WNA Blog

Wed 21 Apr 2021

How Long Do International Bank Transfers Take?

International Business
Many business transactions happen across borders, and sometimes business needs the money transfer to take place almost instantly.

If you have needed to transfer money internationally, or receive money from overseas, what is the process, and what does it take before the money reaches you.


Sometimes business needs the money transfer to take place almost instantly.

However, there is no definitive time when money can reflect in your account. We can try and give an estimate of the time when money transfer between borders can happen.

Why aren’t international transfers instantaneous?

In this day and age when almost all bank transactions can be done online, the world has not yet moved to instant international bank transfers. Fraud is the simplest way to explain why. Banks slow down the process to reduce the chances of fraud. The steps the banks take are regulatory and often delay the money transfer with a series of steps that help identify the recipient and the need to transfer money internationally.

Every country has its rules and regulations relating to how international bank transfers occur. Many banks are trying to come up with solutions that help reduce the time it takes to send money as well as keep the fraud cases as low as possible.

The banks that are receiving the money need to verify the information and funds that they are receiving as a protective measure against fraud. This is a compliance measure where the recipient might not access the money for another 24 hours or more after the bank receives the money.

This is because the banks communicate and learn the two people transacting have an agreement to do the money transfer. For large sums of money, the measures and scrutiny are much more.

Western Union is one of the ways to reduce the time it takes to send money internationally. Money transferred using western union can take a few minutes or hours to reach the intended user.

How long do international bank transfers take?

Generally, an international bank transfer takes one to 5 days to complete the transaction. For you to send money internationally, you need to provide all the recipient’s details from the IBAN, recipient’s banking details, SWIFT number, or the BIC. Most international transfers can only be done on weekdays before the stipulated cut-off time, which is unique to every bank.

After you provide all the information, the money is deducted from your account (sender) but does not automatically reflect on the recipient’s account as it goes through the process of verification between the two banks. If you send the money after the cut-off time, then the money transfer is processed the following day.

Factors that may lead to slower bank transfers

  • Fraud prevention- Banks have to verify all the information provided by the people to avoid a case of fraud. The SWIFT bank network advises that the money goes through three corresponding banks before getting to the destination.
  • Incorrect payment details- you have to provide all the information needed in the transfer correctly or there will be a delay.
  • Currency- currency exchange can delay the process. If you are transferring dollars to a euro account, you should advise the recipient to open a dollar account.
  • Time zones and holidays. There might be a big-time difference between the countries or a national holiday in one of the countries resulting in a delay.

Back to WNA Blog

Recent News

Fri 16 Apr 2021

5 Ways That You Can Boost Your Confidence

Guest Blogger
Business Startup
Tue 13 Apr 2021

Five Businesses a Mum Can Start from Home

Guest Blogger
Digital Technology
Tue 13 Apr 2021

The Hamburger Technique

Jillian Bullock
Advertising & Marketing
Fri 9 Apr 2021

Did You Know… Your Book Title Decides The Type of Clients You Get?

Sigrid de Kaste
Click to join the newsletter