How Long It Takes to Wire Money Overseas: 5 Common Methods Compared
Sometimes, you need to wire money internationally, right now! If you’re looking to exchange your currency and transfer it to someone in another country, you’ll find the information you need to get it there, fast. We’ve dug into the research and explored five ways you can send money abroad from the U.S.
Five Popular Money Transfer Methods
There are dozens of ways to wire money internationally, so we took five of the most common in the U.S. and worked out how long each takes:
- The speed of an international wire transfer with Wells Fargo bank.
- The speed of an international wire transfer with Chase bank
- The speed of sending money overseas through Wise (formerly known as TransferWise)
- The speed of sending money overseas through XE Money Transfers
- The speed of sending money overseas through OFX
The Speed of International Wire Transfers with Wells Fargo Bank
How to make a transfer: Wells Fargo lets you make international wire transfers via your online banking service, over the phone or by visiting a branch
Cut off times for a transfer: Wells Fargo requires you to submit your transfer before 2 PM Pacific time for transfers, otherwise it will wait until the next business day
Speed of transfer: Depending on the factors mentioned earlier, international wire transfers with Wells Fargo take from one to three business days
Cost of transfer: International transfers from Wells Fargo attract fees of $30 to $45, and you will also get a poor exchange rate
The Speed of International Wire Transfers with Chase Bank
How to make a transfer: Chase lets you make international wire transfers via your online banking service, over the phone or by visiting a branch
Cut off times for a transfer: Chase requires you to submit your transfer before 4 PM Eastern time for transfers, otherwise it will wait until the next business day
Speed of transfer: Depending on the factors mentioned earlier, international wire transfers with Chase take from three to five business days
Cost of transfer: International transfers in U.S. dollars from Chase attract fees of $40 to $50, and you will also get a poor exchange rate
Banks are not your only option for sending money internationally. Specialist money transfer providers also offer rapid currency exchange and almost always have much lower fees than the banks. We’ve looked into three of the main providers: Wise, XE and OFX.
The Speed of International Wire Transfers with Wise (formerly TransferWise)
Wise is a very popular international money transfer provider with low fees and extremely competitive exchange rates. Wise transfers typically take one to two business days.
How to make a transfer: You can only make a transfer with Wise online or via their mobile app
Speed of transfer: Depending on the factors mentioned earlier, international money transfers with Wise take from one to four business days, and they’ll tell you how long it takes when you set your transfer up
Cost of transfer: Wise charges extremely low fees and provides the most competitive exchange rates, for example sending $1,000 to the U.K only costs $7.56
The Speed of International Wire Transfers with XE Money Transfers
XE Money Transfer is one of the oldest and most trusted currency exchange services available. XE transfers typically take one to four business days.
How to make a transfer: You can only make a transfer with XE Money Transfer online or via their mobile app
Speed of transfer: Depending on the factors mentioned earlier, international money transfers with XE Money Transfer take from one to four business days
Cost of transfer: XE Money Transfer does not charge fees, but they offer slightly poorer exchange rates than the base rate, this means your effective fee is likely to be around one percent of the total amount transferred, although that can vary based on country and currency
The Speed of International Wire Transfers with OFX
OFX is a specialist foreign exchange provider with superb customer service. They are best if you’re sending large amounts of money. OFX transfers typically take one to three business days.
How to make a transfer: You can make a transfer with OFX over the phone or through the website or via their mobile app
Speed of transfer: Depending on the factors mentioned earlier, international money transfers with OFX take from one to three business days
Cost of transfer: OFX charges a $5 fee and makes money off of the exchange rate. At lower amounts, they are not as good value as some other providers, but as you send more, their fees become much more reasonable
The Factors that Impact How Long a Wire Transfer Takes
There are several factors that affect how long it takes for money to reach your recipient.
1. The Countries You’re Sending Money Between
Wire transfers between popular countries are generally faster than between more unusual destinations. For example, sending money from the U.S. to Europe might only take one or two business days, but sending money from Azerbaijan to Columbia is likely to take a fair bit longer.
2. The Currencies You’re Sending Money Between
Just like the countries you’re sending between, transferring widely circulated currencies is faster.
3. How You Pay for the Transfer
All transfers need to be funded, and the way you pay can affect how fast your payment clears and when the transfer starts. Typically, paying by credit or debit cards are the fastest methods, followed by paying directly from a bank account.
4. The Amount You’re Sending
If you’re sending a lot of money overseas, your transaction may be subject to extra security checks, which can slow things down.
5. How the Recipient Chooses to Get Their Money
Although many recipients choose to have money deposited into their bank accounts, some may want to pick up cash or have money sent to their homes. The delivery methods can make a difference to how long the transfer takes.
6. The Number of Banks the Transfer Needs to Travel Through
Bank to bank transfers are not always direct. Sometimes, intermediary banks may get involved, and that can add some time.
7. If You’re Sending Money Over a Weekend or Holiday
International wire transfers only progress during business days and working hours. Banks will not typically progress transfers over the weekend or when they are closed for a national holiday.
8. The Cut Off Time for Wire Transfers
Some banks and providers need you to start your wire transfer before a certain cut off time. Otherwise, they will wait until the next business day to process your transfer.
Recipient Information to Make a Transfer
If you want to speed up a transfer, you’ll need information about the recipient. Gather this ahead of time, so there’s no delay to your international wire. You’ll need:
- Their name and address
- Their bank account details
- The name and address of their bank
- Their bank’s SWIFT, IBAN or other code
Looking to Speed Up Your International Wire Transfers?
There are a few methods that might help you to speed up your transfers:
- Choose a fast international money transfer provider
- Create an account with a money transfer provider as soon as possible
- Pay for your transfer using a credit or debit card
- Confirm all the details of the recipient
- Start the transfer before any cut off times
- Track your transfer on the website or through an app
Our handy tool compares money transfer services and lets you know how long a transfer will take and how much you’ll pay. Get started now.
There you have it, your guide to sending an international wire transfer as fast as possible. Now, there’s no need to delay!
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