How Long Does a Wire Transfer Take? (the Answer Might Surprise You)


Are you looking for a way to pay someone living in the same territory? Want to send money to your family who is across the border? Nowadays, transferring cash is simple thanks to payment systems like Paypal and Stripe.

However, the fastest and safest way to give and receive money is wire transfers. How long does a wire transfer take? Well, read on to find out more about wire transfers.

How Do Wire Transfers Work?

A wire transfer refers to the action of transferring money through electronic means. In the past, they happened through the use of telegraph wires. Today, we can make wire transfers between credit unions and banks.

You can also wire money with non-transfer banks, such as Western Union or MoneyGram. Wiring money is a great alternative if you can’t send money by bank-to-bank transfer. When initiating a wire transfer via bank, you need to provide the following:

  • Recipient’s name
  • Recipient’s routing number
  • Recipient’s bank account number
  • Amount of money

Are you looking for a domestic wire transfer? You can do so via Fedwire or CHIPS. For international recipients, you can also wire money through SWIFT or CHIPS.

How Long Does a Wire Transfer Take?

One of the advantages of wire transfers is the speed of the transfer. However, factors like the processing time and cleared funds can delay the transfer.

How long does a wire transfer take? Below are the types of wire transfers and how long they can take.

International Wire Transfer

Wire transfer from other countries takes the longest to process. They often need more than one banking system to send money from country to country. International wire transfers can take as many as five days to reach the recipient.

You can ask your bank to determine the exact number of days it’ll take to reach the recipient. Are you in a rush to expedite the process? Your credit unions or bank may be able to help you find a way to speed up the transfer.

Domestic Wire Transfer

Domestic wire transfers ensure no waiting time for recipients before they can withdraw. Most banks can complete a wire transfer in 24 hours, depending on the process. Bank employees have to review and authorize your fund’s transfer, causing a delay for a few hours.

Sometimes, the banks make a mistake about the recipient’s details. Domestic wire transfer only happens during business days, so that holidays may delay the process. Find out the bank’s cut-off time to ensure that your transfer reaches in time.

Non-Bank Wire Transfer

Non-bank transfers can vary depending on where the money is being receives. For example, a wire transfer sent from Ohio to Texas can take as little as 10 minutes. However, sending money from Ohio to Poland can take up to 24 hours.

The transfer also considers a few factors, such as funds and local banking laws. They also consider the system availability, like if there’s a blackout at the provider’s system. When wired money transfers reach their destination, the funds are immediately available.

Costs of Wire Transfers

All types of wire transfers cost money. The costs vary depending on ongoing, incoming, domestic, or international circumstances. Every bank has its own set fee for sending your cash.

Domestic fees are the cheapest since the recipient is in the same country. In general, incoming domestic wire transfers can cost up to $15. Outgoing domestic wire transfers range between $25 to $30.

International wire transfers are the most expensive, costing $15 to $50. Many US banks now got into the practice of waiving fees for all incoming wires. They only charge the account holders when they send a wire transfer.

Do you want to save more money when making wire transfers? Check your provider to see if their accounts offer waivers or reduced fees. You can get a reduced wire transfer fee if you send a transfer through online banking portals. It’s also cheaper to initiate a wire transfer in person.

Non-bank provider fees can depend on factors like how you fund your wire and loyalty programs. Make a habit of checking or asking for a list of the wire transfer fees. Note that bank wire transfers have a limit for the amount you send within a day or in a single transfer.

How Safe Are Wire Transfers?

Wire transfers are safer compared to putting a check in the mail. However, there is a rise in complaints due to the rising number of wire transfer fraud cases. In 2019, eleven thousand people got tricked into the wire transfer fraud, losing $221 million in total.

Many scam artists tend to go for a wire transfer since it’s difficult to cancel or reverse the process. The only exception is the “before 30-minute cancellation” for international wire transfers.

In the U.S., recipients need to verify their identity and give their address to open the account. It’s a good way to avoid transferring anonymous funds and prevent scams.

When considering a wire transfer, you need to know who the recipient is. Never send to a person who you only met or rushes you to give your account or cash to help them. Avoid going for a mortgage wire transfer since it can be a scam.

Paying closing costs and down payments to a real estate or title company can attract hackers. Always verify where the money goes, especially if you got the instruction from an email.

Always bring proof of identification to verify you’re the receiver. Avoid sharing information about the wire transfer with others.

Your Guide on Wire Transfers

Now that you know the answer to how long does a wire transfer take, consider trying it out. Wire transfers can take a few hours to a few days, depending on where and how you send your cash. Make sure you keep your wire transfer safe and away from scams.

If you want to know more about wire transfers, check out our other blog posts. Concerned about your money? We have other interesting guides and tips about securing your money.

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