HomeInternational Bank TransfersHow Long Do International Bank Transfers Take?

How Long Do International Bank Transfers Take?

Bank transfers are a means of sending money electronically to another party, whether that’s to friends, family, or an organisation. When you’re making a bank transfer, you’ll want to know exactly how long it will take for the funds to show in your recipient’s account. In this guide, we’ll look at everything you need to know about both domestic and international bank transfers.

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What do you need to make an international bank transfer?

To make a secure wire bank transfer, you'll need to make sure you have several key details to hand. This includes:

  • The name of your recipient

  • Their account number

  • Their sort code

  • The date you want the transfer to be made

  • A payment reference, so the recipient knows what the funds are for

Make sure you have all the details and enter them correctly, as usually, bank transfer can't be reversed.

Most bank transfers can be made directly via your online banking app, although you may need to contact your bank to authorise the transfer if you intend to send a large sum. Please read our guide on sending money to and from a bank account.

Are bank transfers the fastest way to send money abroad?

If you are sending money abroad, a bank transfer tends to be one of the slowest ways of doing that. In fact, wire transfers can be faster than a bank transfer, but wire transfers are usually more expensive. If you'd like to know more about the best way to wire money and how to make cheap wire transfers, make sure to read our guides.

These days, there are a wide number of ways to send money internationally, with specialist money transfer providers able to offer fast international transfers at competitive rates compared to traditional banks. Highly recommended transfer providers that can send your money abroad instantly include WorldRemit, XE, and Azimo.

Another bonus of money transfer providers is that they give you the option to not only send money abroad by bank transfer, but you can also pay by card or cash and have the option for your recipient to receive the funds in a number of ways too.

Why money transfer providers are faster

Money transfer providers tend to offer faster transfer times than traditional banks, with most transfers processed on the same day or within a few working days, compared to up to 5 working days as can sometimes be the case when sending money abroad with your bank.

Likewise, transfer providers offer a wider range of payout options than just bank transfers. WorldRemit, for example, includes options for the following payout methods

  • Cash pickups

  • Bank depositr

  • Mobile airtime top-up

  • Mobile e-Wallet transfers

How long does a bank transfer take in Australia?

The speed of a domestic bank transfer in Australia can be affected by several different factors. Generally speaking, however, a bank transfer in Australia will typically be completed within 24 hours, although this can be longer if you miss your bank's cut-off time. Cut-off times can vary from bank to bank, so check your branch's regulations.

How long does an international bank transfer take?

Although international bank transfer times can depend on the currency pair you are converting between, the day you initiate your transfer, the sum you send, and time zone differences, they tend to take around one to five working days. Sending money abroad around a weekend or bank holiday could cause your bank transfer to take significantly longer, while using a specialist money transfer operator to send your bank transfer could mean your funds get to your recipient as quickly as in a couple of hours.

Domestic vs international bank transfer times International bank transfers have to undergo more processes than domestic transfers, not least the conversion into another currency. For this reason, international transfers can take up to 5 working days as opposed to minutes for a domestic transfer.

What can affect how long an international bank transfer takes?

Several factors can affect how long a bank transfer takes - particularly when you are sending money abroad. This includes:

  • The currencies you are sending to and from

Some currency corridors are much more frequently travelled than others, so your bank will be better equipped to process that transfer quickly. Lesser-known currency corridors, however, may take longer to be processed. Remember, it's not just about your money leaving your account - how quickly your recipient's bank can process the transfer also makes a big difference to the transfer time. If you are sending from Australia, then it is likely your bank will be able to provide a list of timeframes per currency.

  • What time you initiate your transfer

Bank transfers can only be processed during normal business hours, so sending your transfer too late in the day, at the weekend, or on a bank holiday can all delay your transfer time.

  • Any additional security checks needed

Sometimes, you'll be asked to provide more information to verify your identity and keep your money safe. This may be the case, particularly if you are sending a large amount of money. The verification process can include verifying details such as your ID, address, why you're making the transfer, and sometimes even proof of where you got the money from.

How are international bank transfers made?

Bank transfers can be made via:

  • Faster Payments


  • BACS

Low-value bank transfers are made by Faster Payments, which means your funds should arrive within minutes and rarely beyond two hours.

CHAPS - Clearing House Automated Payment System - payments tend to be for sums over £10,000 and guarantee a same-day payment provided the payment instructions are received before your bank's cut-off time. CHAPS payments are ideal for people needing to send large sums quickly.

BACS - Bankers Automated Clearing Services - payments are usually in the form of a Direct Debit or a Direct Credit. A Direct Debit means that the recipient of the transaction has been given permission to pull money from the sender's bank account, whilst Direct Credit is when one account deposits money into another party's account. BACS bank transfers will take around three working days to clear.

Bottom line: how long does a bank transfer take?

Bank transfers are an extremely convenient way to send your money internationally, but they're not necessarily the fastest. On average, a bank transfer can take between 2 - 5 working days to appear in your recipient's account. Wire transfers are quicker but cost more. In contrast, another means of sending money, such as paying by card and having your recipient receive their funds in cash, can be instantaneous.

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Yasmin Purnell
Yasmin Purnell
Yasmin Purnell is a Content Writer and Editor for Moneyzine.com. Yasmin has a wealth of experience writing across a range of topics within the personal finance, student, and business niche. Yasmin joined the team with the one main mission to provide accessible financial, career and business information and advice for all.