How Long Does an International Money Transfer Take?

It can take between 0 to 5+ days. The method you choose to transfer money will have the biggest difference on transfer speed.

How many days does an international money transfer take?

Just how long it takes for an international money transfer to arrive overseas depends on which company you use. We have provided examples of how long it takes to send money overseas with the companies below.

0-3 business days

0-3 business days

0-3 business days

0-3 business days

1-2 business days

1-3 business days

These delivery times are some of the quickest in the market.

These are the times it will take to send your money overseas if you use a money transfer provider (TransferWise, OFX, XE and WorldFirst) to send an international money transfer.

Times are shown above for both international money transfers and telegraphic transfers (TT). Many people avoid using a bank to transfer money overseas because it is slower.

Fee Free Offer

The Currency Shop has partnered with OFX to offer fee free money transfers. Click on this offer, register your details and avoid paying a fee to transfer money overseas.

  • After 20 years, OFX is one of the oldest money transfer companies and they have the expertise to go with it.
  • Their rates are often better than the banks, especially for larger transfers.
  • 24/7 phone support.
  • They have a minimum transfer amount of $250
  • Receiving or intermediary banks may charge fees on transactions

Learn More About OFX

How long does an international transfer take between banks?

This really depends on the country of the two banks. With the introduction of the New Payments Platform (NPP), domestic money transfers within Australia in Australian dollars, like transferring $100 from NAB to ANZ, should happen within seconds. Many other countries have strong local payment networks making local payments pretty fast.

If you are transferring money between two banks in different countries it's completely different. This is because transfers within a country are done using a local system. If a bank has to transfer money to another country, they will mostly use the SWIFT payment network which can be slow.

Depending on where you are sending to, a bank transfer can take longer than 5 days to arrive in the international bank account due to intermediary banks. This is common when the international bank account is in a country the banks do not trade with regularly.

 

How long it takes to send money overseas using an Australian bank?

According to each of the big four bank sites, this is how long it should take:

  • Commonwealth: 2 to 5 days.
  • ANZ: 2 days.
  • Westpac: '2 Banking Days, but may take longer'.
  • NAB: 3 days.

According to the Australian Financial Review (AFR) TransferWise has had so much success in recent years because they are consistently faster at transferring money overseas than the banks.

How long does a wire transfer take to process?

Great question but there is no simple answer. At best they take 1 business day and at worst more than 5 days to complete the international transfer.

Assuming you've asked your bank to transfer the money before their cut off time (usually around 5pm) they will process the payment that day. As TransferWise says in this blog:

'But just because your bank processes an international wire on that business day doesn’t mean it will arrive to your international recipient’s bank account that same day. Many sites quote that an international wire should normally arrive within 1-5 business days. But there are many factors that can add time to your transfer.'

How to transfer money internationally

  • Step 1
    SET UP YOUR ACCOUNT
    Thankfully, you only have to do this once. You'll have to register your details like name, address email and provide some identification.
  • Step 2
    MAKE YOUR TRANSFER
    You'll need to enter the bank account details of the person you are transferring the money to. This is also when you lock in the exchange rate.
  • Step 3
    PAY FOR YOUR TRANSFER
    Before the money is transferred overseas, you'll need to pay for it. All companies offer their bank account details for a direct bank transfer. Most companies offer Bpay and some even allow you to pay using a debit or credit card.
4 Tips for Making an International Money Transfer 4m 08s
Compare Companies that Allow You to Transfer Money Overseas

Our FAQs for international money transfers, answered

MoneyGram and Western Union have similar turnaround times to other specialist currency providers. That is, if it’s a bank account to bank account transfer of funds. If you’re funding the transfer in cash, the money can be picked up by the recipient within minutes of you making payment and providing their details.

A SWIFT code is a unique identification code for a particular bank throughout the world. These codes are Bank Identifier Codes (BIC) and companies use the SWIFT/BIC codes to send money to overseas bank accounts. SWIFT and BIC codes are the same thing.

It consists of 8 or 11 characters. They are a combination of various kinds of letters and are used to identify the branch codes of the banks.

It is often a requirement when making an international money transfer. If you would like to find the SWIFT/BIC code of your account, they often have it on your banks website or you can look it up on the SWIFT website.

The New Payments Platform is an Australian initiative launched in October 2017. It removes much of the delay for transferring money between bank accounts or between accounts and providers like specialist money transfer businesses.

This reduces the speed of these transfers from a day to just a few seconds or minutes. This effectively means that as long as there are funds in your account, they will clear with a specialist currency provider almost instantly.

You’re probably not looking forward to a long, exhaustive explanation of currency exchange rates and fees, so we’ll keep this mercifully brief!

When you send money abroad using your bank or a specialist international money transfer company, exchange rates and fees vary because money transfer companies need to make money too. The question is, how much does it cost them to transfer money overseas relative to what you pay them? We don't know. But what we do know is the different ways they can charge you for your international money transfer:

1. They may offer a slightly worse exchange rate

The “best” exchange rate available is the “base” exchange rate.* Some currency providers make money by offering you a slightly worse rate, and take a profit on the difference — this is known as the “margin” or “spread.” For example, the base rate might get you $1,000 US dollars for $1,412 AUD, but a provider charges you $1,430 AUD. That $18 difference is their margin, where they make a profit.

*The standard exchange rate is also known as the standard, mid-market or interbank exchange rate.

2. They may charge a fixed fee

Some providers, especially banks, will charge you a fixed fee to send money. These fees can range from anywhere between $1 to $25 or more. High street banks are particularly bad at charging high, fixed fees — but don’t worry, we’ve got some good alternatives for you.

3. They may charge a commission or service charge

Some providers like TransferWise charge a fee based on the total amount you’re transferring as a commission or service charge. These will typically be shown seperate to the exchange rate, and as the amount you send increases, the service charge will also go up.

Comparing charges for international money transfers

Providers do vary in how they charge for international money transfer services, and they may apply a combination of different types of fees. When we compare providers, we show you the total amount you’ll pay, so you always get a fair, side-by-side comparison.

Something else to bear in mind — if you’re sending money to someone else’s bank account, their bank may charge processing fees. A money transfer company has no influence on these fees, and you should speak to the receiving bank to understand how much they might be.

Find out how much it really costs to send money internationally, and get the best rates by using our international money transfer comparison tool.

By Arlene Mc Donnell Updated September 23rd, 2020