How Long Does An International Wire Transfer Take?
You want to send money to another country, and you’re perhaps wondering, “How long does an international wire transfer take?”
If you’re an international traveller, a global entrepreneur, or have friends and family living abroad, you may need to carry out an international wire transfer at one point in your life.
For that reason, you need to understand how international wire transfers work and what factors affect the time of funds receipt.
So, how long does an international wire transfer take? While there’s no definite answer to this question, this guide will help you understand the factors involved that affect the timeline, and what to expect in terms of how long an international wire transfer can take.
How an International Wire Transfer Works
Before we look at how long an international wire transfer takes, it’s imperative to know how it works. With that, you’ll quickly understand the factors that affect the transfer time.
In many cases, international wire transfers usually occur on the SWIFT network – the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.
More than 10,000 financial institutions and banks in over 200 countries use the SWIFT network for international wire transfers. However, not all banks use the system.
The SWIFT network is a secure messaging system that allows financial institutions like banks to send information about international transfers.
For instance, when performing an international wire transfer through a bank, the bank will use the SWIFT system to ensure that your funds reach the destination.
Just like boarding connecting flights to reach your destination, payments can sometimes pass through intermediaries (corresponding banks) before they arrive at the destination country.
Note that the SWIFT network doesn’t transfer the actual money from one financial institution to another when wiring funds. Since the SWIFT system is electronic, it only sends a payment order with the personal information of the recipient and the amount they should receive.
Here is some of the information you’ll provide for regular international wire transfers.
- Name and physical address of the recipient’s bank
- Recipient’s bank account number
- The amount that the recipient should receive
- SWIFT/BIC code of the recipient’s bank
- Reason for funds transfer
- Who pays the transfer fees
When it comes to paying the SWIFT transfer fees, you can choose to settle them all by yourself, share the costs with the recipient, or let them pay all the expenses.
Your bank can levy an outgoing international transfer fee. The intermediary banks and the recipient banks also have the right to deduct a fee from the transfer amount.
Pro Tip: Verify the recipient’s details and bank account number to ensure that the information is correct. It ensures that the funds are transferred to the right person.
How Long Does An International Wire Transfer Take?
International wire transfer is the easiest and fastest way to send funds from one country to another—all you have to do is provide the necessary information about the recipient.
If your bank offers international wire transfer services online, it will be the fastest and most convenient way to submit the required details for processing.
However, the bank’s duration to process and transfer the funds will vary depending on the type of bank and their internal policies.
Your bank can process the transaction on the same day. However, international wire transfers take 3-5 days to reach the recipient’s bank account.
Note that most banks and other financial institutions process transfer only on business days before their cut-off time. The cut-off time for each institution usually varies.
You can check with your bank or credit union to determine precisely how long it will take to send or receive funds through an international wire transfer.
Notably, delays may occur during holidays or if the bank sending the money makes a mistake. Wire transfers from slow-to-pay countries can also delay the timelines.
How Long Does it Take to Receive International Wire Transfer?
Ironically, the bank receiving an international wire transfer can always take the most time to process the funds in the recipient’s bank account.
While most banking transactions often occur online, you may think that international wire transfers will deliver funds to the recipient immediately, but that’s not the case.
Once the sending bank has initiated an international wire transfer, it will deduct the funds from your account.
The bank will then move the transfer instructions through the SWIFT network and go through correspondent banks to arrive at the specified destination.
International wire transfers don’t allow instant delivery of funds on the recipient’s bank account. That gives banks enough time to verify the transactions to prevent fraud.
This is the reason the recipient may have to wait for up to five business days, or even longer, to receive the money in their bank accounts.
Factors Influencing the Processing Time of International Wire Transfers
Here are some factors that can cause delays during international wire transfers. While some are beyond your control, you can avoid those that can occur from your side.
Weekends and Holidays
You will experience delays when you make international wire transfers during weekends and holidays. Most banks don’t operate on Saturdays, Sundays, and during holidays.
If the recipient has to receive the funds in a different currency, banks may take longer to process the transfer. However, this is something beyond your control.
If the recipient’s bank details are wrong, international wire transfers will take longer than expected. Ensure that the information you give is correct to avoid such inconveniences.
Mid-day in Ontario, Canada, is midnight for Seoul, South Korea. So if you’re sending funds between two countries, you need to consider the time zone between the countries.
Number of Correspondent Banks
If your bank directly links with the recipient’s bank, the transfer will take fewer days. But if the transfer involves multiple correspondent banks, you’ll likely experience delays.
International wire transfer is the fastest and most secure way to send funds to friends or family members living overseas. However, you need to watch out for the transfer fees.
Consider making international transfers in banks and financial institutions that charge low transaction fees. At Knightsbridge FX, we offer the cheapest way to transfer funds.