Maybe you’ve realised you’ve sent the wrong amount, or entered an incorrect detail for your international wire transfer, or maybe you’ve just changed your mind! Once a wire transfer has been initiated, just how simple is it to reverse the transaction without losing your money or lengthy delays?
Wire transfers are an electronic means of sending money from one account to another. Most wire transfers are processed via a secure messaging system such as the SWIFT network, which is used by banks worldwide to send information to one another. You can send domestic wire transfer, or they can also be used to send money internationally. You can learn more about the process of how does a bank transfers work in our guide.
Once a wire transfer has been initiated, your funds leave your account immediately. It can be difficult to cancel a transfer instantly because the information will already have been sent through the bank’s secure messaging network.
Wire transfers cannot be reversed once the payment order has been accepted. If you file a cancellation notice with your bank before the recipient bank has accepted the transfer, the transfer may be refused – but if your wire transfer has already been accepted by your recipient’s bank, unfortunately, your options are limited.
You may be able to have your wire transfer reversed if the sending bank has made the mistake. If the account name does not match up with the account number, the transfer may also be rejected before the funds are deposited in the recipient’s bank in some cases, although some banks will not check if the name and account number line up.
Money transfer providers will each have their own policies when it comes to cancelling transfers, although the advice is always along the same lines: contact your provider as soon as possible when you realise you need to cancel a transfer.
If a transfer has already been paid into your recipient’s account, it’s not always possible to reverse the transfer. Likewise, WorldRemit advises that airtime top-up and cash pickup transfers which have already been paid cannot be reversed. However, if you have entered your information correctly such as for a mobile money wallet number, WorldRemit may be able to cancel the transfer for you.
Once a wire transfer has been deposited into the recipient’s account, the sending bank or the receiving bank will not be able to access those funds. If the fault lies with your bank, they may be able to recall the funds on your behalf. Additionally, you may be able to appeal to your bank to request the money be transferred back to you from the receiving bank, but this is at your bank’s own discretion if it was a user error, and may not guarantee your funds getting back to you.
Some money transfer providers guarantee that your money will be deposited into the account that matches the details you provide and will only accept funds if the name listed matches the account holder’s name exactly.
Others, however, will not always verify the name matches. For this reason, it’s extremely important that however you are initiating a wire transfer, you are certain that you are sending your money to someone you trust and have double-checked that all the information you have for your recipient is 100% correct. Details you should check include:
Make sure your transfer is safe and secure. To learn more about the safety of bank transfers, check our guide: are bank transfers safe?
To sum up: your window for reversing a wire transfer is extremely short, and in many cases where the transfer is processed near-instantly, you will not be able to reverse your wire transfer at all.
For this reason, make sure you have always double-checked the information you have is right. If you have accidentally sent the wrong amount to a friend or family member, or to the wrong person, you can request that they initiate a new transfer to get your funds back to you, although their bank is under no obligation to force them to do this.
Yasmin is the content writer for MoneyTransfers.com. With an English degree from the University of Nottingham and over 5 years’ experience freelancing in the personal finance niche, Yasmin joined the team with a mission to make international money transfers accessible and easy to understand for all. When she’s not writing, you’ll find Yasmin on her yoga mat or planning her next escape to the mountains.