How Long It Takes to Wire Money Overseas: 5 Common Methods Compared

International Money Transfer Services

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. We’ll help you choose the perfect method and explain each one.

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 TransferWise
  • The speed of sending money overseas through XE Money Transfers
  • The speed of sending money overseas through OFX

If you're interested, we share with you 8 factors that impact your money transfer. We also give you some tips on how to speed up your international money transfer next time you do it.

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The Speed of International Wire Transfers with Wells Fargo Bank

Wells Fargo is a popular U.S. bank and their transfers typically take one to three business days.

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

Chase is a popular U.S. bank and their transfers typically take three to five business days.

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: TransferWise, XE and OFX.

The Speed of International Wire Transfers with TransferWise

TransferWise is a very popular international money transfer provider with low fees and extremely competitive exchange rates. TransferWise transfers typically take one to two business days.

How to make a transfer: You can only make a transfer with TransferWise online or via their mobile app

Speed of transfer: Depending on the factors mentioned earlier, international money transfers with TransferWise 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: TransferWise 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

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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.

how long a wire transfer takes

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

 

How to Speed Up Your International Wire Transfers

There are a few methods you can use to speed up your transfers:

  1. Choose a fast international money transfer provider
  2. Create an account with a money transfer provider as soon as possible
  3. Pay for your transfer using a credit or debit card
  4. Confirm all the details of the recipient
  5. Start the transfer before any cut off times
  6. 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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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.