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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.

Updated: 14/09/2022
Read time: 8 minutes
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How long does an international money transfer take? 

We hope the above information has outlined the various factors which dictate the transfer speed of international payments.

Generally, if you are sending money in one of the most traded currencies, like USD or GBP, international money transfer providers are likely to be able to deposit the money within 1 working day. Sometimes even within minutes/hours. As mentioned in the above section, countries and currencies outside of the bigger trading markets, may incur longer delivery speeds.

International bank transfers, on the other hand, can take anywhere from 1 to 5 business days to be deposited into the recipient’s account. This is due to the various systems which banking institutions must adhere to. To find out more read our guide: How Long Does a Bank Transfer Take?

Top transfer tip

Remittances sent through the same financial institutions can often be processed quicker. This applies to alternative international money transfer services as well as banks. For example, peer-to-peer payment apps specialise in sending money instantly between users, regardless of location.

Why Does the Speed of Money Transfers Differ?

So, how long do international money transfers take? 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. If you want to know more about the bank transfer times, make sure to read our guide: how long do international bank transfers take?
  • 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 affects the speed of an international money transfer?

Although faster than the average international bank transfer, a number of aspects can still affect the delivery speed of international money transfers as they are sometimes processed by different institutions before arriving safely in the recipient’s chosen account, country and currency. 

The following factors determine the speed of an overseas remittance:

Currency conversion
Destination country
Security checks
Time of transferof your transfer
International vs Domestic

International money transfers are subjected to more checks and processes than domestic transfers, due to the cross-border nature of the payment. For this reason, some international transfers may take up to 5 working days, as opposed to minutes/hours for a domestic transfer. Check the estimated arrival date with your provider before initiating your transfer.

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.

Top Fastest Money Transfer Providers

RankingProviderTransfer SpeedGet Started
🥇Wise1 – 2 daysVisit Wise
🥈Xe1 – 4 daysVisit Xe
🥉Instarem0 – 5 daysVisit Instarem
#4WorldRemit2 – 3 daysVisit WorldRemit
#5TorFX1 – 3 daysVisit TorFX

Fastest Money Transfer Providers

Wise: Wise 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. 

XE: XE Money Transfer is well known for being both safe and reliable when it comes to it’s transfer services. As well as this, their services are fast and efficient, with little to no transfer fees charged.

WorldRemit: WorldRemit has gained an impressive reputation in the money transfer world. Customers can send funds to more than 130 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. 

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.

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.

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.

Why should I use an international money transfer provider?

Utilising the services of an international money specialist like TorFXInstaremKey CurrencyCurrencies DirectWorldRemit,WiseXE and Currencyfair is a smart way to go if you are hoping to send funds overseas quickly and efficiently. Due to their resources, international money transfer providers are able to offer the most competitive rates, bank-beating fees and speedy delivery. These companies understand foreign exchange and global transfer routes better than any bank and make it their business to offer the best possible service to customers.

An added bonus of using a specialist provider is the fact they often allow multiple payment methods. Unlike traditional bank transfers, you will likely be given the option to pay by cash or debit/credit card, as well as being able to choose how your recipient receives the funds from a variety of pay-out options such as cash pick up, doorstep delivery or mobile wallet.


The international money transfer time depends upon the service provider used. There are faster options available, on the other hand, they tend to cost more. This means that it’s important to weigh up all your options before making a decision on your money transfer service, which is why we compare the top money transfer services.

Article Factchecked by Elliot Laybourne on 20th July 2022

Elliott is a former investment banker with a 20 year career in the city of London.

During this time he held senior roles at ABN Amro, Societe Generale, Marex Financial and Natixis bank, specialising in commodity derivatives and options market-making.

During this time, Elliott’s client list included Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, Schroders Asset Management, and the Pennsylvania State Public School Employees Retirement System, amongst others.

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Artiom is a marketing graduate from the University of Portsmouth, Artiom’s primary experience is in SEO but he has a broad knowledge of all facets of digital marketing. He optimises the organic experience on MoneyTransfers.com with the content team, manages and creates unique marketing tactics, and generally supports the overall growth of the website.

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