Can International Bank Transfers Take Longer Than 5 Working Days?

International Bank Transfer

There are two major types of wire transfers: domestic wire transfers and international wire transfers. Domestic wire transfers are used to send money within a country, and they usually take three days or 24 hours. On the other hand, an international bank transfer is used to send money aboard. Typically, this transfer takes around 5 days. But can it take longer?

International bank transfers can take longer than 5 days. The delay can be because of several factors, including fraud prevention, wrong payment details, different time zones, and different currencies.

Bank transfer, or wire transfer, remains one of the fastest ways to send money locally and internationally. However, sometimes, there could be slight delays, especially when sending money abroad. This delay can make you wait a few extra days before the transferred fund is delivered to the recipient. In this post, I’ll explain if indeed the delay exists and why it does.

Why Transfer Pricing Is Important?

Can International Bank Transfers Take Longer Than 5 Working Days?

International bank transfer is a common payment system. For those who aren’t aware of what this system is, here is a terse explanation.

International wire transfers are made in one country and settled in another. Senders must make international transfers even when they transfer money to someone in another country who has an account at the same bank. These payments require a routing or SWIFT code.  

International wire transfers are usually delivered within two business days. This extra day is required as international bank transfers must clear a domestic ACH and its foreign counterpart.

Name of Banks International Bank Transfer Fees
Bank of America$35 to $45 per wire transfer
Chase$40 to $50 per wire transfer
Citibank$35 to $45 per wire transfer
US Bank$50 per wire transfer
Wells Fargo$30 to $45 per wire transfer

How to Send International Wire Transfers?

If you are sending a wire transfer abroad via your bank, you’ll have to tell them where to send the payment. You can provide the recipient’s details by visiting a branch, contacting your bank, or filling out an online form. Fees will defer depending on the bank and the location of the recipient.

Wire transfers through non-bank transfer services are usually cheap. It may also be more suitable to complete the process online rather than visiting your branch physically. You’ll need to create an account with the organization and wire money online or by phone. As soon as you make the payment, the organization will send it to the recipient’s account.

These services can also give you more flexibility when it comes to selecting exchange rates. Options include sending funds at the current exchange rate, which can be faster and simpler but may be more expensive.

You can as well decide to forward contracts. This is a great move if you want today’s competitive exchange rates but need to send funds at a later date, as you can lock in the current rates for up to 12-months.

Furthermore, you may be able to go for a limit order. Choose your preferred exchange rate, and the transfer service will make your payment on your behalf as soon as this rate is available. Limit orders can last up to 12 months but come with high minimum transaction amounts.

Do International Wire Transfers Have Fees?

The truth is that sending international wire transfers by a bank can be costly. A recent examination of 40 prominent United States Financial Institutions discovered that the median outgoing international wire transfer fee was $45. Costs can also apply when receiving an international wire transfer, with the median fee being $13.

Furthermore, banks charge customers a higher markup than the mid-market rate when converting currency. Banks often charge this as a percentage of the entire wire transfer amount. Non-bank transfer services can help customers avoid these costly markups, with some companies charging companies the mid-market rate.

How Long Does an International Bank Transfer Take?

Normally, international bank transfers will arrive within one to five working days. Let’s take a closer look at what this looks like:

To initiate an international payment, you need to have all the required information (IBAN, BIC/ SWIFT number, recipient’s banking details, etc.) and submit them to your bank, either in person or through an online banking app. In most cases, international transfers can only be processed on business days, provided they are required before the cut-off period, which is different for each bank.

Assuming you send your international transfer request before the bank’s cut-off time, it should be processed on the same day. If it isn’t, it will almost certainly be processed on the next business day. Once the transfer has been processed, the funds will be removed from the sender’s account. But, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the recipient will receive it at that same time. As said above, international transfers will generally arrive within one to five working days.

Wire Transfer Risks and Controls

Can International Bank Transfers Be Delayed for More Than 5 Working Days?

Typically, an international bank transfer should arrive within one to five working days. But, sometimes, it can be delayed due to some reasons. I have highlighted some of the reasons below.

  • Fraud prevention

Why is your international bank transfer taking too long? You see, one of the reasons why an international transfer may be delayed for more than 5 working days is due to the fraud prevention processes and procedures set up by banks. The SWIFT network requires transfers to go through up to three correspondent banks before reaching their final stop. Then, once the funds arrive, processing time at the recipient’s banks could drag payment further.

  • Wrong payment details

Another factor that can delay your international bank transfer is wrong payment details. Payments can be returned if any of your beneficiary’s information is wrong. Thus, before you initiate a payment, confirm the name of the recipient, the name of their bank, their account number, IBAN, etc.  

  • Different currencies

Currency conversion can slow international bank transfer times. If the payment you sent needs to be received in another currency by the sender, processing times can be delayed.

  • Different time zones

It might be noon in Berlin, but its midnight in New York. If you want to ensure your international bank transfer goes through fast, try sending it during business hours in your recipient’s country.

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