How Long Does a Wire Transfer Take

Technology has greatly revolutionized the way we transfer and receive money. Unlike before when people had to wait for weeks or months to receive funds, today money is a click of a button away. Wire transfer is one of those stress-free money transfer methods. It takes a very short time and it’s so reliable. Once the process starts, you get your money without any complications or delays.

The question is “How Long Does a Wire Transfer Take”. In matters time, wire transfer take anywhere between 1 to 5 days. This is depended on several factors. One of them is where the money is going and the method of transfer. The domestic transfers are the easiest and fastest. Within 24 hour, the recipient can receive funds in their bank accounts. The international transfers take a bit longer. Although, it can only extend to 5 days if there are no other technicalities.

The wire transfer method is also easy to initiate and track. There is no holding of money received via wire transfer. So, other than delays, you don’t expect your money to be held for whatever reasons as is the case with some methods. Although, due to verification work involved, it may take time for the funds to be available in the recipient’s account. All this is done to ensure secure bank transfer. To make sure that the money reaches the intended beneficiary.

How Wire Transfers Work

In general term wire transfer refers to electronic transfer system. The transfer can be between bank or credit union. The description also captures non-banking methods like Western Union or MoneyGram. Basically, you are not transferring the physical cash from one account to another. This method allows both domestic and international funds transfer. That’s why there is a variation of time taken to complete the process.

To send money domestically, the process is quicker than international transfer. There are different systems that facilitate each type of wire transferring system. For domestic customers, CHIPS and FedWire are the most popular systems. They ensure that the incoming wires are in the recipients’ account within maximum 24 hours.

For international transfer, SWIFT is the most popular system. It is a system under which many instructions work together to realize better and easy to wire transferring. Unlike domestic transfers, international wire transfers can take longer. Like any other financial transaction, there is no discrete-time for international wire transfer. However, the transfer may shouldn’t take more than five business days. That doesn’t mean there can’t be variations. Sometimes international fund transfer take longer. Although, this is rare and only common with slow to pay countries. Even though the funds may take all this time to reflect in the recipient’s bank account, they are immediately deducted from the sender’s bank account.

Actually How Long Does a Wire Transfer Take To Complete Transaction

Wire transfers normally don’t take long for the receiving funds in recipient’s account. For example, domestic transfers should not take more than 3 business days. At best they even take minutes. International transfers are a bit slow and take longer. But even, then they shouldn’t go beyond 5 days. However, sometimes unanticipated delays can occur. In the case of such a scenario, different factors can contribute. Some of these include;

  • A bank’s mistake: If an error occurs during transfer initiation, it can result in a delay. For example, the recipient’s bank account number is wrong, a misspelled name or address. Remember banks have to verify everything even name and address. So, such error can result in delays or even cancellation of the transaction altogether. The verification process is done to avoid the loss of money. That’s one of the strengths of wired funds transfer. Keeping your funds safe and delivering it to the intended recipient’s.
  • Holidays and weekends: Wire transferring system are process exclusively during working days. Weekends and holidays are exemptions. So, if you happen to initiate transfer coinciding with the two, there can be a delay. The maximum days counted do not include weekends or holidays.
  • Cut-off time: Failure to observe the cutoff time can also cause delays. If you launch your request past the cutoff time, your request isn’t process immediately.
  • Slow to pay countries: If the transfer involves slow paying countries, expect delays. That’s why it’s prudent to be aware of these countries so that the delay doesn’t destabilize you.

Information Required to Sending a Wire Transfer

Before any financial transaction, factual information is a requirement. It is no different with wire transfer either. Accurate information about the recipient is mandatory. Otherwise, if you suffer delayed transfer or hold, you’ll have yourself to blame. If you are preparing to initiate a wire transfer, have the following information at hand;

  • Need the recipient’s official names and full physical address
  • Banking information that includes; Type, name, address and contact number
  • ABA routing number; that is if you are initiating a local transfer. If international, have the IBAN/SWIFT codes.
  • Reasons for the transfer money
  • You also need to indicate the currency you are transferring and to be received. For example, sending dollars but the recipient to receive in Euros.

How to Wire Money

Wiring money has never been easy. It’s a rigorous process that requires utmost keenness and accuracy. Today, there are several options you can use to make wire money to someone else. You can wire through banks; check with your bank online system use your phone or laptop.

In the case of bank wires, you need factual information about your recipient and the receiver receiving bank. You should ensure you have all the details we’ve captured above. Sometimes you may have to work hand in hand with your recipient. In case you get stuck anywhere, you can contact the bank for assistance.

After you’ve ensured all the details, it’s time to give the banking instructions correctly. You should tell them how much money you need to send and in what currency. You should also indicate how you want the recipient to receive the funds. Basically, all this information you fill in a transfer form. Ensure that all the information you provide is verifiable and correct. Otherwise, a slight mistake can lead to delay or cancellation.

If you are send money via non-banking methods such as MoneyGram, try to understand the process. Some methods do not even need you have a bank account number. In such cases, you give the cash to wire in person. As long as you provide the correct recipient’s information, they’ll have the cash within a few days.

