When you are sending or receiving an international money transfer through your bank, you often come across the term “telegraphic transfer”, “telex transfer” or “TT”. It is one of the commonly used methods of international money transfers. In this guide, we will tell you what telegraphic transfers are, how they work, and the charges they tend to incur. Keep reading to find out how you can use telegraphic transfers to send money abroad across international borders.
Traditionally, a telegraphic money transfer was a means to move money between accounts using a cable, radio, or telephone – with the term ‘telegraphic’ referring to when transfers were made using telex. Money is not transferred this way anymore, but the term telex transfers continue to be used interchangeably with wire transfers and means any electronic transfer of funds.
Today, in place of telex, banks use the SWIFT network to make international money transfers. The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) provides a network that enables banks and financial institutions worldwide to send and receive information about financial transactions in a secure and standardised environment.
Technically, there is no difference between a telegraphic money transfer and a bank transfer. When you make an international money transfer through your bank, it is sending your money as a telex transfer. In the US, the most commonly used term for this is a wire transfer, whereas in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK, it is more often called a telegraphic transfer. Follow our guide to find out more about international wire transfers.
A telegraphic transfer happens electronically and works by transferring money between different banks until it reaches its destination. Once the transfer is initiated at the source bank, the money passes between banks with pre-existing relationships. These banks are known as correspondent banks.
Each of the intermediary banks in this process will have its own processing time and fees, which can make telegraphic money transfers slow and expensive depending on your transfer route.
Banks do not physically send money across the countries. They have a system of nostro accounts across the world to make transferring money a simpler and faster process. This system allows the correspondent banks to add and deduct money from these nostro accounts for payments sent to them by other partner banks, enabling the process to be fully electronic.
When you send a telex money transfer to someone overseas, it will typically pass through a series of nostro accounts in different countries and different banks before it reaches the destination. The number of banks involved in the transaction depends on where the money is coming from and going. On common routes, only one or two banks may be involved. On other routes, such as when transferring money from Australia to somewhere in Europe 3-4 banks may be involved.
This process all happens in the background, so you don’t really need to be concerned about it. If you’re interested, though, how elegraphic transfer works involve the following steps:
Telegraphic money transfers are one of the most commonly used means of transferring funds from one country to another. Like any other money transfer method, transferring funds in this way has both its advantages and drawbacks.
There are several types of fees associated with telegraphic transfers fee, and the exact amount your transfer costs will depend on a variety of factors including the amount you’re transferring and which currencies are involved. Each money transfer goes through multiple banks, which means, each of the intermediary banks may charge a fee. Typically, you may have to pay the following fee for a telegraphic transfer:
To help you save on the costs, we’ve put together a guide on finding the cheapest way to send money abroad.
Generally, a telegraphic transfer takes 2- 4 days to complete depending on various factors including the origin and destination of the transfer, the currencies involved, and the amount being transferred. Also, since the transfer occurs across international borders, the process can take longer due to different time zones, weekends, and holidays.
In some cases same-day transfers are possible, but this is not true for all transfers and is generally limited to more common currency routes. However, on some currency routes, the transfer may take up to a week. You should check the expected delivery times with your bank before you initiate the transaction.
To help you send money quicker, we’ve put together a guide on finding the fastest way to send money globally.
Making a telex money transfer is a simple and straightforward process. There are three key steps involved in setting up a telegraphic transfer. These include:
These are the basic steps involved in a telegraphic transfer, but your bank may request more information about your money transfer to meet internal security policies or anti-laundering regulations.
Telegraphic transfers refer to electronic transfer of funds over the SWIFT network. In the US, you’ll most commonly hear telegraphic transfers referred to as wire transfer, whereas, in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, the term telegraphic transfer is more frequently used. So, it is your normal international bank transfer, wherein the funds are routed via a network of banks before it reaches the beneficiary account. As the process involves money moving between a variety of banks, telegraphic transfers can attract high fees, so it’s best to check this before making your transfer.
Telegraphic transfers are a convenient, safe and reliable way to transfer funds overseas. However, it is not always either the quickest or the cheapest method of doing so. Today there are many specialised money transfer companies that employ the latest technologies and have local bank accounts in countries they operate in, which helps them bring down their costs and transfer times significantly.
If you are planning to make a telegraphic transfer to send funds overseas, you should first check other available options, as you always want to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal before making a transfer. You can use our comparison tool to find out the best way to transfer funds to your intended location, and within a couple of seconds we’ll display the best companies available to help you complete your international transfer.
Jonathan is the founder and editor of MoneyTransfers.com. Jonathan is highly experienced in the currency transfer market, having previously worked in the FX trading industry, alongside being an avid traveller. Using his knowledge he identified a need for transparency and further education to help people save money on their money transfers, leading to the creation of MoneyTransfers.com