How long do international bank transfers take?

Whether you’re an expat, international student, or business owner, we know how important it is for international payments to arrive promptly. Sending money overseas is less complicated than it may initially seem however, there are a few factors that determine the processing times of your international bank transfer. International bank transfers can arrive in as little as the next working day, however, this isn’t always the case. 

In this article, we explain everything you need to know about the transfer times of international payments. Hopefully, this will answer any questions that you have and help you to make timely transfers in the future.  

How does an international bank transfer work?

Most international bank transfers are made with SWIFT, which is a messaging network that facilitates banks and financial institutions to send and receive information about financial transactions, even if they don’t have a direct relationship. This secure and fast method of communication via the SWIFT network allows wire transfer information to be transmitted between thousands of banks worldwide. 

For example, if you’re sending a payment from your UK bank to a bank account in Japan, the two banks involved in the transfer may not have a relationship, so they would need to route the payment via an intermediary or correspondent bank, sometimes as many as three correspondent banks. These intermediary banks handle your payments and make sure they are sent on to the correct bank, similar to a postal depot. If your transfer has to go through an intermediary bank, it can extend the processing transfer time of your international payment. 

Once the funds arrive at the recipient’s bank, there’s sometimes an additional processing time. This can mean It takes extra time for the transfer amount to actually appear in the account as useable funds, even if the money has already arrived. 

payment machine on three mastercards

How long does an international bank transfer take?

Depending on the bank that you make your transfer with, international payments can take longer than you expect. Remember that each bank has its own cut-off time, which means if a money transfer request is not submitted before the cut-off, it won’t be processed until the next business day.

To enable us to make your payment on the agreed date, here at Halo Financial we must receive your funds before the relevant cut off time. As cut off times vary depending on the currency being sent, we recommend receiving your funds before 12 pm (UK time) on the value date, and where possible the business day before, to ensure we can make your payment without delay. Your dedicated Currency Consultant can provide you with specific cut-off times. 

When will your international payments be received?

This depends on the currency being transferred, where it is being sent and how fast the beneficiary bank credits the beneficiary account. We can send British Pound (GBP), US Dollar (USD), Euro (EUR) and Canadian Dollar (CAD) transfers for ‘same day’ value, which in most instances will mean the beneficiary account will also be credited on the same day. 

Most other currencies, including Australian Dollars (AUD), New Zealand Dollars (NZD), Hong Kong Dollars (HKD), Singapore Dollars (SGD), South African Rand (ZAR) and Japanese Yen (JPY), are known as ‘next day’ currencies, which in most cases will mean the beneficiary account will be credited one business day after the payment has been made. 

It is important to note that public/bank holidays may delay the delivery of funds. 

a stack of coins next to a clock

Factors that affect your international bank transfer

International money transfers do not happen instantaneously and there are a few factors that can delay transfer times. Being aware of these factors can help you to have a better idea of when your money will arrive in the receiving bank account and in some circumstances, can help avoid delays on your transfers. 

Incorrect Payment Details 

Luckily, one of the most common factors that cause slow transfer times is also the most avoidable. Incorrect payment details can alter or delay the transfer time when using money transfer services. If any information is entered incorrectly, the payment can be sent back. To avoid this from happening, always double-check that all your recipient information and bank details are correct.  

Chosen Payment Method 

The payment method you choose to send your transfer funds with (credit card, debit card, can affect how long your international transfer takes. 

The Destination Country 

Your transfer time can vary depending on the country you are sending money to. The speed of bank processing varies in different countries. Each country has its own banking infrastructure (some quicker than others), different regulations, and fraud prevention processes, all of which can affect transfer time. 

Time Zones 

When making international transfers, remember to take into consideration the time zone in the country of the recipient’s bank. If you’re sending a payment from the United Kingdom to Australia for example, the significant time difference means it’s unlikely your payment will arrive on the same calendar date that you sent it. To ensure that your international wire transfer arrives on time, make sure to send your payment during business hours in your recipient’s country.  

Bank Holidays and Weekends 

Bank holidays can affect the opening times of banks and in some countries, banking systems have limited hours on the weekends. Remember to account for this when making your international transfers to avoid delays.  

Anti-Money Laundering and Fraud Regulations 

For security purposes and to protect from fraud, banks will have various fraud prevention procedures in place for their money transfers. This can delay the processing time of an international transfer, it could pass through up to three banks in the SWIFT network before landing at your recipient’s bank as a part of this fraud regulation process. 

people walking on street of the city of London

What information do you need to make an international bank transfer?

The information you need to provide when making an international bank transfer will vary from bank to bank and depending on the destination of the recipient’s account. 

  • Full name and address of the recipient’s bank account details 
  • Recipient’s account number 
  • Recipient’s IBAN (International Bank Account Number) 
  • BIC code/SWIFT code of the recipient’s bank 

Make a fast and simple international bank transfer with Halo Financial

At Halo Financial, we facilitate fast and effective international payment services. We create bespoke currency strategies to help you secure the best exchange rate whilst mitigating currency risk for all your international transfers. Register for a free account with us today to start making quick and easy transfers that achieve more in the exchange market.