How Long Does an International Wire Transfer Take? What to Expect


What does the phrase “through the wire” mean to you? Maybe it reminds you of the classic Kanye West song of the same name. Or perhaps you think of a telegram sent over the wire.

“Through the wire” can also refer to a wire transfer. How long does an international wire transfer take? For a guide to what to expect, keep reading.

How Long Does an International Wire Transfer Take

Wire transfers are still a convenient, modern way of sending money overseas. They may take longer than you’d expect.

Sending the transfer itself is quick and easy. You simply have to have the required information then submit it to the bank however you please. Sending it online can only take minutes.

The processing time is what slows the operation. That depends on the bank and its policies.

Generally speaking, a bank will only process wire transfers on business days if they’re started before the bank’s cut-off time. Such times vary, but they’re commonly between 4 PM and 5:15 PM EST.

Requesting a transfer before the cutoff time nearly guarantees that it’ll be processed that day. Funds for the transfer will be deducted once the transfer is processed.

Note that processing an international money transfer on a business day doesn’t ensure that the international recipient will receive it on the same day. They’ll normally get it within 1-5 business days.

Time Will Tell

A variety of other factors influence how long an international bank transfer takes.

One common cause of a delayed transfer is an error in the recipient’s details. Check that they’re accurate.

Details include intermediary banks, account numbers, SWIFT/BIC codes, your recipients’ names and bank, and any further payment instructions. Errors could lead to a lost or delayed transfer.  

Another cause of delays is holidays. You must know of any holidays in both your country and the recipient’s.

Banks being open in your country is no guarantee that they’re open in the recipient’s. In the worst-case scenario, some countries close their banks for weeks in a row.

Watch out for weekends too. Different countries have different weekends. While the United States’ falls on Saturday and Sunday, Egypt and the UAE, for example, have weekends on Friday and Saturday.

You must plan your transfer so it sends on a business day. If at all possible, start the transfer at the beginning of the workweek so it can finish processing in the recipient’s country before the weekend.

Learn more here.

Through the Wire

“Through the fire, to the limit, to the wall / For a chance to be with you, I’d gladly risk it all.” So begins Kanye West’s “Through the Wire.”

What would you risk to make a wire transfer? How long does an international wire transfer take? Now that you know the answer to the second question, you don’t have to risk as much to send that money.

Discover the secrets to other money moves in the site’s Finance section. 


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