For significant transactions—like buying a home—wire transfers or cashier’s checks might be your only options. Why? The short answer is that the funds are available to the recipient more or less immediately.
The term “wire transfer” is often used for various types of electronic transfers that typically aren’t as instant or as safe as bank wire transfers, as described above. In fact, almost all payments are electronic (even checks get digitized).
However, some electronic payments can be reversed. Thieves like to take advantage of customer confusion by promising to send a wire transfer but actually sending money using a different (reversible) method.
With a wire transfer, money goes from one bank to another, and then to the recipient’s account. Inside of the United States, that means each party to a wire transfer needs a bank account. To open an account, federal regulations require that banks verify your identity (among other things) and ask for a physical address where you can be found.
Usually, if somebody asks for a “bank wire,” they want the traditional bank-to-bank transfer. But the term wire transfer gets used for other types of transfers as well, so it’s best to clarify the requirements if somebody asks for a wire transfer.
When you need to send or receive money quickly, a bank transfer or a wire transfer might be the right tool for the job. Wire transfers are immediate, reliable, and safe (as long as you’re not sending money to a thief).
The main risk with wire transfers is when you send money.
Wire transfers are useful because the money moves within one or two days. Within the United States, same-day transfers are possible, and international transfers take an extra day or two.
What about receiving a wire transfer—is that safe? For the most part, yes. Payments are more certain because banks only wire money out if the sender has the funds available, usually within one business day (although exceptions may apply). What’s more, it is very difficult for the sender to pull money back after it’s been transferred.
A wire transfer is an electronic transfer from one bank or credit union to another. Learn about the speed, security, and costs of wiring money.
And that’s for an international wire transfer in which everything goes smoothly. There are many other factors that can slow a transfer.
Generally, making an international wire is a fairly simple process, though that process will vary depending on which bank you use. Some banks allow for making international wire transfer requests online, via mobile app or over the phone, while others require faxed or mail forms and many even require an in-person visit to a branch.
And, if possible, request your transfer at the beginning of the work week so it has time to arrive and be processed in the recipient’s country before the weekend hits and holds the process up.
Whether it’s because you’re a frequent world traveler, have friends or family who live in another country, or maybe you do business overseas, at some point in your life it’s possible you’ll need to make an international wire transfer. And money is a sticky subject for a lot of people – if they don’t receive it on time, you’re probably going to hear about it. How long does it actually take to send money abroad with an international wire transfer? Unfortunately, there’s no one, simple answer to that question. But this guide should give you a good idea of what to expect for a timeline when you make your first international wire transfer.
Generally, if you’re sending money through your bank, then payment for a wire transfer is simply deducted automatically from the account from which the transfer funds are withdrawn.
Speaking of fees, there are also generally fees associated with making SWIFT transfers. There will likely be an outgoing international transfer fee levied by your bank, and each of the intermediary banks is entitled to a fee deducted from the transfer amount. The recipient’s bank normally also levies an incoming international transfer fee.
Some countries shut down banking systems for major holidays a week at a time. Which means, depending on when you send the money, there could be no open bank to process the transfer on the receiving end. Careful planning can help avoid this kind of a situation.
TransferWise transfers work a bit different than normal banks. Its smart new technology connects local bank accounts all over the world, which nearly always translates to lower costs and faster transfer times.
Just like with any other transfer service, TransferWise can’t guarantee transfer times as there are many factors involved.
Wondering how long it takes for an international wire to clear? And why it takes so long? You’ve come to the right place.