How Long Does an International Money Transfer Take?

There are dozens of factors that affect the speed of which it takes to send money overseas. Generally, the method you choose to transfer money will be the main factor that will impact transfer speed.

How long does it take to transfer money 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.

How long does a wire transfer take to process?

Great question but there is no simple answer.

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 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.

How many days does telegraphic transfer take if you avoid using a bank?

Again, it depends on which company you use:

Transfer times for money transfer companies:

How international transfers generally work

  1. You choose how you want to send money internationally. This could be via a dedicated currency provider, your bank, PayPal, or some other means. We recommend a specialist currency provider as you’ll get better rates and pay lower fees.
  2. Then arrange for the money transfer with your provider, normally through their web portal.
  3. You'll choose the currencies you want to exchange money between.
  4. Next you enter the sender and recipient details for the money transfer.
  5. Then fund the transfer, typically with a debit card.
  6. The provider collects the funds from your bank account.
  7. They then convert the funds into the new currency.
  8. They deposit those funds into the recipient’s bank account.
  9. The recipient collects the money.
Compare Companies that Allow You to Transfer Money Overseas

Frequently asked questions

Can I make choices to speed up currency transfer times?

Yes, absolutely. Choosing the right currency provider, funding your transfer in a certain way, and exchanging money between well-established currencies will all help to reduce transfer times. The upcoming “New Payments Platform” in Australia will also help to reduce transfer times. More on that below.

What is the New Payments Platform?

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.

Is it faster to use a service like MoneyGram or Western Union?

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.

What are SWIFT Payments?

The “Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications” or SWIFT manages messaging and payments between banks and other financial services around the world. It is used to provide money transfer and other details together with payment and recipient details to ensure accuracy when moving money.

It was developed in 1974 and is used by nearly 10,000 financial service providers worldwide. Unfortunately, its age is starting to show! That’s why a new system called the “New Payments Platform” has been introduced that will radically improve the speed and efficiency of financial and transaction communications.

General advice: The information on this site is of a general nature only. It does not take your specific needs or circumstances into consideration. You should look at your own personal situation and requirements before making any financial decisions.