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How Long do International Money Transfers Take?

The length of time it takes for an international money transfer to arrive at the recipient’s location is dependent upon the money transfer company you use. If you are looking for the cheapest option to send money, the funds won’t be available in the receiver’s country for approximately three to five business days, and this doesn’t include public holidays and weekends. If you are willing to pay a higher fee, the recipient will receive funds instantly.

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Why Does the Speed of Money Transfers Differ?

There are several factors that determine how long it will take for a money transfer to arrive at its destination, here are the most popular:

  • Transfer Destination: Where you send the money will determine the transfer speed. In general, banking structures and processes in each country varies, which may add additional time to the transaction process.
  • The Payment Method: Money transfer providers offer a variety of ways to make a transaction, and the payment method will affect the amount of time it takes funds to arrive at the receiver’s destination. For example, the transaction time for a transfer made with a credit card will differ to a transfer made with a bank transfer to the provider. 
  • Urgent Transfer: Some transfer providers offer an urgent transfer service which allows customers to make an emergency transfer to another country. The provider will add additional costs to the fee for this service. 
  • The Transfer Day: It’s important to consider weekends and public holidays when receiving or sending an international money transfer, as these days can add extra time to the processing of your transaction. It is also important to mention that transfer providers will have daily cut off times, this means that if you submit your transaction after, it won’t be processed until the following business day. 
  • Interbank Transfer: If you make a bank transfer to the same bank in a different country, the processing time is faster than if the funds are sent to a different bank. This is because when two financial institutions don’t have a relationship, an intermediary bank is used to mediate the transaction which adds additional time to the process. 
  • The Type of Transfer: The processing time for making an international money transfer online can be anywhere from one to five business days. However, when making a cash transfer through companies such as MoneyGram, the funds are available for the recipient to collect the following day. 
  • Approval Process: If you are sending a large sum of money (£500 or more), for the first time with an online provider they may ask you to prove your identity. You would need to email a copy of your passport or drivers’ licence, and in some cases, proof of address.

What Are the Different Speeds for Different Currencies?

Mainstream currencies like the British pound, the Euro and the United States dollar are transferred within a 24-hour period; this is because they are popular currencies that are traded often. However, currencies such as the UAE dirham and the Thai baht can take approximately three business days to transfer because they are not as common. You can speed up the process by paying additional fees; however, this depends on the money transfer provider you are using.

Does the Choice of Money Transfer Provider Effect the Speed?

The choice of money transfer provider does affect the speed, the longer a transfer service has been established, the faster the transfer. You will also find that the faster the service, the higher the fee. However, You will need to contact the money transfer provider you plan on using for an exact timeframe

Fastest Money Transfer Providers

Western Union: Western Union is a very popular money transfer company; they have operations in more than 200 countries with 550,000 locations around the world. You can send funds to any country of your choice and the recipient will receive the money within minutes. However, they are also known for very high fees, it is one of their main complaints mentioned in reviews. 

MoneyGram: MoneyGram is another popular money transfer service; however, it is also one of the most expensive. Transfers are made available on the same day, but there is a $6000 monthly transfer limit.

TransferWise: TransferWise is an online money transfer service, they have been established since 2010. They have an average rating of 8.8 out of 10 stars, customers can send money to 71 countries. Transfers usually take less than 24 hours, and at the most, 48 hours. 

WorldRemit: With an overall rating of 4.6 on Trustpilot, WorldRemit has gained an impressive reputation in the money transfer world. Customers can send funds to more than 140 different countries around the world, their fees are reasonable, their exchange rates competitive and recipients can collect funds on the same day. One of the many benefits associated with WorldRemit is that they offer several innovative ways to deliver funds to the recipient. They offer mobile methods of payment, airtime top-ups, and door to door delivery. 

Remit2India: An online platform established for non-resident Indians, they allow customers to send money directly to a bank account in India. However, you can only use the service if you are from Australia, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom or America. It can take more than two days for a transfer to arrive in a recipient’s bank account, but you can pay additional fees for an instant transfer.

PayPal: PayPal is available to customers in most countries. Funds are available in the recipients PayPal account within a matter of seconds, the recipient then has to transfer the funds to their bank account. However, this service is only available to people who have a PayPal account, if the recipient does not have a PayPal account, they will need to open one before they are able to receive funds and the approval process might take a few days. 

Remitly: Remitly is an online money transfer company available in 15 countries. They have a 4.7 rating on Trustpilot and guarantee an excellent service to their customers. There are two transfer options, users can send funds through the economy or express payment. Economy transfers take between 3-5 business days, and express payments are completed within four hours.

To get you started, we’ve put together a list of top 10 money transfer companies, to help you find the best provider with the balanced transfer times and fees.


As you have read, the length of time an international money transfer takes is dependent upon the service provider used. The above list has been condensed as it is not possible to mention all transfer providers. However, as long as you have access to the internet, you can do your own research so that you can make an informed and intelligent decision about which transfer provider is best suited to your needs.