge Financial
24 hours
$0

View details
Dunbridge Financial offers competitive exchange rates and zero fees on transfers to more than 120 countries.
CurrencyTransfer
24 hours
$0
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally £5,000)

View details
Exclusive: Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally $5,000).
CurrencyTransfer lets you shop around for the best exchange rate on its online marketplace.
XE
Within minutes
$3

View details
XE has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
WorldRemit
Within an hour
From $1.99

View details
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
Wise (TransferWise)
Within an hour
From $2.26

View details
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies.
Instarem
Within an hour
$1

View details
Exclusive: Use code GET60 and save $30 on each transaction over $200. Valid for the first two transactions and till 31st July 2021. T&Cs apply.
Instarem offers zero transfer fees on all transfers.
Remitly
Within minutes
From $0
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ Free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers

View details
Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
Western Union
Within an hour
From $0

View details
Western Union sends money online to friends and family in 200+ countries around the world.
MoneyGram
Within an hour
From $0

View details
MoneyGram has fast cash pick-up transfers to more than 350,000 agent locations worldwide.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Using your bank to send money domestically and internationally is hardly ever the cheapest or fastest option. To learn more about how to send money more efficiently, read our dedicated guide with hand-picked options that cover international transfers.

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87 Responses

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

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