Cost of Wire Transferring

The cost of wire transferring varies from bank to bank. The cost is based on various aspects of the transfer. For example, the type of your bank accounts, the method of transfer and where you are sending the money. Below is a comparison table of the 5 biggest banks in the United States according to Business Insider.

Bank/InstitutionDomestic SendingDomestic ReceivingInternational SendingInternational Receiving
Bank of America$30$15Between $35 to $45$16
Chase BankBetween $25 to $35$15Between $35 to $45$16
Goldman Sachs$25$0N/AN/A
CitibankBetween $0 to $25Range $0 to $15Between $0 to $35Between $0 to $15
Wells Fargo$30$15Between $30 to $45$16

Factors that Affect How long does a wire transfer take

How long does a wire transfer take, it’s depend on three factors; Even delivery time of sending money may vary as some banks and credit unions hold on to these funds.

1. The time you initiate the transfer money

The time you submit your wire transfer request matters a lot. Every banking or institution has its own timeline regulations. Additionally, there are federal reserve regulations. These mandate the bank to do transfers within a specified time frame. If you submit your request outside this scope, your application is carried forward to the next business day. That means delayed transfer. According to the Expedited Funds Availability Act (EFAA), the wire transfer should be completed within 24 hour. That necessitates the different banks cut off times to meet this requirement.

You should also consider the weekends and federal holidays. No wire transfer can take place within these times. So, when calculating the transfer time, you should keep all these in mind.

2.Transfer destination

The location of your recipient also plays a key role in the transfer time. The domestic wire transfer within U.S complete within 24 hours. This is in compliance with the EFAA regulations. Moreover, some banks avail funds to the recipient instantly, especially the accounts within the same institution. The international wire transfer, also known as remittance transfer takes between 1 to 5 business days. It will depend on the recipient’s location and the region’s banking systems, currencies and time zones.

Also, there are a group of countries designated as slow to pay. Wire transfers to such destinations may suffer further delays or even cancellation. Before making a wire transfer request, ask the bank for an updated list of slow to pay countries. Thus, you’ll have a glimpse of what to expect beforehand.

3. Bank wire transfer network

Banks have different methods or systems for completing wire transfers. FedWire for example is a quick transfer system meant for time-sensitive or high-value wire transfer. Unfortunately, it is only used for domestic transfers. These transfers don’t delay. They are processed as they happen. This is more popular for Real-time Gross Settlement (RTGS).

Some banks also use the Clearing House Interbank Payments System (CHIPS) system. This is used to process multiple transfers. With batch processing, what happens is that banks set their own cut off times to send batch transfers. Here, many transfers are compounded and processed as a group(batch). Per day, a bank using CHIPS processes multiple batches of transfer requests.

Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) is the most famous wire transfer method. It is especially helpful where international transfers are involved. If between bank transfer is impossible. The SWIFT network makes it possible by channeling the funds through intermediary institutions.

Popular US Banks Wire Transfer Cut-off Times

Wire transfers are immensely affected by days and cutoff times. All wire transfers are processed on weekdays; that is from Monday to Friday. Different factors also affect the cut off times. That’s why different institutions have differing cut off times. Below are the wire transfer cut-off times for five major US banks;

  1. Wells Fargo : Wells Fargo has wire transfer cut off time as 5:00 PM ET. All the wire transfer requests made before this time send on the same day. That means both local and global wire transfers. Any request arriving past the cut off time is processed as the next day request.
  2. Bank of America : Bank of America has different cutoff times for different wire transfers. For a same-day transfer, the cutoff times are 5:00 PM ET. This is for both locally and globally bound transfers. For the next business day or 3 business days wire transfer, the cutoff is 8:00 PM ET.
  3. Chase bank : Chase bank has two cutoff times for different wire transfer categories. 4:00 PM ET for personal banking customers. The 5:00 PM ET cutoff time is for the Business banking customers.
  4. Goldman Sachs : The Goldman Sachs’ cutoff time is 4:00 PM ET for same-day local wire transfers. Unfortunately, they do not have international wire transfers.
  5. Citibank : Citibank offers both locally and globally wire transfers. Each has different cutoff times. For same-day international wire transfers, the cutoff time is set to 5:15 PM ET. The local transfers have 45 more minutes; their cutoff time set to 6:00 PM ET.

Is ACH the Same as a Wire Transfer?

During ACH transfers, it sends information in a batch to the automated clearing house, clearing the payments through and then sending them onto the bank. An ACH transfer can often take two to three business days to complete. They take a longer time to clear because many are processed by banks together at once. 

Wire transfers also transfer funds from one account to another and transfer the funds along almost immediately, but instead of the ACH, bank are serving as middlemen.

Final Recap

Wire transfers are a reliable and fast way of sending money. The only shortcoming is that both the sender and recipients may both have to pay for the transaction. The fee charged isn’t also very little. Thus, the parties involved may feel the pinch of losing several dollars in the process. The benefits therein though outweigh the cons.

If you have been struggling to send money to your relatives, friend or family, hope you have the available solution. Wire transfer provides a variety of options to make ensure faster cash transfer. Since time is a major factor during a money transfer, it’s important to use the method that takes care of it. You have no reason to send your money to someone stuck financially only for it to be held by the bank.

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