How Long Do International Money Transfers take?

07 Sep 2023 - Category: Blog /

Money transfers are one of the many ways people who live overseas stay closer to home and give their loved ones the care they deserve. Because relocation or immigration doesn't mean separation, right?

Transferring money between accounts also empowers travellers and gives them more financial empowerment while they are on-the-go. Sometimes, however, money transfers can take longer and we understand how the delay can pique your curiosity or send you on a quest for answers.

Have a few burning questions in your mind about how money transfers work and how long your transfers could possibly take?

Let’s walk through it together!

We’re exploring international money transfers in-depth below.

You will discover:

What are money transfers? 

This may seem like a simple question, but understanding money transfers properly is vital for realising why they can’t always be instant. Money transfers are electronic transfers of money between banks and financial institutions. They make it easier for individual people to send or receive funds. 

Money transfers use a global interbank network which moves the funds from one bank to another. Domestic money transfers are quick, sometimes instantaneous and never usually take longer than 24 hours.  International money transfers typically take one to five business days, but this isn’t always the case. Service providers like Small World strive to make international money transfers as quick and efficient as possible. 

However, the time involved in international money transfers is impacted by a wide range of factors that are beyond a service provider’s control.

Bank transfer delays: Factors that affect how long money transfers take

Money transfers can be completed within a few minutes, or they can take a few days. 

There are different factors that influence this, including:

  • Timing of the Transfer or Time Zones

The time of day, the time zone you’re sending funds to and other factors such as weekends and bank holidays may influence the speed of the transfer. 

For example, Bank of America has a cut-off for next-day and three-day money transfers of 8 pm EST and 5 pm EST for same-day domestic and international transfers.

  • Location

The speed of the transfer is also influenced by where you’re sending or receiving funds from. 

International money transfers will depend on time zones, exchange rates and other factors too. For example, our money transfer service to Togo typically takes from a few minutes to within the same business day. 

However, for our services to the Dominican Republic, transfers are usually processed the next business day.

Some countries are classified as “slow-to-pay”, and in these regions, you may find transfers take as long as three weeks.

  • Incomplete or Incorrect Information

Transferring money to another country requires certain information. 

Typically, you need:

  • The recipient’s name and address
  • The type of bank account they have (checking, current, savings)
  • Their basic bank account number (BBAN) or IBAN (International Bank Account Number)
  • The name and address of their bank
  • Their bank’s BIC or SWIFT code

If you do not have all of this information, your bank transfer might get delayed or not go through at all.

  • Transfer Method

Financial institutions can send money in a number of ways. They may or may not give you a choice, but there are some common methods usually used:

  1. Fedwire: this is usually used for large transactions where time is important
  2. SWIFT: used for international transactions
  3. CHIPS: to process multiple transactions in a batch

There will be different cut-off times for different transfer methods, and you should be able to get an estimated arrival time for each method before deciding the best option for your needs.

  • Other Factors

You should also keep country-specific individual factors in mind when making international money transfers. 

Certain regions or states may have public holidays, and processing may also be delayed by currency conversion. 

A reliable money transfer service provider will always give you the estimated time it will take your funds to reach the beneficiary account, but you should keep in mind other factors that may influence this too.

Now that you’re equipped with all this information, it’d be a good idea to pre-plan your transfers accordingly.

Pro tip: Always keep a buffer period between the day you initiate the transfer and the day your loved ones need the money to avoid last minute stress!

Considering Money Transfers by Country

At Small World, we make it easy to transfer your money to over 90 countries worldwide. 

We make transfers as quick and efficient as possible but are bound by many of the factors mentioned. 

We’ve already discussed our transfer services to Togo and the Dominican Republic, but we also offer our services in many other states, ensuring quick and efficient transfer from the US to many countries.

The US has a large Colombian and Senegalese population. Sending money back to Colombia is possible in a matter of minutes, and to Senegal, we offer same-day money transfers. 

Similarly, there are over 4 million Filipinos living in the USA, many of whom send money back to the Philippines regularly.

Money transfers to the Philippines can be as quick as a few minutes to the next business day, depending on the method of transfer used. 

At Small World, we strive to ensure our customers can access the best services for their needs and can send money quickly and easily to their friends and family back home when necessary.

Sending Money to Friends and Family with Small World

Sending money around the world is easy with our money transfer services. You can transfer money through our app, our website or through a wide network of agents all over the world. The speed of service is influenced by all the factors we’ve discussed, but we try to make it as quick and secure as possible. 

Remember, your first transfer is always fee-free!


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