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How to keep your money transfer safe
Learn how to track cash transfers, SWIFT transfers, wire transfers and more.
Updated . What changed?
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 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.
What's in this guide?
- How can I track my transfer?
- Where is my tracking number?
- What if I don't have a tracking number?
- Can I track a transfer using a SWIFT code?
- What are my rights when transferring money?
- How do I cancel a money transfer?
- Closing the deal
- Compare international money transfer services with easy tracking
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How can I track my transfer?
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.
In general, to track a money transfer:
- Complete your transfer. After sending a transfer, you can start tracking it.
- Check your receipt. Look for a reference, confirmation, order, transaction or similarly named number.
- Contact the sending company. Call, go online or visit a physical location of the company you sent your transfer through and provide your tracking number.
- Sign up for notifications. When possible, opt-in for notifications on each step of your transfer.
Track a Western Union transfer
Tracking a Western Union transfer requires an MTCN, which is Western Union’s tracking number. If you don’t know the MTCN, you still have options, but you’ll need to know:
- Sender’s phone number OR both the sender and receiver names
- Receiver’s country
- Send amount OR receive amount
- Date of transfer
Learn more about how Western Union tracking works or contact Western Union directly for further help.
Track a MoneyGram transfer
MoneyGram tracking is fairly straightforward and requires that you provide your last name and the authorization or reference number.
- Authorization number – This number is found in your confirmation email.
- Reference number – This number is found in your email only after the money is ready for cash pickup.
Learn more about how MoneyGram tracking works or contact MoneyGram directly for further help.
Track a Ria transfer
Ria tracking can be done through the mobile app, online or by contacting customer service on the phone. You’ll need to provide one of the following to track your transfer:
- Order number
- Reference number
Learn more about how Ria tracking works or contact Ria directly for further help.
Sample tracking page for Ria.
Where is my tracking number?
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:
- Authorization number
- Reference number
- MTCN (Money Transfer Control Number)
- Order number
- RTRN (Remittance Transaction Reference Number)
- Confirmation number
- …and more
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, an RTRN is the specific code used for Remit2India transactions. It stands for Remittance Transaction Reference Number, and you’ll only receive it when sending money through Remit2India.
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.
- You’ll typically use a SWIFT code to track this transfer.
- Call your bank’s customer service or contact your bank online.
Tracking using a tracking number
Check your receipt for a highlighted number that may be called a:
- reference number
- tracking number
- confirmation number
Input this website on the transfer company’s website, give it to a customer service representative on the phone or provide it at 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:
- Log in to your account
- Navigate to your order history
- Look for order details, 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 banks can hold on to your money until they’re able to get an exchange rate that better favors their 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 to and from the EU.
What are my rights when transferring money?
For first-timers, transferring money out of the country can be intimidating. However, your money is protected even after it leaves the US.
Since 2013, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has enforced rules to keep US citizens safer when making a money transfer overseas. Federal law now requires many banks, credit unions and money transfer providers to disclose information both before and after a transfer. These rules apply to all international transfers of $15 or more. Before an international transfer, you have the right to know:
- The exact exchange rate you will pay.
- Fees and taxes collected from you.
- Fees charged by agents overseas and others involved in the process.
- The amount your recipient is expected to receive (excluding foreign taxes and any pickup fees).
You should also be provided details on:
- Your right to cancel the transfer. Unless the transfer has been picked up or deposited, you have 30 minutes (and sometimes more) to cancel at no charge.
- The bank or company’s process to investigate and fix any errors. It generally has 90 days to resolve any problems.
How do I cancel a money transfer?
Nearly all banks and money transfer providers offer some way of canceling your transaction after you’ve set it in motion — especially if your money hasn’t yet been delivered. If you need to cancel your transfer within 30 minutes, federal law guarantees a refund without penalty. 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 canceling there.
If you initiated the transfer more than 30 minutes before, search your provider’s website for information on canceling or stopping a money transfer. Or call a representative to learn how you can start the process of halting your transaction.
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 trickier 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.
Compare international money transfer services with easy tracking
Compare all the companies and banks that provide money transfers can be a pain. So we’ve created this table to help you make those comparisons all in one place. Just enter the amount you want to send, your country’s currency and your recipient’s currency. All the companies within this table provide tracking to help you monitor your transfer.
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